Sunday, January 23, 2011

Just a Cozy Weekend with Paninis

This Friday, I had absolutely no interest in leaving the house for our usual date. The boy was pretty much okay with that idea, so we got carry-out on Friday. Saturday I made all of these ambitious plans that included revisiting The Red Lion Grog House for lunch (as well as going to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Comedy Sportz), but after we got around to eating the ambition was gone and we went home and fell asleep on the couch.

Sunday mornings (or early afternoons) I always make us brunch. Nothing too fancy, just sausage or bacon, French toast, pancakes, or cinnamon rolls, potatoes, and either scrambled eggs or an omelet for The Boy. This Sunday was no different (except that I bought Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and didn't bake them long enough. I'll go back to making them from scratch from now.) After brunch we usually watch movies this time of year since it's so cold in Indiana - and the Colts season is over. I'm typically a pretty good girlfriend and let him watch football on Sundays all day while I go out and spend time with my friends and family. Today I just stayed home and whined about football for a while - this is why I'm blogging now.

I was still feeling pretty lazy tonight when it came time for dinner, so I decided to make my favorite paninis. The Boy was begging for them last night, but it just wasn't happening. These haven't been named yet, so I'm open to suggestions.


  • 2 slices of whole wheat (or other favorite) bread
  • sundried tomato aoili (recipe below)
  • fresh baby spinach
  • roasted red peppers
  • caramelized red onions
  • 4 slices brittle applewood smoked bacon
  • 4 medium sliced slices of quality deli turkey (I prefer Boar's Head or Deitz & Watson, but the Kroger brand Private Select is also really good)
  • 1 or 2 slices of Swiss Cheese to cover bread
Assemble sandwich as follows: bread, aoili, spinach, red peppers, onions, bacon, turkey, cheese, bread. It's assembled that way for a reason. Brush the bread with olive oil (or melted butter) and grill on panini press until bread has nice toasted grill marks. Slice in half with a big straight-edged knife (I use my carver) and enjoy.

Sundried Tomato Aoili
4 or 5 sundried tomato halves in oil, drained
1 clove garlic
2 coarsely chopped basil leaves (optional)
1/2 c mayonnaise

Pulse sundried tomatoes, garlic and basil in food processor (mine broke and I chop everything by hand, which works fine but generally sucks)
Add mayo and blend until smooth.

*Tips & Tricks:
  1. If you don't have a panini press, you can either use a George Foreman Grill, or press the panini between two pans and cook it that way. The choice is yours and neither is ideal, but I've had better luck with two pans than the Foreman Grill.
  2. The super-secret reason I put the ingredients in that order is that the aoili holds the spinach in place, the red peppers are full of moisture, so there needs to be a good barrier between them and the bread, hot stuff in the middle so that the middle gets hot faster and the bread doesn't burn, and cheese melts better when it's close to the heat source. 
  3. The Boy doesn't like spinach. That's okay. Leave off what you don't like. In fact, he loves it when I use ham and turkey on the sandwich. Do what feels right.


  1. Sounds good. I keep thinking I should buy a panini press. Is it worth the investment?

  2. I use mine all the time. I'm going to grill some pineapples on it tonight to go with some pineapple garlic pork chops. Mine is the Hamilton Beach model. There are some more expensive ones with thermostats and removable plates, but I think as long as it has a floating hinge, it'll be fine. I think I'm going to try and get even more creative with it this coming weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

  3. that looks delicious! I'd love it if you'd link them up to my new Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!