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Monday, October 12, 2009

How the Panini saved my marriage...and other perks of the grilled sandwich

I love my panini press. It saved my marriage. Granted, I've only been married for two weeks. But I can tell you that I would not have made it to this point without the glorious panini press.

My husband doesn't like sandwiches. He says he's "just not a fan of all that bread" (gasp!). The mere thought of it sends visions of artisanal loaves, luscious sourdoughs and homemade baguettes dancing through my mind. Ah, bread.

Bread can be a dieter's worst nightmare, but again, I don't believe in giving up an entire food group. Moderation is key, as I've said before. But back to the story at hand -- the panini.

So he doesn't like sandwiches. And I LOVE sandwiches. I can make a different, interesting breakfast every day of the week and creating dinner is a daily culinary adventure for me. Lunch, however, plagued me. How on earth do you keep someone interested in lunch if he doesn't like sandwiches....or leftovers (but that's a topic for another day!).

So one day I pulled out my panini press and decided to give it a go. For the next four days, I paninied (not sure that's a verb, but work with me here...) everything. He LOVED it. All of a sudden, the world of sandwiches was open to me. All it took was a grill (the panini press) and some glue (a bit of cheese). Voila!

And now, to keep it svelte: use thin or lower calorie bread -- it just gets flattened anyway! You only need a slice or two of meat, unlike the piles and piles needed for a decent ungrilled sandwich. Tomatoes should be sliced wafer thin, so as not to wet the bread. Just a little bit of cheese goes along way. A bit of cooking spray, spray butter, or my favorite -- olive oil from The Misto! -- and you're ready to go. The rest is up to you!

Here are three of my favorites. The first one might surprise you!

PB&J Panini
(I would say this was for the kids, but my husband requests this regularly!)
Simply make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, spray the outsides of the bread with spray butter or cooking spray, and grill. You will be AMAZED at what the panini press does for the ho-hum PB&J. It's a crispy, gooey, gourmet masterpiece!

Turkey Caprese Panini
2 slices bread (your choice)
1 slice turkey breast
2 slices tomato (sliced thin)
3 leaves of basil
1/8 cup shredded mozzarella
Pinch salt, pepper and garlic powder
Assemble sandwich, brush or mist with olive oil, grill until cheese melts and bread is a golden brown. Bellissimo!

Svelte Gourmet Signature Panini
Crusty Italian or French bread, thinly sliced
Italian Salami, thinly sliced
Fontina cheese
Assemble sandwiches, brush or mist with olive oil, grill.

Using flavorful ingredients sparingly, I've yet to make a panini that has more than 300 calories. Not bad for an amazing lunch that even a non-sandwich eater will love!

I encourage you to take the panini challenge and share your recipes here!


Eva said...

I love my panini maker too, the signature sandwhich sounds great!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

That one's a crowd pleaser -- I hope you like it, too! Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your tips and recipes!