Monday, May 17, 2010

Special Sandwich Part 2: It's Eatin' Time

If you read my post yesterday about the sun-dried tomato spread I made, you know that this is part 2 of a two-part, fabulous Panera-inspired panini.  I call it my Cheddar Chicken Panini, and it's time to get down to business.

Let's not waste any more time then, shall we?

What you'll need:
  • The sun-dried tomato paste we made yesterday
  • Fresh bread
  • Tomato
  • Cheddar cheese (I used shredded because that's all that I had!)
  • Chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil 
Let's make the sandwich:

Start off with your chicken.  I had chicken tenders, which worked well, but if you have chicken breasts, just cut them in half so that they are thinner.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.

Use a grill pan (or an actual grill, or a frying pan) that is sprayed well with cooking spray.  Cook the chicken about halfway...

...and then flip it to cook the rest of the way.  I loooove the grill marks!

Now, take a blurry picture of the chicken when it's done.  Remove it to a plate and let it cool a little.

Grab a tomato that you've resisted eating all week just for this.

And slice it up into some semi-thick slices.

Now, it's assembly time.  I only had this tiny bread, so I decided to make two sandwiches.  Lay a piece of chicken on one side (or half, if your bread is small)

Spread a generous amount of sun-dried tomato paste on the other side.  I mean it when I say generous; I definitely wished that I wanted more when I ate it.

Next, add the tomato.  Then, add the cheddar cheese because I'm crazy and forgot to take a picture.

Put the two sides together and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

In a heated pan (medium-low heat), spray some cooking spray and place the sandwich oil-side down.  That way, you can drizzle a little over the other side, too.

If you want to be cool like me, put a small pot cover over the top to squish the sandwiches a little.  Cook until...

...they look like this.  Then slip, cover, and wait for the other side to get brown too.

These Cheddar Chicken Paninis are grilled to perfection.  Just the right amount of brown, and super melty inside, as demonstrated by the following picture.

Look at the melty center of this sandwich!  This is when you know it's just right.  I'm dying to eat it right now.

You can even serve it with a side of tomato, like me.  But I'm a weirdo.

This sandwich totally exceeded my expectations.  The bite of the cheddar combined with the sun-dried tomato flavor went so well together.  It was melty and gooey, but the bread balanced out the soft texture of the inside.  I loved it!

If you've joined me in my recipes this week, you probably have some left over ingredients!  Well, don't worry... we'll fix that soon...

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