Italian Chicken Panini

Warm, gooey, hot sandwiches are one of my favorites because they take a lunch food and turn it into something else more sophisticated. The other day, I roasted a whole chicken which basically feeds me throughout the week. I can get about 6 good meals from a whole chicken. In the long run, it saves you a lot of money to do the whole bird than buy individual cuts. I digress…
This sandwich is perfect for a late night meal when you want something filling, but have little time. It is also great for kid. I would even bet these could be made for a tailgate or outside BBQ slapped on the grill and pressed down.

2 chicken breasts, roasted or grilled
14 marinated Mozzarella balls
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 half bulb roasted garlic (about 1/8 cup)
1 tbs dried basil or 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 cup spinach
4 Slices Rosemary Garlic bread or Sourdough bread
olive oil
salt and pepper

Plug in your panini grill and get it hot. Start by laying out all 4 pieces of bread. Drizzle them with olive olive. Smear the roasted garlic onto two pieces of bread and top with the tomatoes. For tips on how to roast your own garlic, check out my post on making a cheese platter. You can also find items like these pre-made at stores like Whole Foods and Gelsons.

This sandwich is really all about layering. If you are like me , you have most of these items laying around in your house or pantry. The most complicated part of this would be the chicken. I would suggest grilling the breasts or roasting them. For me, I had roasted a chicken the night before, so it was just a matter of me slicing the breasts off the bird. Once the breasts are done, cut them into strips.

Top the tomatoes with the Mozzarella balls. Make sure to evenly space them out.

Lay the strips of chicken on top of the Mozzarella on both sandwich halves. Add the basil, and a salt and pepper. If you have roasting olive oil left over from the garlic you made, or some of the sun-dried tomato oil, you can drizzle a little bit of it on the chicken. It adds a great dimension of flavor.

Top each sandwich with half a cup of spinach and the other piece of bread.

Drizzle the bottom of your grill with a little olive oil. Add the sandwich. Drizzle the top piece of bread with olive oil as well and close the grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the tops of the bread are brown.

Remove the sandwich from the heat and slice in half. Time to grub!


2 thoughts on “Italian Chicken Panini

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