Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

I love a meat-less meal into my weekly meal planning for ease, since they tend to be faster meals, and for cost, since they tend to be cheaper meals too. Breaded eggplant is one of my favorite Trader Joe’s freezer items. I popped a few into the toaster oven while I got the rest of this quick sandwhiches ready for the taste of a slow cooked eggplant parmesan dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches

Ingredients:

breaded eggplant (about 2-3 slices of eggplant per sandwich)
1 cup tomato sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
4 rolls or slices of focaccia

Directions:

Bake the eggplant at 400-degrees until crisp and warmed through.
Spread the ricotta onto the bottom roll halfs, then top with eggplant.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Top the eggplant with slices of mozzarella and bake for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Spread tomato sauce onto the top rolls and sprinkle with parmesan. Close up the sandwiches and bake for 5 minutes at 400-degrees to warm everything.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
Enjoy!

I have a serious love affair with ricotta and I think that’s what helps this sandwich really feel like a long baked eggplant parm dinner. The focaccia rolls were so good for this. I have a few more in the freezer and will have to think about their next use.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches
I paired these quickie sandwiches with some salad and had a great dinner ready in no time. These sandwiches would be a good use for any leftover fresh mozzarella or ricotta you have. Or asiago or provolone would be great too.
The Three Bite Rule - Eggplant Parm Sandwiches

Ultimate BLT Panini

There are only so many variations on a BLT that I can share (like this Avocado BLT, or this BLT Burger, or this BLT Scallop Pizza, or this BLT Pasta Salad, or Bacon Jam BLT Pizza) but I panini-ified my BLT and splurged on good ingredients to make it a dinner. I went all out on thickcut, pepper-crusted bacon. Think expensive bacon. I mean, it was dinner, so the pricey stuff was worth it.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini

Ingredients:

thick cut bacon, 3 slices per sandwich
oatmeal or sourdough bread
arugula
tomato
colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese
aoli/mayo (I used this!)/parmesan peppercorn dressing/honey mustard

Directions:

Bake the bacon slices in a 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack ontop of a baking sheet.
While the bacon is baking, spread the bread with mayo. Top the bread with the bacon. Load it up, this is a dinner sandwich.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Layer the sandwiches with arugula, and tomato.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Top with cheese and 2nd slice of bread. Preheat the panini press, a grill pan, or a griddle.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
Brush the bread/griddle/press with olive oil and grill the sandwiches until crisp and melted.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Panini
I liked this one a lot. I think the arugula and the peppery bacon were great touches to elevate this to a more special sandwich.  The greens need to be one that can stand getting warmed, like arugula or spinach. Regular lettuces would just get wilty. I liked this sandwich grilled. Toasty bread is my favorite and those grill lines are the best but melting the cheese and warming everything through took it from a toasted sandwich to a panini.

Do you ever bake your bacon? It keeps it flat, you don’t have spatters of bacon grease, and you don’t have to flip & babysit it. I don’t always bake it, but it is such a great method. Anytime I’m going to chop the bacon I do that before cooking it and then I can push it around the pan and just scoop with a slotted spoon instead of trying to keep it from curling up and cooking unevenly.

Meatball Panini

This week you may need a non-Thanksgiving-y meal and this is a great one to also not contribute to your leftovers.

The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Ingredients: (for 2 sandwiches)
6-8 meatballs
2 tbs pesto
1 cup arugula, chopped
4 slices of provolone cheese
4 slices of wheat bread

Directions:
Cook or reheat the meatballs and slice.
Spread one side of each sandwich with pesto. Then layer on half the cheese and arugula.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Add on the meatballs. Then top with remaining cheese.
Preheat a panini press, a grill pan, or a large skillet to medium-high heat.
Top the other slice of bread with marinara.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
Grill each panini (flip if using a skillet) until crisp on both sides.
Slice & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Meatball Panini
I loved this one. I found some new chicken meatballs that were soooo good. They were such a find. I actually might whip up a bunch of these and freeze them to live in the freezer until I need an insta-dinner.

Breakfast Panini

Breakfast sandwiches are one of my favorite things to eat. Offer me anything and a breakfast sandwich and I’ll always go for the bfast sand. This time I made it as a panini and it was so good. I like to think the panini made it more dinner-ish but that might just be me. Bfast for dinner is so fast and I only used one pan and the panini press to whip all this up!

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini

Ingredients: (makes 2 paninis)

4 slices of bacon
3 eggs
6 slices of cheddar
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices sourdough bread

Directions:

Chop the bacon and pan fry until crisp. Drain out the grease, spray with nonstick spray.
Whisk the eggs, season with salt & pepper, then pour into the bacon pan.
Cook through and flip once making one flat egg disk.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini
Preheat the panini press, grill pan, or a griddle.
Assemble the sandwich with the bread, half the cheese, and tomato slices.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini
Then add egg, bacon, and the remaining cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini
Brush with olive oil and grill the sandwiches.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini
Serve with potatoes or fruit! I went with sweet potato tots…my fav.

The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Panini
My local bagel joint makes their sandwiches with egg cooked like this…more like an omelet than a fried egg. Cheese on either side of the bread holds everything together, and the egg stays together more than scrambled would. My other favorite breakfast sandwich spot chops the bacon instead of leaving long strips which is genius. You get some in every bite!

Suggested adaptations: 
bfast panini + cheese with the egg = omelette panini
bfast panini – bacon + ham/sausage/or meatless
bfast panini – bacon + ham + sautéed onions = western panini
bfast panini – bread + english muffin (still panini pressed)

What I Ate: Chicken & Waffle Panini

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

Chicken and waffles are such a fun dinner and I was thinking it could become a panini using the waffles for the bread. These are easily adaptable. I used white cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and some buffalo aoli.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Ingredients:

2 frozen waffles, per sandwich
2 slices sharp white cheddar, per sandwich
2 chicken tenders, per sandwich
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onions
2 tbs mayo + 1 tsp hot sauce  + dash of garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
Bake the chicken until cooked through.
Toast the waffles until defrosted and lightly toasted.
Slice the onions and add to cold water.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

Whisk together the buffalo aoli, or add your fav spread like honey mustard, ranch, or a drizzle of maple syrup.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Keep the oven warm after the chicken is cooked.
Assemble the sandwiches with waffles, the spread, chicken, sliced cheddar, sliced tomato, and sliced onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
Put them back into the oven, flipping once, until the cheese melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini
This was so fun. The nutty waffle was perfect with a little spice. Arugula would be good in here too. The onion bath keeps them from overpowering the sandwich, with just a subtle onion flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken and Waffles Panini

What I Ate: Cuban Panini

This wasn’t the most authentic cuban sandwich, but it was such a great tweak on the everyday. The pickles and mustard are totally what makes this special.

The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
I also love pickles so this was right up my ally. A real cuban would have roasted pork but this was good for a quick meal.

Ingredients:

sliced bread
ham
swiss cheese
Provolone cheese
sandwich sliced pickles
mustard

Directions:

Heat a grill pan or panini press.
Assemble the sandwiches with mustard on both bread slices, ham, swiss, provolone, and sliced pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
Grill on both sides until cheese melts and everything gets heated through.
The Three Bite Rule - Cuban Panini
It was almost a ham & cheese but the mustard and pickles are where the different flavors come from. Mr. J doesn’t like pickles, GASP…I know. His was a bit less of a cuban panini but salty and cheesy nonetheless.

What I Ate: Pesto Chicken Panini

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

Sandwiches are such a quick and easy dinner for me. I love paninis and and I’m continually surprised how versatile they are. This was going to be chicken breasts marinated and grilled in pesto then I decided to shred it. I figured that would definitely make this seem different than some of my other paninis annnnnd I wouldn’t have that whole take a bite and the whole chicken breast comes out.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Ingredients:
2-3 chicken tenders (or 2 chicken breasts)
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 tbs grated parmesan
1 tomato
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or sliced provolone, or fresh mozzarella
4 slices of bread

Directions:
Cook the chicken in simmering water until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and Parmesan, then add the pesto and shred with 2 forks pulling the chicken apart.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Heat a panini press/grill pan/large skillet to medium high heat.
Assemble the sandwiches with sliced tomato and pesto chicken mixture.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini

Top the sandwiches with cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
Grill until toasty and melty on each side…about 3-5 minutes per side.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Pesto Chicken Panini
I love the flavors in this. The tomato is key for keeping the chicken moist. The pesto is a great use for a partial jar. I would normally have used sliced cheese but I had leftover shredded mozzarella and no plan for it, so this worked well.

Paninis need bread that can hold up to what goes inside. I think this nutty one works great. I think the Pesto Chicken Panini is kind of a nod to a lazy-man’s pizza…which makes great panini fillings.

Some of my other fav paninis are: fig and prosciutto panini, bacon & gouda panini with peach compote, and turkey cranberry & brie panini.

What I Ate: Chicken Parmesan Subs

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

These easy chicken parmesan subs have a few special touches that make them wayyy better than take-out. The secret is pesto on the bread. I do the same kind of thing for meatball subs. The roll also needs to be toasted…otherwise it will get soggy from the marinara in .2 seconds.

These rolls lived in the freezer until I needed a quick dinner. I like soft rolls for this (rather than ciabatta or sourdough rolls). I used breaded chicken tenders making this an even easier dinner.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders
2 sub rolls
3 tbs pesto
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbs grated Parmesan
3 slices of provolone cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Cook chicken tenders until cooked through.
Spread pesto and a drizzle of olive oil onto the rolls.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub
Toast the rolls in the oven for 5 minutes.
Top with chicken and tomato sauce.

The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub
Cook for 10 minutes.
Top with Parmesan and provolone cheese and return to the oven until melted.
The Three Bite Rule - Chicken Parmesan Sub

Some of my other fav sandwiches for dinner are: 
chicken and pear sandwiches with arugula and sharp cheese
fig jam and prosciutto on strong ciabatta
sliced turkey, cranberry, and brie panini on nutty wheat bread
Italian grilled cheese with breaded eggplant
some panini tips

any quick dinner ‘wiches to recommend? 

What I Ate: Fig and Prosciutto Panini

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

This panini was more so a pressed sandwich. I realized I had some fig jam leftover from a fig and prosciutto pizza. I love fig jam on toast or in oatmeal but I wanted to use it another way. I hate specialty ingredients that have a one-time use. It has such a unique flavor and I don’t find it so strong that you can’t eat it all the time. I love it with prosciutto for the sweet/salty combo. This time I thought a panini would be a perfect use for it.

The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

This fig & prosciutto panini is kind of a nod to a monte cristo like the raspberry preserves or a Thanksgiving gobbler with cranberry sauce. Paninis are the perfect week-night meal or cooking-for-one or as a use for leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 ciabatta rolls, or 4 slices of crusty bread
4-6 slices of prosciutto
4-6 slices of fontina cheese
3 tablespoons fig spread
handful of arugula (optional)

Directions:

Assemble the sandwich with a drizzle of olive oil onto the bread, then fig spread on one side. Lay arugula and cheese onto the other side.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Preheat a grill pan or panini press or oven to medium-high heat.
Add arugula on top of the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Close up the sandwich. Optional: brush with olive oil or butter.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
Cook for about 5 minutes, melting the cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

Ohh wow. So good. There are no words.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini
This is so good and I think I could eat it weekly. The prosciutto is super salty but delicate and was great with a mild cheese (that melts well, like fontina). The arugula was leftover this week but I wanted the peppery-ness on here. The fig jam is sweet and sticky with such a great dominance on this sandwich. I seriously think this needs crusty and tough bread…nothing wimpy and soft will do for this.

I want this again. right. now.
The Three Bite Rule - Fig & Prosciutto Panini

suggested adaptations: 
fig & prosciutto panini – arugula + spinach/pickled red onions/roasted red peppers = a twist on the veggies
fig & prosciutto panini – half the bread + assembled on crustini toasts = an appetizer format
fig & prosciutto panini – fig jam + roasted figs/dried figs, sliced = similar flavors with different textures
fig & prosciutto panini + pan fried prosciutto – panini cooking = crispy prosciutto sandwich with fig

What I Ate: Pizza Grilled Cheese

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

I love grilled cheeses packed with all sorts of crazy stuff in ‘em. Enter: pizza stuffed grilled cheese. I had a few extra ingredients to a basic grilled cheese with some marinara for dipping. It was a super fast dinner without any leftovers clogging up the fridge. I appreciated the use of some ingredients getting put to good use.

The Three Bite Rule - Pizza Grilled Cheese
Pizza fillings:
american cheese
mozzarella cheese
chopped basil
sliced pepperoni

So good. Many of these items were lasagna leftovers (post coming soon!). Saving even small bits of something comes in handy, especially for instances such as this! This was super comforting with great flavor.

suggested adaptations:
grilled cheese + tomato slices + basil leaves/pesto spread = caprese grilled cheese
grilled cheese + ricotta schmered in there + tomato sauce spread inside = lasagna grilled cheese
grilled cheese + pepperjack + avocado slices + salsa to dip = nacho grilled cheese
seriously, the possibilities are endless.

Some other grilled cheeses I’ve loved:
Grilled cheese with balsamic onions
Grilled cheese with bacon and peach compote
Grilled cheese with breaded eggplant and pesto