Bacon & Cheese Panini with Peach Compote

This panini was soo good. I mean, seriously, how can you go wrong with bacon, cheese, and something sweet? It was a really quick dinner but now that I think about it, this would be a good brunchy kind of dish because of the bacon.

The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Peach Compote Panini

The peach compote has a sweet juicy flavor with a tiny zip to it…it isn’t spicy by any means. It could totally handle some jalepenos if you wanted spice. The peaches cook down considerably so even with just 2 peaches, there wasn’t much left over after making 2 sandwiches. It would be good on a cheese plate or on a crostini too.

Ingredients:

2 white peaches (or nectarines), diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tbs brown sugar
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
6 slices of bacon
4 slices of bread (I used seedless rye)
4 slices of gouda cheese (or fontina)
(optional: tomato, arugula, mustard)

Directions:

Add peaches, onions,and 3 tbs of water to a small pot over medium heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Peach Compote Panini
Pan fry bacon until crisp.
Stir peaches and add red pepper flakes and brown sugar. It will be soft and will have reduced a bit. The onions & peaches will have broken down by now.
Peach compote cooks for about 10 minutes, but can be kept warm while everything else gets prepped.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Peach Compote Panini
Assemble sandwiches with cheese, bacon, and spread peach compote onto one side of the bread.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Peach Compote Panini
Pan fry or press sandwiches until cheese melts and bread crisps. (keep warm in the oven if making them in batches).
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon & Peach Compote Panini

I loved this. I kept it simple so there wouldn’t be too many competing flavors but I usually think “the more the merrier” when it comes to a sandwich. I would like some tomato slices or greens in this. Ham, prosciutto, or pancetta would all be good substitutions for the bacon. It would be great as a regular sandwich without toasting it, or having it on ciabatta.

Paninis are such simple dinners. The peach compote would hold up a few days in the fridge if making it in advance. I think this turned my sandwich into something special. I would be a grilled cheese with bacon if I hadn’t added it in there. Peach compote would be a good use if any of your peaches or nectarines get a bit squishy.

Want more panini ideas? This Italian Grilled Cheese is a super easy dinner. This Turkey, Cranberry, & Brie Panini is great if you’re inching towards fall. Top-your-own Chicken & Biscuits is a fun dinner sandwich too.

What I Ate: Italian Subs

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

I’ve posted a few sandwiches here but thought these Italian subs would seem special enough to be dinner. I loved having them at home, and the next day’s lunch reaped the benefit too!
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Mr. J is from Maine where they call them simply “Italians”. Growing up for pool-side parties my mum would slice a very long loaf, and fill with sandwichy things and cut it into lots of pieces. I’m now remembering that she’d toss the lettuce & tomato with Italian dressing which is a good idea for the oil/vinegar sub topping. #nexttime

Ingredients:

soft fluffy rolls, or 1 long baguette to cut into pieces
¼ pound sliced hard salami
¼ pound sliced honey ham
¼ pound sliced provolone
½ cucumber, sliced
½ green bell pepper
1 small tomato, sliced
2 cups mixed greens, or lettuce of your choosing
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup basil (optional)
mayo, mustard, or veggie oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

Cut, slice, and unwrap everything.
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Build your sandwich.

Now, this seems like a lot of ingredients, but assembling takes all of 5 minutes AND it’s all prepped for lunch the following day! Plus, leftovers of these ingredients are good things to have on hand (think panini! or bfast burrito with the peppers, ham & cheese! or skip the lettuce & cukes and use the rest to build yourself a calzone!). This would make for a good salad too, if sandwiches aren’t your thing. They’re not usually my thing if they’re going to sitting around in a packed lunch all day getting soggy. I like ‘em fresh off the press.
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I swear by the basil. That makes the sandwich for me. It is also a good use for any leftover basil you already have, before it goes bad (strawberry basil sangria would be a good use too). I threw some basil into my salad the other day and LOVED discovering the basil leaves amongst my greens at lunch. I’ve also been throwing this mustard in lots of dishes lately so these subs were no exception.

Mr. J was really jazzed about this dinner, which surprised me. It was fun to assemble our own and only have to do some slicing for dinner to be prepped. I should do this more often. And you should do it too. Lesson learned, a blast from the past or something unusual with no frills is fun.

Happy weekend! Stay tuned for next week for a pizza that was a social media frenzy!

Thai Chicken Wraps

Thai chicken wraps came to me out of nowhere. I thought of them back day when I was meal planning for a roasty-toasty week. Thank goodness it has cooled down a bit now.

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Ingredients:

2 small chicken breasts (or 1 large)
½ cup asian salad dressing (or equal soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil)
carrot slaw
1/2 english cucumber
2 wraps
1-2 cups arugula
peanut sauce

Directions:

Marinate the chicken overnight, or for at least 3 hours. Then grill chicken to cook through.
Toss the carrot slaw with some of the same marinade (not what the chicken was in).
Slice the cucumber into thin slices or thin wedges.
Slice the chicken into pieces.
Lay the wrap down and top with carrot slaw, arugula, chicken, and cucumber.
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Drizzle some peanut sauce on top and wrap up.
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Sorry for the gloppy looking sauce. I should have made that more even/pretty.

I liked these for a change in pace. I’m not sure how I’ll use the rest of the peanut sauce, since it isn’t one of my usual ingredients. Carrot slaw is also not one of my usual items but it was pretty good and probably an easier than usual way to get myself eating carrots. #notmyfav

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These would be a good variation if you were making a few different wraps. I think the peanut sauce made me feel like I had done something really different whereas it was just assembling the wraps with pre-made sauce. Maybe some sort of peanut-sauced pizza would be good for the rest?

Italian Grilled Cheese

This summer has been pretty hot. I don’t like temperatures that start with a ’9′, and three-digitis? #forgetaboutit

I’ve been trying to limit my oven use for dinner planning when it gets that hot. I’ve also been OBSESSED with using stuff up. Pantry items and freezer finds alike have been gracing my plates. I had some breaded eggplant hanging around (circa Eggplant Parm Pizza) and thought tucking those buggers into grilled cheese could be fun.
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Italian Inspired Grilled Cheese (for 2)

Ingredients:

4 slices of bread
3 tbs pesto (or marinara or tapanade or alfredo)
2-3 slices American cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
6 pieces of breaded eggplant (substitutions below)
olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Bake the eggplant in a flat layer for about 10-minutes or until heated through, flipping once (or pan fry or pop in a toaster oven)
Reduce heat to 250-degrees if both sandwiches don’t fit in the skillet at the same time.
Heat a large skillet or grill pan over medium heat.
Spread pesto onto one slice of bread for each sandwich (or both pieces of both sandwich if you LOVE pesto).
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Layer American cheese, then eggplant, then mozzarella onto each sandwich.
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Drizzle olive oil into the pan and put sandwiches in.
Cook a few minutes, until the crispness of your preference, before gently flipping over.
Cook on the 2nd side a few minutes and serve immediately (or keep 1st sandwich warm in the oven until the 2nd sandwich is ready.

I loved this. Mr. J did too. I didn’t want the pesto to overtake all the flavors, but I could have upped it to both sides. I loved the marinara for dipping. The eggplant had a perfect crispness even surrounded by cheese.

Now, for the cheese. Don’t judge the American cheese in there. Other cheeses (more fancy, more authentic, more worldly cheeses) will not melt as perfectly as American cheese. I may have snuck a little sprinkle of Parmesan in there too. Maybe.
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The eggplant is an easy thing I grab at Trader Joe’s and keep in the freezer. It makes for a super easy & quick Eggplant Parmesan or sub, or pizza. No eggplant? No problem! Another veggie would be good too, or bread your own! I like the breaded eggplant for the crunch, so the sandwich doesn’t get too soggy, but maybe grilled zucchini/eggplant/summer squash is right for you! Chop up some artichokes or roasted red peppers or whatever you have!

This is kind of like lazy-man’s pizza or pizza-leftovers in a hurry. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

What I Ate: Baked Falafel

Falafel is one of those sneaky take out items that seems so healthy but…

they’re fried. Womp. Womp.

I make it at home somewhat regularly and bake them. It is so much easier, less messy, and healthier.
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I’ve made them from scratch and honestly don’t really think it is worth it. I use a mix, bake them on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 375 degree and flip once. Leave the frying to your fav Falafel King/Palace/House-Of…you won’t even miss the fried crunchy outside.

The mixes taste good and are simple. Simple as in just-add-water. In the time it takes to get these buggers toasty and cooked through your salad can be ready and waiting. Toss feta, cukes, tomatoes, and greens with some Italian/Caesar/Oil & Vinegar.
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I love this as a perfect meatless dinner or I’ve served it as an app with little pita pockets. It is an easy meal to bring somewhere since you’ll just need refrigeration and maybe the falafel can get nuked or popped in the toaster oven. This time I served it on wheat naan but tortilla wraps, pita pockets are great too.
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Try it and I won’t even have to say told-ya-so.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap

My event is over. Phew. I’m still just so tired. My head is spinning. There is a lot of stress, pressure, and info swirling but I’m happy. I’m happy how it went. I’m happy how our team did, annnnd I’m happy I don’t have to do it again this weekend already.

Now I’m detoxing. We work so hard and so long that eating and sleeping aren’t top priorities. Now I need to eat real food. I love organizing our meals but feeding that many people, with enough options, is exhausting. Every meal we were at I was thinking of if the next needed confirmations, to be picked up, or paid for. Now I’ll slowly get back to real life.

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast (or 2 small, or 3 tenders)
1/2 cup creamy caesar dressing
2 tbs Italian dressing
1 head romaine lettuce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
1 tomato
1/4 cucumber
2 tortilla wraps

Directions:

Marinade chicken in 1/2 of the caesar dressing and Italian dressings overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Grill chicken until cooked through completely.
Chop/slice lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber while chicken cooks.
Toss lettuce, Parmesan, and remaining dressing.
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Cut cooked chicken into bite size pieces.
Assemble wraps drizzling with extra caesar dressing.
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It was really good. I used tomato basil wraps and they have a nice sweetness to contrast the dressing. The chicken was really good off the grill.
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Sandwiches are such a quick dinner. The quantity of chicken for this is so small, but is the perfect amount for a wrap. It is definitely an economical way to include some protein.

Totally unrelated. Here’s the pup Windsor. He was feeling ashamed after being told to get his head out of the dishwasher. He’d love to be a pre-wash if not told to stop…but isn’t that face so cute??

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What I Ate: Hot Ham & Cheese with Poppyseed Sauce

Here’s a copy-cat recipe from Pioneer Woman making a pretty tasty spread for sandwiches

I made these kind of envisioning that they would bridge the gap between winter and spring. They’re also easy. And they’re cheap. Yup, spring-ish/easy/cheap fit the bill perfectly. Work is a bit crazy right now. I can’t believe it is May. I’m not sure if I should feel like crying or puking right now.

Ingredients:

2 rolls
1/4 pound sliced honey ham
2-4 slices of American cheese
2 tbs stone ground mustard
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp honey

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
Mix ingredients for the sandwich spread: mustard, mayo, poppyseeds, vinegar, garlic, and honey.
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Assemble sandwiches
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Cover and bake for 10 minutes.
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I liked the spread, but I don’t know that I’d purposely make it again. It might be a fun option at a sandwich bar or making the every-day-lunch more exciting. I don’t use horseraddish often but maybe that was really the missing link. I think this spread was just OK but when Ree Drumand makes it, there’s prob a reason why she adds horseradish.

This is a mild spread. I love condiments so this one was only “ehhh” to me. The sandwiches were melty and warmed through while not having any butter or grease. I think they were a pretty good option to keep things different but I might not make them all that regularly.

Cost breakdown:
rolls: 2 @ $0.45 each
ham: 1/4 pound @ $4.99 per pound 1.24
cheese: 1/2 pound @ $5.99 per pound 2.99
mayo: <$1.00
stone ground mustard:  <$1.00
poppy seeds: <$2.00
total: about $7.13 for 2 sandwiches or $3.56 each (prob wayyy less if you already have mayo/mustard/etc)

If you have leftover poppy seeds whip up some everything bagel dip!

What I Ate: Chicken and Pear Sandwich

Sandwiches are such a great dinner. This chicken and pear one is inspired by one that used to be on the menu a Brighton Beer Garden. This sandwich reminds me of my early days in Boston.
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I found some fun focaccia rolls but any bread would be good, and would make this into a good panini.

Ingredients:

Thin chicken breasts, marinated
2 focaccia rolls
2 cups arugula
2 slices cheese
1 pear, sliced

Directions:

Grill chicken until cooked through
Assemble sandwiches on rolls with arugula, chicken, cheese and sliced pears.
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I think the focaccia and the cheese were definitely big parts that made it special.
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I love arugula and it doesn’t get icky when the hot chicken is on it. I dressed the arugula with a little bit of Italian dressing. Delicious. Arugula is peppery and so good.

I’m jetting off to a wedding for less than 24-hours. Sound familiar? Wouldn’t be the last weekend in April if it weren’t craaaaazy.

Any dinner panini or sandwich ideas for me during this busy time?

What I Ate: Avocado BLT

Happy Friday! Since we’ve successfully made it though the week together, I figure this Avocado BLT a perfect ‘What I Ate’ addition since obviously you do not need a recipe for a BLT. Bacon + Lettuce + Tomato = delicious. I’m going to add a few special touches to an already awesome sandwich. (Check out How Sweet It Is’ Avo BLT from this week too!)

The BLT is a perfect I-ate-some-pretty-bad-for-you-food-this-week option for the weekend,

or a breakfast-versus-lunch tie breaker,

or I-don’t-like-traditional-breakfast-food.  It has the perfect grease requirement for hangovers and the ideal fresh factor to make up for unhealthy indiscretions.
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I think BLTs are perfect for a quick dinner or even brunch. They’re great on whatever bread you have, rolls, wraps, biscuits, flatbread, bagels, pita pockets, anything!

I added some pesto aioli and some avocado. Perfection! Mix up some mayo and some pre-made pesto. Also, if you refer to it as aioli, even people who think they don’t like mayo will be alllll about it.
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I grilled the bacon in a criss-cross lattice pattern. Bacon in every bite! I like it suuuuper crispy but bacon in any form is perfect.
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Layer it up! I like it in the order of B then L then T. I added avocado to make it more special, filling, and creamy. avo_BLT_plate_590_390
I think there are tons of fun ways to keep a BLT interesting. I think a salad-y wrap would be good too. Maybe the lettuce and tomato in chunks mixed with ranch, avocado, and bacon! Ooo. Yum! A BLT grilled cheese would be delicious right about now. Or maybe a BLT with fried egg on ciabatta! I’ve made BLT pizza (which was to die for). Just goes to show you, BLTs are great inspiration.

What do you do to keep sandwiches interesting? Any BLT variations I should try next?