What I Ate: Turkey Panini


In my effort to simplify dinner (but still keep it delicious) I figured I should throw in more sandwiches to the rotations since lately I’ve been into dinner salads. Mr. J is (rightfully) worried about getting salad-ed out.

The Three Bite Rule - Turkey Panini

I like that paninis are perfect any-time-of-the-year dinners. They’re super easy and quick (and cheap). In the summer I appreciate that they don’t heat up the whole house to make! In the winter I appreciate that it is a warm meal with a fresh factor. I also love that there aren’t any weird leftovers. I made some once when I hosted the book club and served them with a salad bar. It was a hit for a group with different tastes!

Here are some tips to take this from a “sandwich” to a “dinner-starring-panini”

  1. Really good bread. I mean, it is the star of the sandwich, don’t cheap out. The word “panini” comes from the word for bread. It is a good use for day-old baguettes or focaccia, or sourdough slices.
  2. Different color & textured ingredients. Try pesto or tapenade spreds. Add flavored cream cheese. Get a veggie (tomato/spinach/slaw) in there for moisture & crunch too!
  3. Brush the bread with something that will add to the crunch and something that tastes good. Real butter, or good olive oil are best.
  4. overfill, just like I suggest on a calzone since it’ll get a bit pressed together so layer it up!

The Three Bite Rule - Turkey Panini


Sliced deli turkey
Fresh mozzarella
Arugula leaves/baby spinach
Pesto mayo


Assemble sandwiches (which can happen in advance)
Brush outer bread with olive oil (I added some truffle oil)
Grill on a grill pan, skillet, or panini press until warmed through.
Keep in a 200-degree oven if preparing for a group to keep warm.

Throw some fries or salad on the side and you have a cheap & easy dinner. The price breakdown is astounding. How much would you spend on the SAME sandwich at a restaurant?
The Three Bite Rule - Turkey Panini

Panini Cost Breakdown:

Bread: $3.99 per loaf (serves 8 sandwiches) or $0.49 per sandwich
Turkey: $4.99 per pound (serves 4 sandwiches) or $1.24 per sandwich
Mozzarella: $3.99 per 8oz ball (serves 4 sandwiches) or $0.99 per sandwich
Arugula: $3.99 per 7 oz package (serves 6 sandwiches) or $0.66 per sandwich
Pesto: $3.15 per jar (serves 4 as sauce, or 8 sandwiches) or $0.39 per sandwich
Total: $3.77 per Panini

Can you believe that? You cannot buy a Panini for even $5! I have to tell you I saw arugula on the discount produce shelf. It was in a 2 oz herb container that usually sells for about $3.50. It was bundled with 2 other fresh herbs (thyme & oregano) for $0.81. Now THAT’S a steal!

Ham and brie would be good. Or neutella & pear at a brunch! Or bacon, cheddar, and basil! Or avocado, pepperjack, and salsa! Ohh the possibilities are endless!

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