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.
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”
- 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.
- 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!
- Brush the bread with something that will add to the crunch and something that tastes good. Real butter, or good olive oil are best.
- overfill, just like I suggest on a calzone since it’ll get a bit pressed together so layer it up!
Sliced deli turkey
Arugula leaves/baby spinach
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?
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!
That looks so good. I really need to start learning to shop like you- that herb bundle find is definitely a great find! 🙂
So I am now wondering why I shun sandwiches at dinner time!