Healthy Cooking Thursday: Patriotic Panini

By Chef Lisa on 07/01/2010
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A common question asked by the busy modern women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run is how to prepare quick, healthy, and satisfying lunches when life far too often gets in the way of quality time in the kitchen.  I have a few fast favorites in the arsenal, one of which is panini sandwiches.  The toasty crunch of a whole grain bread contrasting with the gooey, melty filling is just lovely, as well as quite helpful in creating that feeling of satiety.  While I do have a panini press at home, these sammys are just as easy to do in a toaster oven, which is a little more multipurpose and usually more often found in workplace kitchens.

What makes this panini patriotic?  Well , the fillings are red, white, and bleu.  :)  Bleu or blue cheese is awesome in paninis; it's one of those cheeses that should not be eaten cold, and when it's heated and melty, I'll tell it, "You had me at 'Hello'!"  Paired with a perfectly ripe summer tomato (like the beefsteaks my dad always grew back home in the Garden State), and a bit of sliced roast turkey, you've got yourself a satisfying repast.  Throw together a side salad and lunch is ready!

Patriotic Paniniserves 2

A really awesome tomato

4 slices rye or whole wheat bread

About 2 ounces bleu cheese

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 or 5 ounces of sliced roasted turkey (I always go for the low sodium stuff at the deli counter if I'm not roasting it myself)

Slice the tomato.  If you are preparing this sandwich in a toaster oven, toast the bread lightly before assembling, and then build the sandwich in a pan (or on tinfoil) to avoid a melty mess in the oven.  I layer one piece of bread, then the cheese, turkey, tomato, black pepper, and other piece of bread.  (I don't like the tomato juice co-mingling so closely with the melty bleu cheese until it hits my mouth; just a personal preference.)  Heat in a toaster oven or panini press for 4-8 minutes, depending on your toast desires as well as your appliance's ability.  Whistle the "Star-Spangled Banner" while it's cooling a little, then enjoy.  This could easily be done with a whole wheat or gluten free wrap, or pita bread.

What's your favorite hot sandwich combination?

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