Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trending Healthy

Good evening everyone! Welcome back to a new week of recipes here at Out Of The Culinary. With the holidays (and the never ending onslaught of delectable delights) approaching, Maggie and I thought it would be wise for us to take a little 'preventative action' with our recipes this week. Although we always try to keep health conscious with our recipes - and cooking fresh is always better for you than a frozen meal, we still can try a recipe or two that is more 'delicious' and less 'healthy'. Somewhere in between is the common ground that we all strive to find. Delicious and healthy. Working our way back to the original reason we started this blog - to share healthy and tasty meals with the world - we decided to focus on a little healthier bend for the coming weeks. My two recipes this week are especially health focused. Let's get started cooking!

The Recipe: Turkey & Tomato Panini
Original Recipe Found In: EatingWell.com

What You'll Need: ***

3 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Mayo
2 Tablespoons Non-Fat Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Chopped Basil
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (To Taste)
8 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
8 Slices Fresh Tomato
8 Ounces Thinly Sliced Deli Turkey
Canola Oil

*** Revised ingredients below!

Begin by mixing the mayo, yogurt, parmesan, basil, lemon juice and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until combined well. Spread this mixture onto one slice of bread (per sandwich) and top with a generous helping of turkey slices. Add two slices of tomato apiece and top with another slice of bread.

In a grill pan, pour roughly 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and bring to medium heat. Place the panini in the pan and rest a heavy skillet or pot on top of the panini. If the skillet is quite heavy enough to thoroughly squish the bread down, add a couple of cans of soup, vegetables or really anything heat resistant and heavy to the skillet.

Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bread becomes golden brown and the grill marks are well defined and crispy. Flip the panini over and place the skillet (and cans) on top. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

The Results:

I took a few wrong turns with this recipe tonight. First, I couldn't find a fresh loaf of wheat bread at our local grocery store. They had every other variety of bread known to man made fresh in the bakery but wheat was not to be found. As such, I went with a marble rye bread in its place. A poor decision on my part. The rye was not a natural companion to the turkey and mayo combination and it just threw the flavor off a little. Wheat bread would have been the perfect companion to this dish - it's too bad I didn't get the opportunity to try.

The second goof I made was cutting the bread a little too thick. I was imagining 'texas toast' size slices of bread for the panini - but regular old sandwich bread would have worked better. Smaller slices of bread would have allowed the turkey to be cooked all the way through - or additional cooking time would also have done the trick.

Finally, I'd make a little tweak to the recipe on a second visit. Lose the mayo/yogurt combination. I understand that the yogurt is to give more volume to the spread - but it takes away flavor - it essentially neutralizes the lemon juice/pepper and basil. Instead, I'd use 3 tablespoons reduced fat mayo - 2 teaspoons lemon juice - 1 tablespoon chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and a healthier dose of parmesan cheese (which is lost in the original version of the recipe). Finally, I top the whole thing with a slice of swiss cheese - which isn't going to ruin anyone's diet by any means. So, in the end, I'd reinvent the whole thing!

My version looks like this:

3 Tablespoons Reduced Fat Mayo
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Chopped Basil
1 Slice Swiss Cheese
8 Ounces Deli Turkey
8 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
4 Slices Fresh Tomato

All in all, the sandwich wasn't bad - but it could have been so much better. It is a great base for any form of panini recipe, however, and it is incredibly fast and simple to make. Using this recipe as a starting point, you could certainly get creative and run wild with fast panini ideas for the whole family!

That's all we have for you tonight, Maggie is in the kitchen tomorrow evening cooking up something very unique. Be sure to stop back tomorrow night to see what she's got cooking. Until then,


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