Good evening everyone! Every now and again, Maggie and I embark on a "theme week" here on the blog. We decide to focus our recipes around one food group, cooking style, etc. Sometimes, like this week, we accidentally stumble upon a theme week. When we're picking out recipes for the coming week, we do try to avoid doing too similar of recipes (we try to prevent two soups in one week, for example). This week, Maggie and I both decided on dishes that featured sandwiches. However, since Maggie's dish was a unique twist on a decidedly "un-sandwich" dish and mine was a new rendition on a classic sandwich, we decided to roll with it.
So, let the unofficial sandwich week continue with tonight's recipe!
The Recipe: Southwestern Cheese Panini
Original Recipe Found On: Eatingwell.com
What You'll Need:
4 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese*
1 Cup Shredded Zucchini
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion
1/4 Cup Prepared Fresh Salsa
8 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
2 Teaspoons of Canola Oil
* You'll want to pick up sharp cheddar here over mild or regular. The more pronounced flavors of sharp cheddar mean you can use less cheese, but not lose out on the flavor.
The preparation for this recipe is delightfully simple (after all, it is just a gussied up grilled cheese).
In a large bowl, combine the cheese, zucchini, carrots, onion and salsa, making sure everything is evenly incorporated. Distribute this mixture evenly amongst the sandwiches. (TIP: Although it's not mentioned in the original recipe, I'd recommend using a slotted spoon to distribute this mixture that way any excess fluids drip out. You'll want to reduce the amount of liquid in the mix as much as possible as it will soak the bread and ruin your panini otherwise.)
Set a large (12 inch) non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the canola oil (1 teaspoon) and bring it up to temperature. When it begins to shimmer, add two of the sandwiches to the skillet.
If you have a grill press or other weighted cooking instrument, set in on top of the sandwiches. If you don't, you can make your own by simply setting a smaller skillet atop the sandwiches and weighing that down with 2 to 4 soup cans (or pie weights).
Cook the panini for 2 minutes, or until the bread becomes golden brown. Next, remove the weight and flip the sandwich. Reduce the heat to medium, place the weight back on top of the panini and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is equally golden brown. Repeat this process with the other sandwiches.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Zucchini is quickly moving up our list of favorite veggies due to its great versatility. It brings a bright, fresh flavor to any dish, but it's subdued enough that it doesn't overwhelm the final flavoring. This is a great way to sneak your daily veggies into the evening meal. The sharp cheddar cheese creates the classic "grilled cheese" flavor, but the other veggies oh-so-subtly mix things up a bit. The real star of this dish is actually the salsa as it adds just enough of a unique twist to really bring this panini to another level.
That's all we have for you this week. We'll be back next week with more healthy and delicious recipes! Until then,