Cooking On A Budget: Pannini's - Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pannini's - Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Pannini's are pressed and toasted sandwiches. What bread you choose to use is up to you. Will it be ciabatta, baguette or a crispy exterior grinder roll? The filling possibilities are endless to boot.

Trust me, you don't need a fancy pannini maker. What you may have in your kitchen will do just fine. One thing however: one or two bricks covered with foil will come in very handy. Also, a baking sheet which most of us do have. I think the whole idea behind the pannini is to get those nice pressed marks into the sandwich and press all of the ingredients down so that you don't need a mouth the size of a shark to eat it.

I own two grill pans and actually have two bricks covered with foil to use as weights.
Given the fact that it may also be Summer in your area, making Pannini's can be a clever way to beat the heat. If you're now in a colder climate a pannini and bowl of soup makes for a wonderful hearty and soul satisfying meal. Let's get started on some great combinations for the sandwiches - that should not break your budget.
One key point I would like to make here is to get any items you can on sale. Our store offers quite often a 2 for $5.00 special on blocks of cheeses. Take advantage of that. Also know it is okay to shop the day old bread trays and get a break in price there as well - using day old bread is perfectly acceptable for making pannini's.
All the sandwiches you make start with a layer of cheese, then any meat or vegetable or herbs get layered on that. You could also end with a layer of cheese. Close up the bread and brush with melted butter or olive oil. Place the sandwiches on the grill pan. Place a baking sheet on top and the bricks on top of the baking sheet. Grill your sandwiches to a deep golden brown and till the cheese is nicely melted.

Combo 1:
  • fresh mozzarella cheese - sliced thin (or processed mozzarella)
  • thin slices of tomatoe
  • salt and pepper on the tomatoes
  • basil leaves
Basically this is a caprese salad on toasted bread. Scrumptious and delicious.

Combo 2:
Last summer I made a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich with our garden tomatoes. You can do this combination and make it pannini style. I'll show the photo and put in a link to the recipe. It was my grilled cheese with caramelized onions and tomatoes and cheese on rye bread.

Combo 3:

What deli meats does your family enjoy? Are they on sale? Grab 1/2 to 1 pound of your favorite on sale deli meat and cheese. Combo the meat, cheese and fresh tomato slices for a delicious combination. Make an Italian combo with salami, ham, roasted peppers and cheese. So delicious.

I believe there is a cookbook out there dedicated just to Pannini's - go figure.

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