I was in the garage the other day, looking for a platter, and what do I find? My panini maker! I LOVED that thing when we lived in Chicago, and I must admit I haven’t seen it in a long time. My daughter was disappointed the other say when we went to lunch and she wanted to order a panini for the first time (they were out), so tonight’s the night! She LOVES caprese salad, and good tomatoes are still readily available, so being “Meatless Monday” and all, I’ll give these paninis a try! It’s a 5-ingredient recipe, great for a busy Monday night! If you don’t have a panini grill, you can use a griddle or a non stick pan to cook them! This sandwich would be perfectly paired with my Tomato Basil Soup!
Grilled Caprese Paninis (Recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine)
- 2 slices whole-grain Italian bread
- 2 tsp prepared pesto
- 1 1/2 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 1 plum or roma tomato, sliced
- 2 large basil leaves
1. Place bread on a work surface and spread 1 tsp pesto on each slice. On 1 slice, layer cheese, tomato and basil. Top with remaining slice of bread, pesto side down.
2. Place sandwich in a hot panini press (or griddle) and grill until bread toasts and cheese softens, about 4 minutes.
If you want to make your own pesto, EASY PEASY! Add 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 10 large basil leaves to your food processor and process until finely chopped. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil slowly and process until smooth, an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
For a more substantial meal, you can add a grilled chicken breast to this sandwich; restaurant quality right at home!
Can’t forget dessert! I have another 5-ingredient recipe that’s sure to please! Again, adapted from Clean Eating Magazine. (Can you tell I love this magazine?!)
- 1/4 cup low-fat plain cream cheese
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tsp dark cocoa powder (70% cocoa or greater)
- 12 natural graham crackers (TRY: Health Valley Organic Oat Bran Graham Crackers)
- 1 tbsp shaved dark chocolate
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and honey; mix until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and mix until almost completely blended, leaving a few white and brown streaks for presentation.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 tsp cream cheese mixture onto each graham cracker. Arrange crackers on a baking sheet and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm and soft.
4. Remove crackers from oven and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, dividing evenly, and serve warm. Enjoy open-faced or sandwich 2 crackers together for a more traditional treat.
Bon Appetit (or as we say in Puerto Rico, Buen Provecho!) Let me know what the family thinks!