Veggie & Pesto Panini Recipe

One of my favorite homemade meals right now is veggie paninis, which we made for dinner tonight. They’re quick, simple, cheap, and delicious – all good things!

Our recipe for these paninis has morphed from an original recipe suggested by one of my best friends who happens to be vegan. We’re not vegan (or vegetarian) ourselves, but have lately been trying to eat less meat and more veggies & fruit.

Ingredients to Make Paninis for Two:
A couple slices of onion, cut and separated into half rings
A red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into strips (smaller pieces work too)
A tomato, sliced
A zucchini, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
Bread – we use sourdough, but ciabatta and focaccia are really good for this too
Pesto
Olive Oil

To Make:
Wash, cut & prepare all veggies. My husband fries the zucchini slices in a bit of olive oil and adds some Italian spices – really yummy but certainly optional and admittedly less healthy. Take 2 slices of bread and spread on your desired amount of pesto. Pile up the veggies on your sandwich and top with the remaining bread slice. Very important step: squish your panini a little bit by hand to 1) compact your loaded sandwich and 2) fix any spillage¬†before the panini get super hot while toasting. Now get out either a panini press or a wide, flat pan to toast/fry your panini. Brush the bottom of the press (or pan) with olive oil, as well as the top of your top piece of bread. Now toast your sandwich until it’s how you like it – golden brown for me! Panini done!

We typically make some rice to go with our paninis, but a soup or steamed broccoli/asparagus goes great, too. Also you can see in the picture above that I’m the sweeper for any leftover sandwich ingredients that don’t fit. :) So so yummy!

Yummy Saturday

I’ve been under the weather for the past couple of days with a cold, so today was the perfect day to take it easy and get spoiled with some yummy foods. This morning, my husband made his oh-so-delicious Italian hash browns – shredded potato with his “secret” mix of Italian spices, all fried up in olive oil. Yum!

To add to today’s spoiling, I pulled out my favorite cookbook this afternoon – an old Betty Crocker “Cooky Book” that my sister got for me. I’ve loved every recipe I’ve tried! And believe me, I’ve tried a lot of those darn cookies.

Today I made the peanut butter cookies, one of our favorites. We’ve made these a lot, and there’s an interesting add-on next to the recipe – to cut out half of the shortening and add in some honey. I keep wanting to try it, but each time I make these cookies it’s because we’re reeeally craving them, and my husband isn’t sure he’ll like the honey version (honey is my thing, not his). So, we didn’t take the risk today… maybe someday soon. :)

I pulled out the small arsenal of cookie making tools I always use – a stainless steel mixing bowl, a “spoonula” (best thing ever), a one-inch cookie scooper, and a whole lot of measuring spoons & cups. Can’t really go wrong with these guys.

Something I really love about peanut butter cookie dough is how easy it is to work with. I’m not sure if it’s just this recipe or if it’s all peanut butter cookies, but the dough doesn’t stick to anything! I guess that’s how you know there’s too much butter in there to be good for anybody. We decided to experiment and add some chocolate chips (adding chocolate is safer than adding honey?)…

…which was quite delicious! But, the chocolate overpowered the peanut buttery taste too much. We opted to skip the chips for the rest of the batch.

So far, a delicious day for sure. Now to get back to sniffling and sneezing… and maybe a little nap. :)