Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pretend Panera

Mmmmmm, Panera!

We don't have a Panera where we live, so you can bet I'm super excited when I find a copycat recipe.

Here's the thing about this recipe, though.  I've never actually had the Frontega Chicken Panini, so I can't personally attest to the copycat-ness of this recipe.

But, I did know 2 things:

  • The recipe is from Iowa Girl Eats, one of my favorite food blogs.  I've liked everything I've ever made from her blog.  I knew this would be a winner!
  • This is my kind of recipe.  I like making fun things with simple ingredients that have a special this case, the chipotle mayo.

I wanted to make this right away, before it got lost in the recesses of my entree board on pinterest!

I made the chipotle mayo in the afternoon so that I could let the flavors meld and become awesomer.

Now, because I am kind of like a tiny little baby when it comes to spicy things, I changed the ratios on the mayo.  The recipe said to do 1/4 cup mayo with 1 chipotle in adobo and 1-2 teaspoons of the sauce.  

I used 6 tablespoons of mayo and added 1 teaspoon of the sauce and 1 chipotle in adobo, but I rinsed the seeds ribs out of the pepper which is where most of the spice is.  Just dump the ingredients in a mini food processor or finely chop the pepper and stir it together.  

After that was taken care of, I made the chicken.  I just put some olive oil in a skillet and cooked the chicken breasts which I had sprinkled with salt and pepper ahead of time.

The next time I make this (and there will be a next time), I'll have some sort of chicken earlier in the week and just make more so I'll have the chicken ready for this.

Now you're ready to put this together whenever you want!

I used ciabatta rolls from the deli for this, but you can also use focaccia bread...or any bread that's kind of sturdy. 

In addition to the bread, chicken and chipotle mayo, you'll need sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced red onion, and thinly sliced fresh basil.  As I look at these ingredients, I bet this would be an especially great summer sandwich with the fresh tomatoes and herbs and grilled chicken.  Yum!

Anyway, spread mayo on both pieces of bread.  Then add chicken topped with tomato, then onion, then cheese and lastly basil.  

Put the top on and then press in a preheated panini press or George Foreman grill or something similar.  Cook until cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.  

I really liked the customize-able-ness of this sandwich!  I made mine just like the picture above!  I made Aaron's without the veggies and herbs.  I gave the girls chicken for supper.  I made one meal, but I was able to give everyone what they like and would happily eat. 

And, believe me, friends, that is much easier said than done!

I'm linking up with Jessica!

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