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All it took was one.little.panini.
One quick lunch lunch meeting with the in-laws…I ordered a turkey panini. I’ve had panini sandwiches before…crispy on the outside, cheesy melty in the middle. Why did this particular sandwich on this particular day spark my crazy crave for panini sandwiches? Shrug. Probably a texture thang since I’m a texture kinda gal. Regardless, it lead me to going home and ordering a low-end home panini press to use for all of my lunchtime cravings. This was a pretty big deal since I don’t care to have kitchen “gadgets” and the like. But, this machine would get, and has gotten, used very well.
The problem I find with sandwiches in general are the types of meats used. I try very hard to not purchase processed deli meats with msg or nitrates/nitrites. Have you ever looked for them? In my area, that type of product seems scarce. I probably should pre-cook some chicken or ham and stow it away for a quick panini lunch, but I can’t always find time to be that prepared. When I crave a panini, I want it now. Hillshire Farm has come out with two types of Naturals Lunchmeat: Black Forest Ham and Turkey Breast. Hillshire Farm Naturals™ lunchmeats are crafted to be both 100% natural and 100% delicious.
- Naturally smoked with a blend of hardwoods for incredible flavor (Black Forest Ham)
- Slow roasted in their own juices
- Always select cuts of meat
- Natural goodness
- No artificial ingredients or preservatives
- No added nitrates or nitrites
- Product Locator
As a family, we tend to choose ham and turkey lunchmeats equally. I chose the Hillshire Naturals Turkey Breast because I preferred how the texture appeared and it seemed juicy (and I already knew in my head I wanted turkey panini with goat cheese.) Sometimes turkey breast lunchmeat seems watery and flavorless, but I was very happy with the “roasted” flavor that came from this meat. Even though each family member likes his own toppings, we all liked what the lunchmeat brought to the sandwiches. As an added reassurance bonus, Hillshire Farm will provide a 100% refund for every package of meat that a consumer is not satisfied with.
Building a great panini is all about what YOU like. I change mine up according to what’s on hand, but a typical sandwich would include:
- Bread: Find a crusty-on-the-outside-chewy-in-the-middle loaf of bread. I like cibatta, Italian semolina or even a good swirly rye. Brush melted butter on the outsides of the slices and build your sandwich from there. If you are watching your butter consumption, just spray the machine with non-stick spray. Take heed: it won’t be as tasty.
- Meat: When it comes to panini, I’ll admit I’m a turkey breast fan. I like it sliced thin and piled evenly. Hillshire Naturals Turkey Breast worked well.
- Cheese: Find something that melts nice. I love a mixture of provolone and soft goat cheese…or something spicy, like a good pepper jack.
- Vegetables: Warm veg: Yay or Nay? I ride the fence on this one and typically stick with raw onion and pickle. This gives room to enjoy a side salad as an accompaniment.
- Spreads: You HAVE to have some sort of spread to tie the whole sandwich together. Artisan mayo’s, ranch dressing or, my favorite, whole grain mustards. I’ve recently been enjoying a cranberry mustard received from our local food swap.
Put it all in the machine and SQUISSSHHHHHH. When the cheese is melty and the bread is toasty, it’s finished.
Hmm…Now I’m craving a panini…