Yum Peaceful Cooking: Tuscan-Style Chicken Panini on HBin5 Whole Wheat Bread

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuscan-Style Chicken Panini on HBin5 Whole Wheat Bread

It's been a while since the HBin5 group has made a simple, plain sandwich bread. And I hear this echoed by the other groups members....it's nice to get back to basics. Even if it's only for a minute.

This loaf of bread is the master whole wheat recipe found in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook. I do adjust the wheat flour content for flavor reasons. I halve the whole wheat and replace it with all purpose flour. So my loaves aren't as healthy as they're suppose to be....but they're still  much healthier than most.

Last month I had read a tip about using an electric knife to cut your loaf of bread. Such a simple thing, really. But in my head that electric knife had 2 jobs. One was to carve our Thanksgiving turkey. The other job was to slice the prime for Christmas and Easter. The rest of the year, it would sit in its old (very old because this knife use to belong to my mother in-law before I met my husband)...original box, in my cupboard above the fridge.

How silly!!!! It's wonderful for slicing bread and makes it so much easier...I mean, look what I was able to do....

They're not all perfect, and the exact same width...but so much better than what I can do on my own. Hey, I'm just excited that I don't have any slices that are 1/2" wide on one side and paper thin on the other side.

So...that's what I started off with for my panini's.

But I don't have a panini maker.

But that's ok...cuz I do have an old indoor grill and a heavy cast iron skillet.

Let's get to the chicken first. This recipe comes from one my Pillsbury Slow Cooker booklets. It's originally for a sandwich on a focaccia. (The first time I made this, back in 2004, was the first time I had ever heard of focaccia). The Printable version is for the sandwich version...not the panini, but that's easy enough to adjust, right?

Tuscan-Style Chicken
Printable Version

1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper (from a jar), cut into bit sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pesto Spread
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pesto

12 slices of bread
Olive Oil
6 slices of tomato
12 slices of cheese (I used mozzarella, but wanted to use provolone. What ever you use, make them on the thick side so they don't melt off the sandwich before the bread is done grilling)
6 lettuce leaves

Place the chicken in your slow cooker. Add the garlic, roasted bell pepper and slat. Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 - 7 hours. Or if you want this for lunch and don't feel like getting up at 4am....cook it on high for about 4 hours.

Now, the directions said to remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. I didn't have to shred it. The chicken fell apart on contact. I applied a little pressure and poof...it was "shredded".

In a small bowl, combine the mayo and pesto

This is one of my most favorite sandwich condiments

Heat up your grill or skillet (which over you're going to use) over medium-high heat and lets start stacking this sandwich.

Brush one side of a slice of bread with some olive oil. put it down, olive oil side down, and spread the other side with the pesto-mayo. Add a slice of cheese...then scoop about 1/3 cup of chicken onto the cheese, top with tomato, lettuce and more cheese. Spread some pesto-mayo on another slice. Finally, brush the top of your sandwich with olive oil. 

Remove the grill / skillet from the flame and spray with cooking spray or treat with oil. Carefully place your sandwich on the grill / skillet. Balance a skillet (one that is smaller than the one you're cooking in, if using a skillet) on top of your sandwich.

Keep an eye on it cuz....the skillet just might slide right off your sandwich, taking the top half with it. 

Makes a mess. 

Trust me

After a couple of minutes, carefully check the bottom slice of bread to see if it's toasted. If so, flip it. (ya, have fun with that. Don't burn your fingers and don't let it fall apart....hahahahaha. No seriously...you want to do it carefully but not too slowly....thus giving it time to fall apart (again)).

After a few more minutes, your panini should be done and cheese should be all nice and melty and oooh man....

One of the yummiest sandwiches I've had in a long time. And filling and satisfying. 

You should all check out what the other HBin5'ers have done with their assignment. Head on over to Michelle's at BigBlackDogs.net and you'll see links to everyone's versions of this wonderful, easy loaf of bread.

Coming up in the near future....Garlic Knots and Pita. 


  1. I would love this sandwich with all those flavors going on. Your bread slicing is impeccable...very impressive.

  2. It sounds wonderful (if a little tricky to manage)! I can't see the pics cause I am at school, I'll have to check it out later.

  3. Wow!!! That looks soooo good!! I'm totally a sandwich girl and your homemade bread is amazing!! I might have to check out this book!!

    *I love that your printable versions are from BakeSpace!

  4. You had me at Tuscan! This looks fantastic and the pesto mayo really makes this something special!

  5. Oh wow, that looks so great. So weird I just came from another site that had a similar sandwhich, but they used Miracle Whip (Gross!), so happy to know the pesto will work with real mayo, too. Yum.

  6. Whoa momma... this looks fantastic!

  7. Your panini looks fabulous...what a great meal :-)

  8. Home run on the recipe AND the photos, just awesome, D! I want to bite that sandwich.

  9. That last picture is a killer :))) Can I give it a bite?

  10. I haven't had Lunch yet and now seeing your Panini I am really hungry. Off to the kitcen I go....

  11. I really need to get an electric cutter...good call. My slices end up being completely lopsided. And then I'm left with a huge hunk at the end of the loaf that I feel compelled to eat. Not good.

    This panini looks fantastic! All of that melted cheese deliciousness. I might be coming over for lunch.

  12. Bridgett - the flavors were awesome! If I had been serving a different crown, I would've used some basil and / or alfalfa sprouts.

    Pam - haha...you're missing the best part! LOL

    Spryte - The book is wonderful....the bread group is fantastic!! I just have to make sure I don't eat everything I make! LOL and ya, I got the BakeSpace printable version idea from Cathy. Might as well, right?

    Michele - Pesto makes everything special! YUM

    Cheryl - how funny...miracle whip! i loved it when i was a kid but my mom refused to buy it. when i grew up and bought a jar finally....I hated it! LOL

    Moogie - Thanks :)

    Juliana - Thank you..it was good and filling

    Chris - Apparently Foodgawker doesnt like the pic. they had all sorts of issues with it (lighting, shadow, exposure). But yes....the recipe was yummy :)

    Dajana - :) If you came over, I'd make you as many of these as you wanted

    Petra - hahaha.....enjoy whatever you find in teh kitchen

    Joanne - yes, get an electric knife. They aren't even expensive. I still ended up with a really thick heal...but it can be croutons, right?

    Cathy - I woke up this morning and checked my email from my blackberry before i got out of bed. And there was your comment. I've recently changed over to this comment moderation thing to prevent spam comments so I could delete them before they show up on my posts. So I have 2 options with each comment....Publish and Reject. Do you know what happens when you first wake up? and can't see? You hit "Reject" by accident!!! NOOOOO!! So I went back and tried it again (hitting the right option this time) but it wouldn't let me fix it :(. But I do have what you said in my email....and here it is:

    "The Dutch Bakers Daughter said...

    I've got to make this one! I'm going to stop for the chicken on the way home....but I might just buy the bread, LOL...I'm too tired to make my own these days."

    Cathy - I swear, I didn't mean to reject your comment....LOL...you know I love you man!!!!

  13. Your bread looks terrific and this sandwich looks out of this world delicious.

  14. This looks like such an amazing sandwich! I have a loaf of the bread in the freezer along with some already cooked turkey, hmmmmmm I am seeing a sandwich in my future.

  15. That is absolutely mouth-watering! Pesto mayo is one of my faves too. It's excellent on burgers. Thanks for the tip on electric knives - I think we all have a problem cutting perfect slices.

  16. The panino looks fantastic.

  17. Beautiful pictures,Danielle!!!That looks delicious...:)

  18. the shredding of the chicken is perhaps my favorite aspect--for some reason, i love the way that stringy stuff feels in my mouth, especially when it's coated with cheeeeese. :)

  19. I wanted to reach in and steal that sandwich! I have an electric knife that I never use, going to have to dig it out now.

  20. Haha... that's about all our electric knife gets used for, too! I have a tip for cutting bread so the slice is all one thickness. When you're cutting, *don't* look where the knife is... look where you want the knife to go. In other words, when I'm cutting a piece of bread, I start my slice and then look at the *bottom* of the loaf and where you want the blade to end up at. LOL Hope I didn't confuse you!

  21. I'm going to show this recipe to my husband. He's the slow cooker and griller person in our family. I think we also have a panini maker, too!

  22. Your bread looks perfect! The sandwich with all the fillings and goodies is so tempting- you could sell this!


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