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?
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
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pesto
12 slices of bread
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.
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.