Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Italian Sausage and Paninis

I really wanted to make Chicken Kebabs tonight, but we are supposed to have thunderstorms later and I really don't want to grill in that kind of weather, so I will make those tomorrow. Instead I will throw the Italian Sausage I bought on George. The George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, that is. We simply call it George* and yes, we still use that relic from the 90's. It is great to use in the winter or on rainy days like today. I also use it as a panini press since 1) I don't have one, 2) I don't have the room for one, and 3) they are expensive and George works just as well. So if you have a George collecting dust in your basement or attic, go find it and make a panini. I am going to have to give you a panini recipe now, aren't I? Okay, here is my favorite one:


8 slices sourdough bread
lunch meat turkey breast slices
swiss cheese slices (or Gruyere if you want to be fancy)
4 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons butter, softened
olive oil

Heat up your panini press or George grill. While it is heating, mix together the butter and mustard in a bowl with a fork. Use a garlic press to press the garlic cloves right into your butter/mustard mixture; again mix well with the fork. Spread this mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Top four of the slices with desired amount of turkey, then with desired amount of swiss cheese. Top the cheese with one slice of bread, mixture side in. (The outside of the sandwiches are dry, the butter mixture goes inside.) Lightly brush the top side of the panini with olive oil and place it olive oil side down on the grill, then lightly brush the other side with oil. Repeat with remaining sandwiches and close the grill lid. (You may not be able to get all the sandwiches on the grill at once. I can usually do two at a time.) Grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted.

I got the original recipe from Giada DeLaurentis on the Food Network and changed it slightly to please my tastes. I have served this to a few friends and they all rave about it, so I hope you like it too. I also have a panini recipe that calls for leftover turkey and cranberry from Thanksgiving and you add in some cheddar cheese slices. Another good idea is to make a Caprese panini with pesto, mozzarella cheese and tomato slices. The possibilities are endless.

Tonight I will cook the Italian Sausage on George for 25 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes. We eat them on hot dog buns and I will serve them with coleslaw from Memorial Day and pasta salad that I have in the fridge. The pasta salad is one of those boxed kits where you cook the noodles and add Italian dressing. I always seem to have a 1/4 of a box of bowties or radiatore leftover from something in the cabinet, so I throw those in with the noodles that come in the kit. I also try to change things up by adding chopped olives or tomatoes or salami in there too.

So, does anyone have any other ideas for paninis? Or something fun they add to their pasta salad? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy eating!

* "I'll love him and hug him and squeeze him and name him George." Anyone else remember that Looney Tunes cartoon with Bugs Bunny and the Abominable Snow Monster?

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