Everybody Eats: Panini maker proves to be good buy

By Meredith Hines-Dochterman, For the Gazette

Thank you to everyone who’s contacted me with tips and/or advice about my faulty oven. I read each one and attempted a few fixes, but it is officially dead. At least now I can purchase a new range knowing I made every attempt to resurrect my old one.

I’m still holding out until October to make the purchase. I waited this long; to cave in and buy a new one now would be silly. At least, that’s what I tell my husband when he accuses me of being stubborn.

(Those financial sites that say to purchase home appliances in October better be true. If not, there will be a lot of “I told you so” in the Dochterman home and who wants that?)

The bright side to not having a working stove is that it’s forced me to think beyond the heated box when cooking; otherwise known as using appliances I purchased on a whim, used once, and then placed on the top shelf of the pantry. The slow cooker now has a permanent spot on the kitchen counter, the rice cooker was finally removed from its box and the panini maker I forgot I had was used twice in one week.

And there were people (read: my husband) who said I didn’t need it.

Granted, there are kitchen appliances I’ve purchased that weren’t worth the price. Take the juicer, for example. It takes a lot of fruit to make one glass of freshly squeezed juice. I’m better off just eating the fruits and vegetables. It’s cheaper, I still get the nutrients, it’s more filling and there’s less clean up afterward.

The same can’t be said for the panini maker. Whenever I use it, I’ve been more than satisfied with the results. From simple grilled cheese to steak and cheese sandwiches, it does the job it’s advertised to do. Granted, my attempt at “baking” chocolate chip cookies on the panini maker wasn’t as successful, but that’s the point of experimenting. Plus, the chocolate chip crumbles worked well as an ice cream topper.

I adapted this recipe to fit the ingredients I had on hand, substituting white Italian bread for ciabatta and spinach for arugula. The result was a milder sandwich, but everyone ate it, so I consider it a success.

CHICKEN PANINI WITH ARUGULA

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce (or to taste)

3 ounces ciabatta, sliced open

1 thin grilled chicken cutlet

1 slice reduced fat provolone

About 1/2 cup baby arugula

Cooking spray

Combine mayonnaise and chipotle pepper sauce in a small bowl. Season to your taste.

Spread the spicy mayonnaise inside the ciabatta. Lay the provolone cheese, grilled chicken and arugula in the bread; close and lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

Place on a panini press and close until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Cut in half and eat immediately.

Source: Recipe adapted from skinnytaste.com

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