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The Scoop:

Hi Friends!  Happy Friday!!  I hope everyone has super plans for the long weekend.  Long weekend… as in labor day weekend… as in I’m not even ready to start talking about how its already the end of summer… as in I’m totally going to have an end of summer meltdown next week so for now let’s just be happy it’s Friday.

What’s everyone up to?  Tonight I’m going to the Luke Bryan (hearts and stars!!!!) concert at the Allentown Fair.  We have an amazing county fair back home, but I haven’t been in 6 years, so I might be just as excited about the horse barns and the fried food as I am the live music.

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Can we rewind though and talk about last Friday real quick?  It was one of those wonderful starts to the weekend where I had absolutely nothing to do and was absolutely ok with it.  So with no exciting plans for my Friday night, I did what any normal single 26 years old gal would do, and drove to Target.  I had a short list of things I actually needed, but let’s be honest with each other here and admit that the main reason any of us go to Target is for the great impulse buys that find their way into our carts.  This particular trip took about 45 minutes and resulted in 3 almost impulse buys (another pair of these shoes, a pair of cowboy boots that were just a liiiiiiiiitle too big in the calves, and a dual sided cast iron griddle/grill pan which was just a tad out of my unbudgeted price range) and 3 full on impulse buys: a cute tank top ($5 and I’m going to wear it to Luke Bryan tonight!); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on DVD (also $5!!!!!!) and a panini press ($29.99).

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Good thing the next stop on my exciting Friday night on the town was Trader Joe’s.  I stocked myself up on all sorts of great sandwich ingredients and have been a panini making machine all week long.  I’ve tried out all sorts of great flavor combos (chicken, bacon, tomato, avocado, cheese anyone??  how bout greek chicken with rosemary, olives, spinach, and goat cheese??).  Or this one.  My personal fav.  Chicken, fig, basil and goat cheese.  Holy yum.  You all know how much I love figs, but have I ever told you about my love of goat cheese?  Ummmmmm, its pretty serious.  And the two together?  I die a little bit inside.  Can you even think of a better way to use up left over chicken than to pair it with killer ingredients on hot gooey sandwich.  No?  Me either.

The sweetness of the figs and basil is cut just enough by the tartness of  the cheese  to keep the sandwich in the savory category.  It smelled so fresh and summery when I cut into it, that I barely was able to let it cool for 2 minutes before digging in!  I find the flavors to be so distinct and original on their own, that you won’t even want a condiment or dipping sauce on the side.  Don’t have figs on hand?  Try slice up a pear nice and thin for another fruity kick of sweetness!

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The Goods:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 slices of hearty bread (I suggest sourdough)
  • 2 tsp of butter or butter substitute
  • 5 Tbs shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 oz cooked chicken breast**
  • 2-3 figs, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 Tbs goat cheese crumbles
  • 4 basil leaves

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

  • panini press, indoor grill, or panini pan

**Note:  Paninis are a great way to use up left over chicken.  I actually purchased some pre-cooked chicken breast from Trader Joe’s and have been using the pre-sliced meat on my sandwiches all week.  Perdue Short Cut Chicken is another option as is a rotisserie chicken.  If you are feeling ambitious and want to roast your own, here’s a link to The Spatularette’s How To.

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The Deets:

Panini making is about as easy as it gets.  First we are going to slather one side of each slice of bread with butter or butter substitute.  Then the layering begins.  Lay one slice of bread (butter side down) on a clean surface.  Top the slice with 3 Tbs of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Lay 2 oz of sliced chicken over the cheese and top the meat with a layer of figs.  Scatter 1 Tbs of goat cheese crumbles over the figs and layer with 4 large basil leaves.  Top the sandwich with a second piece of bread (butter side up).  Transfer the sandwich to a pre-heated panini maker and use a spatula to keep it all together as you close the lid.  Smoosh it down good and cook for about 8 minutes on medium high heat, or until the outside is brown and crispy and the inside is hot and gooey.

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The Inspiration:

My favorite flavors of summer!

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Oh and since we’re getting really crazy, let’s go ahead and throw some homemade french fries into the mix.  Don’t know how to make  ‘em?  Well it couldn’t be easier!   Grab The Spatularette recipe over here!

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Confession: I had to google how to spell “panini” to write this post.

XOXO,

Tall One