Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

Still goin’ strong with the new Panini maker.  It’s so much fun.  I’ve been really into buying different breads and testing them out to see which is the best.  This week’s bread was the Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane.  This bread is a great shape for a nice big panini and is hearty enough to hold lots of good stuff without falling apart.

There are a few steps to making this panini, but you could make some modifications or even preparations to make life easier which I’ll go over in a bit.

I had some extra time while I was making this so I also decided to be fancy and whip up a nice little Smoky Garlic Aioli to dress the sandwich.  Turns out just an extra tiny little step made a big difference.  Yum!

Balsamic Peppers & Chicken Panini

(for one 🙂 )

Ingredients (for the peppers):

1/4 Onion, cut into thin slices

1/2 Fresh Jalapeno (leave this out if you don’t like spicy), cut into thin slices

1/2 Orange or any Bell Pepper, cut into thin slices

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Sea Salt, Black Pepper & Italian Seasoning to taste

1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients (for the sandwich):

2 Slices Hearty Bread (TJ’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Pane is what I used)

1 Chicken Breast (the thin sliced kind)

Lettuce (I used baby spinach), Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese

Ingredients (for the Smoky Garlic Aioli):

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Mayo

1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic

Garlic Powder, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, & Smoked Paprika

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice (approx)

Directions:

1.  Cut your veggies and heat your panini press.  Heat the olive oil in a small pan.  Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, onion, & seasonings to the oil and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add the balsamic vinegar once the veggies are soft and starting to brown just a bit.  Stir the veggies with the balsamic until they are coated.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes while stirring.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breast on both sides.  Wipe the pan clean and coat with cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high and place the chicken breast on the hot pan.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on both sides until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside.

3.  Prepare the Smoky Garlic Aioli by simply combining the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring until mixed together.  Don’t forget to taste test it.  You can add more mayo if it’s too garlicy or more salt & paprika if it’s too plain.

4.  Put the sandwich together.  I slathered the Aioli on both sides of the bread, followed by the chicken, the peppers & onions, then some spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.  Press the sandwich together and spray both outside pieces of bread with cooking spray.  Place in the panini press and press down!  Heat for about 4 minutes, flip, and repeat.  Enjoy!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it's so worth it!

Okay, so there are a lot of steps but it’s so worth it!

All ready for some heat!

All ready for some heat!

All done!  Ready to devour...

All done! Ready to devour…

SO- while this silly little sandwich seems like it’s going to take a while to make, theres a few things you can do to help you out.  You can either buy pre-cooked chicken, or just cook yourself a few chicken breasts extra another night.  I do this often, then save them for a few days for other recipes.  You can do the same with the veggies and even the aioli.

And for the record, “Aioli” is a fabulous scrabble word to get rid of lots of vowels!  One of my personal favorites 🙂

Click here for other awesome Sandwich Recipes:

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on a Whole Wheat English Muffin

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Green Apple and White Cheddar Tuna Melt

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

Turkey & Brie Panini w/ Fig Butter

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