Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Farmer’s Markets are starting to open or move outdoors now that the weather has warmed up.  I’m tired of making do with supermarket produce, even if some of it is locally grown.  I love going to the open market and seeing first-hand the stalls and rows of fresh vegetables. So on most Thursdays I’ll be part of the crowd strolling in the sunlight from stall to stall, with my bags and basket in hand.  I’ve gotten to know a few of the vendors, so we chat and they keep me informed as to what’s in season right now, right here.  Local to me means having been grown in a 25 mile radius of where I live.

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Dinner inspiration waits at every turn.   A bunch of dark green kale and a juicy early tomato go into my bag.  These will be layered with melty cheese in a savory, cheesy panini.  (today’s post)  I have plans for using the rest of the kale in a  meatless meal that will soon be appearing on these pages also.    Rhubarb goes into my bag next,  ooooh, so many things to make with rhubarb.  What shall be first?   Asparagus, standing in tall bunches, just waiting for me.   Again, I have so many ideas of what to do with them.  Oh, I’m happy.  I’m doing the happy dance!!   1-2-3-cha,cha, cha.

For this vegetarian panini sandwich, layers of sautéed kale, garden-fresh tomatoes and a fine melting cheese get toasted to ultra-deliciousness.  Gruyère or fontina have complex flavors and melt beautifully, but any cheese you have on hand will do.  I particularly like muenster cheese as it too melts nicely, and has a mild nutty flavor that blends with the other flavors of this sandwich.  For anyone who absolutely must have some meat in their sandwich, well, a little bacon never hurt anything, and  it makes a great addition.  As you can see by the photos, I did just that!

KALE AND MELTED CHEESE PANINI

Yield:   makes 4 servingsIMG_7461

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices country bread (1/4 inch thick), preferably whole wheat
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese ( or any other cheese of choice)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 2 slices precooked bacon/sandwich (optional)

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Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 – 7 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Add kale, water and salt  (the pan will be full).  Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

2.  To prepare the panini:  Preheat panini maker to high.  Coat one side of each slice of bread with cooking spray. With sprayed side down, spread the kale mixture on 4 slices of bread ( about 1/2 cup per sandwich).  Top each with 1/4 cup cheese and 2 slices tomato.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

Top with the remaining bread, sprayed-side up.  Press in the panini maker until crispy,  3 to 5 minutes.

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This is unbelievably good!

This is unbelievably good!

 

SOURCE:   Eating Well Magazine

 

 

 

 

Greek-Style Chicken Breasts

Greek-Style Chicken Breasts

Greek-Style Chicken Breasts

Do you like to buy olives from the olive bar in the supermarket?  I love them, and frequently buy an assortment to have on hand.  I like to include olives in a mixed green salad, or add them to the salads I prepare for our lunches.  As luck would have it,  I had just returned from my grocery shopping on the very day that I came across this recipe for Greek-Style Chicken that called for kalamata olives.  With the olives on hand I knew I had everything necessary to prepare this fantastic entree.

Grilled Chicken goes Greek!

Grilled Chicken goes Greek!

Besides being very tasty, this meal can be prepared in just about 30 minutes.  The recipe as it was printed contained a recipe for herbed potatoes, and when I cooked the chicken, I prepared the herbed potatoes as well.  So I’m including them here for you also.  This meal goes together so easily and is really good.  I would not hesitate to serve this to guests, who would think you spent longer on its preparation than you actually did.  Many of you may be grilling now that summer has officially arrived, and the chicken would be lovely cooked out on the grill, then topped with the onion-tomato-olive mixture.

GREEK-STYLE CHICKEN BREASTS

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_7168

  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  3/4 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 12 – 14 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano  (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
Tomatoes and olives ready for the pan.

Tomatoes and olives ready for the pan.

Directions:

1.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

Grilling the chicken

Grilling the chicken

2.  Heat a large skillet per medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion and garlic, sauté 4 minutes.

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Add olives and tomatoes;  cook 3 minutes or until tomato begins to break down, stirring occasionally.

 

This smells fantastic!!

This smells fantastic!!

Remove pan from heat; stir in parsley, oregano and lemon juice.  Top chicken with tomato and olive mixture; sprinkle feta evenly over chicken.

Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with feta cheese.

Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with feta cheese.

 

HERBED POTATOES

Place  1 1/4 pounds baby gold potatoes – or medium yukon gold potatoes, quartered – in a large saucepan.  Cover with water and cook 14 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain.

Combine 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl, storing with a whisk.  Add potatoes and toss to coat.  Garnish with parsley or oregano leaves, if desired.

If you have extra time you can roast rather than boil the potatoes.  Toss them in the vinaigrette mixture, and bake at 400*F for 30 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.  This is what I did to get the version you see below.

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Oven Roasted Potatoes

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light