Dinner Tonight: Pesto Chicken Paninis

This dinner was a huge hit at my house!  It’s funny because sometimes, I’ll make the “fanciest”, most complex meals and the reviews are so-so but this…a simple dinner I whipped together in 5 minutes was talked about for two days after.  Go figure!  This is all about taking the right ingredients and combining them to make the perfect panini…this is simple.  I used my panini press (my Aunt Pam bought me one for Christmas when I was 9 months pregnant with Smith…that’s all I wanted…does that sound like a pregnant gal or what?!) but if you don’t have a panini press, you can simply place your panini in a skillet over medium-high heat and then place another skillet (because it’s heavy) on top of the panini to “press” it down.  You’ll flip it over after about 3 minutes and repeat.  Very easy!  This makes 4 paninis.
Shopping List
1 loaf of sourdough bread, sliced
1 pound chopped, cooked chicken (I used fajita chicken like this)
2 cups spinach leaves
1 jar sun dried tomatoes
1 container of good quality pesto (or make your own like this)
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat your panini press or large skillet.  Lightly spray with Pam.
Take two slices of bread and spread pesto over one side of each, top one slice with chicken, spinach, tomatoes and sprinkle with cheese.  Top with the second slice of bread.  Place sandwich under the panini press for about 5 minutes or until golden and the cheese is melted.  Slice in half and serve with your favorite chips.
That’s it!  This is more like an assembly line dinner than anything else.  You’re just taking good quality store-bought ingredients and combining them to make a great panini.  If you use a good sourdough bread, good pesto and great cheese, the results are out of this world.  Great bread is found in your bakery department  and good pesto is found either by the deli or by the refrigerated pasta in the grocery store.
And do I even have to mention the mixing and matching you can do here?  Change out the meat, change out the toppings, change out the cheese, change out the bread…change it up and you have dozens of new dinner ideas.  Happy eating!
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  • Maureen W. (Maryland) July 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    What a great recipe, and much easier than it seems. I love panini; they remind me of when I studied abroad in Rome. I remember buying them from the little shops as we would walk back to our apartment from class. They were gooey, hot and crispy, wrapped in wax paper. Figured you'd appreciate the "travel memory" šŸ™‚

  • Sheaffer, Chris, Scout, and baby Carter July 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I adore paninis. This one looks awesome!

  • Penelope July 18, 2012 at 1:23 am

    They look seriously yummy!

  • Deanna July 18, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I LOVE your blog! I'm not much of a cook at all, but your recipes are all so quick and easy I think even I could manage them šŸ™‚

  • Michelle Elkins AKA Mickey July 18, 2012 at 2:07 am

    This looks so good!!! Going to make it for my fam

  • Anne July 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    looks tasty! too bad I returned my panini maker šŸ™

  • Lori B September 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    These are phenomenal! I don't have a panini maker, but our George Foreman worked amazingly… even left the little lines! Thanks for the great recipe! I want to try the Mexican Panini next!

  • Angela Ellingson February 16, 2013 at 1:45 am

    OK, these are amazing!!!!! SO YUMMY! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenn December 8, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I know this is an old blog entry but I was wanting to make it..unfortunatly the link for the fajita chicken isn't working, suggestions on what kind/how to cook? I love all your recipes! (I make at least 3 a week!) šŸ™‚

  • Lindsay B August 1, 2016 at 7:27 am

    I am 8 months pregnant and that sounds mighty good right about now!