Amy Clark

Extraordinary Paninis on a Budget

This year, I got the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler for my Christmas gift. The original price tag on this griddler was $150. Linens ‘N Things had it marked at $129.99 and I could use a coupon so I headed there to pick it up with some of the Christmas money I had received from my family.

When I got to the store though, they had one of these little babies on sale for fifty percent off the $129.99 price. It had been returned and they could not sell the product new. A quick discussion with the manager helped me to discover that this item was in perfect condition, and that he would even let me use my coupon on it! I brought my griddler home for $54.99.

I was disappointed to find, however, that it was missing the griddle pieces that pop in to it. I refuse to return it though because I already had a great griddle, but really just wanted this gadget for the panini and open or closed grill functions on it.

I did attempt to call Cuisinart to see if I could get the missing pieces, but was promptly directed to return it to Linens N Things if I wanted to get all of the parts to it. I don’t mind enough to return it because of the fantastic price I got on it.

Paninis are so fun to make and I started making them on our George Foreman grill when we had one of those. If you don’t have one of these though, a makeshift panini maker can be made by covering a brick with tin foil and resting it on top of the sandwich. The weight will press it, just like the grill, and this won’t take up any storage space in a small kitchen.

My husband LOVES paninis so he was very excited about my Christmas gift too. He goes nuts for a turkey and cheddar pressed sandwich so I wanted to make sure we had the ingredients on hand for all of those panini cravings.

I headed over to our restaurant supplies stores and got four pounds of turkey, two pounds of cheddar, and two pounds of mozzarella cheeses. I brought these home and divided them. In each plastic wrapped packet is two slices of turkey and a slice of cheese. I made these packets and then placed them in a Foodsaver bag, vacuum sealed it, and threw it in the freezer. Now if anyone in the family wants to have a sandwich (or I simply can’t figure out what the heck we are going to have for dinner) I can just pull out these packets and make a quick sandwich for everyone.

Any type of bread can be used, but I love French bread or sourdough bread for our paninis. A quick trip to the bread outlet and I had plenty of varieties of bread to choose from without putting too much of a dent in my wallet.

After purchasing the bread, meat, & cheese the total cost will come to less than a dollar per sandwich. That is an incredible deal! Best of all, dinner is ready to go on a night I don’t feel like cooking or when we have unexpected lunch guests!

Check this link, from Recipezaar, for seventy-two great flavor combinations for panini sandwiches.

Published December 17, 2006 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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