We recently purchased a panini machine from Amazon. There are many machines out there. Some have removable and/or reversible plates. Some have different heating elements and controls. Some are really expensive. We chose the griddler because of its simplicity and size. It ended up being very reasonable.
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We never realized exactly how much we would use this machine. We use it a lot!
First, we made the typical ham and cheddar cheese on sourdough: Assemble sandwich, brush with olive oil on both sides of the sandwich, place on hot panini machine. Press slightly for 10 seconds, then set the timer for 3 minutes. Use a spatula to place and remove from the press.
The first bite took me right back to the street vendors in Rome. It is that good!
Then we got more creative with mozzarella cheese, tomato and fresh basil on a ciabatta roll. We also discovered spray-on olive oil.
Then a kid-friendly Nutella and banana on white bread.
Then we had to try cinnamon rolls. We used Pillsbury Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls.
Butter both sides of rolls with softened butter. Set 4 at a time on the panini machine.
These came out much better and cooked more evenly than the ones we made in the Belgium waffle iron for 90 seconds.
Then we started using this machine for other things. We used it to make burritos. Heat refried beans on the stove. Warm the tortillas on the stove or in the microwave. Fill a tortilla with some refried beans and some grated cheddar cheese. Place on the panini machine for 3 minutes. I did not press down for these. No oil was needed.
For leftovers, a cold burrito only took 4 minutes to heat straight from the refrigerator. It came out toasty on the outside and not soggy from the microwave.
One of our favorite discoveries was leftover pizza. Put 2 slices facing each other. Place on the panini machine and press for 10 seconds. Heat for 3-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the pizza.
We keep finding many uses for our machine:
- Subway sandwiches get hot in no time.
- My son not only gets an easy hot meal, but I found him entertaining his friends with paninis.
- Leftover subs actually get eaten instead of being tossed out. They taste so fresh when reheated.
- We have even put leftover restaurant chicken strips and french fries on the machine to reheat.
- We rethink what we ask to put in the to-go box at a restaurant. Even rolls get a new life.
Have you used a panini machine for something creative? Please leave me a comment with any of your ideas.
My panini version, newer version, then the elite:
See the link back from Buzzfeed HERE