Sometimes I have one ingredient that I really need to use and the rest of the meal comes about because of it. That’s exactly what happened last night. The ingredient…BACON.
Ben bought some really amazing thick-cut bacon last week when we grilled burgers. I had more than half of the package left and it needed to be used in the next couple of days. I could have frozen it, but when something goes into my freezer it may never come out. And there was no way I was going to waste good bacon! In college my best friend used to order the chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich at Quizno’s and she’d add either avocado or guacamole. I might have some details a little confused here, but it was something like that. With the bacon and some leftover grilled chicken in my fridge I knew exactly what we’d be having for dinner.
We eat panini a lot, and usually I’m using leftovers to make them. It’s one of the main ways we use any leftover steak. As with most panini recipes the ingredient list is short, and prep is simple if you’re using leftovers. All you need is some bread (I used sourdough) some cooked chicken, a few slices of cooked bacon, avocado and swiss cheese. You can use any kind of cheese that you like, but I thought the swiss paired well.
You can spread some mayo on the bread, or if the Quizno’s addition of ranch sounds too good to pass up you can either spread some ranch dressing on the bread or dip the sandwich in it after it’s been cooked. If you have some guacamole around, then use that instead of the avocado.
For a nice and crunchy exterior, and terrific color, I like to either drizzle the bread with olive oil or, if I’m feeling really crazy, spread it with softened butter. It’s up to you.
You don’t need a panini press, but if you have one that you don’t use very often I highly encourage you to dust it off and make it a part of your life. To make these without a press, just heat a skillet over medium high heat and while one side is cooking, press down on the sandwich with another heavy pan, then flip and do it again. Like a smashed grilled cheese, although I guess pressed does sound better than smashed.
The recipe below makes 2 sandwiches, so adjust the ingredient amounts as needed for the number of paninis you plan to make.
Ben and I both really enjoyed these panini and I can see myself planning my weekly meals with some extra chicken and bacon in the future. Enjoy!
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado and Swiss Panini
- 4 slices of thick cut sourdough bread
- 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced
- 4 slices of cooked bacon
- 1 half of an avocado, sliced
- 4 slices of swiss cheese
- mayo or ranch dressing, optional
- olive oil or butter for grilling
- Preheat your panini press or a large skillet over medium heat.
- Set out your bread (spread with mayo or ranch) and layer 1 slice of cheese, chicken, bacon, avocado and top with another slice of cheese. (I tear the slice of cheese so that it covers the bread.) Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
- Drizzle olive oil or spread butter onto both sides of the bread.
- Place on the panini press or on the heated skillet and press until bread is golden brown and cheese had melted.