Say Cheese!

Today, I discovered April is National Grilled Cheese Month! Naturally, being a fan of the ooey gooey goodness of melting cheese I was spurred to share one of life’s BEST savory combinations ever. Betcha can’t guess what I’m going to say can you?! Yes, of course, onions and cheese!  Before you call me crazy, check out these two great panini’s from our recipe collection.  Then, be sure to take a look at the recipes we found lurking on the web and deemed celebration worthy.

Stuffed Panini with Sautéed Onions & Swiss Cheese

This is the budget-friendly way to create a tasty panini, even if you don’t have the fancy grill!

 Ingredients:

2 medium to large onions, peeled and trimmed

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

4 to 8 ounces sliced deli chicken or shredded leftover chicken

1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced or 1 large tomato, sliced

2 cups fresh spinach

4 seeded burger buns or other large round rolls

4 to 6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese

Dry crumbled basil, to taste (optional)

Slice onions into rings and sauté in oil over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until tender.  Layer chicken, bell pepper and spinach leaves evenly onto bottoms of the 4 buns.  Top each bun with sautéed onions, cheese and basil.  Close buns. Place one sandwich at a time into preheated Panini maker or other hinged contact grill (may fit two at a time with larger grill).  Grill 10 to 12 minutes or until golden, hot and melted. 

Note: if you don’t have a hinged grill, cook sandwiches over medium-low heat about 10 minutes in a preheated, oiled heavy skillet, with another skillet pressing down on top. Watch the top pan as the buns cook.  As the cheese melts the buns may slide and the top pan may need to be stabilized.  Makes 4 servings.

 

Spicy Onion Panini with Basil and Roasted Red Pepper

 Similar to the panini above, but dressed up!

Ingredients:

8 cups (2 quarts) yellow onion, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil   

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 ciabatta rolls     

Aioli (recipe follows)

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup roasted red pepper strips

8 ounces sharp white Cheddar, sliced

1/2 cup pitted Calamata olives, halved

2 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, in paper-thin slices (optional)

Directions:  Caramelize onions over low heat in oil about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden; mix in red pepper flakes.  Split ciabatta rolls and brush inside lightly with Aioli.  For each serving, layer bottom of roll with 1/4 cup basil leaves, then 3/4 cup caramelized onion, then 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, 2 ounces cheese and 2 tablespoons olives.  Add 1/2 ounce prosciutto if desired.  Close the rolls and brush with aioli.  Place each one in panini grill set at medium.  Slowly close lid (somewhat flattening sandwich inside) and grill 15 minutes or until golden and melted.  Makes 4 servings.

Aioli:  Combine in electric blender 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 2 medium cloves garlic and a dash of salt.  Process until blended and slightly thickened.  Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Makes about 1/2 cup.

The following recipes were just a few of the great ideas we found lurking on the web.  We’re sure you’ll be inspired to get into the kitchen to make your own savory-cheesey-be-gooey creation.

Julia Child’s Grilled Onion Sandwich

“Inside-Out” Grilled Cheese with Red Onion Jam

Grilled Cheese Onion Sandwich

French Onion Grilled Cheese

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