If you have ever eaten a panini at Zupa's (little soup, sandwich and salad diner), you will ESPECIALLY appreciate this recipe...if you haven't, you are in for a scrumptious sandwich recipe anyway. A few years back my daughter, Dayna, introduced me to Zupa's. She recommended a few things from the menu and then I ventured out and got a panini sandwich along with the soup that she recommended. I always thought that panini's were just glorified grilled cheese sandwiches, and in a way they are....but OH SO MUCH yummier! They are full of anything you can imagine, lots of cheese (Provolone or Swiss are my personal favorites) and then pressed until the sandwich is crisp and toasted and the filling is melted....just makes my mouth water! I asked for a Panini Press for Christmas (and got one) BUT you can make these without a press...the only thing you will be missing is the fun little "grilled" lines...they still taste just as fabulous as if they were cooked in the press. YOU have to make these!!! OH MY, they are heaven sent!
Grilled Chicken Avocado Panini
1-2 ripe (but NOT mushy) avocado's
8 slices of sourdough bread (or any bread with a little substance, don't use the fluffy stuff...this won't work with that)
8 slices of cheese
crumbled bacon (not bacon bits...has to be REAL bacon)
4 grilled chicken breast (I did venture out and scrape the snow from my barbecue grill and I braved the -10 degree weather to grill these, but you could just broil them in the oven or fry them...they would still be yummy)
Peel and slice the avocado. Preheat panini press (instructions on how to make these withOUT a press will follow these instructions) for 6 minutes or until "ready" light kicks on.
To make sandwiches, butter the back sides of the bread, like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich. On one slice of bread, place in order- 1 slice of cheese, then 1 grilled chicken breast (we ripped ours up a little so that the sandwich wouldn't be so thick, but it works either way), avocado, crumbled bacon, 1 more slice of cheese, then top with another slice of bread. (MAKE sure that the butter is on the OUTSIDE of each slice of bread).
Place sandwich in panini press and cook until bread is toasted and crisp (mine took approximately 4-5 minutes).
*To make sandwich without a press-assemble sandwich as directed above. Place sandwich in a frying pan, butter side down. Place a smaller sauce pan (the heavier the better) on top of sandwich, pressing sandwich down (I placed a large can of tomato juice (still in the can) in my sauce pan to add more weight...you could use whatever you had) Cook until the one side is browned and then turn sandwich over, repeating if necessary to melt the cheese. I've made panini's like this several times and it works like a charm.