Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Panera at home

I've been spending WAY too much of my hard-earned income lately on tomato & mozzarella (sans the cheese) on ciabatta paninis from Panera. I put up such a battle with myself spending $7 on something like a headband or much-needed art supplies, but I seem to have no problem dropping that much money on one single sandwich, the traces of which will disappear entirely within half an hour.

I decided I needed to do something to stop this habit, so I went to the grocery store and got the ingredients I'd need to make it at home. The total cost was just under $9, and I'll be getting at least four sandwiches out of it.

I purchased:

4 mini loaves of ciabatta bread
1 can of sun-dried tomatoes in oil
4 tomatoes
1 pack of fresh basil

I just cut a loaf in half and drizzled olive oil over it before layering on some tomato, sun-dried tomato and basil. Then I put it on my mini George Foreman grill and applied as much weight as I could muster to close the lid completely over my sandwich, thus turning the grill into a pseudo-panini-press. The results were almost exactly like the Panera sandwich! The only thing I'd change is adding less olive oil, since it made my bread a little soggy, and I'd definitely choose the ripe tomatoes over the cheap ones next time (hey, I was trying to save money, what can I say?)

I complimented my sandwich with my favorite tomato + chickpea recipe, and it was delicious! And if you're a cheese-eater then just add some mozzarella to the mix & it would be exactly like the one from Panera, without Kate editing :)