Holiday Lunch: Chicken paninis and fresh mixed greens salad

Things are moving along quickly here at the blog! For the first time in a really long time we're posting something that has happened in the past week -- whoa! Hopefully by the time the New Year rolls around we'll be wrapping up all the outdated drafted posts from our wedding planning hiatus and sharing more up-to-date items regularly. One can hope.

Patrick's mom made a somewhat impromptu visit this past weekend. Patrick plays in a community orchestra and had a concert Sunday evening. I'm not sure who his number one fan is -- his mom or his wife?! Either way, it's great to have her come for a quick weekend visit and to support Patrick.

As you might could imagine there were lots of holiday themed fun things to do around the area but the weather got in the way of things a bit. Since Patrick had a dress rehearsal Saturday morning, I planned to pick up Marie from the airport and then work on a light lunch for us to have at the house when Patrick got home. Then we would be able to enjoy a holiday afternoon activity somewhere nearby.

I served homemade applesauce, a fresh mixed greens salad with roasted beets and goat cheese, with a cranberry chicken caramelized onion panini! It was nice to be able to serve everything on our Spode Christmas Tree dishes. They're so festive!

Holiday Lunch: applesauce, fresh mixed greens salad with beets and goat cheese, and chicken paninis
Before we get to the recipes let me tell you about the chicken in the panini!
In the cookware post I mentioned using the Calphalon Contemporary Stainless 8 quart multi pot for making chicken stock. When we make stock we roast a whole chicken and have that for dinner. Then we take all the remaining meat off the carcass and shred it (using the KitchenAid standmixer with the paddle attachment; makes shredded chicken easy peasy). I froze the shredded meat in one cup portions. Finally we made stock with the carcass and vegetables. The frozen chicken portions are handy to have around when we need a quick protein to add to tortellini or couscous. It's also good for paninis!

For the panini
To one cup cooked shredded chicken, add
zest of a lemon
1-2 handful of cranberries
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp stone ground mustard
3 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
   All these measurements are approximate; I did most everything to taste. For example, I originally started with a small handful of cranberries but after mixing them in I decided more cranberries were needed and put in some more! If you're not immediately making the paninis place the chicken mixture back in the fridge.
Meanwhile caramelize one onion.
   I thinly sliced one onion and let it saute in a medium pan until they were caramelized. About half way through I added a splash of white wine vinegar to the pan.
   To assemble the paninis, butter both sides of your bread (I chose to use sourdough bread). Then layer cheese slices, caramelized onions, and the chicken mixture. I had mozzarella slices in the fridge (it was leftover from Patrick making his favorite deep dish pizza recipe recently) but you can use whatever you want.*
   After the panini is assembled, heat it through. If you have a panini maker or George Foreman grill you can use that. We do not have one of these appliances so I improvised with our grill pan. After placing the paninis in the pan I put aluminum foil over them and then another cast iron pan to weigh them down. After a few minutes (should've flipped a little sooner) it's time to flip! They're done when the cheese is melted.

*You can use whatever you want to make paninis which is what makes them so great! The only thing I bought for this was the bread. Then I got creative using pantry items and things in the refrigerator for the panini filling. I was really pleased with the creation!

For the mixed greens salad with beets and goat cheese
I tossed the greens salad in a lemon vinaigrette (about 1 tbsp each of lemon juice, dijon mustard, and honey and 3 tbsp olive oil). After the greens were tossed I placed them in a serving bowl and topped with roasted beets (from our CSA), crumbled goat cheese, and sunflower seeds.

The greens were harvested right from our backyard! For the past few months we've had two boxes out the backdoor growing mixed greens. I do believe that was our last harvest though. This lettuce may have been our most successful backdoor produce venture this year.

Patrick's "Star-Crossed Lovers: Music with Passion" concert featured the following pieces
Suite from “Romeo & Juliet,” Op. 64 — Prokofiev
“Allegretto” from Symphony No. 7 in A-Major, op. 92 — Beethoven
in honor of the 200th anniversary of the symphony's premiere
Symphony No. 2 in D-Major, op. 73 — Brahms

The star of the show!

1 comment:

  1. Whitney, you were very sweet to pick me up at the airport when I visited to attend Patrick’s winter concert. I am delighted to share membership in Patrick’s Music Fan Club with you! The Chicken Paninis and home-grown salad truly made a most delightful lunch.