chicagolovespanini

Going panini and beyond in the Windy City – and loving it!


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Decadent bagel dessert: I’m looking for a caramel sauce recipe!

I made this dessert a few days ago because I had a bit of time to spare and a few cinnamon & raisin bagels in the fridge (I wrote about our love of bagels in the fall here). An acquaintance of ours who lives in Tennessee makes bananas in caramel sauce regularly, and she usually serves this delicious concoction over chocolate ice cream – so yummy :-) I remembered her and decided to use her banana & caramel sauce recipe to bring some sweet joy to our bagels. I also had whipped cream on hand and lots of toasted almonds to serve as a crunchy element. I was thus well-equipped and ready to improvise in the kitchen while waiting for my husband to get back from work. 

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My “almost” BLT panino: Bacon rocks!

I bought some bacon from the grocery store the other day and soon enough was faced with a dilemma: How to best use it? My husband is not a fan of bacon – he leaves for work early every day and finds it very difficult to eat a food as “heavy” as bacon at 4 o’clock in the morning. I was therefore left with quite a few slices of bacon. I ate a couple and then decided to use the bacon in a BLT sandwich or panino, so I went back to the store and bought a poppy seed bread roll and some Gouda cheese. I noticed they had yellow tomatoes on sale and got some of those too. Of course, being pregnant, I totally forgot about the lettuce :-) It was too late to go back though, so I left the lettuce out and only relied on the bacon to deliver that much-needed element of crispiness. Continue reading


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Baking with mom: We made pound cakes – and took another trip down memory lane

I think there’s no better time to bake than during fall and winter. As the days get shorter and the coldness of the new season creeps in, my body needs all the warmth that it can get, and the natural thing for me to do is to start dreaming of delicious sweets coming from the hot oven in my kitchen. This is easier said than done: sometimes, I just lack the inspiration needed to come up with something that would really satisfy my cravings. Most often than not however, I am lucky enough to have “baking accomplices” – such as my mom :-) – who come up with great suggestions and recipes. Continue reading


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Sun-dried tomato cheese: It works great in a sandwich!

I stumbled upon an interesting discovery at the specialty cheese section the other day: sun-dried tomato cheese! I love both cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. However, I have never never tried them together as part of one product, and I was very curious to see how this cheese would taste like.

I am a self-confessed cheeseaholic – as you know, I use cheese in lots of dishes, both sweet and savory, and cheese is a main ingredient in all of my panini. Meanwhile, my use of sun-dried tomatoes in oil has been rather limited so far – I mainly put them on top of homemade pizza, so there’s definitely room for improvement and experimentation in this regard. Continue reading


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Mortadella and pepper jack sandwich… with roasted peppers, of course!

I made this sandwich the other day and we loved it! The combination of mild mortadella and spicy pepper jack worked great, and the sliced cucumber gave the sandwich a nice fresh bite. You know how much I love roasted peppers, so I just *had* to put some in this sandwich. The roasted pepper added a smoky, delicious flavor and a brilliant red color, both of which made the sandwich complete. Continue reading


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CLOSED Fall cooking, simplified and always delicious: A review of the Hamilton Beach Set ‘N Forget slow cooker – and a giveaway!

As I enter the third trimester of my pregnancy, things are getting rather complicated and difficult to handle both at work and at home: my back hurts, leg cramps are “killing” me, I’m not as fast as I used to be, and I get tired easily. Cooking looks more and more like a chore, and I find it difficult to focus. After a busy day at work, I lack the energy to do even the simplest tasks, and lying on the sofa is my idea of bliss. I need all the help I can get, especially when it comes to cooking.

Thankfully, Hamilton Beach have recently contacted me and have given me the chance to test their Set ‘N Forget 6 quart programmable slow cooker. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time! I tested the slow cooker for a good few weeks, and now I’m hooked. :-) Continue reading

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