March Madness has arrived. And with it comes the rise in Eric’s blood pressure. My goodness. Yesterday’s games were a little much, even for me. I’m generally not a huge basketball fan, especially since my favorite UK player (Perry!) graduated last year. But Eric convinced me that I should make a bracket this year, so now I care about basketball. My method for choosing the winning teams was very scientific. If I could sing a song involving the team name, they made it onto the next round. Examples: “All my exes live in Texas” and “Walking in Memphis.” Sometimes teams made it to the next round if they had a fun mascot (Temple Owls) or if I knew of a celebrity from that city (Nelly is from St. Louis). And sometimes I just picked by the team colors (never go with orange, unless it’s Auburn).
I had Louisville going to the final four (violating my rule of never choosing a team with black and red uniforms), but with their loss to Morehead, my bracket is pretty much destroyed. It looks like Eric will be winning our house bracket competition. But we both have UK winning the whole thing, so we’ll see what happens.
In other news, I decided to make paninis for dinner. Although it was quite warm outside (70 degrees!), our apartment was still pretty chilly, so a warm meal sounded perfect. I love paninis. My favorite panini in the whole world is Panera’s chicken frontega variety. I’ve tried replicating it at home, but it was an epic failure. I guess I’ll continue to shell out the $7 for the real deal.
But this panini was an experiment not at all related to a Panera panini (I don’t think). Luckily, it was super tasty and wonderful and took our minds off the mess that is March Madness. If you’re wondering why the paninis in the photos have big bites taken out of them, you should know that Eric and I both started eating, and when I realized how good the paninis were, I said, “Stop! I have to take a picture!” You’re welcome.
I apologize that there are no real measurements in this recipe, but it’s all pretty dependent on your tastes and the size of your bread! Oh, and we used a panini maker for this, but I’m sure you could make it in a pan like a grilled cheese if you’re lacking the equipment.
Veggie Pesto Panini
4 slices whole wheat bread
pesto (I used the ready made variety)
shredded mozzarella cheese
green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
plum tomato, cut in super thin slices
cooked chicken, in small pieces (totally optional, but we happened to have some in the fridge that we needed to use)
Preheat the panini maker (we have a Cuisinart Griddler, and it’s awesome!).
Spread pesto on one side of each slice of bread.
Using one slice from each sandwich, top the pesto with shredded mozzarella. Top the mozzarella with green and red bell pepper strips, and tomato slices. Add chicken. Top with more mozzarella and the other slice of bread.
Grill on the panini press until cheese is melted.
I apologize that I didn’t take step-by-step photos, but I wasn’t sure how this panini would turn out. We didn’t use all of our bell peppers (apparently I bought the largest red bell pepper in the whole world), so I used the leftover veggies in our scrambled eggs this morning! And after that, we still have leftover peppers, so if anyone has suggestions for what I can do with them before they go bad, please share!
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