Food & Drink

Kathy's red, white and green panini

Kathy's red, white and green panini

FOR panini:

Cooking spray

1 16-ounce loaf unsliced ciabatta or Italian bread

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lighter pesto (recipe follows)

1/2 cup reduced-fat finely shredded Italian cheese blend

4 ounces turkey salami

4 ounces thinly sliced extra-lean ham

2 cups fresh spinach or green leaf lettuce

For red onion relish:

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4 sandwiches.

First, make relish: Combine onion slices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Cover and let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours. Drain.

Next, make pesto. (Directions are below pesto recipe.)

To make panini: Cut bread in half horizontally. Lightly coat the outside of loaf with cooking spray. Place bottom half of loaf on a piece of waxed paper. Scrape out the inside of the top half of bread until only the crust remains. Set top crust aside. (You can save the scraped-out bread to make homemade croutons if you like.) In a small bowl, mix light mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of lighter pesto. Preheat an electric sandwich press, grill pan or 12-inch skillet to medium heat. Spread mayonnaise mixture on the bottom half of bread. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the mayo mixture. Layer with meats, Red Onion Relish, spinach or lettuce, and remaining cheese. Place the layer of bread crust on top. Cut into four sandwiches. Place sandwiches in press, grill pan or skillet. Cover and cook for about three minutes or until bread is toasted. (If using a grill pan or skillet, weight sandwiches down with a heavy skillet or a pie plate with a can of vegetables on top.) Turn sandwiches over, weight down if needed and grill the other side until toasted. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per sandwich: 468 calories, 19 fat grams, 1137 mg sodium, 60 carb grams, 3 fiber grams, 19 protein grams, 49 mg cholesterol

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