Man, it has been a crazy couple weeks here at my house. The boy turned four, so we had his birthday party, my brother came to visit for the weekend for that, and somewhere in the middle of all of that we decided to buy a new house, so we've been busy pouring over real estate listings online and going out to look at houses with our realtor. We put an offer on one, and the seller accepted it, now we're just waiting on the bank to approve it since it's a short sale. What a long, drawn out process!! Blogging hasn't been very high on my to do list lately, and when I've been menu planning I've been sticking with things I've made before and not really branching out at all. This week, though, I have mostly new things planned, and I'm hoping to get back to posting on a regular basis.
I think it was last Monday I was over at my mom's. Yeah, because my brother was still here visiting. She had recently come home from a trip to California, and on her way home bought 25 avocados for $5. She generously shared the wealth with me and sent me home with a huge bag of avocados. Want to know something interesting? I used to hate avocados. When I was pregnant with the boy there was one on a veggie sandwich I got for lunch one day and the texture of it almost made me puke. But after he was born, I loved them!! Who can explain it. Anyway, some of them were already pretty ripe, so I wanted to use them up quick. We had been saying recently that we hadn't had paninis for dinner in awhile, so I swung by the store on the way home from my mom's and picked up some ciabatta rolls. Other than that I had no ideas. I'm pretty pleased with the recipe I came up with--we really liked these sandwiches!!
Claire's Ranch Chicken Paninis
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut in half
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
4 slices cheese of your choice (I used provolone)
2 tomatoes, sliced
Ranch dressing (I made The Pioneer Woman's Ranch Dressing because I cannot find any store bought ranch dressing that does not contain MSG)
4 ciabatta rolls (or panini bread of your choice)
Using grill or grill pan, cook chicken breasts until done. Slice rolls in half. Spread each half with ranch dressing (be pretty liberal with it). Place chicken breasts on bottom half of roll, top with avocado and tomato, finish with cheese (so it holds everything together). Place top half of roll on rest of sandwich. Throw them on your panini grill (or press, whatever) until cheese is melted.
Mmmmmm...these were so good!! I was wishing I had some bacon to fry up and add to them. It all came together pretty fast, too, especially with having pounded the chicken out so it was thinner.
I have to say that PW's ranch dressing was AWESOME. FANTASTIC. MAGICAL. WONDERFUL. The boy likes ranch dressing on his salads, and we were almost out of the bottle we had on hand. I was reading ingredient lists on all the different brands at the grocery store--seriously, ALL the brands--and every single one had MSG as one of the ingredients. I couldn't believe it. I knew the packets of the dry mix had it as an ingredient, but I hadn't ever checked the bottled stuff before, which is weird in itself because I always read ingredients before buying something. Anyway, I remembered reading PW's recipe when she first posted it, so I quickly pulled it up on my phone when we got to the store so I could get the necessary ingredients. Turned out all I needed were chives, so that was easy. And I have to tell you that this was the best ranch dressing I have ever had!! It was super easy to put together, too, and I love knowing what goes into it and not having a bunch of crazy weird things in it that I can't even pronounce. I'm trying to do away with bottled salad dressings in general, and this is a great step in that direction as ranch was really the last dressing hold out.
Sorry the picture is lacking in quality, I had to resort to taking it with my phone.