I mentioned many moons ago that my office holds "Iron Chef Competitions" monthly at work. We've done pineapple, cheese, basil, honey, berries…and a dessert has won every.single.time. Yup, a marscapone tart won during the cheese round, a pineapple upside down cake destroyed pineapple the competition, caprese cupcakes dominated the basil challenge. As I've said before, I'm a pretty sorry excuse for a baker so it has been a rough road! :)
So this month the competition was SANDWICHES - less of an ingredient, more of a dish, but hey, I'll take it. I decided to make these BBQ chicken paninis because I figured no one can deny toasty buttery bread and melty cheese. I forgot to pull out my camera until about halfway through the assembly process, so a picture of TGB will more than make up for the first couple of food photos!!
1/2 red onion
3 chicken breasts (I wanted to get a rotisserie chicken from Teeter but they were all sold out at 10 PM on a Monday night, who knew?)
Your favorite bbq sauce
Any pre-sliced bread from the bakery section of the grocery store (I grabbed a jalapeno cheddar loaf )
Butter for the bread, if you're so inclined
NOTE- for crockpot, add chicken thighs (thighs are way better in crockpot than breasts. would you rather eat 10 more calories or eat dry chicken breast. thank you), 1 cup bbq sauce and sliced red onion to crockpot. cook on low for 6 hours and shred then continue with rest of recipe as normal!
While the chicken is a-bakin, cut up the red onion and cook slowly in a pan with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkle of garlic powder, salt, and pepper until caramelized (about 20 minutes).
Melt a tbsp or 2 of butter in the micro and spread over each slice of bread. Assemble the soon-to-be panini by adding the shredded chicken, a little extra sauce, onions, and the sliced mozz. Top with a slice of buttered bread and get ready for some magic.
Three ordinary sandwiches awaiting greatness
Melt, melt!!!!! At this point I think I was dancing around my kitchen in anticipation.
That's what I'm talkin about
Finished product, and my first iron chef win! Victory is mine!!!
If you don't have a panini press you could also make these grilled-cheese style in a frying pan - I'm pretty sure there is no way to mess it up!