Aggie's Kitchen

Bread, bread and more bread…

I love bread.  I’m not afraid of loving it either…I love it wholeheartedly, and often.  Now, I do love some breads more and more often than others (healthier whole grain breads are always bonus in my opinion) but I tend not to discriminate and can probably and honestly say that I love all bread in general.  I love bread.

When Panera contacted me recently and asked me to write some posts for them I almost couldn’t contain my happiness. I mean really, who doesn’t love Panera.  The place smells delicious the minute you walk in.  I usually have to muster up the power to skip the sample basket that’s usually set up by the ordering line because once I start sampling it’s kinda hard to stop.  I try to live by the “in moderation” rule, so overdoing it in the sample line kind of messes things up for me.

Last week I wanted to treat one of my dear friends who had just had foot surgery to some lunch.  We planned it for Friday while our kiddies were at school and since she was stuck in her recliner it would be at her house in front of the tv. Sounded great to me. Panera was our choice for lunch that day…we decided to split two different sandwiches and a salad.  What I love about Panera is all the fresh sandwiches, soups and salads they offer, and of course the freshly baked bread.  That little cut of sourdough bread they put on the side is so perfect for dunking in soup or scooping up salad.  I think it’s great that they are listing their calories on the menu board too.  If you are like me and try to be mindful of calorie intake it’s super helpful when planning your meal. (this was not a meal that I looked at or cared about calories 🙂 )

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(Tomato and Mozzarella Hot Panini and Mediterranean Veggie Cafe Sandwich)


I also picked up a freshly baked baguette to take home for the fam (and some cute Valentine cookies).  Let’s just say my car smelled absolutely heavenly on the ride home.

So what did I do with my baguette you want to know?  I made my own veggie panini at home.

The star of the show…


and the final product…


Total deliciousness.

Aggie’s Veggie Panini

Recipe from Aggie’s Kitchen

(printable recipe)

freshly baked baguette, portioned for sandwiches and sliced but not sliced completely through
shredded monterey jack or mozzarella cheese
caramelized onions (see quick recipe below)
fresh spinach leaves
sliced plum tomato
sliced artichoke hearts

Take sandwich bread and open on cutting board for panini building. Spread a light layer of shredded cheese on bread, then top with spinach leaves, artichokes, tomatoes and another layer of cheese. Top with about a tablespoon of caramelized onions and close sandwich. Place into hot greased skillet (I used non stick spray) and carefully top with a panini press or heavy pan (i.e. cast iron skillet with large can of tomatoes). Hold and press gently but firmly until sandwich starts to “set”. Cook for about 3 minutes until bottom of bread gets toasty. Carefully flip and set up panini press again. Cook until cheese is completely melted and bread is toasty.

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Easy Caramelized Onions

2-3 large onions (yellow, red or both), sliced very thin
2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch of dried thyme
salt and pepper

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and season. Cook and stir for about 3-5 minutes until onions start to soften. Once onions start to brown reduce heat down to low and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes until very soft and fragrant. Use as topping to sandwiches, steaks, burgers, pizza or mix with sour cream and mayonnaise for a dip.


Follow Panera on Facebook and Twitter and don’t forget to register for their MyPanera rewards program.

(Disclaimer:  Panera Bread provided me with compensation for writing this post. My opinions, however, are always my own.)

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21 comments on “Bread, bread and more bread…”

  1. There are a few life lessons I like to pass on to my kids, one of them is: it’s ALL about the bread. Meaning, there is a different bread for every recipe/reason. 🙂 These look absolutely delicious and I LOVE your panini press.

  2. Oh my gosh! I’m so jealous!! Paneras bread is OUT of this world good. And their cookies? Don’t even get me started 🙂 Your Veggie Panini looks outrageous. I bet this would convince even the biggest veggie hater to eat up! Hope you’re having a nice weekend 🙂

  3. lovely pannini I had one for lunch got some yum British cheese

  4. I actually do follow Panera on FB! I was there twice last week to get my smoothie. I’m in love with the mango one! I noticed a new salad on the board when I was there too but had already eaten so I bypassed it. Will be trying it soon though!

  5. I’m all about bread too, and also always enjoy Panera – great sammie!

  6. I love Panera Bread and I love their salads. I just had some of their bagels at work last week and they are very good too. I love your makeshift pannini press. Your veggie sandwich looks delicious.

  7. This looks so good! And what a great press — I love using the can of tomatoes!

  8. This is sich a lovely post Aggie. I am now headed into the kitchen.

  9. the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich is hands down my favorite sandwich at Panera!

  10. What a wonderful veg panini! I have been on a sandwich jag of late and this is just one more for the arsenal! Thanks, Aggie!

  11. That veggie panini looks fantastic, Aggie. It’s healthy comfort food – love it!

  12. Oh how I love Panera Bread! And then to turn a great baguette into a delicious panini?! Wow. I need to make this.

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  14. Aggie, thought I would hop over and see what you have been up to lately. LOVE LOVE LOVE the panini sandwiches. Wish I had one for my lunch tomorrow!! hope you are doing well.

  15. Something that simple looks so delicious.

  16. We drive from NYC to Vermont every weekend and Panera is one of the only places I’ll stop with my family to eat. The bread is amazing but as someone who can’t eat wheat I will plug their soups, also very good. Kid-friendly and delicious. I also love caramelized onions and add them to everything, love the addition of thyme.

  17. Panera’s tomato mozzarella panini and macn cheese is one of my all time faves! I also always get one of the baked goodies too 🙂

  18. That sandwich looks amazing. Makes me want to get out the panini press right now!

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