10 Unexpected Things to Make in a Panini Press

A sandwich is hardly the only food that benefits from time spent between two hot grill plates: the merits of this gadget go way beyond melty cheese. 

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Your New Favorite Appliance

From leftovers to roast chicken, here are ten ways the panini press earns its counter space in the kitchen.

 

From Food Network Kitchen

Perfectly Reheated Pizza

Say goodbye to the days of soggy reheated pizza (unless you're into that). Fold your slice in half and cook until the cheese starts oozing out, which will happen before your oven has a chance to preheat. Behold: the pizzanini.

Born-Again Fries

No more need to throw away sad and starchy leftover fries; they crisp up wonderfully after a few minutes in a panini press.

Two-Minute Bacon

Panini press + bacon + two minutes = deliciously crisp bacon without the dishes or mess. Don't clean up just yet — some of our next suggestions would be delicious cooked in the rendered fat.

Hash Browns for a Crowd

For your next weekend brunch, stir some melted butter, salt and pepper into shredded hash browns, then cook until uniformly crisp and golden brown on both sides.

Updated Wedge Salad

Grilling lettuce brings out its sweetness and makes for a more comforting salad. Split romaine hearts lengthwise, brush with olive oil and cook until the leaves are charred and a bit wilted. Top with a lemony vinaigrette, a creamy blue cheese dressing or even that crisp bacon you so wisely cooked before.

Roast Chicken, Anytime

Turn your press to the highest setting. Cut out the backbone of a Cornish game hen with sharp kitchen shears and open it up so it lies flat. Pat it dry, season and cook while you marvel at the wonders of modern technology.

Flatbread in a Flash

No pizza stone, no worries. Roll out some store-bought or homemade pizza dough to the size of your panini press and cook on the highest setting until the grill marks are golden brown. Finish with a brush of garlic oil, some shaved Parmesan and a handful of fresh arugula, or a combination of your favorite toppings.

Grilled Fruit

The intensified, caramelized flavor of grilled fruit goes great with yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal and grilled meats — and even inside future panini. Stone fruit would be delicious in the summer, while pineapple and persimmon are tasty alternatives in cooler months.

Kebab-ed Anything

Go wild — whatever you choose to put on your skewer, its cook time will be cut in half by the panini press' magical double plates. Try a combination of ham and pineapple, or pair shrimp with cubes of polenta.

Indoor Corn-on-the-Cob

Rotate the corn once or twice during cooking so all sides get some color, then top with melted butter or some mayo, chili powder and a squeeze of lime.

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