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Fast & Easy Dinner: Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil Panini

Fast & Easy Dinner: Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil Panini

I like to use basil, summer's most luscious and fragrant herb, as I would a salad green. In sandwiches, I substitute it for lettuce for a delicious, yet distinct flavor. Tonight I propose to use it in a melted, gooey panini: a warm, pressed sandwich. Ready in minutes, this light, simple dinner is scrumptious when paired with a crisp pickle and chilled glass of Rose. The recipe calls for healthy pre-sliced packaged ham, but I'm going to splurge on some thinly sliced Italian prosciutto. You know you're drooling over the picture at left, so look at the recipe and make it tonight, just

Mozzarella, Ham, and Basil Panini
From Cooking Light magazine

1 (16-ounce) loaf ciabatta, cut in half horizontally
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
12 basil leaves
8 ounces sliced 33%-less-sodium cooked deli ham (such as Healthy Choice)
2 sweetened hot cherry peppers, sliced
1 large plum tomato, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

  1. Brush cut side of the bottom bread half with mustard; brush cut side of top half with vinegar.
  2. Top bottom half with mozzarella, basil, ham, peppers, and tomato. Top with remaining bread half.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add sandwich to pan; top with another heavy skillet. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden.
  5. Cut sandwich into 6 wedges.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information: CALORIES 371(30% from fat); FAT 12.5g (sat 6.1g,mono 5g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 20.2g; CHOLESTEROL 46mg; CALCIUM 220mg; SODIUM 976mg; FIBER 1.8g; IRON 3mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.9g

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