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« Roasted Cranberry Chutney | Main | Thanksgiving Prep: Making Place Cards »

Sandwich for Dinner

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

After Halloween, the excitement begins, as I anticipate the upcoming holidays and all the cooking and baking ahead, from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

I start planning my menus, making grocery lists and thinking about table centerpieces. I also plan on quick meals for those days when holiday preparations make everyday cooking a distraction.

I asked Dave recently what he makes for his family for dinner when he’s busy juggling work life and activities surrounding two young children. His go-to supper turns out to be flatbread panini sandwiches.

When they were growing up, I never made Dave and his brother sandwiches for dinner—we always had a regular hot meal. But I do see the attraction.

If you’re making sandwiches for dinner, it’s good to serve a hot soup alongside—especially on chilly evenings. You can reheat a can or carton, but my version of Stone Soup is easy and it cooks in 25 minutes. This soup also uses up the dribs and drabs from your produce drawer to keep the fridge tidy.

Fig and Arugula Panini
2 naan breads
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
About 3 tablespoons roughly chopped dried figs (I used Calimyrna figs)
½ cup arugula

Put 1 bread on a work surface, flat side up. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, followed by figs and then arugula, leaving a half-inch margin along the edges so filling doesn’t seep out when grilling. Top with second bread, flat side down. Preheat panini press and grill until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Makes 1 dinner-size sandwich


  • If you don’t have a panini press, use two heavy skillets. Heat the larger skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Butter the outsides of the sandwich. Put sandwich on the heated skillet and put the smaller skillet on top of the sandwich to press it down. Cook on one side until the bottom is golden. Flip sandwich, weight with the smaller skillet again, and cook the second side until golden.
  • Instead of shredding the cheese, you can slice it—it’s faster and saves on washing a cheese grater; however, I like to shred for more even cheese distribution.

Here are some other combinations for panini to try:

  • Turkey, drained sun-dried tomato strips in olive oil, and Swiss cheese
  • Roasted red pepper, sweet onion, pepper Jack cheese, and pesto
  • Ham, Gruyère cheese, and Dijon mustard
  • Mortadella, serrano ham, goat cheese, and olive tapenade
  • Turkey, cranberry sauce, and brie
  • Chicken, hummus, feta, and red onion

Special Fork has featured many sandwich-for-dinner ideas through the years. In Friday’s Special Fork Week in Review e-newsletter, we’ll highlight some of our favorites.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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