I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen with taking one kind of food and applying it to a different cuisine’s preparation method. Recently, I took south-of-the-border flavors and put them on a pizza. The mix-up was so delicious, I tried it again! My idea was to take the elements of fajitas- chicken, peppers, onions, cheese, guacamole- and grill them up in a sandwich. These chicken fajita panini are incredible.
In Italy, a panino is basically a pressed hot sandwich. We have a panini-maker at home and have made some pretty amazing grilled sammies with it. (Remember the panini duel?) To start, I basically made a batch of chicken fajitas. I sliced some onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno lengthwise, then I cut two chicken breasts in thin strips.
In my big cast iron skillet, I sautéed the chicken in a little bit of olive oil until it was just done and removed it from the pan. I added the peppers, and onion and sautéed them until they were just tender. I added some chopped garlic and returned the chicken to the party. Next came some classic fajita seasoning, which I purchased pre-made (you could easily make your own with spices you likely have in the pantry). A splash of water, a squeeze of lime, and a few more minutes on the stove- fajitas are done!
Normally, you’d take a tortilla and scoop some fajita mixture into it. You might top it with guacamole or cheese before diving in. But this is where we go Italian. I sliced up some good bread and warmed up the panini press. I shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese and opened some locally made guacamole. Let’s make a panino!
On one half of the sandwich bread, I smeared some guacamole. Then I sprinkled plenty of cheese on both halves. I added a generous scoop of fajita mixture on one half and put them together and onto the press. (If you don’t have a panini press, you could use a grill pan or a skillet and just flip the sandwiches.) Even before they’re grilled, they look fantastic!
While the sandwiches got melty and toasty, I put together some Mexican rice with cheese and garden tomatoes. The panini came off of the press with beautiful grill marks, crispy on the outside and gooey and hot on the inside. I kind of love when the insides ooze out. Let’s eat!
Fajitas should ALWAYS go in a panino. They were scrumptious! Each bite had a crunch to it, with melted cheese and spicy chicken. The guacamole provided another creamy texture. It was a little bit like a Mexican grilled cheese sandwich with a lot of extra stuff in it.
These chicken fajita panini were another successful cuisine mix-up. I wonder what we’ll come up with next…?
Chicken Fajita Panini
- Two chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 2 small bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
- Half of a red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large jalapeno, sliced lengthwise
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Packet of fajita seasoning
- 1 lime
- Good bread sliced in semi-thick pieces
- Shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheeses
In a skillet, heat a couple of swirls of olive oil and sauté the chicken. When it’s just cooked through, remove it and set aside. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic to the pan and sauté until just tender. Return the chicken to the pan. Add fajita seasoning, a splash of water, and the juice of half of a lime. Stir well and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Lay out slices of bread side by side. Spread one half with guacamole. Sprinkle cheese on both halves. Scoop some fajita mixture on one half and put the halves together. Grill on a panini press until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted. Eat with Mexican rice, but no need for tortillas. Yum!
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.