Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Replicating a Panera Fave at Home - Sort of

Mindy here and I love Panera Bread. However, until recently, there wasn't one near me. Now that there is, though, I get to visit regularly and one of my favorite things on the menu is their Frontega Chicken Panini. Smoked chicken, mozzarella, tomato, basil and chipotle mayo on grilled focaccia. Delicious!

So one day while I was contemplating what to fix hubby and I for lunch, I spotted this is the fridge.
Smoked chicken breast. 
That's when it struck me. I could duplicate that delicious Panera sandwich at home. After all, I had most all of the ingredients, plus a few extras to make it my own.
Best of all, I could do it on a Joseph's pita and keep it low-carb.

I sliced up my chicken, grabbed the mozzarella, tomatoes, chipotle mayo and an avocado (my addition).

Now for the assembly.
I laid some mozzarella on one half of the pita, then topped that with some chicken.
Added the chipotle mayo, which is quickly becoming a fave in the Obi household.
(Sorry, I got so excited that I couldn't hold the camera still)

Now for some tomato, avocado and more mozzarella. Notice I used cheese on the top and bottom. Just think of it as glue.

Fold the top half over the filling and place in a skillet over medium heat until the cheese is melted, flipping halfway through. At least this is what I did the first two times I made this. Then, in a rare moment of inspiration--which is kind of like a V8 moment that makes you smack your forehead--I realized that I could use my George Foreman grill and do both sides at once.
With the grill on medium-low heat, close the lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted.
As I bit into this one a short time later, I realized that something was missing. It didn't taste the same as what I'd made before. Why? Because I forgot the bacon!

Seriously? How can anyone forget bacon? 
And while it was one of my own additions, crisp bacon was a perfect match for these ingredients. But  I guess I'll have to wait until next time. And with some chicken still left, that might just be tomorrow.

 Now it's your turn. 
What's your favorite Panera dish? If you don't have a Panera, tell me about one of your favorite places to eat.


  1. Looks amazing! I think I've had that at Panera. :)

    1. If. It, you should try it, Missy. So good.

  2. Mindy, this looks marvelous... and I have a Panini press that would work great! #awesome!!!!!

    1. Ruthy, since realizing that I could use my George Foreman as a Panini press, I'm doing it all the time. Had a fantastic Philly Cheesesteak version last week that was totally tasty and uber low-carb. Can't think of a better way to use leftovers.

  3. I am so excited! We are getting a Panera's!!!!

    Okay, I know. They haven't even broken ground for the building yet. But it is coming!

    I love their soups and sandwiches, and your recipe today might just help me wait until they open their doors.

    And my cast iron stove top grill would work wonderfully for this...if my future son-in-law ever returns it. He borrowed it one day and fell in love. I think I know what to get him for a housewarming gift for their new apartment. ;)

    1. Yay for Panera!! Woot, woot! Glad I can help sustain you on the meantime, Jan. ;)

  4. Panera! Heaven! Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Breadbowl.

    1. Tina, just about anything in a bread bowl would be delish. But broccoli cheddar is hard to top, especially on a cold winter day. Like you get those in AZ. :D

  5. Ah Panera. They finally arrived in NYC, but alas are nowhere near me. Once in a while though. I agree about the broccoli cheddar soup. Yum.

    We seem to be on a kick of duplicating restaurant foods.