My son Joshua loves to eat. He is always rooting around for something in the fridge or pantry. He particularly loves sandwiches. Turkey, ham, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, he loves them all! He also loves bacon, like his Daddy, and often asks me to make it. So I decided to make Joshua a dinner that would blend his love of sandwiches and bacon and thus, the chicken bacon ranch panini was born.
Don’t you just want to squeeze his cheeks? Joshua’s cheeks that is, not the rabbit’s. I just love this kid to pieces!
The paninis were fairly simple to make and most ingredients you should have on hand. Let me show you how I made them:
I started with a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a meat tenderizer.
I used the mallet to tenderize the chicken. Tenderizers allow you to soften the fibers of the meat, making it easier to chew. It also flattens the chicken so that it cooks evenly in the pan and fits nicely inside a sandwich. Here’s a link similar to the meat tenderizer I use.
Then I added a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
I grabbed my iron skillet and poured in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I chose to use my skillet for this task because it is big enough for all the chicken, gives the chicken that extra “seasoned” flavor, and cooks the meat evenly. Iron skillets distribute heat better than other metals, resulting in an evenly cooked chicken breast.
The chicken cooked for about 3-5 minutes on each side.
I flipped them when the edges started to brown.
Once nicely browned and with an internal temperature of 160 degrees, I pulled the chicken out and let it rest on the counter a bit.
An essential part of this recipe is the bacon, so don’t forget to make that! I suggest using my oven cooked bacon technique while the chicken is cooking on the stove. Ciabatta buns make the best paninis, so I sliced a few in half and began to assemble the sandwiches. I spread regular ranch dressing on one side and dijon mustard on the other.
I put two strips of bacon on the bottom and then the chicken breast.
Then I slapped on a slice of mozzarella cheese and the top bun.
Before hitting the panini maker, I sprayed both sides of the sandwich with cooking spray so it wouldn’t burn. Then I let the panini maker do it’s job, carefully watching for the cheese to melt. If you don’t have a panini maker, no problem! Set your sandwich in a regular fry pan and use the bottom of another fry pan to press down on the top. Do the same thing to the other side when it begins to brown. You won’t get the grill marks, but your panini will still be nice and toasty and that’s all that matters!
And there you have it, Joshua’s dream come true! He gobbled this down and was full for atleast an hour. Seriously, between him and his brother, I can barely keep food in this house! But I guess that’s what growing 6 inches in a year will do to ya!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Paninis
- 5 Ciabatta buns
- 10 pieces of bacon
- 5 grilled chicken breasts
- 5 slices of mozzarella cheese
- Ranch dressing
- Dijon mustard
- Cook bacon strips
- Grill chicken breasts
- Cut ciabatta buns in half
- Layer one side of bun with ranch, other side with mustard
- Assemble sandwiches: bacon, chicken, cheese, bun
- Spray outside of buns with cooking spray
- Grill sandwiches in a panini maker until cheese is melted.