This Lent I decided to do something that I have never done before…give up meat. Just me, not the whole family. I felt like that would be too drastic, especially for my kids. Although we probably consume less meat than the usual family with our meatless Mondays and all, they are still used to eating it.
Anyways, the first week was not too challenging, but I am starting to miss my usual turkey and spinach on whole wheat bread at lunchtime. Mostly out of convenience. Not eating meat has forced me to think a little bit more out of the box. I have to be more creative about my mealtime options. More than just opening up the usual can of black beans. And that typically involves more time.
So, I find myself constantly planning ahead about what I am going to make to be sure I have quick vegetarian options. I’ve stocked up on bags of dry beans to cook in order to avoid the sodium that is present in canned beans. I’ve also been buying more squash and zucchini, which are wonderful sauteed and eaten on crusty bread or on top of a spinach salad. I roasted some red peppers and – thanks to many of you for your suggestions – have been enjoying those immensely. If you’ve never tried them on a sandwich, they are to die for! And, I’ve been eating soup aplenty.
That rather lengthy explanation leads me to today’s post: Pear Panini Sandwiches. This is an adaptation of an original Giada de Laurentiis recipe – she uses a different cheese with a really fancy name. I used brie because that was what I had. And trust me, it was marvelous!
1 square panini bread, sliced in half
1 pear (I used Bartlett), peeled, cored and sliced
1 – 2 tablespoons brie cheese
2 teaspoons honey
handful of spinach
Warm up the panini bread any way you like – on a panini press (our waffle maker turns into one!) or in a skillet with a little cooking spray. Heat panini until both slices are golden and crisp. You want it to be nice and crunchy. Remove and place on plate.
Spread bottom slice with brie cheese. Place slices of pear on top of the brie. Drizzle pear with honey. Layer on spinach leaves. Press remaining panini slice on top of sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy!