Spiced Chicken and Mozzarella Panino

ChickenNearly six months ago, a wonderful appliance was added to our kitchen, the panini maker. The panino is an Italian sandwich which is commonly filled with meat, cheese, or other food, and typically served hot. Since the panini maker has been in our house, we attempt to enjoy paninis at least once a week, basically because they are so easy to make and take a very short time to cook. Some of our favorites are ham and swiss cheese, turkey and gouda cheese, ham, egg, and cheese, and now the spiced chicken and fresh mozzarella.

I started by pounding by butterflying two chicken breasts and pounding them slightly . I then seasoned them well with fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, basil, and olive oil. Once the breasts are done marinating, I threw them on the grill. While the chicken was nearing completion, I placed a slab of fresh mozzarella cheese onto each breast and let it warm through for a few minutes, then removed them from the grill.

PaninoI plugged in the panini maker and waited for the warming process, which only takes 4-5 minutes. During this time, I took out some rustic Italian bread (the bread is extremely important) from the freezer. I use a brand called Turano which appears to be local to the Midwest. Laying down a medium sized piece of bread on the maker, I then added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese to that, then the chicken breast, then another piece of bread. Slowly close the panini maker and apply some pressure. I hold it down for a minute or so, then began to make a fresh tomato, cucumber, and mozzarella salad with olive oil. Once the sandwich had some nice grill marks, I took it off and plated.

I hope you enjoy this sandwich as must as we did!

Pancit Bihon

Another simple dish that is easy to make is Pancit Bihon. This is another recipe my wife shared with me, and I have tweaked to make it my own.

Pancit Bihon Recipe

Pancit is very thin rice noodles. You can make them with meat and vegetables. My recipe includes the following:

  • 1 bag of Pancit Bihon
  • Olive or canola oil
  • 2 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 celery, chopped the same size as carrots
  • 1 onion, chopped the same
  • Cooked chicken, shredded, chopped
  • Shrimp, shell or no shell (optional)
  • Salt, Black pepper

Soak the noodles in warm/hot water for nearly 30 minutes. This process softens the noodles. Be mindful that over heating these noodles will kill the dish.

Chop your vegetables and get them ready as this is a pretty fast process. Lightly oil a large wok or cooking dish. Add your vegetables and sauté for 8-10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chicken and shrimp (optional) and mix. Salt and pepper the mixture. Drain your noodles, however reserve a half cup of the water. Add the noodles to the mix and with a couple of large spoons, toss and turn to mix everything together. Add about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, and keep mixing. Add more pepper to your liking.

Taste and add more soy sauce, salt or pepper, if needed. Serve immediately. This dish is really good as a leftover as well.

Filipino Barbecue

I will be the first to admit that when my wife made this for me, it was wonderful. Anyone who knows me knows that I will do my own little twist to a recipe, enhance it, if you will. This recipe stems from my wife’s upbringing. In her house, barbecue is the dish. It was not chicken, ribs, or anything else you might expect as barbecue. When they talk barbecue, it means meat on a stick, and it is something amazing.

Filipino Barbecue Recipe

This recipe is way too simple, and it is awesome served with beer, rice, papaya salad, potato salad, or great on its own.

  • Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt (need a little fat), thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Wooden skewers (soaked for one hour or more)

Keep in my that this meat will end up on bamboo skewers so you will not want chunks of meat, and you will want thin slices of meat, possibly a 1/4 inch thick. Depending on the amount of pork and barbecue you are making, this process can take some time. Once you are done slicing, add the garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, pepper, and green onions to a large bowl, and whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add in your pork, and toss to make sure all of the meat is coated.

I use a zip lock bag for this next step because I typically marinate the meat for 12-24 hours.
Add the meat to the bag and place in the refrigerator.

Once you are ready, sew them onto the skewers, about three slices per skewer. Heat  your grill, and cook the pork. You know when the sugars start to melt into the meat, become one, and look heavenly.

Keep in mind that these will go fast and trust me, you and your family are just going to love them. Enjoy.