I am proud to announce that I have cracked the code! The other night Eric and I had a craving for paninis, but all we had was frozen Costco chicken, a can of peeled tomatoes, shredded taco cheese, a lonely onion, and a bag of spinach. Just your regular fridge full of bleh food. But enough bleh food to potentially be able to render out some form of awesome paninis.
So, taking a note out of Alton Brown's book, I thawed the chicken just under one hour by letting lukewarm water trickle into the Tupperware of water with the frozen chicken. I guess the transfer of heat energy in then out of the water speeds up the thawing process? I don't know.
Anyway, after that I "brined," the chicken in salt water with Italian seasonings, dried onion, garlic, pepper and a bit of brown sugar for sweetness. The salt helps the Chicken open up its little pores and drink in the yummy flavors.
I let that brine while I sauteed the canned taste out of the tomatoes and caramelized the onions. I like my onions just barely caramelized, where they're still crunchy, you know?
Then I took the chicken out and plopped it onto our new Calphalon griddle. (aka my new favorite thing) I covered the top of them with more dried onions, waited until it was time to flip them and then sprinkled the other side with them too. I love how crunchy, sticky and sweet the crust from dried onions can be.
Then I put the bread on the grill with a little bit of oil and garlic salt, sprinkled the cheese over the bread, laid on the chicken (now golden brown and sliced) and smushed another piece of bread on top. We don't have a panini smusher, which is a bummer, so I did all the smushing with my spatula and grilled the sandwiches on both sides.
The Sandwiches turned out to be AMAZING! :)
Eric couldn't eat his fast enough. Hooray for first time panini success!!
After 2 years of dating