I know I’ve got a bit of holiday burnout because I’m officially serving panini sandwiches for dinner. But before you judge–thanks to my electric grill (how I love you, electric grill) which doubles as a panini press, my panini recipes yield far from ordinary sandwiches. With these four recipes–and a tip on which press to invest in–your simpler dinners at home can be pretty extraordinary too.

First, check out the clever Lasagna Grilled Cheese Panini Recipe (above) from Joy the Baker. Now, get the simple ingredients and prepare to have a new weeknight dinner staple. This one’s a keeper for the whole family, for sure.


California BLT Panini on Cool Mom Picks

Maybe I’m California dreaming because it’s winter in NYC, but I don’t think that I’m the only one who will find this California BLT Panini recipe from Patty Nguyen outrageously tasty. Packed with chipotle mayo, cheddar, guac, bacon, and tomato, this is clearly a slam-dunk dinner.

Chicken Cordon Bleu and Apple Panini on Cool Mom Picks

If you made chicken last night, there’s no need to cook again tonight. Cheri wrote about two-for-one meals over on Simple Bites and tells us how she turned Chicken Cordon Bleu leftovers into Chicken Cordon Bleu and Apple Panini. Follow her plan, or go rogue and pair your leftover chicken with whatever is in your fridge. Either way, you’ll learn from her clever methodology.


Turkey, Broccoli and Cheddar Panini on Cool Mom Picks

I can’t get enough of this Turkey, Broccoli and Cheddar Panini Recipe from Shutterbean. I recently suggested cutting it into small pieces to serve as a balanced, kid-friendly party appetizer (provided yours will eat turkey, broccoli, and cheddar), but it also makes a quick, nutritious dinner. It’s also easy to make this deliciously vegetarian by swapping out the turkey.

If you don’t yet have a panini press, I’m often asked which I like best and, I have to say, I’m loving my new T-Fal OptiGrill, which makes a mean panini and also has sensors that help cook meat, from steaks to fish, perfectly. Seriously. This thing is quick and easy to clean. A real busy parents’ lifesaver.

The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook on Cool Mom Picks

While we’re at it: The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs, queen of the panini and the woman behind the panini blog Panini Happy, is a terrific source of inspiration–or could make a great gift paired with a new grill.

And, of course, you can always make grilled sandwiches the old fashioned way: no recipe, in a pan over the stove. Either way, it’s nice to have some more options to get dinner done in a snap.