Saturday, December 1, 2012

Toasted Chicken Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches

You certainly don't have to bring the same old boring cold sandwich to work everyday... nor do you have to go out for lunch to have something awesome.  This chicken pesto flat-bread will bring a bit of gourmet to your desk when that plain ham and turkey has been leaving you with the Winter blahs.   

Prep ahead!
Speaking of eating out, I notice an almost immediate difference in the scale when I start grabbing lunch "out there" in town rather than bringing my own.  For one thing, the portions are a lot bigger than I would pack for myself.  Secondly, I'm sure they put some secret ingredient in there that makes you fat - extra butter, extra fat, extra something that gets you addicted to the toasted flat breads at Tropical Smoothie Cafe..... oh wait.  I'm telling on myself.  And thirdly, it gets expensive really fast!

My toasted chicken pesto flat bread sandwich is a snap to put together from convenience items.  It's just as fast as putting together a PBandJ, so it won't leave you late for work in the morning.  Alternatively, you could just bring the cut up components in small snack baggies straight from the fridge and throw them together at lunchtime. Then, rather than grilling it, you could pop it right into the microwave to warm it all up and melt the mozzarella.  Seriously, are there really many things that I love more than melted mozzarella?!

Packaged up for a great lunch!
  • Pita bread (or your favorite type of flat bread) 
  • Jarred basil pesto
  • Fresh mozzarella, cut into slices
  • Roma tomato, cut into thin slices
  • Italian Style, fully cooked grilled chicken breast, cut into slices

Prep all of your ingredients and bag them separately for a quick make-ahead lunch or dinner.

Slice your roma tomatoes
Slice your chicken.  This product is SO convenient... not to mention juicy and very well seasoned.

Yum.  Jarred basil pesto. 

Fresh mozzarella.  Throw a few slices in a baggie for an assemble-at-work sandwich.

Convenient.  Tasty.  And pretty healthy, too!

HOT grill pan.  Notice, I am adding NO OIL to this.  Just heat.  You won't miss the extra fat.

Spread some of that lovely basil pesto on the bread.
 Try to keep all of your toppings on half, although the pesto would be fine spread all over.

Add mozzarella slices

Add the slices of fresh roma tomatoes

Add the cooked, seasoned chicken breast strips.

Fold in half over the filling

Press the HOT panini press on the top half.  Careful.  It's hot!

You can see the heat/steam rising up.  The filling is getting all hot and melty. 

The grill marks on the top show you that the top part has been toasted as well.

Mmmm.... look at all that goodness.

And here we have it!  Doesn't this look like a delicious lunch?

I wrapped mine in waxed paper, then aluminum foil to eat it.  The foil helped hold the heat in. The waxed paper helped to hold in the drips... it was SO juicy!

You can see the basil pesto has sort of liquified under the heat.

And the mozzarella is SOoooo melty.

Definitely not bad for less than 10 minutes work of work, huh? 

In the case that you having this as a dinner-for-one (or two), all you need is a nice glass of wine.  It's like having your own Italian bistro in the comfort of your own home. 
Tell me this doesn't look SO awesome!  The chicken is so juicy.  The bread just the perfect amount of crunch.  Fresh tomatoes, melted mozzarella.  Huge flavor from the basil pesto!

Written Directions
To a hot grill pan, add the flat bread.  Spread on a spoonful of basil pesto.  Add sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and sliced chicken.  Fold the flat bread in half and grill under pressure. That's it folks!  If you have a panini maker, by all means, throw it in there.  I used my grill pan and a manual panini press.  I put my panini press on another burner over the fire, so when I added it to the top of the flat bread, it effectively "grilled" the top without me ever needing to flip it.  That's a time saver, as well - cook both sides at once!

Can you use a regular pan?  Of course.  Don't have a press?  You can use another heavy pan on top or even a brick covered in aluminum foil.  Don't sweat it. 

In my opinion, there are times when it's lovely to make things from scratch - all the way.  Other times, it is perfectly fine to make use of convenience items.   If it means getting a home-prepared meal into the people you love, then go for it.

There is research showing that there are lower obesity rates among people who are cooking and eating home cooked meals, rather than eating out.  (See my miscellaneous page)  At home, YOU control the portions.  YOU control the ingredients.  YOU are in control of your health.  And YOU are responsible for the health of your family.  Make the most of that responsibility.

If you want to get industrious and make your own basil pesto, check out my -

Or, for a different spin on this...

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  1. This is wonderful, very easy and cheap to make!

  2. Replies
    1. Couldn't tell you. I'm not a nutritionist. There are programs available that you can plug YOUR ingredients and amounts in for that information, though.


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