I love Panera, but when I think about how much money I’ve spent there over the years, it makes me wince a little. Is it me, or does everything there seem to cost about twice as much as it should? Keeping that in mind, I decided to create my own affordable, café-like sandwich that tastes just as good: horseradish and apple panini.
♦1 hard sandwich roll or loaf of bread
♦1 Golden Delicious apple
♦3 slices of horseradish cheddar cheese
♦1 tbl. spicy mustard
A beautiful Wegmans loaf was donated to my cause (thanks, Beck!), so I started off with a quality Italian bread base, but any hard roll or bread will do. I’m a big fan of cheese and apples together, so I picked up a Golden Delicious to act as the “meat” of my sandwich; this also had me inadvertently throwing Matt Damon’s quotable quip, “Do you like apples?” in my roommate’s direction.
To spice up the sandwich, I tried out Dietz & Watson’s horseradish cheddar cheese. Best. Decision. Ever. (Thank God I only got a quarter-pound or I would have eaten myself sick.) To top it all off, I added a little bit of spicy mustard. I then basted the tiniest bit of butter on the outsides (use your discretion), fired up my Foreman Grill and melted that bad boy into a panini on par with Panera’s finest.
Total time? 7 minutes.
Cost? $2 for quarter-pound of horseradish cheddar, 50¢ apple, $2 bread (sorry, mine was free!)
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out of 10. The cheese was melty, the bread was crispy and the flavors melded wonderfully. More importantly, I spent less on three sandwiches than I would have on one at Panera. Only drawback? No broccoli cheddar soup!