Growing up, I thought I didn’t like ham. Turns out I love it! It is my dad who didn’t like ham all that much, so we didn’t have it often growing up. I look forward to Easter Ham dinner. We had friends and family with us for dinner this year, and it was so much fun. My husband was worried there would not be enough. We had plenty. And then some. It seems to me that when you purchase a ham it really only comes in one size, huge. There are lots of recipes for leftover turkey, but not many for leftover ham. Unless you like split pea soup. I don’t know if I do. That is another thing I have not had much of. A few years ago my sister-in-law introduced me to panini sandwiches. The minute I got home from our visit, I ran to Williams Sonoma and got myself a panini press. It has become one of my favorite kitchen appliances. Once a week I take a night off from making dinner, and we have panini night. Everybody can pile whatever they want in between two slices of bread, put it in the press, and in minutes have a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. When I saw this idea for a Broccoli Ham Grilled Cheese from Jaclyn at Cooking Classy, I immediately thought of my panini press. I was right, this is a great combo for a pressed sandwich. It is a healthy, flavorful, casual weeknight meal for a family or a quick lunch for one. I love the combination of a crunchy exterior and soft interior. Add to that the salty, sweet combination of flavors you get from ham, cheese and seasonings, and you have a winner.
Broccoli Ham Cheddar Panini
- 2 slices Double Fiber Bread or Whole Wheat Bread
- 1.5 oz Medium Cheddar Cheese grated (about 1/3 cup packed)
- 1/2 oz Parmesan Cheese finely grated (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped quality ham*
- 6 small broccoli florets steamed then diced into small pieces**
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided
- In a bowl, combine grated Cheddar Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, ham, steamed broccoli, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
- Layer mixture over one slice of bread then top with additional slice of bread gently pressing down.
- Heat a non-stick fry pan over medium low heat then drizzle 1/2 Tbsp olive oil into pan and tilt pan back and forth to evenly coat, immediately place sandwich in pan (I don't preheat the oil because the outside would darken before the inside cooks through), cover pan with lid and cook 2 - 3 minutes until bottom becomes golden brown.
- Carefully lift sandwich out of pan with a spatula then add remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil to pan and tilt to coat. Carefully flip sandwich returning to pan, cover pan with lid, and cook opposite side until bottom is golden brown and cheese has melted about 2 - 3 minutes.
- Serve warm.
- *Note from Cooking Classy - I put quality ham because I used leftover spiral sliced ham that I had placed in the food processor then processed several seconds until chopped into very small pieces (I always do this with leftover ham and freeze it. It's great for salads, sandwiches, eggs and many other entrees. This recipe is a great use for that leftover spiral sliced ham this upcoming Easter). If you don't happen to have left over ham you could also use deli ham, diced into pieces.
- **Note from Cooking Classy - I use a simple steaming method, I place 1/4 cup water in a microwave safe bowl then add broccoli florets. Microwave on HIGH power 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes until tender, then drain water and dice into smaller pieces.
You will use up your leftover ham in a jiffy with this delicious sandwich.
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