Cream Cheese Chicken Panini and Some $12 White Wines

Next to the BBQ grill, my electric countertop panini grill is king.

I’m not a big appliance guy. I don’t really use the microwave, prefer a J.A. Henckels to a food processor, and don’t even know how to turn on that 40 lb mixing bowl on the bottom shelf.

But my $25 panini grill, that’s gourmet. I can make some of the most fabulous carb-wrapped meals this side of the Mississippi with a square foot of counter space and an electrical outlet.

I prefer using a lot of precut and premade ingredients to save time for meals like this. Places like Target carry a great selection of flavored breads, today the pick being a cilantro and thyme flatbread.

Cream Cheese Chicken Panini

Cream Cheese Chicken Panini

Precook some boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or turkey cutlets. Slice a few vine-ripened tomatos and stack them on a piece of flatbread coated in cream cheese. If you want to add a little additional flavoring, sprinkle some dill weed and maybe a little minced garlic over the cream cheese. 8-10 minutes on the panini grill and you’re all done.

For daily drinkers, I almost always stay under $20, and more often than not I can find some pretty decent wines cheaper than that. Today I selected a newer brand I hadn’t seen before, Middle Sister. The Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Gewurztraminer mix was actually quite good for a newer white table wine.

Overall, I’d say it’s a little over-mixed but a great starter wine. It seems to be trying too hard to balance itself between a crisp, dry white and a smoother sweet wine and, while that isn’t too bad for a standalone, it didn’t really go all that well with the sandwich.

Ménage à Trois & Middle Sister, not the most tactful combination of brand names.

Ménage à Trois & Middle Sister, not the most tactful combination of brand names.

The other $12 wine, Ménage à Trois’ white table wine was my second selection for pairing with the cream cheese and chicken sandwich. Ménage à Trois has been making affordable table wines for quite some time now, and seem to have struck a pretty good balance between the Chardonnay, Muscat and Chenin Blanc in the blend.

I’d have to say the Ménage à Trois went best with the panini, blending right in with each bite, while the Middle Sister overwhelmed the sandwich with a bolder scent and a strong, bitter aftertaste.

Total Cost for Two People: $25.00
Total Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes.

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