Semper Paratus et Coctus
Island chicken pressed paninis for 2!

If you don’t have a panini press, I highly recommend it. It inspires you to make awesome sandwiches (which can be pretty darn good for ya), and lights a little creative flame in the kitchen, I truly believe. :)

Again, another Fifty Shades-inspired concoction… Reading the last book now (Fifty Shades Freed) and though Ana prepares a simple ham and avocado sub in one scene on the book, I thought I’d spice it up the sub idea a bit and make it a little more mine. Plus… The sweet and savory is always something I love to experiment with. :). 
Here, I paired it with a strawberry salad (spinach, dried, chopped strawberries, toasted almonds and a strawberry vinegarette), but this could be paired with some sweet potato fries (again, sweet vs salty), or whatever “tickles your fancy” (pun intended).  Paninis (and salads, as previously posted) can be a culinary canvas—meats, cheeses, spreads, and veggies or fruits can be thrown in at random to create a tasty, spontaneous discovery that is all yours. Be adventurous, and enjoy!

Island “Shades” Pressed Sub:
1 c grilled, sliced chicken breast
2 hoagie sub rolls (or 2 portions Cuban bread)
1/4 c mango preserves (or apricot-pineapple)
1 Roma tomato, sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
1/4 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 slices provolone cheese (any cheese would do, really)

Heat up panini press over medium heat, or if there is no setting, turn it on. You can also use a regular frying pan and place a heavier pan on top of the sandwiches to press them down, if you don’t have a panini press.

Cut open one length of the hoagie roll (leave a part attached on one side so the buns don’t go flying apart), spread insides with 2 T of jam for each roll. Stuff with remaining ingredients, layering as you go. Place both sandwiches in the press, grill until flat, golden, and heated through (flipping over if using stove-top method).

Island chicken pressed paninis for 2!

If you don’t have a panini press, I highly recommend it. It inspires you to make awesome sandwiches (which can be pretty darn good for ya), and lights a little creative flame in the kitchen, I truly believe. :)

Again, another Fifty Shades-inspired concoction… Reading the last book now (Fifty Shades Freed) and though Ana prepares a simple ham and avocado sub in one scene on the book, I thought I’d spice it up the sub idea a bit and make it a little more mine. Plus… The sweet and savory is always something I love to experiment with. :).

Here, I paired it with a strawberry salad (spinach, dried, chopped strawberries, toasted almonds and a strawberry vinegarette), but this could be paired with some sweet potato fries (again, sweet vs salty), or whatever “tickles your fancy” (pun intended). Paninis (and salads, as previously posted) can be a culinary canvas—meats, cheeses, spreads, and veggies or fruits can be thrown in at random to create a tasty, spontaneous discovery that is all yours. Be adventurous, and enjoy!

Island “Shades” Pressed Sub:
1 c grilled, sliced chicken breast
2 hoagie sub rolls (or 2 portions Cuban bread)
1/4 c mango preserves (or apricot-pineapple)
1 Roma tomato, sliced thin
1 ripe avocado, sliced thin
1/4 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 slices provolone cheese (any cheese would do, really)

Heat up panini press over medium heat, or if there is no setting, turn it on. You can also use a regular frying pan and place a heavier pan on top of the sandwiches to press them down, if you don’t have a panini press.

Cut open one length of the hoagie roll (leave a part attached on one side so the buns don’t go flying apart), spread insides with 2 T of jam for each roll. Stuff with remaining ingredients, layering as you go. Place both sandwiches in the press, grill until flat, golden, and heated through (flipping over if using stove-top method).

Spaghetti alle Cozze for 2!
   Yes, I’ve been reading waaay too into Fifty Shades of Grey…towards the close of the novel, the two main characters dine on Spaghetti alle Vongole (pasta with clams), and it inspired my taste buds…but my local commissary doesn’t have a fresh seafood counter with fresh clams, so I opted for frozen, green shelled New Zealand mussels. Success! Not only does this recipe include wine (SCORE! stuff to drink AND cook with), but looks mighty impressive once plated. It’s quite a sexy dish (though perhaps not as masochistic as the originating novel’s theme, lol).

Ingredients:
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 box frozen, half-shell mussels (1.5 lb)
1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c white wine
3 T olive oil
3 T minced flat leaf parsley or sliced green onions
Salt, pepper, grated cheese to taste

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water 2 min shy of al dente (about 5 min). Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic, stir and cook until slightly golden. Add red pepper flakes, stir, cook 1 min more. Add wine and mussels, cover, cook about 10 min, stirring occasionally. 
Drain pasta, and once the mussels are done, remove them with tongs to a bowl. Add pasta to the pan with the awesome garlicky juices, and toss until liquid is absorbed, about 4 min or so (some sources say to add 1/4 c of reserved starchy pasta liquid, but after having some wine myself I forgot to do so, and thusly I didn’t use it—it still came out awesome, so using it is up to you). Plate pasta (2 plates), top with mussels and sprinkle with the green stuff (parsley or green onions). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and maybe a little Parmesan, and Voilá! A pasta dish that’ll beat your seafood craving into submission! :)

Spaghetti alle Cozze for 2!
Yes, I’ve been reading waaay too into Fifty Shades of Grey…towards the close of the novel, the two main characters dine on Spaghetti alle Vongole (pasta with clams), and it inspired my taste buds…but my local commissary doesn’t have a fresh seafood counter with fresh clams, so I opted for frozen, green shelled New Zealand mussels. Success! Not only does this recipe include wine (SCORE! stuff to drink AND cook with), but looks mighty impressive once plated. It’s quite a sexy dish (though perhaps not as masochistic as the originating novel’s theme, lol).

Ingredients:
1/2 box whole wheat pasta
1 box frozen, half-shell mussels (1.5 lb)
1 T minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c white wine
3 T olive oil
3 T minced flat leaf parsley or sliced green onions
Salt, pepper, grated cheese to taste

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water 2 min shy of al dente (about 5 min). Meanwhile, heat 2 T oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic, stir and cook until slightly golden. Add red pepper flakes, stir, cook 1 min more. Add wine and mussels, cover, cook about 10 min, stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta, and once the mussels are done, remove them with tongs to a bowl. Add pasta to the pan with the awesome garlicky juices, and toss until liquid is absorbed, about 4 min or so (some sources say to add 1/4 c of reserved starchy pasta liquid, but after having some wine myself I forgot to do so, and thusly I didn’t use it—it still came out awesome, so using it is up to you). Plate pasta (2 plates), top with mussels and sprinkle with the green stuff (parsley or green onions). Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and maybe a little Parmesan, and Voilá! A pasta dish that’ll beat your seafood craving into submission! :)