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Sweet and savory flavors combine in an easy panino recipe that’s perfect as an appetizer or quick meal option. Strawberry, goat cheese, and bacon panini will be the perfect addition to all of your holiday parties!
It’s Thursday already. Where did the week go?
My procrastination is in full force today, which is actually Wednesday since I write my posts ahead of time. I suppose the actual procrastination is over since I’m writing now (which is what I’ve been putting off all day). Not only have I been distracted by the Gilmore Girls revival, but I even willingly cleaned the bathroom, just to avoid sitting down and writing!
Once I finally agreed (with myself) to sit down and write, UPS showed up with an embarrassing amount of packages. Of course I had to open all of them and admire all of the goods, which included everything from Christmas gifts (for multiple people), skincare, and holiday decorations.
I wouldn’t call the last few hours a total waste, though. It did give me something to talk about! 😉
Let’s talk about what you’re really here for… food.
Today I’m sharing with you a fantastic panino that is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, or as an appetizer for all of your holiday parties! These strawberry, goat cheese, and bacon panini have a great balance of sweet and savory flavors.
I don’t know what it is about sweet and savory this time of year, but I can’t get enough. While in Walmart the other day I grabbed a jar of Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread. I also grabbed a jar of the Strawberry Jalapeño variety since I’m a sucker for sweet and spicy, too! I know having a couple of jars on hand for the holiday season will certainly come in handy.
Tis the season for holiday parties and last minute guests! I personally love that aspect of the season because it gives me an excuse to make and share appetizers. Appetizers are just the best! I can, and often do, make a whole meal out of little bites.
Enter my new favorite: this panino!
This sandwich is essentially a fancy take on a grilled cheese. Having panini in the title makes it sound fancy, too!
By the way, incase you didn’t know, a panino is the Italian word commonly used for sandwich. Panini is the plural form of panino. So, one sandwich is a panino, and if you have multiple, you’ve got yourself panini. By all means, call it a grilled cheese, a sandwich, or a panino… all are totally acceptable!
Besides being insanely delicious, these panini are super simple to put together. To start, butter one side of your favorite bread. I used my favorite gluten-free bread, but if you aren’t gluten-free you can use whatever your heart desires. Next, spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the other side of each slice. Then, comes the Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread, which I like to spread evenly onto all the bread slices.
You can do all of that assembly while your bacon cooks. Once you have the bacon cooked and cool enough to handle, add it to your sandwich. Now that all of the sandwiches are assembled you have a few options when it comes to cooking them. I used my panini press, which I received as a gift many years ago, and don’t use nearly enough. If you don’t have one, you can use a pan or grill pan… basically however you cook a grilled cheese. However, I do recommend pressing the sandwich with something – a foil-wrapped brick or heavy plate works! I like to do this because it allows all of the flavors to meld and heat through quickly.
Once your panini are perfectly golden brown and heated through, you’re ready to dig in!
The best part of this recipe is the versatility. We all need quick lunch/dinner options this time of year, so this panino is perfect for that. It also makes a phenomenal appetizer when cut into little triangles!
You can also mix things up with the flavor of fruit spread that you use! I went with strawberry since it’s a classic favorite of mine, but you can use any flavor of the Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Fruit Spreads. Jalapeño strawberry, triple berry, blueberry lemon, and concord grape are all of the other great flavors to choose from!
I really love that these fruit spreads are sweetened naturally with honey. The subtle flavor of honey makes all the difference in this panino!
You can make these panini before your guests arrive and just keep them warm in the oven – now that’s my kind of app! Entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. All you need are a few great ingredients and a jar of Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Spreads to make entertaining simple and fun!
- 6 Slices Bacon
- 8 Slices Bread, I used my favorite gluten-free variety, but you can use whatever your favorite is!
- Softened Butter, for spreading on the bread
- 4 oz. Goat Cheese, at room temperature
- ½ Cup Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread
- Place the bacon in a large, cold skillet. Place the skillet over medium-low heat and cook the bacon until crisp, about 8-10 minutes, flipping occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Heat a panini maker (or large skillet or grill pan) while you assemble to sandwiches.
- Spread each slice of bread evenly with butter on one side.
- Flip each slice over and spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each one.
- Spread a tablespoon of the Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Fruit Spread on each slice of bread overtop of the goat cheese.
- Cut the bacon in half so that you have 12 pieces. Place 3 pieces on 4 slices of the bread. Top each one with remaining 4 slices of bread.
- If you’re using a panini press, add each sandwich and push down the lid to press each sandwich. If you’re using a skillet or grill, use something to press the sandwiches down with – a brick covered with foil works well, or just a heavy plate.
- Once the sandwiches are golden brown, transfer them to a cutting board and cut in half and then in half again so you have 4 triangles. Serve immediately, or keep warm in the oven for up to 1 hour.
- This recipe makes 4 sandwiches, so it will serve 4 as a meal option, or will yield 16 appetizer portions.