fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini

When it comes to sandwiches nothing compares to a fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini (except maybe a toasted peanut butter sandwich)…I really fancy Panera’s Signature Tomato & Mozzarella Panini, however sometimes I find it overly greasy tasting. I noticed when eating paninis at most restaurants, they are either loaded with butter or oil or the amount of pesto makes them taste unhealthy. To combat the greasiness factor, I choose to make my paninis with only fresh ingredients and avoid the pesto, butter and oil all together; I only use a bit of cooking spray on the panini press to get a nice crunch on the outside of the bread. :) Enjoy!

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini lunch

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini lunch

Ingredients (per Panini):

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini ingredients

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini ingredients

2 Slices Artisan Bread (Sourdough, Paesano, Asiago Cheese, etc.)
2 Tomato Slices
2 – 1oz Slices Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
4 TBSP Fresh Basil, Chopped
Salt & Pepper To Taste (optional)

Instructions:

While panini press is heating up, arrange 2 TBSP fresh basil on one slice of bread. Top with cheese and tomato slices. Arrange remaining 2 TBSP fresh basil on top of tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Cover with 2nd slice of bread.

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini - preparing your sandwich

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini – preparing your sandwich

Lightly spray panini press with cooking spray. Place panini(s) on grill plate and close, pressing firmly. Cook about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sandwich is heated through.

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini - cooking

fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil panini – cooking

Cut panini in half and let cool 3 to 5 minutes before serving (tomatoes will be very hot!)

Yields 1 Panini

Weight Watchers: 1 Panini = 10 points plus (value could increase based upon bread choice)

creamy tomato soup

One of my favorite things to cook (and eat) during the cold winter season is soup. I joined the Weight Watchers At Work program fall 2010 and have been experimenting with their recipes ever since. In early 2012 I downloaded the Weight Watchers Kitchen Companion App for iPad, were I found a recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup. Although the soup was tasty, I found it to be thinner than anticipated. As I like my tomato soup thicker and heartier tasting, I increased the amount of tomato paste and use whole milk for a creamier texture. This soup is particularly delightful when paired with your favorite roll or grilled cheese sandwich. :) Enjoy!

creamy tomato soup - topped with fresh basil

creamy tomato soup – topped with fresh basil

Ingredients:

creamy tomato soup ingredients

creamy tomato soup ingredients

2 TSP Olive Oil
2 to 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Medium Red Onion, Diced
4 Large Tomatoes, Cut into Sizable Chucks
1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 TBSP + 1 TSP Ground Thyme
1 TSP Salt
1 – 6oz Can Tomato Paste
3 Cups Whole Milk
6 TBSP Fresh Basil, Chopped (Optional)


Instructions
:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes).

creamy tomato soup - onions and garlic

creamy tomato soup – onions and garlic

Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme and salt. Cover and simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover and let cool for 5 minutes.

creamy tomato soup - after adding tomatoes, broth, thyme and salt & after cooking

creamy tomato soup – after adding tomatoes, broth, thyme and salt & after cooking

Transfer tomato mixture to the pitcher of a blender and puree until smooth.

creamy tomato soup - in blender (before & after)

creamy tomato soup – in blender (before & after)

Return mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat to keep warm.

In a small bowl, whisk together tomato paste and milk, blending well after each cup of milk is added.

creamy tomato soup - combining milk and tomato paste

creamy tomato soup – combining milk and tomato paste

Pour milk mixture into tomato mixture, whisking as you pour. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is warmed through (about 5 minutes); be careful not to let the soup boil.

creamy tomato soup - whisking milk mixture into tomato mixture & finished cooking

creamy tomato soup – whisking milk mixture into tomato mixture & finished cooking

Divide evenly into 4 bowls and top with fresh basil, if desired.

creamy tomato soup - in bowls

creamy tomato soup – in bowls

Yields 4 – 1 & ¼ Cup Servings
Weight Watchers: 1 bowl = 6 points plus