WIN a Breville Panini Grill in the “Top Panini Chef” Challenge!

Win a Breville Panini Grill!

**THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED** Get ready for another fun giveaway on Panini Happy!

wichcraft185We’ve got a Breville Panini Grill – the very model that first inspired me to start writing this blog – up for grabs, courtesy of the wonderful folks at Breville USA. A second winner will receive a copy of “Top Chef” head judge Tom Colicchio’s fabulous new ‘wichcraft cookbook. For a chance to win one of these great prizes, I thought it would be fun to host a virtual “Top Panini Chef” challenge.

As fans of “Top Chef” well know, each episode starts with a quickfire challenge where the chefs are often asked to come up with creative dishes in a short amount of time and with a limited set of ingredients. For my version of “Top Panini Chef”* I’m challenging you to come up with a creative panini idea using at least 2 of the ingredients from the grid below plus any other ingredients of your choice. Tell me your idea in the comments (one entry per person, please) and two winners will be selected at random to receive the panini grill and the cookbook.

Take the Quick-Grill Challenge for a chance to win a Breville Panini Grill and 'wichcraft cookbook!

As host Padma would say, “Your time starts NOW!” The contest ends this Friday, September 4, 2009 at 5:00 PM PDT. Apologies to my international readers – we can only ship the prizes to U.S. addresses. **THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED**

* This contest is not affiliated in any way with Bravo or “Top Chef”.


KathyPanini Happy, online since 2008, is more than just a sandwich blog. Here, you'll find hundreds of my original panini recipes, my guide to choosing a panini press and a whole lot of other creative uses for the panini press.
~ Kathy Strahs
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  1. Kelly wrote:

    Ooh, what a fun challenge! Based on an amazing salad last night, my idea is:

    –ciabatta bread, drizzled with a sweet vinaigrette
    –pesto made from toasted almonds, arugula and green onions
    –slices of cold roast chicken
    –chopped figs
    –caramelized onions
    -brie and goat cheese

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  2. Cori wrote:

    I would say…caramelized onion, applewood bacon cooked almost -crisp and dark chocolate (only a little) with fontina cheese. All that on grilled challah or ciabatta.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  3. Eric wrote:

    Home made focaccia bread, sliced tomato, grilled onions, sliced fresh mozarella, sliced kalamata olives with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. My wife raves over this grilled paninni!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  4. Rebecca wrote:

    Ooo, ooo . . . I’d like to try a panini with egg, caramelized onion, and brie cheese on rosemary olive bread. (So the filling would lean toward sweet, the bread toward savory.)
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Let Me Tell You =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  5. Rebecca wrote:

    Sourdough Bread (from San Fran, of course)
    Thinly sliced apples
    Brie Cheese
    and a Chocolate Sauce.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  6. Justyn wrote:

    I made it this weekend!

    Honey wheat bread
    Turkey Bacon
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Shredded Crispy Lettuce

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  7. Ashley wrote:

    Absolutely I would have to go with sourdough, brie, and Genoa salami. I ate that when I lived in the Netherlands all the time!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  8. grace wrote:

    try this on for size: thinly sliced turkey, pepperjack cheese, pepper-apple jelly (i’ve made it and i’ve devoured it), a little cuke for crunch, and some heirloom tomato to tie it all together. and i drool.
    .-= grace´s last blog baraki =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  9. Elle wrote:

    Nice giveaway!

    My sandwich would be sourdough, sliced tomato, hummus, oven roasted assorted veggies, and melty cheese.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  10. Ellen wrote:

    sourdough bread, turkey breast, dijon mustard, gouda, avocado, shaved red onion, and arugula. pressed until warm and gooey, sounds heavenly to me!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  11. Kimmie wrote:

    I like to keep it simple, less is more:

    Carmelized ONIONS,
    Sliced pears,

    I’m making this panini tomorrow…yum!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  12. Elizabeth wrote:

    What a great giveaway!

    I would go with a sourdough bread slathered with a mango chutney, then top with prosciutto, carmelized onions, and brie cheese. Yum!!!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  13. sara wrote:

    Cool contest! I would definitely start off with sourdough bread since I live in the bay area and love to bake sourdough. I’d add a thin layer of chipotle mayo, tomatoes, thinly sliced cheddar cheese, and avocados. Yum!
    .-= sara´s last blog ..August Daring Bakers: Dobos Torte =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  14. Curt wrote:

    Here in Ohio, the weather is feeling very fall-like. With that in mind, sourdough with apples, brie and bacon would be a nice start on a panini, with some caramelize balsamic onions.
    .-= Curt´s last blog ..Livefire On Internet Radio =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  15. Denise wrote:

    This is a sandwich my sister and I came up with a couple of years ago. It is to die for!

    Combine mayo with chunked turkey breast, diced tart apple, pinepple chunks, diced red onion and black pepper in a bowl. Put a healthy scoop on a piece of sourdough bread and top with avocado slices and then the top piece of bread. Serve cold or press for a warm delicious treat!
    .-= Denise´s last blog ..Eggs Benedict =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  16. I just made a tuna panini which of course does not fit the criteria, but good luck to everyone!!!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  17. Doreen wrote:

    my panini would be
    ciabatta bread w/ turkey, brie, tomatoes, basil and some fresh mozarella drizzled with some balsamic vinegar

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  18. Rosalyn wrote:

    Here’s one I love making…

    Sourdough (or French) Bread
    Sliced Bananas (or apples would be good, too)
    Chocolate (I use Nutella)
    Peanut Butter

    It’s like a peanut butter cup with the addition of fruit! You could also drizzle some honey in there. To die for! A great snack or dessert!
    .-= Rosalyn´s last blog ..California Roll Bowl =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  19. Cathy wrote:

    I love sour dough with slices of roasted turkey , crisp apple bacon , muenster cheese and raspberry jelly! Mmmmm!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  20. Jim wrote:

    My number one selling Panini at my wine bar is:

    Brie/apple and walnuts on grilled tandori bread ( tandori bread makes the best panini’s.


    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  21. Barb wrote:

    I came up with this one about a month ago. The combination of savory and sweet is out of this world!

    Sourdough bread with applebutter spread on the inside slices
    Sliced roasted turkey
    Thinly sliced granny smith apples
    Applewood bacon, cooked until crisp
    Thinly sliced brie

    I placed the ingredients in order from the bottom up, buttered the sourdough and let ‘er rip in the panini press for about 8 minutes. Terrific flavor!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  22. Maria wrote:

    What a fun challenge!
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Recipe for Marshmallow Blondies =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  23. Julie wrote:

    and bacon
    on sourdough bread

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  24. Maria wrote:

    Oops, I sent that too quick. I would go for sourdough bread with brie, honey, pears, and fresh rosemary! I love it when the brie gets melty with the sweet honey and pears. The rosemary takes it to a new level too! A divine pannini indeed!
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Recipe for Marshmallow Blondies =-.

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  25. Joyce wrote:

    caramelized onions
    king oyster mushroom

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  26. Lisa Bradford wrote:

    I’d start with sourdough bread brushed with olive oil. Add tomatoes, bacon, slices of turkey, mozzarella, and fresh basil. Yum!

    Posted 8.31.09 Reply
  27. Nancy wrote:

    Oh maybe a yummy breakfast panini, lets see…
    So start with a nice sourdough bread.Add some slices of crispy bacon. top with some scrambled eggs, I love zucchini in my scrabble eggs so lets add some zucchini sauted with some onion. Then some nice cheddar cheese. Ok now I want some breakfast lol

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  28. Leslie wrote:

    Cool contest!

    granny smith apple slices
    Lots of Brie
    caramelized onions

    Love this simple sandwich

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  29. Dani wrote:

    This is one my mom taught me and it is great. Ciabatta spread with garlic aioli, turkey, tomato, and havarti cheese. Yum!
    .-= Dani´s last blog ..Party and car rides =-.

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  30. Jill H. wrote:

    Sourdough, Turkey, Pesto and Mozzarella!

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  31. Emily wrote:

    Oh this is a good one! Sourdough (San Luis Obispo Sourdough that is) with a grilled tuna fillet, thin layer of black olive tapenade, red onion, and sprigs of arugula. Yes, please!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..WEEK 13: Pulled Pork BBQ Pizza (and the great American road trip) =-.

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  32. spiro wrote:

    Traverse City Panini

    Start with ciabata bread,thin slices of red apples,bacon strips,blue cheese,spring greens with raspberry vinaigrette,walnuts and dried cherries.Lightly oil the bread and grill until golden brown.

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  33. Alison wrote:

    Ciabatta bread
    Roasted turkey
    Carmelized onion
    Havarti cheese


    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  34. Scot wrote:

    Ah yes… The Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Panini is the only answer.

    Sourdough bread, roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry optional.

    The secret ingredient? Cold leftover gravy used as a spread like mayo.

    Can you say heaven?

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  35. katie wrote:

    I would of course use the sourdough, thinly sliced turkey breast, smoked gouda, ripe sliced avocado and honey mustard.

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  36. JenS wrote:

    Bacon and Caprese Panini
    spinach and basil pesto
    tomatoes slices
    fresh mozzarella
    focaccia bread
    I really want a panini for dinner!!

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  37. Bettina wrote:

    Readding everyone’s responses has made me hungry, and I JUST ate dinner!

    I would put brie, roast turkey, and thinly sliced apple (fuji would be nice) on a baguette with some herbed mayo (I’m thinking thyme?).

    mmmm might have to go to the store tomorrow…

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  38. Gennaro wrote:

    The French Press Burger

    Layers, from bottom to top:

    Slowly caramelized onions
    Beef patty, shaped to fit the bread, crusted with mixed peppercorns and nicely charred
    Comte (Gruyere) cheese
    Crispy bacon
    A light drizzle of Brandy-peppercorn sauce

    All on a split, thin baguette or Cuban roll, brushed with butter to get nicely toasted on the grill

    Posted 9.1.09 Reply
  39. Erin wrote:

    I’m always fascinated when you whip up a dessert panini. So I’d love to see something with chocolate. I wonder if it wouldn’t be really yummy to make some sort of homemade savory pumpkin spiked bread and then melt chocolate, walnuts, and marshmallow inside. Obviously I just need to eat breakfast….
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Grilled Tuna Rolls =-.

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  40. Norene wrote:

    Made this one last night:
    Oven roasted tomatoes, onions & garlic along with very thin sirloin pork chops. Sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.

    Layered this on homemade foccacia with mozarella cheese and basil.

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  41. Jordan wrote:

    How fun!

    Well here is something that I’ve been meaning to try. It’s something I heard about called a “hypocrite” burger, where you top a veggie burger with bacon strips! LOL!

    Here’s how I would make my version:

    Wheat french bread smeared with a creamy sweet chipotle sauce, stacked with a Morningstar Farms garden veggie patty slathered with avocado, sprinkled generously with crisp, crumbly bits of bacon, and topped off with some nice, fresh rings of red onion.

    .-= Jordan´s last blog ..Dark chocolate (Nutella) almond cookies =-.

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  42. Nora wrote:

    Bambini Panini:

    For the little ones in your life

    Sour Dough bread (the end pieces that are too small to serve to adults
    Light Bologna
    American Cheese
    Catsup or sliced tomato

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  43. Fun!! Here’s one that’s sounding FABULOUS to me:

    Sourdough Bread
    Garlic Hummus
    Roasted Turkey
    Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil/salt
    Swiss Cheese

    Now I want one…. bad!! 🙂
    .-= fittingbackin´s last blog ..My Blogiversary: My First Year of Fitting Back In + Progress Pics =-.

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  44. Zahra wrote:

    I’m going to have to go with a Naan panini with spicy chicken tikka, a raita sauce made with yogurt, tomatoes, onions and apples, and topped off with a drizzle of sour pomegranate paste. Sounds odd but it tastes good!

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  45. Here’s my idea for a fabulous Summer Panini:
    -Sourdough bread
    -thinly sliced peaches
    -strips of red bell pepper
    -a sprinkle of green onions
    -a sprinkle of fresh cilantro
    -a squeeze of a wedge of lime
    -a dash of cayenne pepper

    .-= Lori @ RecipeGirl´s last blog ..Raspberry- Lemonade Biscotti (with Roasted Raspberries) =-.

    Posted 9.2.09 Reply
  46. oooh, fun! Here’s mine. I’m craving breakfast right now (yup, at 10pm, lol)

    Fried Egg
    Oven Roasted tomatoes
    Roasted garlic spread on Sourdough Bread

    .-= Sara @ Our Best Bites´s last blog ..Fresh Basil Pesto =-.

    Posted 9.3.09 Reply
  47. Katie Kirtland wrote:

    Sauteed apples and caramelized onions with cheddar on sourdough bread.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  48. Oh, yum! I would make a breakfast panini w/ the sourdough bread, scrambled eggs, a little bacon and tomatoes! Yum!! (The chocolate would be for desert! he he)

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  49. Ooh! How fabulous! I think apples and brie for sure. I wonder how bacon would go with those? A little savory crunch with the sweet? I may have to try this…
    .-= Erin @ One Particular Kitchen´s last blog ..Sandy’s chocolate cake =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  50. Claire wrote:


    Caramelized onions, bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes and brie, on sourdough. The egg would get runny, the cheese would melt, and the onions add that bit of sweet. I would probably add some fresh oregano as well.

    Fingers crossed!
    .-= Claire´s last blog ..Wisconsin – The Wonderful Land of Food on (and off) a Stick =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  51. Tiffany wrote:

    sourdough bread
    green chile’s
    pepperjack cheese


    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  52. Mom24 wrote:

    Summertime Grilled “Panini” w/chicken, prosciutto, mozzarella, basil and tomato

    Thinly sliced chicken breasts
    vinegar and oil salad dressing
    salt, pepper
    extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt
    peeled garlic clove, halved
    tomato half
    fresh mozzarella, sliced
    prosciutto–thinly sliced
    basil leaves–lots to cover bread
    thinly sliced red, ripe tomato
    balsamic vinegar

    Brush chicken breast pieces with the oil and vinegar dressing, season with salt and pepper. Slice ciabatta loaf horizontally. Preheat panini grill. Cook chicken breasts 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Set aside. Lightly toast cut sides of bread on grill. Brush with olive oil, rub vigorously with cut side of garlic clove, rub with tomato half and sprinkle with kosher salt.

    Layer chicken breast, mozzarella slices, prosciutto, basil and tomato onto prepared ciabatta. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put top of ciabatta over all. Brush outside of ciabatta with olive oil and grill two or three minutes until outside’s lightly toasted and cheese is starting to melt.

    Cut into sections and serve.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  53. Mom24 wrote:

    Oops! I forgot the carmalized red onions. Sorry.
    Saute 1 thinly sliced red onion in a tablespoon of butter until cooked down, brown and carmalized. Layer onto panini after prosciutto, before basil and tomato.


    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  54. Annalise wrote:

    mmm… I would make:

    sourdough bread with bacon, thin slices of apple and extra sharp cheddar cheese!

    Ok, now I’m hungry!! ;o)
    .-= Annalise´s last blog ..our little foodie! =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  55. Stephanie wrote:

    How fun!

    I would probably do

    carmelized onions
    on a dark rye bread 😀
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Published :D, a layout and I won some goodies! =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  56. Iris Hicks wrote:

    I would use a Mexican tortilla idea and use sourdough bread sliced thin like a tortilla. To this I would add brie cheese and put some shaved Mexican chocolate mixed with cinnamon over it. Top with another slice of sourdough bread, put in the grill until crisp and enjoy a treat.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  57. Kelly wrote:

    also known as a “way better smore”

    or from food not on this list,
    old cheddar

    There is something about honey & rosemary together.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  58. Boy, could I use this. My panini press died last week. Thanks.

    BTW, I am having a giveawy on my blog Not nearly as nice as this but you can purchase a panini cookbook.
    .-= Carole Resnick´s last blog ..IT"S BACK TO SCHOOL TIME =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  59. Sarah Rose wrote:

    Olive Bread
    Honey Roasted Ham
    Brie Cheese
    Apple Slices
    Dijon Mustard

    mmm…happiness in a panini!

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  60. Michele wrote:

    There has been a lot of blogging lately about bacon and chocolate combinations, and I think that it would be great to try for a panini, so: chocolate, bacon, sour dough bread buttered, all drizzled with maple syrup before placing in the panini machine. Thanks!

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  61. Meghan White wrote:

    Apple, Brie and honey Glazed Bacon on Sourdough

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  62. Lisa B wrote:

    My favorite
    Sourdough bread
    Fontina cheese
    Prociutto (or bacon to fit the rules)
    Fig jam
    olive oil

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  63. Lindsay wrote:

    Sourdough bread, caramelized onions (with a little brown sugar), havarti cheese, sliced avocado, smoked turkey, and applewood smoked bacon.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  64. megan wrote:

    What a fun idea. I would love a panini with
    Caramelized onions
    apples slices
    grilled on foccacia bread!

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply
  65. What a fun challenge, I am glad I finally got around to blogging tonight!

    My “Top Chef” creation would combine all my favorite flavor combos.

    I would take a 4 inch square ciabatta roll, top it with brie, apricot jam, balsamic caramelized onions and a lot (mustard freak) of Dijon mustard.
    Pressed, sealed, eaten. I am happy.
    .-= Melissa LaCaille´s last blog ..October 2008 =-.

    Posted 9.4.09 Reply