Green Chile Grilled Cheese Panini


by Kathy Panini Happy

I was probably twelve years old before I ever ate a grilled cheese sandwich that contained an ingredient other than American slices and white bread. To me, the classic grilled cheese was the best – especially when cut into triangles. One day, at a friend’s house, I branched out into Cheddar, and experienced a grilled cheese awakening.

Here I am now, a sandwich blogger who makes a livelihood out of challenging myself to come up with tasty new grilled sandwich combinations. I find myself daydreaming about the different ways I can create the ultimate melted experience on grilled bread, especially during the month of April – National Grilled Cheese Month. I’ll admit that I still enjoy the occasional classic grilled American cheese, but these days I’m much more about big, unique flavors.

Southerners who grew up on creamy, tangy pimento cheese sandwiches may be somewhat familiar with the Green Chile Grilled Cheese Panini I’m sharing today – my southwestern spin on their regional specialty. Instead of mixing sweet red pimento peppers into the cheese, I opted for the gentle heat of diced green chiles with sharp Wisconsin Cheddar, Wisconsin Jack and Cream Cheese. The bold flavor combination reminded me of cheese-filled jalapeño poppers. As you can tell from the photos, it’s definitely a very oozy grilled cheese…just the type that I love most!

Green Chile Grilled Cheese Panini

by Kathy of Panini Happy

Makes 4 to 6 Panini

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp Wisconsin Cheddar
1 cup shredded Wisconsin Jack cheese
1, 4-ounce can diced green chiles

1 scallion, thinly sliced
8-12 slices country bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat.* In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until it’s soft and light. Mix in the Cheddar, Jack, green chiles and scallion.

For each sandwich: Spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture onto a slice of bread. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread and brush the top with melted butter. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Carefully slice the sandwich in half, serve immediately and enjoy!

* If you don’t have a panini grill, you can always bake these sandwiches in an oven or toaster oven at 350°F for 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bread is toasted. You could also heat the sandwiches in a skillet, but be extra careful as you flip them, as the fillings are really oozy!