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During my morning walk I noticed the fog of late August, heavy with dew, had arrived. This time of summer always reminds me that our break will soon come to an end and the crisp mornings of September lurk around the corner. For the last 13 years, I have looked forward to this because the excitement in the air was due to anticipation for back to school. Shopping for new notebooks, pens & pencils, new backpacks and of course trying to find the best savings for the bevy of snacks and lunch items that would need to be stock-piled in order to pack a lunch for 2 kids for the next 9 months.
Last year, our oldest went off to college and left me to pack for only one. Our second is now a senior and I am beginning to realize this will be the last year for me to pack a school lunch! I don’t know if I feel sad or happy about that. Both kids fluctuated their picky palates from year to year; in fact, one year I was stuck making a peanut butter and fill in the blank: jelly, fluff or Nutella and last year I couldn’t break free from the turkey on wheat with mustard. To offer anything different was rebutted with a crinkled up nose and a response of “no, just make the usual.” For a person who loves food, this was like a sentence of doom. I never thought I would be stuck in the doldrums of the same lunch day in and day out.
So this year, I decided that I would take advantage of the Back to School Solution Center (#PriceChopperB2S) offered by my local Price Chopper supermarket. I enjoy shopping here because the family is from Schenectady, NY and still based there. They are familiar with the community and are very involved in giving back to the area that they reside. I was hoping that my solution center would be a bit bigger, but I was happy to find inspiration for this year’s lunch menu from their ads and products marked for Back to School.
I set out to make a sandwich I know my son will really enjoy. I mentioned above how I was stuck making turkey every day. Well, this year, I want to step it up a notch and let my inner chef out and make sure that his lunch will feel a bit more “grown up.” So, I found Hillshire came out with a new Naturals Line and I grabbed a package of Oven Roasted Turkey and Black Forest Ham. I passed through the bakery and grabbed a loaf of Price Chopper Artisan Vienna Bread and fresh New Jersey peaches from produce. I found a perfect wedge of Brie Cheese and a few herbs and my mind danced with possibilities.
This year’s school lunch will have at least one Panini each week. I can mix up the fruit in the pressed sandwich to be whatever is in season; apples, pears, peaches or grapes; add tomatoes, lettuce or spinach and we are in business! To round out the brown paper bag, I can add sliced cucumber “chips”, carrots or snap peas, a homemade cookie and to break from the norm of water, I will cave and pack a Capri Sun. Back to School lunch will be boring no more and the envy of the lunch table!
Do you have picky eaters? Price Chopper has a fantastic Pinterest Board to find great Back to School ideas for lunches and after school snacks.
In the meantime, here is the delicious Panini I came up with for the first week of school: an incredible sandwich; it’s hearty and full of flavor and I know will satisfy a ravenous teen.
Artisan Turkey-Peach & Brie Panini
2 Slices of Artisan Italian bread or Ciabatta
2 tsp. butter, softened
3 slices of sliced roasted turkey (I used Hillshire Lunchmeat Naturals)
½ fresh peach, pitted and sliced in ¼ – inch slices
4 slices of brie cheese off wedge
Slice bread loaf in half.
Cut two slices on a diagonal. Butter one side of bread.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Place one slice of bread buttered side down on hot grill.
Add slices of turkey, peach slices and brie.
Top with remaining slice of bread, buttered side up.
Cook on grill pan until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. If you have a press, place on top of bread and press firmly. If you do not have a press, the back of a smaller fry pan will work.
Flip sandwich over and press firmly. Cook until golden brown.
Remove from heat and let stand for 2-3 minutes before cutting in half.
Serve immediately or wrap in wax paper for lunch.
- 2 Slices of Artisan Italian bread or Ciabatta
- 2 tsp. butter, softened
- 3 slices of sliced roasted turkey (I used Hillshire Lunchmeat Naturals)
- ½ fresh peach, pitted and sliced in ¼ - inch slices
- 4 slices of brie cheese off wedge
- Slice bread loaf in half.
- Cut two slices on a diagonal. Butter one side of bread.
- Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Place one slice of bread buttered side down on hot grill.
- Add slices of turkey, peach slices and brie.
- Top with remaining slice of bread, buttered side up.
- Cook on grill pan until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. If you have a press, place on top of bread and press firmly. If you do not have a press, the back of a smaller fry pan will work.
- Flip sandwich over and press firmly. Cook until golden brown.
- Remove from heat and let stand for 2-3 minutes before cutting in half.
- Serve immediately or wrap in wax paper for lunch.
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