The Perfect Panini

My cats are like my children. I can’t do anything without them and if I leave for the weekend, they are all I think about. I smile on my way home because I know they’ll be at the door to greet me.

When they were babies and I brought them home, they would sleep by me right next to my pillow. They were so tiny and barely took up any room. They would wake up with me and then demand that I followed them into the kitchen so they could eat. They would meow by my desk when it was time to sleep because I had to put them to sleep. It was the cutest thing ever.

So helpless without mommy!

And then they grew up. My cats are technically one but in cat years they are about 18 years old. It’s the rebellious age. They don’t listen and do the one thing they are told not to do. The problem is, I can never get mad at them!  Initially, I’m furious if they knock over something but then I look into their big beautiful golden eyes and my heart melts.

They know how to get to me. I’m such a weakling!

What’s going to happen when I have kids?

Can’t … show … weakness!

So for some reason, Elmo does not want to come by me today even if I offer him treats! What could I have done to upset him so much? Sigh. I’m sad. They don’t need me like before …

One of the few things that cheers me up and is related to food is basil… specifically pesto. I love basil pesto. It’s the taste, the aroma, the freshness, and the light consistency. I don’t know, but it’s so delicious! For Eid, my sister, Maryam, gave me Basil as a gift. She thought it was funny but I was actually secretly happy. Haha!  I, of course, put it to good use!

Elmo’s sleeping on the cat tree and Winston is by the window. I guess I can go whip myself one of these again. It’ll brighten my sad day.

Chicken Caprese Panini

Yields 2 sandwiches

Boneless chicken breast tenders

4 slices of French or Italian bread

Arugula [I used Arugula and Spinach salad mix]

½ cup mayo

Fresh mozzarella cut into 8 slices

Sliced tomatoes

1 cup Buitoni Pesto [or any purchased premade pesto]

5 fresh basil leaves


In a plastic bag, combine chicken tenders and ½ cup of pesto, set aside and let sit for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup pesto and mayonnaise. Spread mixture on both sides of the bread; set aside.

Preheat an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill chicken tenders 5 minutes per side. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and re-oil the grill pan.

Place cheese on both halves of bread. Add arugula, then tomato, then basil leaves, then pesto chicken to bottom piece. Top with top half of bread. Place onto the grill pan and place a heavy pan on top of the sandwich. Grill for 3 minutes per side or until cheese starts to melt. You can also place the sandwich in a Panini maker for 5-8 minutes.


Enjoy!! I know I’m going to :)

– Aisha


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