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Creamy Mediterranean Panini

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While May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, it’s a fantastic food program for life. For the past several years, this has been my chosen way of eating and it has, in part, helped me to lose 80 pounds and keep it off. You should know that I eat four times per day, am careful with portions, and exercise at least four times per week. No food is off limits; however, moderation is important. I won’t wait until May to introduce you to the Mediterranean way of eating. Here’s the first wonderful recipe that I know you’ll enjoy – Creamy Mediterranean Panini. Roasted red peppers, black olives, zucchini and provolone meet to create a satisfying sandwich that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you need an extra bit of protein, add two ounces of chicken (baked or grilled) or tuna (I prefer the tuna in packets these days). Add a small piece of your favorite fruit and 8 ounces of vegetable juice and you’ll have a fantastic, filling meal. Healthy and joyous eating!

Creamy Mediterranean Panini (Recipe courtesy Health.com)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise, divided (gluten-free variety, if needed) OR ½ cup of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped oil-cured black olives
  • 8 slices rustic whole grain bread, about 1/2-inch thick (gluten-free variety, if needed)
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

Preparation:

Combine ¼ cup of mayonnaise (or Greek yogurt), basil with olives in small bowl. Evenly spread bread slices with mayo mixture, then layer 4 bread slices with zucchini, and provolone. Top with remaining 4 bread slices.

Spread remaining mayo on outside of sandwiches and cook in 12-inch nonstick skillet or grill pan over medium heat, turning once, until sandwiches are golden brown and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Serving yield = four sandwiches.

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