Don’t know what to do with that leftover turkey… How about panini’s?

This post is sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Company, but all opinions, awesome ideas, and typos are my own

Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, but in our house the traditional meal of turkey with all of the fixings graces our table throughout the season when celebrating holidays with family and friends.   One of my favorite things about turkey, are the leftovers. 

So once I’ve had enough of holiday dishes, and football games are quiet, it’s time to make creative use of our leftovers and stretch out our love of turkey.  It’s time for a sandwich – or as the Italians often say, a “panini”.

 Today I'm whipping up a delicious panini sandwich with leftover turkey from the big bird and a few things I picked up from my local Price Chopper.  Because you know, the day after Thanksgiving, you want to keep it simple to all things kitchen oriented!

Kraft Expertly Paired Cheese Panini

So, I'm going to take that leftover turkey and make it into an ooey, gooey, crispy, crunchy, delightfully delicious sandwich - and you don’t even need a fancy, schmancy panini press! 

What you need:

Here’s how:

First, heat-up your panini press.  Oh wait, I don't have one.  No need friends, here are a couple alternate panini press options.

1)  If you have a grill pan, pull it out and heat it up on the stove.  Have another heavy pan ready to use for the "press".  If you don' have a grill pan a regular skillet will work just fine.  No ridges...but still fabulous.

2) You can also use the grill itself! Fire up the gas grill for a perfectly toasty, truly "grilled" cheese.

Next, take a whole grained bread, add MIRACLE WHIP Dressing, thinly sliced turkey, plum tomatoes, a bit of red onion, and a slice of KRAFT Expertly Paired for Grilled Sandwiches, Mozzarella & Cheddar Cheese!   

Lastly, butter both sides of the sandwich and toast away! Grill for 4 minutes on each side or until sandwich is golden brown and cheese is melted. So there you have it, no panini press required.

Panini grilling in pan

KRAFT Expertly Paired for Grilled Sandwiches, Mozzarella & Cheddar Cheese is perfect for any type of grilled sandwich. Why you ask? (Assuming you would have asked) Because it combines mozzarella and cheddar into ONE cheese slice.  What!?  Yes!  And it makes things easy because you only need one slice to get the combination of a softer melty cheese with the harder, classic cheddar.  Perfect for the toasty panini sandwich.  Yummmm.

.Panini expertly paired Cheese

I want to add that NEW KRAFT Expertly Paired Cheeses take all kinds of dishes, such as tacos, pastas, pizzas, casseroles and egg dishes, to the next level.  You can find all new varieties of KRAFT Expertly Paired Cheese at your local Price take a look-see!

Of course, I can't let you go without sharing how to make panini’s for a crowd, because you know I'm all about having friends over.  Simply choose a side dish you'd like to serve with your sandwiches...maybe a make-ahead soup or salad?  Then prep your sandwiches up to four hours in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until your guests arrive.  Pull them out and start Paniniing (I’m pretty sure that’s a real word!).  Awesome, right?

Easy panini using a grill pan

Now, go have yourself a no muss, no fuss Panini Party and use up that leftover turkey!

xx, Lauren

Grilled Pizza's....So.Much.Fun!

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Wanna know the one party my friends ask for over and over again??? Well…just scroll on down!

Grilled Pizza Party
grilled pizza margherita

It’s the grilled pizza party…they just LOVE this night. I have so many funny stories and memories surrounding this annual event, but the one that sticks out is the very first pizza party I hosted. Our friends still talk about that night when it started pouring down rain, literally out of nowhere, and everyone ran inside but I was NOT going to leave my grill until my margherita pizza was done. #shocker:) Well, as I was rushing my finished pizza into the house, the pizza peel caught the doorframe and pizza went FLYING across the room. I remember someone shouting, “It’s ok Lauren…we’ll still eat it!” I’m like…ummm, no.(sigh)  But everyone was laughing hysterically, and my beautiful dog River saw his chance to swoop in and take part in the gathering as well.

We laughed SO hard, created amazing memories, and enjoyed the food and each other’s company. This party is just so fun and simple, and I’m going to show you how to do it in 10 easy steps! I hope you try it…minus the pizza on the floor disaster:)  HA!


I know grilling pizza may seem tricky at first but it’s really easy. And it’s a great party because it’s super easy to prep ahead, EVERYONE loves pizza, and there are endless topping combinations!  (Hey…I’ll even give you a ton of ideas for delicious combos:)

Making Grilled Pizzas
Cervasi Olive Oil


1. Prepare a basic pizza dough.

Tip: Buy the dough from the grocery store or your favorite pizza restaurant to make it even easier.

2. The most important tip for grilled pizzas? Cook, slice, and grate whatever toppings you like ahead of time, and have them at the ready because the cooking goes fast. (See this link below for toppings ideas.)

3 .Take the dough and flatten with your fingertips into a circle. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle—you want it to look rustic. Stretch the dough to your desired size and thickness and set it on a pan lined with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal.

Tip: Don’t do what I did my first time: I stacked the crusts on top of each other with a bit of flour in between and when it came time to grill I just had one super-thick hunk of dough. I know, rookie mistake, but I don’t want that to happen to you. (I ran down to the pizza joint, grabbed more dough and we were back in business.)

4. Instead, don’t stack them, just set them on a tray along with the olive oil, brush, tongs, flat cookie sheet and pizza cutter.

5. Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Tip: A gas grill is a little easier to manage the temperature, but a charcoal grill gives even more flavor. Your choice, both are amazing!

6. Brush one side of dough with Cervasi olive oil to prevent sticking

7. Place oiled side down on the grill and brush the top with oil. Close the grill and cook for 2-5 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn the dough over with tongs and grill the other side.

Tip: If the dough sticks to the grill grate, it’s not ready to turn over. Shut the grill, grab a glass of wine and let it go for a minute or two. It should turn over easily with tongs and have beautiful grill marks.

8. Slide the crust onto a flat cookie sheet or pizza peel and arrange your toppings, starting with sauce, then garlic and then mozzarella.

9. Place the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat and cover until the cheese is melted and delicious!

Grilled Pizza Tips

10, Remove the pizza from the grill with a pizza peel or flat cookie sheet, place it on the cutting board and garnish.

Tip: After the pizza is done, top it with the fresh basil (otherwise the basil will turn brown) and a drizzle of olive oil for that last bit of yumminess.

Brine that Turkey Baby!

My friends and family always ask...why is my turkey always so moist.  I say...awe thx...then I tell them it's all in the brine.  This one extra step makes all the difference in the world. It's not hard..but sometimes confusing on the ratio of the simple ingredients....soooo I've put together a brining guide...just in time for the Holidays....but you will use it ALLLLL year long!

thx turkey.png