When dinnertime is pressing and I need to whip something up quickly, this is my go-to.
This panini press is arguably one of my most-used kitchenware purchases of all time (next to the blender I use to make countless cherry-chia smoothies and the food processor I use for banana froyo).
I think the key to good panini is an awesome and flavorful spread. Since I don't do the mayo thing, I look for non-creamy alternatives. I recently bought this intriguing sandwich spread from Trader Joe's (knowing I'd get it all to myself since Justin snubs eggplant).
I use this tarragon dijon mustard spread for him (another Olive & Thyme purchase).
My favorite panini bread is the artisan bread from Trader Joe's. I buy big bags of these rolls, slice them in half, and freeze them to preserve freshness. When I need to use one, I just take it out of the freezer for an hour or so and it defrosts (you could nuke it if you're in a hurry).
I actually pull out a good portion of the bread's insides to make a nice little cave for my panini fillings. I also prefer a more even bread-to-spread/meat/veggie ratio, so tearing out some of the bread even things out and makes the panini more flavorful overall. And I can always save the breadcrumbs for meatballs and such!
Look at that chicken/pepper/feta/mustard combo so nicely nestled in the little bread holes :)
Now it all gets pressed together (I usually leave it in for 5 minutes or longer, depending on how impatient I am feeling).
And the end result is delicious. The eggplant spread was soooo good. I kept telling Justin that he was really missing out, but he seemed to be just fine with his mustard.