Thrifty Thursdays: Portobella Paninis w/ herb cream cheese & root-veggie chips, sweet po' fries!

Much to my dismay (and yours too, right?) Thrifty Thursdays have been missing for a few weeks straight. So much for discipline; so much for creative cooking at home; so much for time to post detailed instructions for my faithful readers! Ugh... there's no excuse other than that life happened...at an overwhelming pace in the past few weeks! We have been juggling two crazy (conflicting) work schedules, a non-potty/leash trained (accidental) puppy, a major (ongoing) landscape renovation, a bath/shower remodel (in our only full bath), constant pounding in the condo above us (it's being renovated to sell), etc... not to mention all the fun stuff  (family visits, bbq's, baby showers, concerts!) we have packed into the first few weeks of summer. I am definitely going to be ready for life to start settling down a bit soon.

Needless to say, all of the aforementioned chaos makes for hasty dinners and makeshift meals thrown together with whatever's in reach some nights. Sometimes they turn out great (like this one!)...and other times they look like a poor-man's potluck. So here's this week's T.T. "recipe" (I feel like I'm am defiling the word)...   savory Portobella Paninis with all the fixin's and some guilty pleasure sides.  Documenting the process was definitely an after-thought on this one, but at least the few photos below capture the colorful cornucopia that was the end result!

Portobella  Paninis w/ herbed cream cheese
& root veggie chips, chipotle sweet potato fries
$8 for 2

4 slices sourdough (we had rosemary sourdough from W.F., yum!)
2 large portobella caps, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped herbs (rosemary, oregano, marjoram, parsley)
Pinch of garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp mayo
Cheese, spinach, tomato, onion, etc. to top!

1. Heat olive oil in a med. pan, add 1/2 of the chopped herbs, salt and pepper as you like. Add sliced portobella, cover and sautee for about 6 minutes, turning often with spatula.
2. Mix cream cheese, mayo, and other 1/2 of herbs. Spread evenly on 4 slices of bread.
3. Slice toppings so they're ready to go.
4. In a panini press (or on the grill, or in the toaster oven, george foreman, etc...) place one slice bread (per sandwich) top-down (duh) and pile with onion, portobella, cheese (in that order...onions get slightly cooked, cheese melts and makes everything stick). Grill until begins to slightly char.
5. Top with tomato, spinach, other slice of bread. Flip. Grill the same.
6. * serve with chips & fries! (we cheated on both... Terra chips and Alexandria fries) but if you have the time/inspiration to make your own from scratch, here are two helpful recipes!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/sweet-potato-fries-recipe/index.html  (just add chili powder, cayenne, garlic to make your own 'chipotle' seasoning)

colorful & delicious! 

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