Hoping you’re doing well and staying safe out there.
In all the chaos of quarantine and COVID, have I mentioned that my mother-in-law got a new toy for the house? AN INSTANT POT! Now, in my opinion, I found this device to be incredibly intimidating, and my first experience was….not great. I tried to do barbacoa tacos with thinner cuts of beef, and the recipe said 2 minutes, but because I was doubling the amount of meat, I thought I would double the time as well. DON’T. DO. THAT. I learned that the hard way…rock. hard. meat. And not in the sexy way. It was AWFUL!
So I became DETERMINED to get it right and not let a piece of equipment get the better of me! So, with fresh chicken and leftover rotisserie chicken, I decided we would do a copycat of Panera’s famous “Pick Two” and do their chicken with wild rice soup, and our favorite sandwich, the Frontega chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I was also very nervous about doing this recipe—while I’m not in a doomsday mentality about COVID-19, I do get doomsday mentality about the food I make—but it was INCREDIBLY easy to pile everything in and then set it, forget it. And it turned out AWESOME – like I’m going to make this again for lunch next week!!!
I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe, and keeping good health!
— Cooking Maggie
Copycat Panera Frontega Chicken Sandwich
- 1/4 cup of chipotle mayo (whatever your grocery store has pre-bottled)
- 4 focaccia buns (or whatever small loafs your grocer has – I know everyone is different)
- Rotisserie chicken (pulled/shredded)
- 8oz mozzarella ball, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 red onion, cut into thin half moon slices
- 10-12 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (cut into ribbons)
- olive oil
- Bake your mini loaves according to the packaging directions. Cut in half and spread on the chipotle mayo.
- Warm up your chicken with a little olive oil in a pan.
- Layer on the shredded chicken, tomato, red onion, mozzarella, and basil.
- Put in a panini press until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.
- OR if you don’t have a panini press, take two pans, one larger than the other. Heat the largest pan over low heat, and the smaller pan over medium heat to get it hot. Put your sandwich into the larger pan and then USING OVEN MITTS & a dry dish rag, press the smaller pan on top of the sandwich and press down (PROTECT YOURSELF, OBVIOUSLY). Wait until cheese is melty.
- Remove your sandwich, cut in half, and enjoy!!!
Copycat Panera Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- 2 chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
- 32 oz of chicken bone broth (1 carton)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups pre-cooked wild rice (Rice-a-Roni or Uncle Ben’s)
- Turn your instant pot to saute and add in oil, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken, broth, basil, and oregano.
- Set the pot to soup and make sure it’s on 30 minutes, high pressure.
- While chicken is cooking, cook your wild rice and set it aside. (The reason I don’t add this to the instant pot anymore is the rice gets too gummy and soft. Cooking it separately keeps the integrity.)
- Do a quick release, remove the chicken, and shred it. Return to the pot.
- Put your pot on saute again, mix in your cream, pre-cooked rice, salt, and pepper to taste.*
* The soup will thicken as it stands, but if you want your soup to be thicker, just whisk a little of the broth with flour to create a slurry. Add to your soup and mix in well. Repeat till you get desired consistency.