What’s for dinner tonight?  Leftover Easter ham?  There are so many things you can do with leftover ham, so instead of serving it the same way you did yesterday, why not mix things up a little!  Join me as I reinvent a classic dish that I know your family is sure to enjoy.

My kids love Panini’s, or as my son Todd calls them “Patini’s”.  I like to think of today’s Panini as yesterday’s grilled cheese sandwich with an Italian accent.  They are fun and easy to make, not to mention delicious to eat.  The best part is, you don’t even need a Panini grill.  Just fire up the stove to medium, put on a good nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, place one Panini in at a time, and weight each down with a flat-bottomed cake pan holding a 28-ounce can.

Tonight I will be serving Ham Panini with Granny Smith Apple and Applesauce.  I like to use homemade applesauce, but any good applesauce from the jar works just as well. You can even make these Panini’s gluten-free by substituting gluten-free bread and earth balance butter.  Extra points if you serve them alongside homemade Ham Bone Soup (way to recycle that whole ham).


Ham Panini with Granny Smith Apple and Applesauce

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Ham Panini with Granny Smith Apple and Applesauce

“Fromage de Brie” was on the 1914 café menu, but my twist on the tradition is to add thinly sliced apples and applesauce with any type of ham you’d like. I use homemade applesauce, but any good applesauce from the jar works just as well.


  • 16 slices sourdough bread
  • ¾ cup brown mustard
  • 12 ounces (3/4 pound) Brie, cut into eight equal pieces
  • 24 paper-thin cored, peeled Granny Smith apple slices (2 to 3 apples)
  • ½ cup homemade Applesauce, or prepared applesauce
  • 16 thin slices ham
  • Melted butter, as needed, or olive oil nonstick cooking spray


Spread each slice of bread with 2 teaspoons of mustard. On eight of the bread slices, spread evenly one portion of Brie, top with three apple slices, 1 tablespoon of applesauce, and two slices of ham. Top each with a second slice of bread, mustard side down. Brush the outside of each sandwich with melted butter or spray with olive oil cooking spray.

Cook in a Panini or other sandwich press. Or cook in a nonstick sauté pan: Weight each sandwich with a cake pan holding a 28-ounce can. Cook on one side until golden brown, remove the weight, turn the sandwich, and cook on the second side until golden brown and the cheese melts.

Slice the sandwich in half and serve with soup or chips.