Friends of ours gave us a panini press as a wedding present and for some reason it sat in the closet for years until we had kids. I don't know why we didn't break it out sooner because it's hands down one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. It's amazing how just hot pressing a sandwich can turn average bread and filling into a rich, gooey and crusty creation that my kids, their friends (and our mommy and daddy friends) adore.
Surprisingly, making a panini doesn't take much longer than a regular sandwich. In fact, while I'm packing the rest of Kenya's lunch I just put his sandwich in the press for a couple of minutes and by the time I'm finished, so is the sandwich, ready to be packed away.
When most people think about paninis, cheese comes to mind, but I thought hot pressing a PB&J was a cool way to liven up a classic school lunch sandwich. With plenty of potassium from the banana slices, carbohydrates from the bread and protein from the nut butter, this is a well rounded treat that will keep your kids going in the middle of the day when they need it most. You'll be hard pressed to beat it. ;)