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Dining Hall Dish: Panera Edition

Liz Chaten | Monday, November 2, 2009

Each year, Domers return from lazy Fall Breaks to the harsh winter winds of South Bend.  Chattering teeth and frozen fingers seek solace in warm soups and toasty sandwiches. This week’s Dining Hall Dish takes a few classics from the menu at Panera Bread, the go-to spot for warm paninis and savory soups, and recreates them in our dining halls.
Fontega Chicken Panini
Traditionally baked on Focaccia, an Italian flatbread with olive oil and sea salt, this panini’s rustic flair can be recreated on freshly baked French bread, drizzled with olive oil and a shake of salt.
1. Grab two slices of bread ­— I recommend venturing to the freshly baked breads, located behind the desserts in SDH.
2. Spread chipotle mayo on bread slices. If chipotle mayo has too much of a kick for you, pesto mayo works wonderfully as well. You can find these sauces by the Panini makers in the sandwich station.
3. Top bread with grilled chicken (I prefer the slices, found in the Mexican station, but a chicken breast works just fine too), red onions, tomatoes and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
4. Grill on the Panini makers and enjoy!
Chicken Bacon Dijon Panini
Most people don’t realize the wide assortment of condiments our dining halls offer. This panini uses Grey Poupon mustard, one of four mustards offered in SDH.   
1. Grab two slices of bread. Panera uses “crisp and nutty” artisan Country bread, but I find that wheat or fresh-baked French bread works well too.
2. Slather Grey Poupon onto both slices of bread.
3. Top bread with sliced chicken, bacon, Swiss cheese and a squirt of lemon juice. You can find lemons in the salad bars.
4. Grill on the Panini maker and enjoy!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a Bread Bowl
Panera describes its Broccoli Cheddar soup as “chopped broccoli, shredded carrot and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce.”  Served daily, this staple consistently pleases hungry stomachs. With a little ingenuity, you can create this café classic in our dining halls.
1. In SDH, freshly baked breads are served behind the desserts. Grab a round loaf of bread —that’s right, the whole loaf! — and cut into a bowl shape. 
2. Fill bread bowl halfway with Canadian cheese soup.
3. Add steamed broccoli, some shredded carrots from the salad bar, a dash of salt, a dash of pepper and a small spoon of mustard. The mustard may sound a bit strange, but Panera adds it to their soup too. Just a hint of mustard kicks up the flavor a bit.
Optional:  Add some tri-color rotini to the Broccoli Cheddar soup. Although this doesn’t mimic Panera’s menu, this fun take on Mac & Cheese tastes absolutely delicious!