I do love my kitchen gadgets. I always toast bread, because keeping a loaf in the fridge means it always needs a little heat before eating. I use my stick blender almost every day to make smoothies. A coffee frother makes delicious faux-lattes with foamy soy milk. And then there's my panini pres...
A panini press is definitely more of a luxury item. Unlike my stick blender, it really does only one thing--make sandwiches, or sandwich-like foods. Unlike my coffee frother, it costs wayyy more than a latte. But it makes cooking so easy.
Tortilla shells are something I pretty much always keep on hand. I have been buying sprouted grain tortillas, which need to be kept frozen, so it makes them slightly less instant, but the added benefits of having something other than plain wheat tortillas makes it worth it. Why? Because my Mexican-style dinners can ready in minutes with my beloved panini press.
With tortilla shells on hand, the only other things I need for an almost-instant meal of vegan quesadillas are chedddar-style Daiya and salsa. If I have cooked black beans on hand, add them and I up the heartiness by half. Add avocado and you double the decadence. To really bring on the delicious glam and the nutrients too, I add cubed sweet potato and kale for a huge, panini-pressed stuffed tortilla. When I make it with that many ingredients, I fold the shell in three so I can press the whole thing but still hold the goodness in.
...I may have a somewhat-unhealthy relationship with my panini press, but the healthiness (and speed!) of the resulting meals more than makes up for it. Happy panini-ing!