Rinse and Repeat: Cuban Paninis

Working kind of sucks. Big time. It’s been all of one month at my new job and I already want to quit!

My hours are all over the map which makes cooking on a regular basis a total pain in the pooper.

Whenever time is in short supply I start looking for short cuts in the kitchen. Rinse and Repeat is the idea where you take one recipe and you make it work for you twice with little or no extra work.

In this case, I started with a simple Smoky Dry Rub.

I used the rub to make some quick barbecue chicken and some Spicy Pulled Pork (which takes all of five minutes to coat with the dry rub and throw in the crock pot).

While the Spicy Pulled Pork was delicious on its own as a traditional southern style dinner, leftovers bore me, so I put them to good use to make quick and easy Cuban Paninis for dinner the next night.

Start with some Cuban bread (or swap it out for ciabatta or hoagie rolls if you live in a small town), add a little mustard, turkey, leftover pork, Swiss cheese and a pickle or two for good measure, and you can sit back and relax with dinner on the table in 15 minutes and very little to clean up!

Yes I know that Cubans aren’t usually made with turkey. I’m obviously not Cuban, so deal with it. This is better anyway. Trust me!

Rinse and Repeat: Cuban Paninis

Yields: 4 servings


4 large pieces of Cuban bread or Hoagie rolls

2-3 tbs. butter

4 - 6 tsp. stone ground mustard (I prefer Inglehoffer’s Original Stone Ground)

8 slices of Turkey Breast

1 – 1 ½ c. leftover Spicy Pulled Pork

8 thinly sliced pickles, like Vlasic Sandwich slices

8 large slices Baby Swiss Cheese


Preheat a Panini press or a large skillet over medium.

To assemble:

Butter the outsides of two slices of bread or one of the hoagie rolls like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich. Slather the insides with mustard, using as much or as little as you like.

Layer with two slices of turkey breast, ¼ - ? c. Pulled Pork, 2 pickles, and two slices of cheese. Place the top on the sandwich, butter side facing outwards.

Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

To cook:

Place in a Panini press until the outside is lightly golden brown and the cheese is melted on the outside.

To cook in a skillet, place in the preheated skillet and place something heavy on top – I use a cast iron skillet to weight it down. Cook 4-5 until lightly golden brown. Remove the weight, turn the sandwich over, and cook 4-5 minutes more until the bottom is crispy and the cheese is all melted inside.


If you don't have leftover Spicy Pulled Pork, feel free to substitute leftover ham or sliced deli ham.

What about you? Do you love or loathe your job?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. 1

    Ah.. I have my moments too! One day i’m happy to work and the next I just wonder what was I thinking! heh.
    The spicy pulled pork sounds delicious! Running over to see the recipe.

  2. 2

    I’ve had a few jobs I loathed, but I’m lucky I think because I really do love my job now — although working does take time away from my food blogging hobby 😉 but I love my company and the things I get to do everyday, so I can’t complain. Hang in there! You’ll get used to it!

  3. 4

    Good for you making a meal and transforming the leftovers!! I feel bad that you are unhappy at your job. :( I hope it gets better and you get some regular hours. I had a job a long time ago where I worked in a call center and we had to do shift work… it really sucked too!! I think you’re amazing that you can still cook dinner and blog… Kudos to you!! The panini looks really fantastic… I just want to grab it and take a big ol’bite!

  4. 6

    I don’t know Jen, these look pretty darn cute, maybe you are part Cuban after all. Keep on keeping on my friend. A new job will come soon, I have every faith in you.

  5. 8

    these sound great! and i have leftover pulled pork that needs to be used up so this is perfect!

  6. 9

    Sorry to hear the job is sucking so bad & reworking leftovers is one of my favorite things to do each week. As much as I love to be in the kitchen, I really don’t end up whipping up something new more than about twice per week. I make a big batch of everything and then pair off leftovers during the week…

    Here’s hoping things get better at work for you soon… and now I’m hungry for hoagies! 😉

  7. 11

    Sorry you don’t love your job :( I am dreading the day I actually have to get back in the work force. We have been crazy busy here with school, work, and sports schedules, I could use more recipes like this!

  8. 12

    Jen, I am so sorry that your job is hard to endure. Things will get better. You have to keep thinking that.

    I love those sandwiches. I am SO glad I tried a Cuban before the stupid gluten free thing. Your version sounds delicious. I think I could pile all of the filling ingredients on top of a potato and be just as happy.

    • 13

      That is a really good idea! I’m trying – I just keep telling myself it’s only temporary and something better will come along.

  9. 14

    This sounds fantabulous!! I love using left overs for another meal, rinse & repeat all the way when you’re working! Still get amazing meals like this, looks delicious!

  10. 15

    I can’t tell you how much I can relate to this! I’ve been working very late days for the past couple of weeks and it totally cuts into the creative cooking time doesn’t it? It’s so great to cook and get two meals out of one. These paninis look fabulous!

  11. 17

    Oh yum! I do love paninis, these look super!

  12. 18

    Work is hard for sure. I ran a large company for 10 years and I just sold it January 1st. I used to say…”I really hate my boss, she is a b….”. Of course I was talking about myself. I think no matter what the job is, it eventually loses any thrill and it would be so much nicer to quit. I just started my new roll as a full time chef, mom and housewife. Most days are bliss, but when I HAVE to cook and clean and I don’t want to, it is tough.
    Hang in there! You are not alone.
    Oh and the sandwich looks amazing. I could use one of those right now!

  13. 20

    Oh, these look fabulous, Jen!!! I hope your hours will get more consistent…I’m sorry work stinks right now :(

  14. 22

    I am not a huge fan of the traditional Cubans because although I like pork sliced deli ham is not something I care for. This version looks great and it is always nice to get two meals out of one cooking adventure when you are busy.

  15. 24

    I love my Party Planner job and love the paycheck from my teaching job.

  16. 26

    Great sandwich – the rub recipe is fantastic. I am always on the lookout for a good rub. I agree that sometimes you really need a fast and simple recipe.

  17. 27

    I work freelance so when I’m not exactly loving a gig at least it has an end date in sight. I always love a Cuban sandwich and never want it to end.

  18. 29

    p.s. I love that you named your shortcuts Rinse and Repeat.

  19. 30

    Hi Jen – sorry you’re not having fun at your job :( I hope it gets better… try to appreciate your off time :) I love the look of these – they look like a perfect thing to take on my lunchtime breaks with me!

  20. 32

    I love sandwiches and I was drooling over the pork with all that rub on it! You know how to get to this man’s heart!

  21. 34

    This looks amazing, Jen! And I absolutely love the sounds of that dry rub. I’m a major herb and spice fanatic so I know I’ll be giving it a try as well as this recipe too. Yummy!

  22. 35

    I’m sorry the job is the pits….but the rinse and repeat recipe is terrific! I liked seeing your reflection in the spoon!

  23. 37

    Aww Jen. So sorry you are not crazy about your job. While I like what I do, I’ve been at my office for so long now that I wish I could move on. I’d really love to do something baking related, just don’t know how that will likely happen. But working full time….definitely interferes with baking and blogging, that’s for sure! These Cuban sandwiches look sensational! I’m into putting pickles on all of my sandwiches these days! And your photography is really outstanding here! Hang in there Jen….and I’m a good listener if you ever need!

    • 38

      Thanks Anne! I may just take you up on that offer. I’m trying hard to be positive and keep a good attitude, but sometimes that’s harder to do than others!

  24. 39

    I see a fancy picnic in my future! Thank you for sharing this! Allen.

  25. 40

    Sorry to hear you are not enjoying the job, Jen! This sandwich is a great way to unwind though! I love a good cuban!

  26. 41

    I totally do the same thing it’s a life and time saver! Working almost always sucks lol! This Cuban panini looks amazing!

  27. 42

    I love the “rinse and repeat” label, I’ve never heard that one! Pulled pork is my go-to easy meal, your spice rub looks delicious! I hope your job gets happier soon, or another, great one comes along…lousy when you dread going to work :(

  28. 44

    I’ve never stayed at a job I didn’t love. Life’s too short. I never left and starved but I made my plans and left. I hope you can sort it out.

    These Cuban paninis look smashing. I’m SO hungry right now.

  29. 46

    I’m sorry you had to go back to work…maybe something new will come along and will be your reward for the position you have been suffering in.

    On the flip side the sandwich looks fantastic and it is way more economical to go with what you have, but by remaking it the item is given new life.

    I hope things improve for you :)

    • 47

      Thanks Rachel! I’ve already started looking, but it’s difficult to find something that is as accommodating with my children’s schedules…

  30. 48

    My husband loves paninis and loves Cuban sandwiches, so I know this would send him over the moon. It looks delicious!

  31. 50

    Those look so good! I love pressed sandwiches and my panini press is due for another outing–I’m going to try this!

  32. 51

    Sandwiches are always a treat…Most especially paninis! I hope you can find the job that may tire you physically but will always lift your spirits up, everytime. I have been a work at home mom for 3 years now and so far, I have found the reason to wake up in the morning. But I tell you, it is always as tiring as an everyday triathlon event. 😉

    • 52

      I hear you! I loved staying at home too. I know it’s time for a new phase in my life – I’m just having a hard time adjusting to it!

  33. 53

    I guess it depends on the day. Sometimes I love my job and then sometimes my students are so freakin’ cranky it makes me want to just quit!! Ahhh… thanks for letting me yell that. :)

  34. 55

    Hopefully your new employer doesn’t read your blog ;-). Love the idea of the rinse and repeat and how you’ve refashioned this recipe. (hoagie rolls if you live in a small town – hee.hee!). Love my job! (on most days :)).

  35. 57

    I’m always struggling with balancing time for work life and excercise and fun life and time in the kitchen- but these paninis seem like a perfect option and they sound totally fabulous. Can’t wait to try!

  36. 58

    Having lived in the Tampa area for 15 years, I grew to LOVE Cuban sandwiches. Yours looks awesome. Hope all is well.

Please leave some comment love!