Recipe

Party Menu: Bruschetta Bar

With so many people going with the trend of tapas or “small plates”, what could be easier for entertaining than a Bruschetta Bar?  I resolve in 2018 to entertain more because I love it!  And this simple menu allows guests to informally relax and make their own bruschetta, or choose from the few baked varieties I include.

This idea came to me from What’s Gaby Cooking.  She’s got the goods on what you should put on your board, what is essential for the party and even recipes for some delicious toppings.  Just click the link to check her out.  This is her picture, doesn’t it look scrumptious?

In addition to Gaby’s bountiful spread, I’m sharing some of my favorite bruschetta recipes.  I love anything artichoke, and this first one is yummy.

ARTICHOKE BRUSCHETTA

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (6 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained
    • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • 1/3 cup minced onion
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • mayonnaise
    • 16 -18 slices of a small baguette ( 1/3″ thick)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop artichokes well.
  2. Mix artichokes, onion, and Parmesan cheese.
  3. Add just enough mayonnaise to make spreadable.
  4. Add garlic powder, mix well.
  5. Spread baguette slices with artichoke spread and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until topping starts to bubble and brown.

 

Here’s another favorite of mine.  Originally it was from the Olive Garden website.  Really delicious and simple to make and keep in fridge ’til party time!

BRUSCHETTA CANNELLINI

INGREDIENTS

    • 0.5 (15 ounce) cans white cannellini beans, drained
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 loaf Italian bread
    • extra virgin olive oil ( to drizzle)
    • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
    • 1 small plum tomato, diced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley ( to garnish)

DIRECTIONS

  1. MIX drained beans, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar and sour cream in blender or food processor until smooth. Add olive oil slowly with blender or processor on. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate approximately one hour.
  2. DRIZZLE both sides of bread with extra virgin olive oil. Grill bread on both sides.
  3. RUB grilled bread with cut half of garlic to infuse with garlic flavor.
  4. PLACE bowl of chilled cannellini mixture in center of large platter. Stagger grilled bread slices around bowl. Garnish with tomatoes and parsley.

Now for the most traditional version.  I love this, and I’m not even a tomato lover.  That’s how yummy it is.  Another prepare-ahead marvel!

TOMATO AND BASIL BRUSCHETTA

INGREDIENTS

    • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
    • 8 slices Italian bread, cut about 1 inch thick
    • 2 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together chopped garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and basil.
  2. When combined slowly drizzle in oil.
  3. Add tomatoes and let sit for 20 minutes at room temp.
  4. Meanwhile back at the bat cave, toast the bread.
  5. This can be done either in the toaster (if it’s got really wide slots) or under the broiler (if using this method watch closely so it doesn’t become a briquette).
  6. When the bread is toasted rub each piece, on one side, with the whole garlic pieces.
  7. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and top with tomato mixture.
  8. Sprinkle on a little cheese and broil till the cheese melts (you can skip that last broiling bit and it’s equally as wonderful).
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. The tomato mixture also makes a wonderful vinaigrette for an antipasto salad.
  11. Enjoy!

 

Recipe

College Football is Here!!!

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Roll Tide, ya’ll!  College Football has returned, thank heavens!  What do we do with ourselves the other 8 ish months of the year?  While college football is severely cutting into my foodie restaurant reviewing experiences, it does give me a chance to do something I love equally well:  Test out new recipes on hungry fans.  Each Bama game day I make a bunch of snacky foods for us to grub while we watch the Tide roll.

Last weekend was my first trial run.  I learned a lot about the day.  First, think about the appliances you have in your home for cooking.  Make sure you only have one oven food, one stovetop food, one crockpot food…you see where I’m going here?  I scheduled myself too tightly on stove/oven duty and ended up missing the first quarter due to poor planning.  Never again.

thelephant

My Stove Top Dish

Cumin-Crusted Chicken Cheddar Quesadillas W/ Basil Sour Cream

INGREDIENTS

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For chicken

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless (about 1 1/2 pounds)

For sauteed mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 portabello mushroom caps, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, salt and pepper, to taste

For basil sour cream

  • 1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups sour cream

For quesadillas

  • 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 3/4 lb cheddar cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

  • For chicken: In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub chicken breasts with spice mixture. Grill chicken 6 minutes on each side or until tender. Remove from heat and thinly slice; set aside.
  • For sautéed mushrooms: Heat butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • For basil sour cream: Combine basil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until pureed. Mix into sour cream. Set aside.
  • To assemble quesadillas: Pre-heat grill or griddle to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortillas on a flat surface. Generously sprinkle cheese onto one half of each tortilla. Combine chicken and mushrooms; divide evenly on top of the cheese. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken and mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Fold each tortilla in half (creating a half circle shaped quesadilla). Cook each quesadilla about 4-6 minutes, until cheese is melted and the tortilla begins to brown and crisp. Flip tortilla and repeat about 4-6 minutes. Remove quesadilla from heat and cool about 30 seconds before cutting into 3 triangle slices. Serve with basil sour cream.

My Crock-Pot Dish

Apple Dip

This dip is sweet with just the right amount of peanut butter to give it depth. We gobbled it right up!

Apple Dip
Apple Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • apple, slices to dip

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients except apple slices in a saucepan, stir until smooth, and heat until scalding, watching to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Transfer dip to slow cooker, if needed, cook on low for 20 minutes.
  3. If not transferring, simmer on stovetop for 5-10 minutes.
  4. While the dip is warming, slice the apples and place on a serving plate.
  5. Serve the dip from the cooker, while turned on low to keep it creamy, or from bowls.

The Oven Dish

This recipe has been allllll over the internet, but there’s a good reason for that.  It is simply delicious.  And, if you are having a football party, you have to include some form of Buffalo Wings, right?

Buffalo Chicken Dip (photo by Delicious as it Looks)
Buffalo Chicken Dip (photo by Delicious as it Looks)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

INGREDIENTS

  • 1(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup red hot sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) can chicken, drained (or equivalent rotisserie or freshly-cooked, chopped chicken)
  • shredded cheddar cheese, you decide how much
  • Frito corn chip, scoops

DIRECTIONS

  1. Beat cream cheese, ranch dressing, and red hot sauce.
  2. Fold in shredded chicken.
  3. Spread mixture into pie plate sprayed with Pam.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
  5. Add cheddar cheese to top.
  6. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with Frito scoops.

And you know you can always do make aheads and put them in the fridge!

The Panini Press Dish (you know you can use a skillet or even your oven!)

This is officially a sandwich, yes.  But cut in in smaller pieces and bang! you have an appetizer.  These are so darned good.

Touchdown Pepperoni Pizza Sandwich

Touchdown Pepperoni Pizza Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices Italian bread
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons pizza sauce (or spaghetti sauce)
  • 6 slices pepperoni
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (or Asiago)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread mayonnaise on one slice and pizza or spaghetti sauce on the other slice.

  2. Lay pepperoni slices on the pizza sauce and the cheese over the top of that.

  3. Sprinkle Parmesan on the mayonnaise slice.

  4. Pop both pieces into the toaster oven (or put together and use a panini maker) until cheese is bubbly and melted.

  5. Fold sides together, and serve while warm.

  6. VARIATION: try this with your favorite pizza toppings OR cheeses.

  7. SERVING SUGGESTION: Cut on point into four pieces and use as “appetizers” or little kid-wiches.

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Recipe

Garden Party

party

Spring makes me want to get out and have a party!  Here is a party idea that’s sure to please!

You’ll need:  Evite

Menu   Shrimp Salad

Music

  • Garden Party by Ricky Nelson
  • Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
  • The Rose by Better Midler
  • Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
  • Chantilly Lace by The Big Bopper
  • Safe in My World by the Mamas and the Papas
  • Top of the World by The Carpenters

Activities

• Plant Swap—Celebrate your garden by asking guests to bring a flower arrangement or potted plant to swap with another guest. Guests can either fight over the foliage or pick names out of a hat to see who gets what.

• Flower Arranging—Ask guests to bring blooms and vases, and invite a floral expert or a friend with very green thumbs to show you different ways of putting them together.

Checklist for the party