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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bruschetta Bar

Hello foodie friends!  Today I want to give you an idea for what to serve when you're having several creative people over.  It's so easy to do a beautiful Bruschetta Bar and you can make it as light or as hearty as you want.  You can offer a variety of cheese, meats, fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.  Your guests can decide which flavor blends they would like to pile on top of their baguette slice.

The inspiration for this came from the Bruschetta Special that is always on the menu at a local restaurant here in Tupelo--Forklift.  I caught up with the owner, David Leathers, to ask him about it.  He said a lot of people think that bruschetta can only be the tomato and fresh basil topping for baguette, that we're all familiar with.  He said customers have actually argued with him over it. Ha!  But by definition, it is an Italian antipasto, or starter dish, consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil and topped with any manner or combination of vegetables, cheeses, cured meats or beans.  Leathers loves for his cooks to get creative with the Bruschetta Special at Forklift.  I decided I wanted my guests to do the same.

Here is the complete list of items that I included in my Bruschetta Bar:
1.  Toasted Baguette Slices
2.  Diced Tomatoes
3.  Fresh Dill
4.  Diced Blood Oranges
5.  Goat Cheese
6.  Olive Tapenade
7.  Feta Cheese
8.  Artichoke Pesto
9. Peruvian Peppers (from another local restaurant -- Neon Pig)
10.  Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
11.  Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
12.  Balsamic Reduction

When you're slicing the baguette, do it at an angle, with a serrated knife so there is more surface area for piling the yumminess on top!

I found this at the grocery store near the vinegars and oils.  It's basically balsamic vinegar and sugar boiled down to a slightly thick consistency.  It was delish with almost every flavor combination!

Here are some of the Bruschetta creations we made!  Clockwise from top left:  Goat Cheese, Dill and Peruvian Peppers...Pepperoni, Artichoke Pesto and Balsamic Reduction...Goat Cheese and Balsamic Reduction...Feta Cheese, Blood Orange, Dill and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil.

The occasion was the first official meeting of the Tupelo Bloggers Club.  We're starting out small, but we have lots of exciting ideas and are calling all local bloggers/instagrammers who want to be part of a super fun and creative group.  We plan to attend/cover local events and happenings and just basically be a collective voice of the Tupelo scene!

I hope I've inspired you to create your own Bruschetta Bar.  It is a fun and easy meal idea...for a party or just for your family.  Got kids around?  You can easily incorporate kid-friendly toppings for the little people.  As always friends, get in the kitchen and get creative.  Above all, have fun and love people!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sausage Rotel Casserole

Dressing up...this should be a fun and exciting childhood experience.  Not so much for my kiddos.  They've been studying Fairy Tales in school lately and this week held a couple of dressup opportunities.  Since I made my daughter wear a fancy princess dress to her Fairy Tale Ball, she said I ruined her whole day.  My son came home with a list of specific Fairy Tale characters he could choose from to dress up as...but he insisted that he had to be a super hero. Sigh.  

I was thankful for a simple recipe to throw into the oven while my kids were throwing fits about dressing up. Ha!  This Sausage Casserole is probably not the healthiest recipe, but it is hearty and filling...and most of my family members loved it!  It's great for a busy weeknight when you may or may not have some cranky family members to please.

Sausage Rotel Casserole

1 lb. ground Sausage
4 sticks Celery (chopped)
1/2 Onion (chopped)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Cooked White Rice
1 can Rotel Tomatoes (drained)
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Cook the Sausage, Celery and Onion over medium heat until the meat is browned.
3.  In a large bowl, mix the meat mixture with the next three ingredients and 1 cup of Cheese.
4.  Pour mixture into a greased baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cup of Cheese over the top.
5.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and browned a bit.

I finally talked him into dressing as a bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears!  I don't think he made it off the bus with the ears.  Oh well.  Fairy Tale week is just not for us. Ha!