Easter a Time to Create Wonderful Memories…

Easter is always a special occasion to gather with friends and family and celebrate all the good things that the season brings. Italians love to celebrate with a large family meal where Nona’s lasagna or Mama’s Lamb are the highlight at the dinner table. And kids of all ages love Easter celebrations as well… Mainly because they get to indulge their sweet tooth and have lots of fun at Easter egg hunts. Easter gatherings can be as formal or informal as you want to make them. What is most important is that everyone can enjoy each other’s company, create great memories and share great food with loved ones. So as you prepare for your Easter celebration we’d like to share some cooking tips, Easter recipes and entertaining ideas that will make the Easter holiday a lot more enjoyable and stress free. Whether you are entertaining a crowd or just a few friends, or even if you are taking something to share at a potluck style Easter celebration. We want to help you make this Easter holiday as enjoyable, easy and stress free as possible.

Here are a few easy and delicious ideas for Easter entertaining…

Easy Easter Appetizers

Bruschetta Trio with Italian Toast or Crostini


1 Jar of Flora’s Bruschetta Appetizer
1 Jar of Flora’s Sundried Tomato Bruschetta
1 Jar of Flora Olive Bruschetta
1 package of Flora’s Classic Italian Hard Toast
1 package of Flora’s 5 Grain Italian Hard Toast

To Serve:
Top each toast with the different Bruschetta toppings and serve on a large tray.

Italian Caprese Skewers with Balsamic Vinegar

½ lb of cherry tomatoes
Fresh Basil
1 lb of mini mozzarella balls or 1 medium size mozzarella ball (cut into small pieces)
Flora’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Flora’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mini Appetizer Skewers (can be bought at any party store)

Start by threading one cherry tomato onto the skewer, pushing it part way down, followed by a fresh basil leaf and a mini mozzarella ball, repeat this process more time and your skewers are ready!Place them on serving dish, decorate serving tray with remaining basil leaves and drizzle skewers with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar of Modena. Place on the table for all your guests to enjoy.

Pesto & Brie with Crackers


1/2 lb Round Brie or Brie wedge
1 Jar Flora’s Pesto Genovese

Place the Brie cheese in a rimmed baking dish that can be used to serve the Brie.Warm the Brie in the oven just until the edges are melting (5-7mins.)
Be careful not exceed 7 minutes or Brie could completely melt.Spread/spoon the pesto on top of the Brie and served with a variety of salty crackers, veggies and /or crostini. You can decorate with a sprinkle of pine-nuts on top of the pesto.

Traditional “Lasagna” with Paccheri Lisci Pasta


1 pound ground beef
½ white onion (diced small)
4 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Organic Paccheri Lisci Homestyle Pasta or (9 lasagna noodles) cooked and drained or
4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the diced onions until translucent and soft. Crumble and cook beef until no longer pink. Add next seven ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and Italian seasonings, if desired.

Meanwhile prepare the béchamel sauce (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread 1 cup meat sauce in an ungreased 13×9-in. baking dish. Mix meat sauce (except 1 cup) with boiled Paccheri, provolone cheese, 1 cup bechamel sauce and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with meat sauce and mozzarella (dish will be full).
Cover; bake 45 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through, 20 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

Bechamel Sauce

(yields 1 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
Salt and Freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan once butter is melted, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes.
Add hot milk (Warm the milk on low heat just until little bubbles begin to form at the edges. Then remove from heat).
Continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
For a cheesy béchamel stir in 1/2 cup grated provolone, fontina or mozarella cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

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