An End of Summer Dinner Party: The Appetizer

bruschetta, salad, lemonadeOne of the best things about Summer are its long, sunny days. Everything seems a little brighter and lighter. It makes it the perfect time to gather friends together for a casual meal, especially with all the delicious and nutritious produce in season.

I asked Shayna Telesmanic (a.k.a. Chef Shayna), the owner of Young Chefs Academy in Fresno and Food Editor for ABC30 to help me create a menu and cook a light and healthy Summer meal for a few of our girlfriends. I really like her way of making easy and no-fuss recipes so any of us feel like we can make them!

The goal for all the drinks and dishes on the menu was low-maintenance, in season and to avoid spending much time in a hot kitchen. We also wanted it to be fun for your friends or kids to jump in and help out. Basically, nothing that requires so much work that you stress over it.Summer recipes_Kelly & Shayna by final mealThis is what we came up with for a celebratory End of Summer Casual Dinner Party…


Drink: Refreshing Lemonade (a cocktail version too)

Appetizer: Bite-Size Bruschetta Cups

Main Dish: Chicken Summer Salad with strawberries & goat cheese

Dessert: Mini Peach Cobblers

Today, we’ll start with the bruschetta cups. summer recipes_bruschetta cups_side viewBruschetta Cups 

servings: 4.


  • sliced wheat or white bread or wonton wrappers (best to use bread with a more moldable texture, like Sara Lee)
  • 1/2 basket of red or yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 15 small mozzarella balls (buy the ones in liquid)
  • about 6 leaves of fresh basil, finely cut
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • balsamic glaze (we like the Trader Giotto’s one)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Prep: Summer recipes_roll out bread, step 2Roll out each slice of bread with a rolling pin. Summer recipes_bruschetta_cookie cutter, step 3With a 2” round cookie cutter, make 24 rounds out of the bread. Spray a mini cupcake pan with cooking spray to form a light coat. Summer recipes_forming bread into panPlace and mold rounds into the cupcake pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Summer Recipes_bruschetta_chop tomatoesSlice the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls into 1/3 pieces. Summer recipes_bruschetta_slicing mozzarellaToss the tomatoes and mozzarella together in a bowl with the olive oil. Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Summer recipe_bruschetta_filling the cupsOnce bread is baked, add the tomato and mozzarella mixture equally into the bread cups. Drizzle balsamic glaze on top and garnish with fresh basil. Summer recipes_bruschetta_drizzle balsamicSummer recipes_passing bruschettaAnd enjoy!!

Check back in tomorrow for the Chicken Summer Salad recipe!

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life.

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