Friday, January 25, 2013

Italian Cheese Loaf

Whenever I try a new recipe for dinner, I always watch my husband's face as he takes his first bite. If he eats it without changing facial expressions, then I know that the recipe is just okay, nothing noteworthy. If he gets this look of deep concentration, then it's either really good, or really bad. When he bit into this Italian Cheese Loaf, he got that look of deep concentration....and then devoured it....I took that as a sign that we have a winner here.

It's a warm, crusty loaf with a hearty filling of Italian spices, refreshing tomatoes, and melted cheeses.  

Italian Cheese Loaf

1 loaf (1 pound) French or Italian bread
8 oz. ground turkey or Italian sausage or ground beef, browned and drained (if necessary)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, chopped (I used the white part and most of the green part)
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (I actually used the stuff in the can, and it worked great)
1/3 cup chopped olives
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 

Cut off the top half of the loaf of bread. Set aside the top half. Hollow out the bottom half of the loaf, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. 
Mix the remaining ingredients together and spoon into the hollowed out bottom half of the loaf. Top with the top half of the loaf and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. (When I baked this, it was only warm inside after 25 minutes. So I removed the top half and broiled the bottom half for a minute or two to get the cheese all melted)

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home Appetizers

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