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Wining and Dining

Refreshing Ideas for Easy Entertaining

/ -- (Family Features) Whether you're hosting a small weekend get-together, a large holiday gathering or anything in between, entertaining friends and family will always provide an opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime. However, no host wants to miss out on the highlights because of an endless to-do list in the kitchen. With the right recipes and refreshments, it's easy to throw a successful, enjoyable dinner party for both you and your guests.

One way to take the guesswork out of meal planning is by starting with the wine you're planning to serve and working backwards. Chardonnay is a favorite varietal of many wine lovers and Edna Valley Vineyard has crafted award-winning, food-friendly Chardonnay from California's central coast for more than 35 years. Featuring bright layers of white peach and apricot alongside notes of pineapple and brown spice, this white wine is a sure bet to complement a range of dishes and elevate any meal.

One savory example that pairs perfectly with Chardonnay is Grilled Panzanella Salad - a quick and delicious dish that can serve a small group using a few basic ingredients and leftover bread.

For more easy entertaining recipes and ideas, visit

Grilled Panzanella Salad
Serves: 4-6
8 ounces day-old sourdough bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1 cup roasted red bell peppers, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, halved if large
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 1/2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.

For salad: Cut bread into 1-inch thick slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt. Grill bread on both sides until toasted and grill marks are present. When bread is cool enough to handle, rub garlic clove on both sides. Cut into 1-inch cubes.

In large bowl, combine bread, peppers, tomatoes, olives, basil and cheese.

For balsamic vinaigrette: In small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar and garlic. Whisk in olive oil in slow stream until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Toss vinaigrette with salad and serve immediately. Garnish with additional fresh basil and grated cheese, if desired.

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Michael French

Photo courtesy of Edna Valley Vineyard