simple refreshing panzanella salad aka italian bread salad

the other night i had a dinner party for my cousins.. we had "italian" night.. and in honor of that theme i made this simple yet so yummy salad.. i had never had a panzanella salad.. i had only seen them on cooking shows.. so i went in search of one and found this recipe here.. and set out to make my twist on this classic italian dish.. well let me tell you if you've never had one you must try it.. it's so simple yet so flavorful.. this will be my new go to salad for awhile.. and the bread doesn't get soggy.. it's sooo good.. i love all the different textures.. try it you'll liiiike it.. also please read the end of this post.. tragedy struck my small community.. and it's something that is very hard to come to terms with.. something so horrible and unforgiving i am still trying to wrap my brain around it.. *sigh*

panzanella salad

prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 7-10 minutes
servings: 8-10



4 cups cubed bread {i used ciabatta}
1/2 tblsp. italian seasoning {2 tsp. each of thyme, oregano & rosemary}
1/2 tblsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
2.5 tblsp. olive oil

preheat your oven to 400 degrees {f}.. line your baking sheet with foil or parchment.. cut up your bread and put in a large mixing bowl.. in a smaller mixing bowl combine seasoning, salt, pepper and olive oil.. then pour over bread and toss to coat.. spread out in an even layer on your baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown..check after 5 minutes and toss them around so they get browned evenly.. remove when done and set aside to cool..



10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cubed
8 oz. ciliegine {small mozzarella balls, the ones i bought where marinated in olive oil and seasoning}, halved *i saved the oil*
5 sliced of pancetta, diced, cooked, drained and cooled {bacon is fine too if you don't have pancetta}


2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil {i used the oil the cheese came in and wow was it good}
salt and pepper

in a large mixing bowl or platter combine croutons, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and pancetta.. in a small mixing bowl combine dressing ingredients and whisk... about 30 minutes before serving pour dressing over salad and put in the fridge until ready to serve.. putting the dressing on now won't make it soggy, promise.. it's a really good salad.. and would be wonderful in the summer with fresh veggies from the garden.

enjoy and get cook'n!!


tragedy in my small town..

i live in a small community outside the hustle and bustle of las vegas.. it's called boulder city.. they don't allow gambling.. they have a building moratorium and no new houses have been built in years.. we have quiet streets.. well that all changed on monday morning.. i was outside taking photos of the salad above and i looked up and saw flames shooting in the air from what looked like my brother in law's house.. i ran inside and yelled for shell to come outside *not sure why i didn't call 911 right away but if you can believe it i didn't think of it* we ran out front and it was not my brother in law's house but one behind on the street behind us.. so i thought oh damn i better call 911.. i ran inside and just then i heard all the sirens.. i grabbed my phone and ran back outside i then noticed i had a missed call from a neighbor who lived on the street where the fire was.. i called her back and the story went from augh someones house is on fire to an unspeakable unthinkable tragedy.. an off duty police officer called 911 and said he had killed his wife and son and his house was on fire and if anyone came to help them he would shoot them.. when the police arrived he was on his front porch with a gun.. they ordered him to put it down and he refused and then killed himself.. when the responders went inside they found his wife and 5 year old son had been shot and killed.. the reasons and the whys are unknown at this time and i doubt they will the grieving family and friends much comfort..

in the after math of the tragedy the response from neighbors is so perplexing.. nobody knew them very well, kept to themselves, maybe a hi or bye at the mail box but no one actually talked to them.. some neighbors didn't even know there was a child living there.. and it's not like they just moved in they lived there for 7 years!!  it's just very very sad and it breaks my heart..

RIP Michelle and Max..


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