Margherita Bruschetta with Hidden Valley Herb Garlic Cheese

For the bruschetta base:
French bread, sliced into 36 thin rounds
2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the Hidden Valley Herb Garlic Cheese:
2 tablespoons (1 packet) – Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing Powder Mix
2, 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley leaves
1 tablespoon of dried chives

Topping for the bruschetta:
2 cups (about 2 medium-sized) fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, diced small, de-skinned and seeded (optional) *
1 tablespoon olive oil 
½ teaspoon salt
Cracked pepper – to taste
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine the topping ingredients except the fresh basil and Parmesan cheese; they will be used later in the recipe. Set the mixture in the refrigerator while preparing the herb cheese and bruschetta base.

To make the herb cheese, combine all the ingredients together and place into a food processor. Process until the cheese is soft enough to spread with a butter knife, being careful not to over mix or it can get too soft to spread. If you don’t have a food processor, simply leave the cream cheese at room temperature for one hour to soften it and then mix the ingredients with a spoon.

To make the bruschetta bases, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced French bread rounds on a cookie sheet, (preferably light-colored; dark-colored sheets can burn the bread easily). Brush the top of the bread bases with olive oil and place in oven for 12-15 minutes, until the bread is lightly toasted. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the Hidden Valley herb cheese on top of the bruschetta bases until covered.

Using a teaspoon, place tomato topping on top of the herb cheese.

Top each bruschetta with some grated Parmesan cheese and place into a 375-degree pre-heated oven and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil. Let cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

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