Quickest Best Antipasto EVER! and Easy

Antipasto, Antipasti (plural), translated as “before the meal”.  In Italian cooking it means an appetizer typically consisting of olives, anchovies, cheeses, sliced sausage, peppers, artichoke hearts and various meats.  Many Americans also believed it was the course served before pasta.The most hearty and daring of guests may enjoy Peprocini, anchovies and roasted garlic cloves in their antipasto. For Allergies or dietary preference*****omit meats for vegetarian. *****check all ingredients for wheat/gluten free. A low calorie option, omit meats and add ingredients that are oil free, and fat free. Most items can be purchased water packed.antipasto2

Holidays tend to be complex.  Delicious Appetizers are a treat to give and to serve. Quick appetizers that relieve the load might even taste better. I have received more compliments on this easy recipe than any other.

Quick, Easy, One dish Antipasto, Great for traveling, 5-10 minutes prep time.

Ingredients to mix together in nonmetallic dish. You can assemble in minutes for a quick pull together take along or marinate a day ahead for melding of all the flavors. Preserve cheese if making ahead do not add until just before serving.

  • 1 large jar, 28 ounces of roasted peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 can or container of olives; Black, Kalamata, green or mixed, pitted  may be prefered
  • 1 Jar marinated mushrooms
  • 1 can of Artichoke hearts cut to bite-size or two jars of marinated
  • Have the supermarket deli cut  a half pound each of provolone and Genoa salami,  into 1/2 inch slices , cube at home into 1/2″
  • 1 dozen cherry tomatoes halved, or 6 shredded and minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp  dried oregano or basil, or both.
  • dress with premium olive oil. Omit to cut calories

There is no wrong ingredient, add these optional favorites to your audience’s taste, or serve as sides.

  • pepperocini
  • pepperoni
  • mortadella cubes
  • Italian Capicola, shredded or cubed.Various cheeses, Blue, Feta, shredded or flaked Parmesan
  • 1 Cup of your favorite pasta cooked and chilled before adding, penne, rottini, farfalle bows or Orecchietti, **** gluten free options are available
  • anchovies
  • red raw onion
  • roasted garlic
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • shredded prosciutto di parma, sliced and shredded thin
  • hot pepper flakes
  • roasted Asparagus, Zucchini or Eggplant
  • Capers for a salty bite

Serve with Crusty breads, or varried  lettuces to make quick salads

  • a crusty loaf of bread

 

 

Grilled Watermelon with Feta & Balsamic Drizzle

This seems like it would be unappetizing, But it is incredible delicious and light. For lower calories, skip the olive oil and go for fat free feta.

Watermelon  cut 1″ thick

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil or Pam spray
  • A pinch of Salt optional
  •  fresh  greens
  • Feta or goat cheese crumbled,Fatfree Feta for low calorie option
  • Pepper to taste

Pam Spray or lightly oil watermelon before Grilling. Grill on hot grill pan or BBQ for 1-2 minutes until grill marks appear. Place on bed of greens, sprinkle with  cheese, and drizzle your favorite aged balsamic, salt and pepper to taste.

 

What to do with Squash Blossoms?

All those huge beautiful male squash blossoms go to waste on the plant. Only the female blossoms that already have a squash started on the base will develop into a squash.  Summer or Winter,  both are tasty treats if you think outside of the box.

Pick them either at night before they open or first thing in the morning. Picking them at night prevents  surprise guests from your snack, like bees, spiders and other crawlies.

You can store unopened blossoms for several days if stored gently,  I wrap in paper towel in a sandwich bag or plastic container.

My favorite recipes includes

  • Goat cheese, sundried tomatoes & basil
  • Feta, mint & pine nuts or olives
  • Low fat spreadable herb cheese
  • Ricotta, Parmesan, basil and sundried tomato

Pre-mix the cheese with minced additives

Closed Squash blossoms can be gently blown open to fill, check for critters, some prefer to snip the stamen before filling

Fill each blossom with a tablespoon of cheese, and close by running fingers up from the base of flower. you may fix ahead and cook  later in the day

Preheat oven to 325, make a wash of egg or egg substitute , gently coat with  your favorite breadcrumbs, we use gluten free. Spray a baking dish with Pam, bake 15-20 minutes.

Serve on a bed of field greens as an appetizer, or  as the main ingredient of a salad

You can pan fry or deep fry. When calorie counting baking is best.

 

 

 

Tabouli Style Quinoa Cold Salad

Love love love. Quinoa replaces couscous from the traditional recipe. Wheat allergies  can restrict  many from enjoying this delicious cold salad which is usually  made with wheat berries and/or couscous. Those requiring  a Gluten-free lifestyle can enjoy and be satisfied. Quinoa is easy to cook and versatile, it adapts to flavors readily. Quinoa  is great served hot or cold and packs a protein punch. Quinoa is an ancient grain, that is being rediscovered by chefs and home-cooks looking for healthier options.

Like any good salad there is no wrong way to make this dish, its all about your favorite flavors. Experimentation is allowed in cooking. Steffie makes it a little different every time. We often add  tuna to leftover quinoa salad, for a quick heartier lunch.

What you need

  • 1 Cup of uncooked Quinoa, available with rice, ethnic food sections, and specialty food aisles
  • 1 Cup of your favorite stock or bullion cube, chicken or vegetable work best
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or Real lemon concentrate
  • 1/4 cup of minced mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, use enough to desired consistency
  • 1 cup of peeled, seeded, 1/4″ diced cucumber
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional add ins: Olives, capers, minced sun-dried tomatoes, Feta cheese, shallots,  or garlic.
  • Substitutions  or additional herbs to add to the mint are parsley for a milder flavor, or oregano for a Mediterranean flair. Basil in combo with sun-dried tomatoes and grated parm can make it Italian!

Prepare Quinoa as directed on package with broth, lemon and water

Fluff with fork when done, thoroughly chill.

Add remaining ingredients to chilled quinoa. Using olive oil serves two purposes, it dresses the salad in combo with the acid of the lemon, and also keeps the salad from caking.

Salt to taste, occasionally sun-dried tomatoes may be salty when not packed in oil. Capers and Kalamata olives also are naturally salty. If sun-dried tomatoes are oil packed, reduce the amount of olive oil

Chill and enjoy, the taste improves daily. Makes 4 or more servings

Nutrition Data, 1 cup cooked quinoa: 155 cal, 30g carb, 3g fat, 5.5g protein, 3g fiber, estimated glycemic load 18