Antipasto

Since our family lives so far away I don't get the opportunity to entertain much during the holidays, but when I do you can almost guarantee that the meal is not going to be on time. For some inexplicable reason I can't seem to get my timing down and my guests are often left waiting. Personally I chalk it up to the fact that up until recently I'd never cooked for a large group of people. I always went to my grandparents house for the holidays, but now winter often prevents us from traveling home and we have friends over instead. They all know that I have a pretty well established pattern of not getting our meal on the table in a timely manner (we won't mention the time Christmas dinner was over two hours late.)

These days I make sure to have an assortment of yummy nibbles for everyone to enjoy while I try and pull our meal together on time. I like to set out antipasto since it requires a minimal amount of work and doesn't take my focus off the main meal. I make sure to include a few old favorites and a few new items so even the less adventurous eaters among my guests can find something to keep them satisfied. The possibilities are endless and I always love it when someone tells me they've discovered something new and exciting. If you plan on doing any entertaining this holiday season or need something easy to bring along to a party, consider making an antipasto platter, your guests won't be disappointed.

Antipasto.jpg

Antipasto
serves 6 - 8

Ingredients

4 ounces Capocollo
4 ounces genoa salami
Assortment of Mezzetta® olives, drained
Assortment of soft cheeses, any variety
Fresh baguette, sliced

Directions

  • Arrange salami, olives, and cheeses on a platter and serve with sliced baguette.

Notes

The antipasto platter can be made in advance, then covered and refrigerated until you're ready to serve. If you're using soft cheese be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving so they are easy to spread.

For this platter I used Castelvetrano (not pictured,) Spanish Queen, and Garlic Stuffed olives. The cheeses were Rougette Bavarian Red, Port du Salut, and Roquefort. Feel free to try these if you can find them or substitute your favorites.

Disclosure

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that House Party and Mezzetta have provided me with free or discounted products that I've used to create this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus #MezzettaMixer House Party

In honor of my son's third birthday I thought I'd share a recipe for one of his (and my) all time favorite snack foods. We go through an obscene amount of hummus in this household. Our flavor choices tend to run a pretty wide gamut, but we always seem to come back to roasted red pepper. When I decide to make up a batch it's generally gone in under ten minutes.

We can be such gluttons sometimes (please don't judge me!)

I've been slowly tweaking the recipe and my latest addition, a combination of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, really makes the flavor stand out far above anything you'll find at the supermarket. It's absolutely addictive and comes together quickly (which is doubly dangerous if you're a glutton like me, I just thought I should warn you.) It's great for last minute company, or can be made a few days in advance for the times you have a mass of hungry people descending on your home. I'll be whipping up a double batch to feed the hungry hoard we have visiting for the party and I bet it's gone not long after it hits the table. This is one dish that never has leftovers.

I would like to thank Mezzetta and House Party for the awesome box of goodies they sent me for the Mix it Up with Mezzetta House Party on Saturday, 27th September. I was able to experiment with ingredients I haven't worked with before and my guests got to go home with some pretty nifty swag. Keep your eyes peeled for my Antipasto recipe, also using Mezzetta ingredients, I'll be posting it soon.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
makes 4 servings

Ingredients

15 ounces canned garbanzo beans, no salt added
1 cup Mezzetta roasted red peppers or roast your own pepper (see notes)
3 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cumin, ground
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, ground

optional

1 teaspoon parsley, dried
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  • Drain and rinse garbanzo beans, be sure to remove any skins that remain attached.
  • In a food processor or blender combine the garbanzo beans, red peppers, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, sea salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika. Pulse or blend until smooth.
  • Optional: top with additional red peppers, dried parsley, and olive oil. If using olive oil you'll want to add it just before serving since olive oil turns cloudy and hardens when refrigerated.
  • Serve with pita chips, flat bread, or an assortment of fresh veggies.

Notes

If you don't want to used jarred roasted red peppers you can roast your own. Substitute 1 whole red bell pepper (peeled and chopped) for the cup of Mezzetta roasted red peppers.

Disclosure

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that House Party and Mezzetta have provided me with free or discounted products that I've used to create this recipe. As always, all opinions are my own.

3rd Birthday Party Plans + Key Procrastination Tips

I've been a very busy girl these past few weeks, which is why I've not been posting as often. So far, in the last two days I've turned 24lbs of apples into three types of applesauce, made a small batch of pumpkin pie spiced apple butter, as well as roasted corn and poblano quesadilla filling, refrigerator oatmeal, and breakfast sandwiches. Pretty soon I'm moving on to brownies, banana bread, and hummus. And we can't forget the home made pizza I made for movie night. That probably sounds like enough food to feed an army, and it is, but what I'm really doing is procrastinating. I know that may be hard to believe after reading the list of everything I have accomplished, but in reality I'm putting off cleaning the house. If I'm honest, on the best of days I'm a terrible housekeeper and on the worst days you'll wonder if I ever clean at all. The truth is, I'd rather be playing with my son than cleaning, so more often than not we make messes rather than clean them up.

Isn't life with a toddler grand?

Despite my self-admitted poor housekeeping skills I do attempt a mini-spring cleaning the week of my son's birthday. The key word there is attempt, right now I'm attempting not to think about it, hence all the extra time I've spend in the kitchen. I'm sure each and every one of my guests know I'm a complete and utter slob, but for this one day a year I like to have the house somewhat in order before the party sends it back into chaos. We have exactly seven days to go until my friends and family make the trip to help celebrate my son's third birthday and I haven't cleaned a single thing. In fact, I've made such a huge mess of the kitchen and dining room that I'll have to clean before I can continue cooking. Perhaps there was a method to my madness after all, now I'll have to get a bit of cleaning done so I can make the birthday cake! 

Every year I start my planning by picking a theme for my son's party. The theme for his 2nd birthday, as you can see from the photo above, was dinosaurs. I made a pretty kick ass Paleontology Cake, but so far this year I'm at a bit of a loss. How in the world do you top a cake as cool as that? I've got a few ideas and hopefully I'll be able to tweak things this week. In the mean time I've come up with our menu for the weekend. The last two years we've done a chili buffet, but I'm ready for a change. We'll have a hoard of hungry toddlers running around and I can't think of anything they would enjoy more than a pasta buffet. I've never met a kid who didn't love pasta, have you? 

So without further ado, here is this year's party menu. I'll be updating it over the next week or two with links to the various recipes as I have time to photograph and post them.

✔ Party Theme

Construction

 Appetizers

Antipasto w/ Olives from Mezzetta
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus w/ Red Peppers from Mezzetta

 Main Course - Pasta Buffet

Originally we had planned on three types of pasta and an assortment of toppings and sauces, but a number of our guests weren't able to come for the party. Instead we had Fettuccini Alfredo topped with imitation crab meat, chopped broccoli, and parmesan cheese. I look forward to trying out the pasta buffet on a larger scale next year when we have more guests. Even on a small scale it was a hit with everyone, especially the kids, and only required a minimal amount of work.

I have a Crock-Pot Triple Dipper we used for keeping the toppings warm and everyone was able to customize their Fettuccini. 

✔ Side Dishes 

Mixed Green Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch
Cheesy Garlic Bread

✔ Drinks 

Iced Tea
Local Craft Beer 

  The Cake 

Construction Cake

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that House Party and Mezzetta have provided me with free or discounted products that I've used to create some of the recipes in this menu. As always, all opinions are my own.