Antipasto Platter Recipe

The word antipasto means “before the meal.” Antipasto is the first coarse or appetizer in a traditional Italian meal. An antipasto platter consists of tasty favorites including: spicy Italian meats such as salami, pepperoni, and capicola; marinated and/or pickled vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes, grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts, peperoncinis, roasted red peppers, stuffed olives, and mushrooms; and flavorful spiced or smoked cheeses such as marinated mozzarella balls, smoked Gouda, and provolone. Think big! You are only limited by the size of your platter.

Antipasto Platter

Antipasto Platter

Antipasto Platter
  •            Hot Capicola
  •            Prosciutto
  •             Salami
  •             Pepperoni
  •             Garlic Stuffed Olives (Jar)
  •             Sun-dried Tomato Halves (Jar)
  •             Peperoncinis (Jar)
  •             Roasted Red Peppers (Jar)
  •             Marinated Artichoke Hearts (Jar)
  •             Cherry Size Mozzarella Balls
  •             Grape Tomatoes
  •             Fresh Basil (about 6 large leaves chopped)
  •             Decorative Lettuce
  •             Minced Garlic
  •             Olive Oil
  •             Sea Salt
  •             Black Pepper (coarse ground)
  •             Tuscan Seasoning

Wash and dry lettuce and cover platter.

Drain and mix fresh Mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, coarsely ground sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and enough olive oil to lightly coat. Place in the center of the platter.  If possible allow to marinate for a few hours but can be used immediately.

Arrange other ingredients separating colors around the center.

Mix artichoke hearts, Tuscan seasoning, and dash of olive oil and place at the 4 o’clock position on platter.

Mix Roasted Red Peppers, a clove of minced garlic, and dash olive oil and place in the 5 o’clock position on platter.

The other ingredients are straight from the jar. Place the peperoncinis at the 7 o’clock position, the sundried tomatoes in the 8 o’clock position, and the garlic stuffed olives in 11 o’clock position.

Starting at 12 0’clock place rolled up meats (hot Capicola, Prosciutto, Salami, Pepperoni). * Note that the hot Capicola was the biggest hit of the meat portion.


Green Beans Recipe: Country Cookin’ Favorite

There is nothing more tasty than a good old-fashioned country-style mess of green beans! My momma and daddy grew up deep in the country and learned a few things about country cooking. I grew up on that yummy goodness and they passed on a few of those secrets to me. Some are delightfully simple but in our time of health conscientiousness, some might question a few of the ingredients. I assure you, I come from a long line of healthy folks and I don’t believe that all our problems are food based. An active lifestyle can counteract a multitude of culinary sins. 🙂

Green Beans 2

Country Green Beans Recipe

  • 1 gallon half-runner green beans
  • bacon drippings
  • 2 large green onions
  • salt
  • water
*Optional Ingredients
  • **salt pork
  • boneless pork roast
  • boneless pork chops

String and break green beans. Place into large pot with enough water to submerge the beans by 1 inch. Add the (cool or cold) bacon drippings of 1 lb of previously cooked bacon. Chop 2 large green onions and add to pot. Salt liberally. Cover and cook on high with lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Stir occasionally and do not allow to burn. As water is cooked down, taste beans to evaluate salt content. Add more salt if necessary (it probably will be). After about half the water is steamed away, turn beans down to low and simmer until beans are falling apart and very soft. Serve with cornbread, fresh tomatoes, and fresh green onions. Total cook time 1.5 – 2 hrs.

*For optional ingredients: choose a cut of meat (pork is best with green beans) and add at the beginning of the cooking process. Cook beans and meat until both are cooked thoroughly.

**Salt pork really isn’t eaten per se, it is used more as a flavoring. It makes the beans good and salty!

Note: Lard may be substituted for bacon drippings.

Italian Minestrone Soup

This recipe makes enough for a small army or provides the family with lots of leftovers. It also freezes well for future meals.

Marvelous Minestrone Soup


  • 2 lbs Sweet Italian Sausage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cup diced onions
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 small chopped zucchini
  • 4 – 28oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups great northern beans
  • 1cup medium or small pasta shells
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp anise seed
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 6 beef bullion
  • 6 cups water


In a large frying pan, brown sausage in oil, then add onion, carrots, garlic, basil, anise, fennel – cook for 5 min

In a large pot combine zucchini, tomatoes, bullion, cabbage, salt, pepper, water, add sausage mixture– bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer on low to med low heat until vegetables are cooked through and soft.

In the last 15 minutes add pasta shells and great northern beans.

Serve with sour dough bread.

* Recipe has been doubled from the original and may be cut in half for smaller amounts.

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Sweet & Sour Coleslaw



  • 16 ounce package of shredded coleslaw mix (cabbage, red cabbage, carrots)
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1/2 red sweet bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp canola oil or favorite light tasting oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar

Pour shredded coleslaw mix in bowl. Dice onion and sweet red bell pepper and add to shredded coleslaw mix.

Combine celery seeds, black pepper, salt, ground mustard, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vinegar in a small mixing bowl, mix until smooth. Poor over vegetables and mix thoroughly. Let chill for one hour before serving.

Italian Spin on American Meatloaf

Italian Spin on American Meatloaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Meatloaf Cooked Side View


  • 2 lbs ground beef chuck
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp minced dried garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup fresh onion diced
  • 1/2 red sweet bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms diced
  • 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix everything but the ground beef and bread crumbs with a fork in a large bowl. Add ground beef and breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly by hand. Form into a loaf in the middle of a 9X13 glass baking pan. Do not allow loaf to touch sides of pan. Form a very shallow recess into the top of the loaf for topping.

Meatload Uncooked 1

“Form into a loaf in the middle of a 9X13 glass baking pan.”

Meatloaf topping ingredients

  • 3/4 – 1 can of tomato soup
  • salt
  • basil
  • minced garlic
  • ground black pepper

Mix tomato soup and dry ingredients (generously according to taste) in a small bowl. When thoroughly mixed, spread over top of loaf within the recessed area. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees and meat is no longer pink in the middle. Let stand 5 minutes and remove from pan. Slice and serve.

Meatloaf Uncooked 2

“When thoroughly mixed, spread over top of loaf within the recessed area.”

*Remember that undercooked ground beef can cause serious illness. Always cook meat to a safe temperature before serving. See the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature chart from the US government.

Meatloaf Cooked full view

Meatloaf ready to be cut and served

Keeping It Cool Summer Pasta Salad

This is a good recipe to guesstimate ingredients. I never measure. I just add more of the ingredients that I like best and less of the more potent ones such as onions and peppers. The measurements below are a rough guesstimate. 🙂

Keeping It Cool Summer Pasta Salad


  • 16 oz package rotini pasta or tricolor rotini pasta
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 – 1 red sweet bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups mushrooms
  • 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 bottle Ken’s Steakhouse Greek Salad Dressing or your favorite Italian

Cook Rotini according to package directions for al dente style. Rinse and allow to cool while preparing the other ingredients.

Dice onion. Cut small bite sized pieces of broccoli, mushroom, red bell pepper, and cheddar cheese. Halve cherry tomatoes.

Toss everything in a large mixing bowl. Stir-in nearly the whole bottle of Greek dressing according to taste. Be mindful that the pasta will soak up the dressing so more is better! You can also add other favorite vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumber, etc.