Category Archives: Appetizers and Finger Foods


Braciola, (In Italian it’s involtini) rolled stuffed beef

Braciola is a classic Italian dish known as involtini or little bundles.
It is most commonly made with beef but depending on the region it can be veal, chicken or fish. You can grill, saute or simmer it.
The stuffing has many many variations.
I’ll list some at the end of the recipe.

preparing Braciola
preparing Braciola

Two long thin slices of beef top round London broil.
Your butcher can cut and pound them for you
1/2 Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Peccorino Romano cheese
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 TBLS fresh minced Italian parsley
drizzle of olive oil


Lay the beef slices out and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the garlic on them and then the balance of ingredients. Roll them half way and cut the meat in two. Secure the roll with a few toothpicks on each side and the center if needed. Continue to roll the other half of the beef and repeat securing them.

Cooking variations;
**Saute in olive oil and butter in a frying pan and then add a little red wine to simmer them maybe 10-15 minutes.
**Grill them for a few minutes on each side
**Add them to the tomato sauce you are preparing from my blog library

Stuffing variations;
**sprinkle pine nuts
**sprinkle currants
**add minced Pancetta or Proscuitto
**add a filet of anchovy
**add chopped hard boiled egg

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Potato pancakes (Latkes) are a simple and tasty side dish.  Easy to make and can be frozen to cook later. I like them with a little onion or chives.

Potato pancakes
Potato pancakes (Latkes)

Serve them with a good applesauce and sour cream or creme fraiche.
2 large baking potatoes
2TBLS finely grated onion or snipped chives
1 extra-large egg, beaten
 TBLS all-purpose flour

Peel the potatoes and grate them on a box grater or in  food processor with the grating attachment. Wrap the grated potatoes in a paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine the potatoes in a bowl with the egg, flour, salt and pepper. Mix well. Melt the clarified butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place a TBLS or two of the potato mixture into the sizzling butter and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook for another 2 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and golden brown. Serve the pancakes hot from the skillet.
***To make the clarified butter, slowly melt 4 TBLS butter in a small saucepan. Set it aside until the milk solids settle. Spoon off any solids that rise, then carefully pour off the golden liquid, discarding the milky part in the bottom of the pan.

Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer

This Caponata eggplant appetizer originates from Sicily and is very popular.  Serve it with bread or crackers as your holiday guests arrive.

Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer

Easy to make and if you follow my jam recipes for canning you can enjoy Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer all year long.  Just keep the jars in the pantry, once opened refrigerate them.

Caponata mixture
Caponata mixture

4 cups cubed fresh eggplant, with the skin on
4 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
2 med onions, chopped
3-4 ribs of celery, cubed
1/4 cup capers, drained
2/3 cup pitted olives, green Sicilian are preferred
1 TBLS red wine vinegar
3-4 leaves sliced fresh basil
1 cup plum tomatoes, canned and rough chopped with their juice

These are my favorite brand of tomatoes. They are from Italy and have no additives
These are my favorite brand of tomatoes. They are from Italy and have no additives

Heat the oil in a pan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Saute the celery and onion until nearly soft but not brown. Add the eggplant a saute a few minutes more. Add all the other ingredients and simmer on low uncovered for about 45 minutes until the excess juices are nearly gone. Serve at room temperature. It can be store in the refrigerator for about 4 days. You can also can at this point with the mixture hot and going into hot boiled mason jars.
Serve with a crusty Italian or French bread.

Italian Sandwich on Ciabatta Bread

This Italian sandwich was typical growing up in an Italian household.
So many different ways to make it, but I’m giving you this Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread as my favorite.

Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread
Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread

One 10″ – 12″ fresh Ciabatta bread (found in the better markets)
2 TBLS Pesto (jarred or grind garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, 1 TBLS grated Parmesan and a few pine nuts to make your own)
One medium jar red/yellow roasted peppers, rinsed
8oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1/4-1/2 LB Sicilian salami, sliced very thin

Cut the bread in half long ways. Brush both pieces with the pesto. Layer the balance of the ingredients to your desired thickness. Cover with the other half of bread and slice into 4 pieces.
Enjoy with a good glass of wine or an Italian soda.

Vegetable Appetizer Platter

I made this Vegetable Appetizer Platter to pick on before a family meal or its great to serve while guests arrive for a holiday get together.

Vegetable Appetizer Platter
Vegetable Appetizer Platter

It contains; Stuffed Zucchini, Stuffed Mushrooms and fried Yellow Squash. The zucchini and mushroom recipes are listed in the pantry. Below is the fried squash recipe.

1/2 cup or so combination vegetable oil and olive oil
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4″ slices
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 TBLS grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
dash of garlic powder, not salt

In a large non stick frying pan heat the oil to med/hot.
Combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and cheese in a 1 gallon bag. Egg wash the squash and place it in the bag. Shake the bag until the squash is coated. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm. Serve as is or dip in your fav dressing.

Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala

This Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala recipe is a great side dish.
I love it with steak, but it goes well with poultry too.

sauteed mushrooms
Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala

16oz pkg of fresh mushrooms, button or any type you like
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 TBLS butter **
Dash of pepper

Clean the mushrooms. I say that because I like to rinse them and brush with a soft mushroom brush. I just can’t get over the grown in substance and not wash them. Some people like to just dust them off.

cleaned mushrooms
cleaned mushrooms

Slice them or leave them whole. Place the butter in a saute pan large enough to loosely fit the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms on a fairly high heat until the juices come out and then absorb again. Add the Marsala wine and saute for a minute or two as the wine sizzles and deglazes the pan. Add pepper to taste and serve warm.

** replace the butter with olive oil to make this more heath friendly.

Classic Chicken Salad

This Classic Chicken Salad recipe has minimal ingredients allowing the chicken flavor to be the focus. Serve it over salad greens, on bread or stuffed in an avocado or a hollowed tomato!
If you like you can add sliced almonds, walnuts, grapes or anything else.

Classic chicken salad
Classic chicken salad

2 cups cooked chicken, skin removed, cubed or shredded, any mix of white or dark meat (for quick and easy  buy a roasted chicken)
1/2 cup celery, rough or finely chopped
1 TBLS onion or scallion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup mayo, use depends on your preference
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix the chicken with all other ingredients.
Chill and serve.

Stuffed Zucchini

This stuffed zucchini recipe can be made with many different ingredients.

Stuffed zucchini
Stuffed zucchini

I used mushrooms, onion, tomato and bread crumbs. Just about anything can be used; peppers of any kind, sausage, ham, beef, olives, capers etc…..

Stuffed zucchini mix
Stuffed zucchini mix


4 long thin zucchini
2 TBLS butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a small onion, chopped
4 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
dash of garlic powder, not salt
Salt & pepper to taste
1 TBLS grated Romano cheese
2 TBLS bread crumbs, any kind you like

Preheat oven to 350.
Wash the zucchini thoroughly. Leaving the stem in tact make a “V” shaped  cut in them and remove the cut zucchini.  Use a small melon baller to make a canal in the zucchini.

hollowed out zucchini
hollowed out zucchini

Chop the removed zucchini and add it to the stuffing. In a frying pan add the butter/oil and the onion.  Saute for a few minutes and then add all the other ingredients, except the bread crumbs.  Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes or so. If you use salty ingredients you might not want to add salt. Add the bread crumbs, this will tighten up the stuffing from being too watery. Stuff the cooked mixture into the zucchini canal as pictured.  Place in a covered baking dish and bake for about  30 minutes or until the zucchini are soft but not falling over and mushy.

If you have extra mushrooms and stuffing make stuffed mushrooms with it…


Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

An assortment of tomatoes are in abundance in the summer months.
This Heirloom tomato recipe mixes all types of tomatoes.
I bought these from the local farmers market picked at their peak of flavor.

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Fresh mozzarella is key also. It’s from my local market but the store brand BelGioioso is good too.

ingredients for Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad

1 LB fresh mozzarella
1 LB Heirloom tomatoes, mixed types
2 TBLS extra virgin oil oil
4-6 fresh basil leaves, sliced
A bottle of Balsamic glaze, check the label to be sure it doesn’t have corn syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Mix and assemble in a dish. Pour the olive oil over them and add the salt and pepper. Decorate with the Balsamic glaze and the basil. Serve just slightly chilled with a good crusty slice of Italian bread.
Add a glass of wine and opera music and you could drift off into Italy!!

Tomato Tart

It seems like all the garden tomatoes come out at one time. This Tomato Tart recipe is a great way to use many of them. I served it as an appetizer.
Be sure to use Roma or plum type tomatoes. Regular slicing tomatoes have too much water in them.

Tomato tart
Tomato tart

One 16oz pkg frozen Phyllo dough (use one of the two rolls in the pkg) defrosted according to the box directions
6-8 Ripe plum tomatoes, sliced thin
6-8 Basil leaves, sliced thin
1 TSP Dried Oregano
1 TSP Garlic powder (not salt)
1 TBLS Dried or fresh Parsley, minced
2/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBLS Butter, melted
3 TBLS Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Mix the butter and oil together. Unroll the phyllo dough and one sheet at a time brush the first 4 sheets with the butter/oil mixture stacking them on top of each other on the parchment paper lined pan. Keep a damp paper towel over the unused phyllo dough while you are putting together the sheets. Sprinkle the 5th sheet with about one third of the oregano, basil, garlic powder, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Repeat brushing each layer of dough and repeat the sprinkle of spices when about 2 sheets remain. On the top/last sheet repeat the butter/oil and place the tomatoes over the entire dough area. Sprinkle with the remaining spices and cheese.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until the dough is lightly brown and the middle of the underside of the tart is a little firm. Cool slightly before cutting into squares to serve.

Stuffed Artichokes

A fresh stuffed artichoke is intimidating to some, not only how to eat them but also how to cook them. Hopefully I will explain and picture the basics so you will try both. There are a few ways to cook artichokes. This one is stuffed.

Stuffed artichokes
Stuffed artichokes

Another is Roman style which steams them whole with lemon and oil, not stuffed.
They are truly a gourmet delight when prepared properly.
You can also use a crock pot for this recipe.

2 large fresh artichokes(the leaves will be tightly closed when fresh)
1 1/2 cups of Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 TBLS parsley, minced
2 TSP garlic powder, not salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder and cheese together, set aside.

Stuffed artichokes
prepping artichokes
Stuffed artichokes
snipped artichokes

Wash the artichokes and cut off the stem at the base of the leaves (peel the stem and add it to the pot for cooking)and enough of the top to cut off the pointed ends of the first row of top leaves. Then with kitchen scissors trim just the tops of all the leaves. Rinse the inside leaves pulling them open while running them under water. Set the artichoke upright and sprinkle inside all the leaves and top with the bread crumb mixture. I use a grapefruit spoon as pictured, but any type will do.

Stuffed artichokes
Stuffed artichokes preparation

Place the artichokes in a pot and pour some of the olive oil over each one. Fill the pot about 1/4 up the sides of the artichokes with water. Cover and simmer on low for 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of the artichoke. At this point you could use a crock pot.
They are done when the middle leaves pull out easily. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a lemon wedge if you like.
You eat them by pulling the leaves off and placing them in your mouth and scrapping the leave with your teeth as you pull them out of your mouth. Once all the leaves are off there is a center with a fuzzy top. Peel away the fuzz and what is left is called the heart. It is and well as the stem completely eatable and so tasty.

Guacamole Dip

This fresh guacamole dip is easy and so nutritious. Great for company or a snack for the kids. Adjust the spiciness to your liking. You can use my short cut salsa or chop your own plum tomatoes, garlic, onion and cilantro.


4 x avocados, firm but giving when pressed
1 fresh lime
1/2 cup fresh store made salsa, any style/flavor you like
Tabasco sauce
Tortillas, any variety of corn; white, yellow or blue

Slice the avocados in half lengthwise using the knife up against the pit from one side to the other . Holding each side twist and the avocado will come part easily. Do a chop motion with the knife into the pit and turn the knife and the pit will come out. Spoon or slice out the avocado flesh into a bowl. You can leave the flesh chunky or mashed, its your choice. Cut the lime in half and squeeze all the juice over the avocado. Add the salsa and mix. Use as much or as little of the Tabasco as you like. Serve immediately. Guacamole even with the lime juice in it will brown if left out too long. So make it just before you want to use it. Serve with fresh tortillas if you can get them or lightly salted super market type.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk fried chicken recipe is finger lickin good !!  The buttermilk makes all the chicken pieces moist and tender. Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for at least 6 hours and up to 2 days refrigerated. There are many many recipes for fried chicken but this one is my favorite.

homemade Buttermilk Fried Chicken
homemade Buttermilk Fried Chicken


2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, beaten
8-12 pieces of chicken with skin and bones; breasts (if they are lrg cut them in half), thighs, legs and wings
3 cups all purpose flour
2 x 1/2 TSP salt
1 and 1/2 TSP Cayenne pepper
1 TSP sweet Paprika
2 x 1/2 TSP poultry seasoning (Bell is one brand)
3 cups canola oil mixed with 1 cup peanut oil

Marinate the chicken AT LEAST 6 HOURS TO TWO DAYS BEFORE. In a gallon size resealable plastic bag combine the buttermilk, 1/2 TSP salt,  1/2 TSP cayenne pepper and 1/2 TSP poultry seasoning.  Add the chicken. Use two bags if you need to, just split the milk mixture in two. Refrigerate.
Heat the oils in a large iron fry pan or in a deep fryer to 350. Use a deep-fry thermometer if you can or test the heated oil by putting a pinch of flour into it and if it sizzles its ready.
In a large bowl combine the flour, remaining 1 TSP cayenne pepper, 1/2 TBLS salt, 1/2 TSP poultry seasoning and the paprika.
Dredge the chicken pieces one at a time into the flour and then into the beaten eggs and then into the flour again. Shake off any excess. Carefully add the chicken pieces into the hot oil leaving some room around them to cook. Turning them about every 10 minutes until they are golden brown and the juices run clear, about 175 degrees. Place cooked chicken on a rack to drain. Repeat this 2-3 times more until all the chicken is cooked.

**use all wing pieces to make a great appetizer

Italian Cold Antipasto, Traditional style

There are many variations of Italian Cold Antipasto. The name alone says “before pasta”. What I have assembled is the traditional style I grew up with. Be creative and add your family favorites to the dish.
Half the attraction are the colors and textures when the dish is assembled making it a work of art!!

Italian cold antipasto
Italian cold antipasto

1LB fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1LB Italian Pannello or Provolone cheese, sliced
1 large jar roasted red peppers or mix with yellow or roast your own
1 box frozen artichoke hearts
6 fresh basil leaves
1/2LB Prosciutto, DiParma is the best
1/4LB Sicilian Salami
1/2LB assorted olives
10 Grape tomatoes
Small can Anchovies rolled with capers
Romaine lettuce leaves, enough to cover the platter
A good quality Balsamic vinegar & extra virgin olive oil
Italian bread

Use a large platter that can accommodate all the ingredients. Defrost the artichoke hearts. Toss them with a little olive oil. Rinse the peppers if you use jarred and pat dry. Cut them into 1 inch slices. Roll the Prosciutto into logs. Lay the lettuce leaves to cover the platter. Assemble the platter as you like, mixing the colors and textures making the dish mouth watering good.
Slice the basil thin and sprinkle over the platter.
Serve with the dressing on the side and a good crusty Italian bread.


Chicken Marbella

This Chicken Marbella dish is so tasty and is better when prepared the night before you want to cook it. Overnight marinating is the best. The flavors intermingle and burst in your mouth.  People who do not like prunes/olives eat this with vigor. I originally discovered this from a country store in Rye, NY. I’ve come to find out that its origin is Spanish-Moorish and the Silver Palate cookbook made it famous.

Chicken Marbella
Chicken Marbella

1 whole fresh chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces***
4 cloves of garlic, mashed and pureed into the oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 TBLS dried oregano
1 TBLS dried thyme, if you use fresh use about 6-8 sprigs
1/4 TSP ground pepper
Dash of salt
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted green Spanish olives
2 TBLS capers, and a splash of their juice
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 TBLS fresh parsely, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine

In zip lock bag combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the white wine and brown sugar. Marinate overnight for best results or at a minimum 4 hours in the refrigerator. In a glass or stainless steel baking dish arrange the chicken in one layer. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Pour the white wine around the chicken. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the chicken.
Bake at 350 uncovered basting the chicken with the juices a few times.
Bake for about 50-70 minutes, until the juice of the thighs are clear when cut.

***if you want to make this as an appetizer use wingettes and reduce the cooking time to 30 minutes.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms have so many variations. Here is one with Italian sausage. You can also use my crab cake recipe to stuff mushrooms.

Stuffed mushrooms
Stuffed mushrooms

8 (about 1.5-2 inch size) white button mushrooms, washed
2 TBLS butter
1 link Italian sausage
1 clove of garlic, minced
2/3 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 TBLS grated Romano cheese
2 TBLS olive oil

Wash and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Carve a little well in the cap to allow stuffing (I use a melon baller for this).


Chop all the stems and pieces and set aside. Remove the sausage from the casing and in a frying pan saute the sausage breaking it up into small pieces. Add the mushroom pieces and saute until the water from the mushrooms has dissipated. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs, oil and cheese. Mix and stuff into the mushroom caps slightly mounded. Place a small piece of butter on top of each mushroom. Place them in a baking pan and bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until just soft.

Beer Cheese Dip

This beer cheese dip is easy and can be made a few days before serving storing it a container. I’ve made this one using an olive oil and rosemary bread but any round whole bread will work.

Beer cheese dip
Beer cheese dip

12oz-14.5oz container of sharp cheddar cheese spread
4oz cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4-1/3 can of any beer
1 whole round  bread , any type you like

Mix ingredients , except bread together until smooth and soft enough to be a dip. At this point you can store in a container few 2-3 days. Just before serving carve out a hole in the top of the bread wide enough to be filled with the cheese dip. Cut the pieces of carved bread into cubes for dipping. You can also serve with small pieces of fresh veggies or fruit for dipping.

Baked Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Tart

This Fig tart is so yummy and easy to make. Just be sure to use fresh figs.
I brought this to a party and it was gone in 10 minutes.  Be sure to make extra !!

Fig tart
Fig tart

10 fresh figs cut in half
4oz-6oz pkg of plain goat cheese
1 prepared rolled pie crust from the box
1 TBLS sugar
Salt & pepper
Lemon thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 425.
Flatten out the pie crust. (If you have a tart pan it will work very well). Spread the goat cheese leaving about 2 inches on the sides.
Lay fig slices cut side facing up on top of goat cheese in a single layer. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon white sugar. Fold the sides up making a pleat around the tart.
Bake until cheese is bubbling and figs are glazed, about 25 minutes. Garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme. Serve slightly warm.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp

This Baked Stuffed Shrimp recipe is easy and impressive.
Start off by making my crab cake recipe for the stuffing.
You can freeze these too.

baked stuffed shrimp
baked stuffed shrimp

Eighteen 16-20 count or larger raw peeled and deveined shrimp
Make my crab cake recipe
2 TBLS of each, Olive oil and butter
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven 375.
You can stuff the shrimp laying on their side or stand them up flatting them and pile the stuffing on the opposite side of where they were cut and cleaned. Place them into an open baking dish.
Drizzle with the oil and place pieces of butter around the shrimp. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 mins until the shrimp are pink and firm up. Serve with lemon wedges.

Deviled Eggs

This deviled egg recipe can be made in so many ways. I’m going to give you a base recipe and then suggestions for ingredients to mix in or use to decorate them.

Deviled eggs
Deviled eggs

6 hard boiled eggs, cooled
2 TBLS mayo or more if you like
dash of white pepper & salt
1/2 TSP dry mustard or a packet of Chinese mustard if you like spice

Peel cooled eggs (peeling under running cold water will make them easy to peel)and cut them in half. Place the yolk in a bowl with the balance of ingredients and mix until smooth.  Mix in whatever you like and fill the whites with the yolk mixture and decorate. Serve chilled.

Below are a list of ingredients you can mix into the yolk mixture or decorate the tops.
Sliced olives (pictured)
Minced smoked salmon
Fresh chopped parsley
Fresh dill
Minced ham
Minced bacon
And anything else you desire!
Serve chilled.

Cucumber Hummus Appetizer

The summer usually means you get so much of one vegetable all at once you run out of things to do with them. Here is a tasty appetizer, side dish or snack to use up all those cucumbers. Cucumber Hummus Appetizer is a great cook out take along since its not sensitive to the summer heat.

Cucumber with hummas
Cucumber with hummas

Cucumbers, peeled leaving a dark green stripe and sliced 1 ” thick
Container of prepared hummus, (10oz size covers 3 cucumbers)any flavor you like
A bunch of fresh dill
Sliced olive rings or small pieces of roasted peppers

Peel the cucumber leaving a stripe. Cut the cucumbers into 1 ” thick slices and using a melon ball scoop or the end of a potato peeler, scoop out an indentation of the seeded area of the cucumber. Fill with the hummus and garnish with a dill fern and olive or pepper piece on top too.

Crab Louis

Crab Louis is a very old dish dating back to the early 1900’s. It’s a great flavorful salad for the summer and easy to put together. Be sure to use a good grade of chilled crab like backfin or lump. It makes all the difference. Garish however you like or leave it plain. I like it served in an avocado. This recipe will serve 4.

crab louis
crab louis

Ingredients (Dressing);
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup ketchup based chili sauce
1/4 cup snipped chives
6 large green olives, sliced
1 TBLS capers
2 TSP lemon juice
1 TSP Worcester sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix together and keep chilled.

Two avocado’s, sliced in half, pit and skin removed
1 LB crab meat, backfin or lump, the chilled refrigerated type
Sliced hard boiled egg
Lemon wedges

Gently mix half the dressing with the crab meat. Place the avocado halves in a plate, you might want to take a thin slice off the side facing the plate so they don’t tilt over. Place 1/4 of the crab in the pit cavity of each avocado half and garnish with the balance of ingredients. Pour the remaining dressing over the crab and garnish. Serve slightly chilled.

Cheese and Vegetable Antipasto Salad

This Cheese and veggie antipasto salad dish is made with easy things you can have in your pantry-refrigerator and quick to make for a before dinner appetizer or a meal in itself.

Cheese and veggie antipasto salad
Cheese and veggie antipasto salad

8 oz fresh mozzarella, if you don’t have fresh available the Bel Gioioso brand is available in most markets and even some Wal-Marts
6 oz-8 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
6 oz-8 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup country mix pitted olives(assorted)
3-4 fresh basil leaves
extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Assorted salad greens

Cut the mozzarella into slices and place on a plate. Arrange all the other ingredients around the cheese. Sprinkle with the oil and salt-pepper. Serve with crusty Italian bread or bread sticks.

Baked Clams

This recipe is for Baked Clams when fresh clams aren’t available. It’s easy and sometimes an introduction to those who don’t want to try a fresh whole clam.
I myself prefer fresh whole clams.

Baked Clams
Baked Clams

25 foil clam shells (you can find them in specialty stores or on Amazon)
4 cans (6.5oz each)of chopped or minced clams with the juice
1 1/2 cups Italian flavored bread crumbs
4 TBLS unsalted butter
4 TBLS olive oil
1 TSP garlic powder (not salt)
1/4 cup grated Locatelli or Parmesan cheese
1 TBLS fresh chopped parsley
1/2 TSP dried oregano
1 TBLS lemon juice
dash of red pepper flakes
Mix everything together, the mixture should be wet, add more clam juice if needed. Spoon onto clam shells about a tablespoon size and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

New Year’s Eve Appetizers

I’m going to give you a few easy to do appetizers. These are great anytime, watching a game or just as a snack.

Prosciutto Rolls
12 slices of Prosciutto (the DiParma is the best)
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 TSP dried basil
small pkg fresh Arugula
1 small bottle Balsamic Glaze

Mix the ingredients except the prosciutto, arugula and the glaze.
Lay the prosciutto flat and cover with a layer of the cheese mixture.
Lay the arugula on top and then roll. Cut into 1/2 rolled pieces.
Squirt with glaze and chill until served.


Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
6 eggs, hard boiled and chilled, then peeled and sliced in half
1/4 cup mayo
3 TBLS soft cream cheese
1 TSP Dijon mustard
2 TSP fresh preferred, dill weed+some for garnish
dash of salt & pepper
4oz pkg smoked salmon

Mix the egg yolks with all other ingredients except the salmon and dill for garnish until creamy. Stuff the egg white halves. Top with pieces of salmon and dill. Serve chilled.


Brie Honey Apple Bites
1 TSP lemon zest
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts for garnish
2 med apples, finely diced
1/4 cup honey
8oz round of Brie or Camembert cheese with rind, diced into 1/2″ cubes
2 pkgs prepared mini phyllo shell cups, about 24-30 cups.
Preheat oven 400.
Mix together zest, honey and apple. Place a cheese cube in each phyllo cup and top with the apple mixture.
Bake for 6-8 minutes, top with walnuts and serve warm.

Bacon and Sugar Cocktail Franks

My friend Susan makes this Bacon and Sugar Cocktail Franks recipe all the time. What a great flavor combo of the salt and sweet.

Bacon sugar cocktail franks
Bacon sugar cocktail franks

1 Pkg cocktail hot dogs
1 LB package bacon, any kind
1LB box dark brown sugar

Preheat oven 425.
Roll each hot dog in the bacon, just enough to go around once or twice. Then roll it in the brown sugar. Place a toothpick through the middle. Bake on a wire rack, if you have one, placed on top of a lipped cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.