Antipasto Spinach Pasta Salad

Hello all– What is the easiest, freshest, yummiest way to have friends in for dinner in the summer??  A big bunch of Bible study friends came couple weeks ago for a salad/dessert pot luck.  As they trickled in the door, brimming bowls of chicken salad and fresh fruit and Asian slaw… lined up in the kitchen.  Plus pies– beautiful pies!

We sat down with plates full and settled into easy conversation that you have with old friends.  Love a summer evening with these ladies.

And this was my salad contribution– so much flavor from the sun dried tomatoes and garlicky salami, played against chewy pasta and creamy fresh mozzarella.  I think it would be good on your summer able too.

8 oz. Cellentani pasta (or your favorite pasta)*
3 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/3 cup red onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup cured olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls (or cubed)
4 oz. salami, cut to pieces
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup parmesan romano cheese, grated
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (mine was 11 minutes in boiling water).  Drain, rinse and cool the pasta to room temperature in a large bowl.

Add in the spinach, red, pepper, red onion, dried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, salami and garbanzo beans.

To make the dressing, put the olive oil, white balsamic, cheese and salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well until it’s all blended.  Pour over the salad and mix to coat all the ingredients with dressing.

Stick it into the fridge until you’re ready to serve it up!

*I used Barilla Cellentani in the blue box– nice and chewing and soaks up the dressing.


Italian Chopped Salad



Hello all-  Took this salad to dinner with a table full of friends on Valentines Day.  A big Italian feast.  Jill made us all wear large heart name tags (ala Julia Child) and Tim was ready with the go ’round questions after dinner–
What’s the most romantic things your spouse has ever done??
What about you, most annoys your husband/wife??
If your spouse were famous, what would he/she be known for??

It was a a delightful evening, 12 old friends, most of us married around 40 years, and I appreciated my Larry all the more by the time the evening was over.

And– we had this bright salad–full of a lot of my favorite tastes.  It’s hearty enough to be dinner on its own– or just part of a big festive dinner with friends!


6 cups chopped green leaf lettuce*
1/4 pound hard salami, thickly sliced & chopped
3 oz. feta with herbs, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup good mixed cured olives

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. white balsamic**
1 tsp. honey
3 tab. parmesan romano
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


Spread the greens in a large salad bowl and top with the other salad ingredients.

In a container with a closed lid, shake together the dressing ingredients until they are thoroughly blended.  Pour over the salad just before you are ready to serve and do just a bit of tossing to coat all the salad.  (This amount makes 6 servings)  Enjoy!


Brussel Sprout Salad with Feta, Olives and Salami

IMG_7599Hello friends–  The years we lived in Seville we attended a small church near the center of town.  When we’d come out into the bright Seville sunshine on a Sunday at noon, there on the sidewalk would be a small cart manned by our friendly olive vendor– We’d peer into the tubs of olives, all shapes and hues– seasoned with garlic or herbs, lemon or red pepper…  We’d buy a plastic sleeve of our favorites and munch them on the way home to lunch.  I’m such an olive fan– and they were the best.  I’m wishing we could visit our olive man again.

So here’s a salad where the olives shine– against the gentle flavor of the Brussel sprouts, the saltiness of the cheese and that garlicky salami.  With a nice chunk of sturdy bread, it makes a flavorful dinner.


10 Brussel sprouts
2 oz. dry salami, cut to bits
1/3 cup mixed cured olives
1/3 cup feta with herbs, cut in cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. white balsamic vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. dried basil

Cut the Brussel sprouts into shreds and sprinkle them on a serviceable  platter.  Layer on the salami, olives and feta.

Then in a container with a tight lid, put together the oil, balsamic, salt and pepper to taste and the basil.  Shake it while you anticipate the beautiful salad– until it’s thoroughly blended and pour it over the plate.  Time to eat…

Linguine with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

IMG_4342Hello all–  We’re finally into the hot days of summer here.  And there are tomatoes out there ripening on the vine as I write. It’s lovely to pick them out in the side yard and carry them right in to use at dinner time.  We’ve been taking brown bags of tomatoes to family–wish I could send off a bagful to you…

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
4 oz. dry salami, cut to bits
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pitted dark olives
1 tab. capers, minced
1/2 cup basil or marjoram, chopped
8 oz. linguine

IMG_4331Cut the tomatoes in half and in a bow, toss them with 2 tab. of the olive oil and a good spinkling of salt and pepper.  Spread them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until they look roasty (but not yet mushy!)

While they are cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add in the salami bits and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until the meat starts to crisp a bit.  Remove the salami from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil.  To the same skilllet add the wine and simmer until it reduces, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Then stir in the tomatoes, capers and olives and toss them in the wine and oil in the pan.  Stir in the salami and basil (or marjoram).

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain it and spoon the warm tomato mixture over the linguine.

Serves 4 a delicious warming supper.


Ricotta Salami Tomato Basil Pizza

IMG_1882Hey all– I can’t help myself.  I always make double pizza for Larry and me.  When the kids were home I would make 6 at a time!!  I do love pizza leftovers for lunch.  And even though nowadays we really won’t eat a whole pizza, I can’t help but make 2 big pizzas.  So here there are twin pizzas with all those cheesy, spicy toppings in the oven right now.  Oh yummm.


Crust (makes 2 pizzas):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour*

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

Toppings (for 2 pizzas):
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes with garlic & herbs
8 oz. mozzarella
4 oz. dry salami, sliced thin
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 cup small tomatoes
3 tab. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

IMG_1904Let the dough rise while you get the toppings ready.  First cut the tomatoes into slides and rest them on a paper towel to absorb the extra juices.**  Then grate the mozzarella.  Puree the can tomatoes with a stick blender or just mash them to a pulp with a fork.  Slice the basil to nice little pieces. And mix the garlic and olive oil together.

Then pull out the crust.  Layer on the mozzarella, salami, ricotta, basil and tomatoes.  Finally, drizzle the garlicky olive oil over both pizzas.  Pop them in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, just until they are brown and beautiful.

P.S. This time I substituted 3/4 cup of the flour with whole wheat flour for a heartier crust, but the one above is my normal go to pizza crust.
*warm water means just about the temperature for a baby’s bath– not too hot!
**If the tomato slices are too juicy they can make the cheese gummy.  I like little grape tomatoes or roma tomatoes that are drier.