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I am all in for making weeknight dinner an event & that’s just what Mangia, the Italian way of eating encourages. You can easily turn a regular meal into an experience by switching things up a bit!
One of my goals for this year is to have friends or family over for dinner every week & so far we’ve kept up with that well. I love sharing a meal with people in our home & I love to make it extra special! I’ve got a handful of tips & tricks for doing this the easy way with no fuss & little prep. You can throw together a lovely night of Italian dining yourself, with the help of Bertolli.
Have an appetizer or soup/salad that you can serve in a snap! Offer something simple yet delicious to be eaten before the main entree. It lengthens the meal & the time spent around the table together, plus meals with an extra course always make you feel fancy! This antipasta salad is just what you need to do that.
I love a good antipasta salad chock full of veggies, meats & cheeses. In the salad world, you’re winning the moment you add meat. It’s like an entire meal disguised as a first course salad. That’s heavenly folks.
I like to use carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, hardboiled eggs, mozzarella balls, provolone, salami & pepperoni. I use whole slices of meats & cheeses then cut them into bite-size triangles. The salad is at it’s absolute best when topped with a raspberry vinaigrette & served in chilled bowls. The great thing about this antipasta salad is how personalizable it can be. If you don’t like olives, leave ’em out! If you love provolone, pile it on! You can make this however you want & add anything your tastebuds prefer.
Here’s the recipe to make your own!
- lettuce/salad mix
- cherry tomatoes
- artichoke hearts
- black olives
- hardboiled egg
- mozzarella balls
- provolone slices
- salami slices
- pepperoni slices
- raspberry vinaigrette
- Slice all veggies to desired size & add to the lettuce in a large bowl or serving dish.
- Slice hardboiled egg & add to salad as well.
- Cut salami & provolone into bite-size triangles & add to salad with mozzarella balls & pepperoni slices.
- Top with a raspberry vinaigrette & serve in chilled bowls.
Pick up one of these Bertolli frozen multiserve meals, like Bertolli Chicken Parm Bakes. Grabbing one of these frozen meals for your entree leaves you with more time to spend visiting & making memories & less time stressing over the meal. It also makes this so much easier to do during the week!
Pull out the ‘good stuff!’ Use a nice tablecloths, good plates, linen napkins & a pair of candlesticks. These small gestures can up your usual dinner game leaps & bounds!
Bring all the food to the table. I have loved to do this ever since I started cooking as a kid. A nice meal means you don’t have to get up for seconds or when you forget to add the sauce. Am I right? I think it’s plain polite to serve dinner from a table full of warm dishes. No need to feel like you’re in line at a buffet standing by the stove.
Tell everyone you are having a nice dinner & how to be prepared. Don’t bring phones or other electronics to the table. Turn the TV off & focus on the meal ahead. Let everyone know you’re doing something a little nicer for dinner so they can be ready to spend extra time at the table. Who knows, you could even dress for the occasion!
Bring pitchers of beverages to the table. Whatever drinks you may be serving, they need to be within easy reach. My younger brother used to bring 2 full glasses to the table just so he didn’t have to get back up to refill his drink. Bringing a couple of full pitchers to the table can keep everyone sitting, relaxing & enjoying.
Set out a tray of fruit & cheese. This doesn’t need to be upscale whatsoever. Just put out whatever’s in your fridge- some grapes, cubed cheese, apple slices etc. This little snack serves as a palate cleanser before & after the meal. It also keeps tummies satisfied while everyone is filling their plates & waiting for their favorite dish to be passed around. Once the meal is finished, but you’re still lingering around the table these guiltless little bites are appreciated.
Always always always have bread! This is something my mother in law has instilled in me & I love her all the more for it. You can’t beat a good bread with a little butter. It’s a great filler when you’re not totally full at the end & a wonderful mopper up of sauces. Everyone loves bread y’all, it’s a people pleaser if nothing else.
You can pick up a Bertolli frozen meal in the freezer section at Kroger!
Find Bertolli items at some of the lowest prices of the year in a Kroger or Kroger banner store near you. Kroger banners include Fred Meyer, Smiths, Frys, Dillions, King Soopers, City Market, and QFC. Click to find a store near you! You can view some of their yummy dinners here!
I hope I’ve inspired you all to get out there & make some dinner memories, the Italian way!