Antipasto Sticks

Talk about easy! We had a Pampered Chef party today, and rather than the average chips and dips, crudites, etc., we wanted to set up a few new apps for the occasion. The hostess was preparing a pasta dish to showcase one of her items, so this came to mind as an obvious accompaniment. Besides, I’ve had this Nabisco/Kraft recipe stuck in my head since Feb 2009, and needed to free up some space in there for some new stuff! 😉 This is a little different than theirs, but it was more of a visual than a recipe. I needed a picture as a reminder. You can use whatever you want really – maybe some roasted red pepper, a mushroom (ewww), etc.

I was very surprised to see that once everyone started eating, this was the first thing to go. Just goes to show – not everything needs to be complicated to be good! 

pint grape tomatoes
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
container of bocconchini or cubes of your favorite cheese
pepperoni or salami (I used thick-sliced pepperoni)
your favorite olives (I used green today – some spicy garlic and some plain)
Italian dressing (I used a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian prepared with an aged Balsamic Vinegar)
Long cocktail toothpicks or fresh rosemary spears with most leaves removed

Because we were making a bunch of different things and throwing the party as a brunch, we wanted to get as much as possible done yesterday so we wouldn’t have to get up too early. We live like vampires in this house – we’re definitely night people! The original recipe calls for marinating the cheese and artichokes for a half hour, but I wanted to set everything up last night and didn’t want the cheese to break down – also, it’s a lot less messy to spear things that aren’t lubed up with dressing!  

I speared all of my goodies last night and stored them upright (loosely covered) so nothing would get smushed …

Then this morning, I threw together my dressing, poured it into a plastic cup that was about the same height as the toothpicks, dunked each spear, let the excess drip off and plated … 

See how there’s not a big pool of dressing on the plate? You want them seasoned, but not drowned – especially if you’re using a soft cheese. You don’t want people picking up the sticks and having the cheese fall off cuz it got too soggy.