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An Easy Peasy Cooking Column by a Fun Loving Foodie
Carl Minding loves to cook and loves to create photo tutorials in his super cool home kitchen. His instructions are clear and easy to follow for a novice while more experienced home chefs can take the recipe up a notch by customizing it with their own personal twist!
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Home Chef Carl

Carl Cooks

Welcome to my Flirty Guide food column. My name is Carl Mindling and I am enthusiastic about food. And I love every facet of food from recipe writing to cookbooks to shopping to prep to photography and watching my dishes come to life. When I entertain it is always about food first. I also love to dine out and often bring my favorite restaurant foods home for a makeover. And speaking of feeding, I crave feedback so be sure to send me your comments. I am always intrigued by culinary adventures and love to share them with like minded fantastic foodies.

Unless otherwise noted, all Cooking with Carl photos are by Carl Mindling.

Mashed Potato Tacos

Breakfast Bars

Pasta Salad
Pasta Salad

Peach & Mozzarella Salad
Grilled Peach &
Mozzarella Salad

Easy Antipasto

Asparagus with

DJ Carl Mindling
Carl is also a Professional Wedding and Event MC and DJ

CLICK HERE to visit his website iMCevents.com

Easy, Colorful and Fun Antipasto Appetizer is Served

Antipasto Toothpicks

Looking for Superbowl Sunday simplified? This no-cook appetizer is as easy as opening cans and jars and chopping some fresh vegetables but it opens up a world of flavors and goes a really long way at crowd pleasing. There really are no tricks to it so let's just get started with our photo tutorial.

Antipasto Ingredients


Everything you need for an antipasta appetizer

1 can black olives

1 jar Spanish olives with pimentos

1 can baby corn cut into pieces

1 can hearts of palm sliced into bites

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 container fresh mozzarella balls

1 package colby jack marbled cheese cut into bite size cubes

1 tube salami all coatings removed and cut into bite size chunks

1 head of broccoli florets with most of the stem removed

1 container of fresh mushrooms button size or halved and quartered if larger

1 each red, green and yellow bell pepper seeded and cut into bite size chunks

1 container cherry tomatoes

1 jar Italian salad dressing

A little grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Fancy party toothpicks



Open all the cans and jars. Rinse or drain all of the fluids except the artichoke marinade. Start combining all of the ingredients in a large plastic container with a tight fitting lid. And then the fun begins because it is just everybody into the pool!

Black Olives

Any olives will do but jumbos are easier to snag with toothpicks.

Green Olives

Spanish Green Olives stuffed with pimentos.

Cherry Tomatoes

Just rinse the tomatoes and toss in whole.

Artichoke Hearts

Include the marinade with the artichoke hearts.

Mozzarella Balls

Just drain the mozzarella balls and in they go.

Hearts of Palm

If not salad cut already slice the hearts of palm into 1/2 inch bites.

Baby Corn

Again if the baby corns are whole, just cut them down to bite size pieces.


Cut the larger mushrooms to get all the ingredients closer to the same size.

How to make Antipasto

This dish grows quickly into loads of food.

Bell Peppers and Broccoli

Broccoli and bell peppers add freshness and color.


Remove the outer layer of wrapping on the salami with your knife edge.

Peeling Salami

Make sure salami is free of all wrapping materials.

Cut Salami Cubes

1/2" slices from the tube then quartered make perfect bite sizes.


Cheese and salami cuts should be close in thickness at about 1/2 inch.

Slicing Salami

Ready to marinate with Italian Dressing!

DIY Antipasto


Italian Dressing

Pour the entire bottle of Italian Dressing over the ingredients. With the lid firmly intact invert it and rotate to make sure every bite gets a chance to be dressed. You should continue to rotate and invert the container occasionally during the minimum one hour marinating time.

Mix Antipasto

Any Italian dressing will do but my preference is Bernsteins.

Chilling Antipasto

It can be made ahead and kept in the the fridge but I would not let it marinate for much more than three hours. It all tastes great as a leftover the next day except the bell peppers will get a bit soggy.

Scoop from the plastic container with a slotted spoon onto a serving platter and leave the excess marinade behind. Dust the top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and stab several toothpicks into the goodies to show your guests how to attack it. Have plenty of extra toothpicks perched next to the platter for the many munchers.

Grated Cheese

Garnish the top with a generous dusting of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Plated Antipasto

Strategically placed party toothpicks will prove too tempting for your guests.

Carl Mindling

The choices of goodies to stab with your toothpicks are endless.

This super simple appetizer multiplies exponentially as you make it but then disappears just as quickly as your guests enjoy it. One toothpick can easily hold two or three items which adds to the fun as people create their favorite combinations. It is a very social dish because they crowd around the platter and make sort of a game out of eating it. If your gathering is really large you might consider splitting it into more than one platter to make the grazing easier. It is very addictive and pleases a wide range of eaters. And don't be shy to try any other ingredients you think might complement the group. One of my favorites that I rotate into the mix is fresh cheese tortellini. I give them a real quick bath in rapidly boiling salted water to soften and then just toss them into with the rest of the goods. Varying the cheese and olive types is also completely legal in this very fun antipasta appetizer. You make up the rules as you go and I know your guests will love the game. SCORE!

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