Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad

Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad

This cheery holiday salad is a fun (and delicious!) decorating idea for a party. A trio of lettuces create the evergreen tree, and items from the deli counter and salad bar become an edible garland. 

Level: Easy

Total: 45 min

Active: 45 min

Yield: 8 servings




5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups)

5 ounces baby kale (about 8 cups)  

2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons

3 heads little gem lettuce, bases trimmed and leaves separated, or the inner leaves of Bibb lettuce

1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami

Three 1/4-inch-thick slices provolone (about 6 ounces)

1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto 

1 cup cheese-stuffed small sweet piquante peppers, such as peppadews 

1/2 cup jarred small whole artichoke hearts (about 8)

1/2 cup green castelvetrano olives

1/2 cup kalamata olives

1/2 cup small whole pepperoncini

6 radishes, tops trimmed

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

One 4-ounce goat cheese log

8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella (small balls of mozzarella), halved


White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Special equipment:

     1-inch, 1 1/2-inch and 3 1/2-inch star cutters; a bar citrus zester

  4. 1. For the salad: Combine the baby arugula and kale in a large bowl. Arrange the leaves on a very large platter or cutting board in a Christmas tree shape that measures 16 to 18 inches tall, reserving a handful of greens. The platter should be large enough to accommodate a star on top and a trunk on the bottom. Scatter half of the sliced cucumbers over the tree. Arrange a layer of little gem lettuce leaves to create 4 tiers on the tree; use the small inner leaves for the fourth layer at the top of the tree.
  5. 2. Stack the sliced salami and cut out a large star using a 3 1/2-inch star cutter; reserve the scraps. Using the same cutter, cut out 2 stars from 2 slices of the provolone; reserve the scraps. Make a layered meat-and-cheese stack starting with half the salami stars, topped with a provolone star, the rest of the salami, and the second provolone star. Place the star at the top of the tree. 
  6. 3. Cut out smaller stars from the provolone scraps and the remaining provolone slice using 1-inch and 1 1/2-inch cutters. Roll up the salami scraps and prosciutto slices into flowers. Arrange the cheese stars, meat flowers, stuffed peppadews, artichoke hearts, both kinds of olives and pepperoncini on the lettuce to form a garland that zig-zags up the tree from the bottom right to the upper left. 
  7. 4. Using a bar citrus zester, zest a channel along the equator of each radish so it resembles a tree ornament. Halve each radish vertically and add the pieces to the garland. Scatter the remaining cucumber slices on the leafy parts of the tree and use the reserved greens to fill any gaps in the tree.
  8. 5. Put the nuts on a small plate and roll the goat cheese in them to fully coat. Place the log at the bottom of the tree to form the trunk. Decorate the ground under the tree with the ciliegine mozzarella balls for snow.
  9. 6. For the white balsamic vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Serve on the side.

Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad
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Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce

Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce


Available from August, this game bird is best served with a fresh, full-flavoured fruit sauce and a dash of whisky to boot



4 young grouse, legs removed and reserved

50g unsalted butter

4 thyme sprigs

1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped

4 slices pancetta

4 slices white country bread, buttered

buttered spinach, to serve (optional)

For the sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp sunflower oil
8 grouse
legs (see above)
1 shallot, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
2 tbsp whisky
600ml chicken stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
50g blackcurrant, topped and tailed
50g cooked beetroot, coarsely grated
1 tbsp crème de cassis


1. First make the stock for the sauce: place a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. When it is hot, melt the butter with the sunflower oil. Add the grouse legs and brown in the pan for 4-5 mins, turning regularly. Add the shallot, bay leaf, thyme and whisky, and reduce the heat. Allow any liquid to evaporate, then add the chicken stock. Press the legs down in the stock so that they are all covered. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cook gently for 1 hr.


2. Discard the legs. Strain the stock into a clean pan and reduce, over a medium heat, until you have about 300ml. Allow this to cool, then cover and chill if not using immediately. Can be done a day ahead up to this stage. You can finish the sauce once the grouse are cooked.


3. Clean the grouse: remove any remaining feathers, and rinse the birds inside and out with cold water. Pat them dry with kitchen paper. Divide the butter between the cavities of the birds, and add to each a thyme sprig and some chopped shallot. Season the birds inside and out, and wrap a slice of pancetta over the top of each bird. The birds are now ready to cook, but can be chilled for several hours if necessary – allow them to come to room temperature before you cook them (this will take 1 hr or so).


4. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Place the grouse in a roomy roasting tin and the buttered slices of bread on a baking tray – they will toast at the same time as the grouse cook. To cook the grouse to medium, put in the oven for 18-20 mins. Keep an eye on the toasts and remove them when they are golden brown. The grouse are cooked when the breasts feel firm to the touch. If you have a cooking thermometer, cook them so that the thickest part of the breast, just above the wing, registers 55C.


5. Remove the birds from the oven. Place each on a piece of the buttered toast to absorb any juices that drain from the birds. Cover loosely with a piece of foil and leave to rest for 10 mins while you finish the sauce.


6. Put the roasting tin on the heat and, when it is warm, add the grouse stock. Let it simmer, scraping the juices from the bottom so that they dissolve in the stock. Add the redcurrant jelly, blackcurrants, beetroot, and finally the cassis. Simmer the sauce for 3-4 mins, then remove from the heat and season to taste. Serve the grouse on heated plates with a little sauce drizzled around, and some buttered spinach, if you like.

Roast grouse with blackcurrant & beetroot sauce
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Autumn Cobb Salad

Autumn Cobb Salad

Autumn Cobb Salad

Roasted squash, crunchy apples and dried cherries add seasonal freshness to this autumnal cobb salad, dressed in a spiced apple cider vinaigrette and topped with candied walnuts.

It’s that time of year where I’m either straddling the urge to pull out my chunky sweaters and hunker down with ooey gooey comfort food, or dig in my heels and cling to the straggling bounty of summer and all the freshness it holds.

Your comments, clicks and likes overwhelmingly say you’re in the same camp I am. Long live the salad! So at your request, I present a fall-inspired leafy beauty that will con any non-salad eater into giving the greens a go with the tease of chicken, bacon and eggs and more.

This started out as a simple salad. And then as things tend to go in my world, it quickly escalated to a full blow affair.

Butternut squash? Sure! But let’s add acorn squash too just to be sure.

Crisp apples sliced so thin you can eat 4 or 9 at a time? You bet. But lets add even more bite with crunchy nips of celery ribs. I’ve been consumed with celery lately. I never expected that!

Romaine lettuce as our bed? Sounds good, but let’s pile onto the plushness with arugula and radicchio, too.

Bacon? Eggs? Avocado, chicken and cheese? Of course they’re all there because they’re Cobb classic.

But just for fun let’s toss in some sweetness with dried cherries and candied walnuts. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dessert with their salad?

About the Recipe

Don’t be afeared of the length of this grocery list. This salad is a true mix and match, making best of what’s in the fridge to pull from the depths of the crisper and moving along accordingly.

Got corn? Zucchini? Pears or peaches? Any of these flavor makers would pair swimmingly with what we have going on here.

I made up for the sheer number of flavors by drizzling this salad with a simple 3-ingredient dressing that just happens to echo my favorite flavor of fall. Spiced apple cider!

There’s a bit of roasting to do and of course there’s chopping. But really this salad comes together fast.

The most sensitive part of this recipe is when preparing the candied walnuts, and so long as you don’t leave the room to go change the laundry and then get side tracked when you quickly look up to see if Mercury is in retrograde because all of your electronics are going full-on spastic and stroking out, you should be in good shape.

Not that I’d know anything about that. (Sadly, my iMac’s hard drive and I do. Always back up your files people!)

This salad is a meal preppers dream.

Nearly all of the ingredients for this salad can be prepared at once and assembled as your week progresses. Roast your squash and chop your cheese and celery. Hard boiled eggs can be cooked, cooled and peeled. Cook and dice your chicken, fry the bacon and candy that nut. Then simply bag individual portions and toss together with your already chopped and portioned salad greens when ready to eat. The only last minute additions will be slicing your apple and avo.

I originally made this for lunch, and then we had it for dinner too. It’s the salad that just keeps on giving. And man, how I like that.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram or Twitter and Facebook with #savvynana.

Autumn Cobb Salad
Roasted squash, crunchy apples and dried cherries add seasonal freshness to traditional Cobb salad ingredients dressed in a spiced apple cider vinaigrette and topped with candied walnuts.
    • 1/2 acorn squash seeded and peeled then cut into 3/4-inch pieces
    • 1/2 small butternut squash seeded and peeled then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 cup walnut halves
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/3 cup spiced apple cider
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 6 cups mixed salad greens such as romaine, radicchio and arugula
    • 4 sliced cooked bacon chopped
    • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
    • 1 baked chicken breast chopped
    • 1 stalk celery chopped
    • 1 avocado peeled and pitted then thinly sliced
    • 1 apple such as Gala or honey crisp cored and thinly sliced
    • 3/4 cup white cheddar cheese chopped
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the acorn squash on one side of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and the butternut squash on the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender. Let cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together 1 1/2 tablespoons water and the brown sugar in a non-stick pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture slightly thickens then add the walnuts and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the sauce reduces and the nuts become fragrant. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with kosher salt. Separate the nuts with a fork and cool.
  4. In a small jar, combine the vegetable oil, spiced apple cider, Dijon mustard and season with kosher salt and pepper. Shake the jar until well combined and emulsified. Taste for seasoning and add more apple cider to taste.
  5. In a large bowl, add the salad greens. Top with rows of bacon, hard boiled egg, chicken, celery, avocado, apple, cheddar cheese, dried cherries and candied walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.


Autumn Cobb Salad | #recipes #dressing #apples #easy #healthy #butternutsquash #chicken #harvest

Thanks for stopping by, and you know what they say, “Get in the kitchen and cook something good!”

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

I think one of the prettiest salads you can have is the Caprese Salad.  It’s vibrant colors are so inviting, promising something creamy, fresh and delicious.

What you may ask is a Caprese Salad.  It’s an Italian salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing.  It’s said that Caprese Salad was originally made to honor the Italian flag which is Red, White, and Green; the same colors of the salad.

Caprese Salad is definitely a family favorite.  It’s not only delicious but it’s so easy to make.  We have it for lunch, as a panino or sandwich.  You can place the ingredients between 2 slices of bread or better yet a ciabatta roll, grill it just until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, and you have a wonderfully simple meal!

The most important thing to remember when making Caprese Salad at home is to use the freshest ingredients you can find.  This mean unless absolutely necessary the prepacked balls of mozzarella in the supermarket’s dairy case just won’t do!

Short of bringing home fresh mozzarella from Italy (which I’ve actually done) I usually find fresh mozzarella at Costco or the deli counter.  It’s the balls of cheese that’s usually floating in the tub it’s packaged in.  You’ll know it’s fresh because it’s softer than those hard balls packed in plastic wrap.

Tomatoes of course are fresh, pick nice ripe ones.  I get mine from my garden along with the fresh basil.  If you don’t have a basil plant (and you should! it’s so easy to keep even a small one in the kitchen window) you can buy fresh basil leaves at the grocery store.

Once you have all the fresh ingredients all  you really need is some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of Italian seasoning if  you have it, and some salt.  If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can use dried oregano, parsley, or basil or you can just use black pepper.

Caprese Salad is great for a light lunch or as a fresh addition to any meal.  It’s tasty and refreshing, the perfect summer salad!

Caprese Salad


5-6 slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (slices should be about 1/2″ thick)

1 Firm Ripe Tomato – sliced in about 1/2″ thick rounds

3-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp. Italian Dressing

Salt & Pepper to taste


Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/2″ rounds and arrange on a plate.  Alternate tomato and cheese to make it look nice.

You can also add a basil leaf between the cheese and tomato or you can place the leaves in the center.  Place the three ingredients on the plate any way you find pleasing.

Mix together oil and vinegar.

Add 1/2 Tsp. of Italian seasoning to the oil mixture and stir well.

Drizzle over the fresh ingredients just before serving.

Sprinkle remaining Italian Seasoning over all and season with salt and pepper if desired.



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4th of July Brie

4th of July Brie

We used a BIG wheel of brie for this video, which can be very expensive. You can get away with something about (or a little over) half the size. A little bit of brie goes a long way.



1 (35-oz.) wheel brie
6 strawberries, tops removed and sliced
1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp. honey
Graham crackers, for dipping


Preheat oven to 350°. Cut off the top rind of brie then place brie in a skillet about its same size. Bake until brie is bubbling and totally melted throughout, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place strawberries and blueberries in separate medium bowls. Divide orange juice and honey evenly between each bowl and toss to combine. When brie is ready, arrange fruit in the pattern of the American flag. Serve immediately, with graham crackers for dipping.

4th of July Brie
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