Jack and Jill Baby Shower Dinner

After we stuffed ourselves with Appetizers, we moved on to the dinner buffet. On my Ma’s good advice of sticking to what I know, I made Meatball Sliders, Antipasto, and Pizza. I would say these are my specialties so I was able to make these without guessing at the outcome. Everything was great. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bragging, it is more of a relief that everything turned out great, unlike trying a new recipe on my unsuspecting guests with some level doubt.

In our family on big holidays or large family gatherings, we make a huge Antipasto Salad. It is not an antipasti platter but a huge salad. It is made in layers and had giardiniera mix, pepper rings, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled egg slices, roasted beets, red onion slices, black olives, cold cut spirals and flowers, provolone cheese, tiny fresh mozzarella balls, and romaine. I served this with balsamic vinaigrette made by using a packet of Good Seasons dressing mix, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. I also served homemade Creamy Italian Dressing.

The Meatball Sliders made for a great Friday night party dish. Some had their meatball on a roll while others opted for the roll on the side to sop up the Italian Gravy. My meatballs were pretty big this time- bigger than a golf ball- served up on round-crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside-rolls found at Trader Joe’s. I did not have another basket big enough to serve the rolls in so I took a Trader Joe’s brown paper shopping bag and cuffed the edge like jeans to make a very cute serving vesicle. I made a triple batch of my Marinara Sauce to spoon over the meatballs kept hot in a crock pot while the rest went on the pizzas.

I made 4 different pizzas using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Master Recipe. Each pizza was about 10 inches, was cut into about 16 squares and served at room temperature on a large platter with labels. Genoa Salami and Cheese, Artichoke and Red Onion White Pizza, Basil Tomato and Cheese, Kid Friendly Plain Ole Cheese

Creamy Italian Dressing
1 Pkt Good Seasons Italian Dressing made according to package directions
3 T. mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
2 T. good extra virgin olive oil
3 T. Parmesan cheese, grated

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Serve over your favorite Salad. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Italian Meatballs
3 slice of fresh bread, crumbled fine
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, shredded not the powdered kind
1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. fresh oregano, minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
one pound raw ground chuck (80/20 lean)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together except beef. Crumble small amounts of beef into the bread mixture, using a rubber spatula or your hands, gently fold meat into bread mix. Repeat until all the meat is incorporated. This makes for a more tender meatball. (I used to do this in my stand mixer or food processor and wondered why my meatballs were too dense). If you plan to make regular meatballs, roll meat into balls the size of golf balls (traditional size) and place on a greased, foil lined baking sheet with sides. Bake in 400° oven for 15-20 minutes. Baked meatballs freeze well. Single recipe makes about 12-15 meatballs depending on the size of your golf balls!
Note- I took a small piece of the raw mixture and cooked it in a skillet to test seasonings. Good thing I did because it needed more salt.

Marinara Sauce
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 fresh basil leaves, whole
2 cloves garlic minced, I use 2 frozen garlic cubes from Trader Joe’s
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
28 ounce can ground peeled tomatoes
Kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 -1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional but good

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add and sauté basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes for 30-60 seconds. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, do not let brown. Add the tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Simmer five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot over pasta or with Stromboli. Also great on pizza. You can also add shrimp at the end and cook another 3 minutes or until the shrimp are done.

Note- Fresh herbs are the best choice for this type of sauce. If you purchase fresh herbs you can always freeze the leftovers whole or puree with a little water and freeze in ice cube trays or whatever size container you would like.

Remember to keep it simple and go with what you know.

Related Posts:
Jack and Jill Baby Shower
Jack and Jill Baby Shower Appetizers
Jack and Jill Baby Shower Dessert

Next up…dessert.


  1. Rindy R
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    Robin is a GREAT meatball maker. She has framed a wonderfully aged copy of her favorite meatball recipe and it hangs on her wall in the big red kitchen. So cute! I didn’t think it could get any better than the appetizers – and then dinner came! WOW!

  2. Mindy
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

    That salad looks delicious! As soon as it warms up here a little more, we’re having that for dinner!

  3. Joan Nova
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    Hi Robin,
    I love the idea of serving the rolls in the paper bag. It’s such a rustic counterpoint to your perfect big red kitchen!

  4. Sheila
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    Your ideas are always inspiring! I had not seen the post about the creamy Italian dressing before, but the antipasto salad caught my eye and led me to it. I made it and it was terrific!

  5. Lisa
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Now I am so hungry! I could eat one of your meatball sandwiches for breakfast.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    I use a large ice cream scooper to form my meatballs. You can use a smaller scooper for smaller meatballs. This way they are more or less the same size. Ma

  7. Dawn
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    ever since those ham & cheese sliders you turned me on to, my hubby asks every week for them.
    I have to now try these meatball ones.
    Love that salad!!! Now that's the way an antipasto salad should be done

  8. Ingrid
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    Wow, it all looks amazing especially that salad. I’m going to check out your cream Italian recipe which is a fave of mine.

    I also checked out your previous party posts and when I said it all looks good, I meant ALL. Can’t wait to see the close up of the desserts.
    ~ingrid…Btw, thanks for commenting and visiting my blog! 🙂

  9. Karen
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    Everything looks good… LOVE that salad!

  10. That Girl
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    In general I could take or leave antipasta – but yours looks like the best I’ve ever seen! I love the little meat and cheese rolls.

  11. noble pig
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Literally my mouth is watering. That antipasto is just unreal.

  12. Peter M
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Bring it on sista…the feast looks fab…must be the Italian in you!

  13. Sabrina
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    the antipasto salad looks divine. I must try that sometime.

  14. unconfidentialcook
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    That antipasto looks wonderful, everything sounds amazing. What a feast!

  15. Grace
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

    if i knew what you knew, i’d stick with what i know. got it? 🙂
    seriously, your antipasto is ridiculously beatiful. 🙂

  16. Elyse
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

    What a great spread! You’ve got all of my favorites in there. I love pizza, antipasto, and sliders!! Sounds like an awesome dinner to me. Great job!

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