Italian Dinner al Fresco Menu with Free Printables

Italian Dinner al Fresco Menu with Free Printables

Pregnancy cravings are no joke. Add to that my desire to entertain… well, a simple craving for an Italian meal turned into a multi-course extravaganza. I researched formal Italian meal courses and found out that Italians, they know how to dine! Out of my research (and cravings) came a 9 course meal that lasted four hours long!

I can’t say that the entire inspiration for this party was my pregnancy cravings… though, they certainly took a big role! The other inspiration was Kohl’s. When Kohl’s asked me  how I celebrate summer I knew the answer was “Dinner al Fresco” and went shopping with that in mind. After coming across the Bobby Flay Home collection of melamine tableware I knew that I’d be serving an outdoor Italian feast.

Read on for my Italian dinner al fresco menu, table decor resources AND free printables so you can throw your own outdoor Italian feast!

Italian themed dinner menu and free printables — A Well Crafted Party

Italian themed dinner menu and free printables

Free Printable Wine Tag

Resource List

  • Bobby Flay Home Collection Melamine tableware from Kohl’s in the medallion print and teal. I used both the 11 inch dinner plates and the 9 inch salad plates. I also purchased the serving platter and salad server set from this collection.
  • DIY Dip Dyed Napkins 
  • Sonoma Life + Style Melamine Old Fashion Glasses in shades of teal from Kohl’s.
  • Square Melamine dipping dishes from Fred Meyer purchased on a sale in their outdoor living section which is seasonal.
  • Printable coasters & menus made by me and offered here for FREE!
  • White plant pots from Ikea & succulents were found in the garden section of Fred Meyer
  • Sanoma outdoors Button Reversible Throw Pillow in teal from Kohl’s
  • White DIY table 
  • Candles via World Market

Menu for an Italian Dinner al Fresco

Italian Dinner al Fresco:

In my massive craving for Italian food I went on a research binge to find out different ideas for a coursed out Italian meal. What I discovered is that Italians LOVE their food! A formal Italian meal has several different courses to it. Now, typically they wouldn’t list the aperitivo course on a menu because it is meant as a sort of opening to the meal. But, I just love a big full menu, so I included it. Below is what I did for our Italian meal. Please note that I am not Italian, nor have I had the pleasure of going to Italy. I wrote my Italian menu from researching different ideas and coming up with recipes. They may or may not be authentic Italian food. However, the menu items are delicious. Also, I used Google Translate to help me figure out how to word the menu items on the menu I created.

Apertivo Ideas for Italian Dinner


The opening course that usually features a cocktail, Prosecco, champagne, wine  or sparkling water may also be accompanied by light appetizers. I served Prosecco, Italian Olives & Caprese Bites.

parmesan stuffed grilled artichokes


The antipasto course is slightly heavier than the apertivio course. Sometimes you’ll see either an aperirtivo or antipasto course offered at restaurants, but I went all in and did both. I chose to serve my garlic and parmesan stuffed grilled artichokes for this course.

Primo or first course in Italian meal


The primo course is a heavier course than the antipasto, but lighter than the secondo course that comes next and is often served hot. Typically it is a pasta dish, risotto or soup. I chose to serve a clam spaghetti or Spaghetti alla Vongole. I’ll be sharing my recipe for this soon because I make my Spaghetti alla Vongole a tad different than other people out there, but in the meantime you should check out the Spaghetti Vongole from Jamie Oliver! YUM.

Secondo or second course in Italian meal is usually the meat course.


The secondo course is quite a bit heavier than the primo course and is typically the meat dish. It is often served alongside a contorno which is a vegetable side, either cooked or raw. An insalata (salad) can be served with this or after this course. I chose to serve my meat on top of my insalata or contorno (whichever you please) with a beautiful grilled flank steak served on a bed of arugula with freshly shaved parmesan and lemon. (Recipe coming soon!)

Italian inspired fruit and cheese plate

Formaggi e frutta:

A cheese and fruit plate comes next in this extravagant meal. While most of our meal was served family style I prepped individual plates for the cheese and fruit course. I served a beautiful Italian gorgonzola and fontina cheese alongside grapes and grilled figs that were drizzled in honey. Just so you know… figs and gorgonzola are beautiful together.

Dolce Course or dessert course is one of the most important courses in my opinion.


One of my dear guests asked if she could bring anything to the event and I happily took her up on making a dessert because she is one of the best people in the world to ask to bring dessert. She never disappoints and didn’t disappoint on this lovely evening. She brought locally baked shortcakes to top with local strawberries and fresh whipped cream. Such a nice way to round out the meal.


Just when you think you are done… there is more! The caffè course is typically served last unless followed by an ammazzacaffè. I got this part wrong on my menu originally but fixed this for the printable. I put the digestivo after the caffè. It honestly didn’t make much of a difference though. We served a nice rich espresso. For all those non-Italian palates in the room (everyone) we had some whipped cream to top the strong coffee and sweeten it a bit.

Digestivo or Ammazzacaffè:

The digestivo is a drink to conclude the meal. It is typically a liqueur of some sort. We served Limoncello.

To say we were full after this evening would be an extreme understatement.


Dinner al Fresco menu and free printables

Free Italian Dinner Printables:

If you’ve been reading long then you know that I’m obsessed with the ease of printables. This party was no different. I created up some fun Italian-inspired printables to bring together the table. Today I’m giving them away… for free! If you like free printables then please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter. All of my newsletters promise never before seen content, goodies, opportunities or printables for subscribers ONLY. And, of course, if you use some of my free printables I’d love to see them in action! #awellcraftedparty on any social media images so I can see and share. Now… onto the goodies:

Instructions are listed on the printables. To download, click on your selected printable, hit download, and save to your computer. Print according to instructions. Printables are for personal use only.

Free Printable Wine Tag



A big thank you to Kohl’s for asking me how I celebrate Summer. This was a lot of fun to put together. Kohl’s provided me with a gift card to help in celebrating summer. Thank you for reading posts that help support this blog. I only talk about companies that I have used, liked and feel that my readers would benefit from knowing in my blog posts. I regularly shop at Kohl’s for their great selection and prices. Please refer to my policies for more information. 


Summer Porch Makeover

Summer Porch Makeover

When we first walked into our (now) home it was being updated by the owner and it was a disaster. But, we had been having NO luck finding an affordable rental home in the Portland area and this home wasn’t quite on the market yet, so we tried to look at it through the mess and see what potential it had. The owner explained some of the updates the home would have (new carpet, new paint, etc.) as we were walking through it. It is an old home and it hasn’t been maintained very well. It could really use new windows throughout, but the instant we pulled up to the mint green home I knew it was going to be our next move.

The home has such personality and character. And, even though there are things I would change (no dishwasher!? only one bathroom!?) I love this little home and will be very sad the day we leave it, even if it is for a better home.

Summer Porch Makeover for a Rental - A Well Crafted Party

One of the areas that I wanted to touch up from the beginning was the back porch area. Being a rental, we don’t want to put a lot of time and money into it, but we did want the space looking better. We have three amazing yard areas at our home and we throw parties outdoors basically from June through November, so updating the space has been on my home bucket list for some time. It took us three long years before we finally got around to it, but it makes me more happy than you can imagine!

Before our Summer Porch Makeover - A Well Crafted Party

Because it is a rental home we were not allowed to make big changes to the space. Ideally the porch needs redone as much of the wood is cracked and broken from not being properly prepared for the Pacific Northwest weather. Normally we wouldn’t even be able to paint, but we asked the owner for permission letting him know that our intentions were to help weather proof the area a bit more and streamline it with the house. The white outdoor paint really makes the porch much nicer and ( I think) will be an overall win for the value of the house when we leave.

We knew that the space would need to include our shoe rack (the boys leave their shoes on the porch area until the rainy season), a rug, our grill and supplies and some of my outdoor entertaining items. I seriously have a problem with buying plates and we have just run out of room indoors and in our garage, so utilizing the book shelf area during the summer months with items that we use frequently made sense. We will need to store much of these items during the rainy months, but I have some fun ideas to make the space festive for the holidays, so I am not worried!

One last look at the before…just so you can see just how bad it was:

Summer Porch Makeover Ideas - A Well Crafted Party

Summer Porch Makeover for Our Rental Home

Something about white paint just makes everything look cleaner and more put together. We chose to go with a Crisp Linen White Glidden exterior paint for the porch area. After cleaning the porch as much as possible we sanded down areas that needed it and just plopped the paint directly on the wood. It took a couple of coats, but the paint went on nicely and looks good!

After our Summer Porch Makeover - A Well Crafted Party

We accented the area with my outdoor entertaining items, a new cart for our grill supplies, a couple free printables and a couple of easy DIY projects. If you are currently reading this on the desktop version of my blog then you might have noticed that I have a small love for these colors. I really like how bright and summery my porch area is now!

My porch bookshelf houses my many outdoor entertaining items in a neat and organized fashion.

Our grill area is much more functional now that we added a little grill cart!

All my outdoor entertaining items fit so nicely on my outdoor bookshelf!

My porch bookshelf houses my many outdoor entertaining items in a neat and organized fashion.


Summer Porch Makeover Highlights:

Many of the updates on the porch area were temporary, inexpensive and super easy. They either utilized items we already had around the house and really just needed a permanent home for or inexpensive purchases that will last a long time.

  • Our new DIY rug was super inexpensive to make and is great for all the foot traffic we have in our back yard area. It can get super messy, but is easy to clean and replace if damaged. (Check back tomorrow for my post on the DIY elements!)
  • We still managed to keep our shoe rack in the area and it doesn’t look too terrible. It helps that the rack is also white.
  • One of my favorite additions to the space was the small grill cart that I purchased from Ikea. The cart has made grilling much more fun and less of a chore. The small little trash can underneath helps with scraps or trash items during cooking or throughout our outdoor events.
  • My DIY Sunscreen and Bug Spray station fit perfectly in the bookshelf. That way, anyone who is over has instant access to skin protection if they need it.
  • A few items that we use for our outdoor dining area are housed up on the bookshelf when not in use just in case there is a sudden storm. All of the items on the bookshelf stay pretty well covered from the elements due to the shelter overhead.
  • We added curtains to the space to help shield off some of the sun and separate the space a bit more. I decided to do the curtains last minute and they are one of my favorite elements of the whole space!
  • I love the lemon print that I got for FREE from Live Laugh Rowe. It says, “Life’s Short. Squeeze all you can out of it!”
  • Part of the reason I was inspired to redo my porch area is thanks to Kohl’s! I was asked to work on a Summer celebration post (coming next week- you don’t want to miss it!) and was gifted a gift card in order to get items to help throw my celebration. I really love my new dishes from the Bobby Flay Home series at Kohl’s as well as the outdoor pillows, beer opener, wire baskets and outdoor glassware. Every time I look in my back yard area now I want to have another party!
  • Pinterest (as always) was a great place for me to catalog ideas for the space. Check out my DIY Outdoor Living Space board for more inspiration!

What home improvements have you worked on this summer? Are there elements here that you could incorporate into your own outdoor space?

Part of the items featured in this post were made possible with a partnership with Kohl’s. Thank you to Kohl’s for helping me entertain this summer. Thanks to readers for supporting the companies that help make this blog bring new content to the interweb. I only promote companies that I actually use myself and enjoy. Please see my policies for more information. 

Updated to say that I’m linking this post up to the following awesome link parties:

Easy Dinner Idea: Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli with Spinach, Tomato and Pesto - A Well Crafted Party

I love eating outdoors as soon as the weather calls for it. A great outdoor meal to me doesn’t always have to incorporate cooking outside (ie grilling) but, it does need to be simple and easy to transport outdoors. The below outdoor meal entree is not just INCREDIBLY simple to make and holds up to my outdoor meal criteria, but also was extremely affordable to make.

When Grocery Outlet sent me a gift card to try out some of their deals, I went in with no idea what kind of meal I was going to make. But, after just a few minutes perusing the aisles and checking out their ad I had a plan in place. I picked up all of my ingredients in one trip to Grocery Outlet and had the meal on the table in thirty minutes after getting home. Today I’m sharing the main course item that took about 10 minutes from start to finish. This entree would be perfect for an easy weeknight meal alfresco!

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto

Stuffed Ravioli Tossed with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pesto


  • 1 package of stuffed ravioli from the freezer or refrigerator section of your local grocery store (Get whatever stuffing sounds good to you. I found a spinach and chicken stuffed ravioli that was delicious!)
  • 1/3 of a bag of pre-washed baby spinach from the produce section of your local grocery store
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes (or any ripe tomato will do) sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Basil Garlic Pesto (I used Rising Sun Farms Pesto)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Salt & Pepper to Taste


  1. Boil water and cook stuffed ravioli according to package directions.
  2. While ravioli is cooking, heat olive oil and pesto in a sauté pan on Medium heat.
  3. Sautée tomatoes in the olive oil and pesto mixture for approximately two minutes, until tomatoes are just a little soft.
  4. As pasta is finishing cooking, save back 1 cup of pasta water and then drain pasta.
  5. Add cooked pasta into sauté pan with tomatoes, pesto and olive oil. Add in the cup of pasta water and spinach.
  6. Mix the items in the pan and cook until spinach is just wilted.
  7. Can be served hot, room temp or chilled! Top with parmesan cheese, a little bit of salt, and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.
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This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Visit the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you and sign up for notifications when their new ad comes out! 

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