- 2 10oz packages frozen, chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
- 1 stick (yes, 1 whole stick!!) butter
- 1 medium onion, diced (or minced, which I prefer)
- 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped small
- 1 package (8 oz, I think) cream cheese
- 1 small container (also 8 oz, I think) sour cream
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
- Melt butter in big sauce pan. Add onions and saute until they are soft.
- Add spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream, 3/4 cup Monterey jack, 3/4 cup Parmesan. Cook and stir until all well blended and melted together.
- Transfer to oven safe bowl. Top with remaining Monterey jack and parmesan. Put uncovered into 350 degrees oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until top is browned and bubbly.
I make a steamed green bean dish:
Steamed or lightly boiled beans (even good quality frozen-but whole, not chopped)tossed with an olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced shallots, fresh basil or marjoram, salt and fresh ground pepper dressing and topped with toasted pine nuts.
It can be made ahead of time, like even the day before.
Also similar is small, whole mushrooms sauteed with garlic and tossed with lemon juice, olive oil fresh herbs.
I have made deviled eggs and displayed them edible nasturtium flowers. Very pretty.
I think anything with an unusual ingredient and good quality ingredients, esp. garnished with fresh herbs will be impressive.
homemade hummus, homemade Baba Ganoush, toasted garlic pita wedges, feta cheese, greek olives and a simple tomatoe, onion herb salad.
It was a beautiful presentation, delicious and very different from what everyone else brought. And it was eaten up! I especially enjoyed watching this 10 year old girl chow down. She had a lot of food allergies. She was so excited there was something different that she could eat.
Broccoli florets cut into bite size pieces
red onion, chopped
mandarine orange slices (canned is good)
put everything except the mandarins and dressing together an hour before serving. mix the dressing and set aside 1 hr before serving. 1/2 hour before serving add mandarins and dressing to the salad. does not require all the dressing, add and stir a little at a time or it'll be soggy.
Cheesy Vegetable Egg Dish
1 medium zucchini diced
1 medium onion chopped
1 can (4oz) mushroom pieces, drained (or fresh mushrooms, even better)
1/4 C. chopped red pepper
1/2 C. butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
10 eggs lightly beaten
2 C. (16 oz) small curd cottage cheese
4 C. (16 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
`In a large skillet, saute the veggies in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until blended.
In a large bowl, combine eggs and cottage cheese. stir in veggies and Monterey Jack cheese.
Transfer to a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350' for 35-45 minutes, or until set and a food thermometer reads 160'
I make a homemade mac and cheese that most people seem to really like- it's basically just a white sauce with cheese. It took me a while though to learn how to make a good cheese sauce without it being grainy or the sauce "breaking."
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes two layers of a two-layer 9-inch or 8-inch round cake, or one small sheet cake. When cool, frost it.
I use whole wheat flour and apple sauce for the oil. Fat free and some whole grains. I also use at least ten tablespoons of cocoa.... I usually lose count around seven so I just add a few more.
With it, I also use this frosting from VegWeb:
Ingredients (use vegan versions):
1 cup of sugar
1/2 of a teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 of a cup of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons - 3 tablespoons of vanilla soy milk
Mix all ingredients. Use more soymilk for glaze, less for frosting.
For chocolate-mint: add some peppermint extract, you can add less vanilla if you want. Probably 1/8 of a teaspoon, I have never measured, all I know is it is a very small amount, just a couple drops or so.
There never seems to be enough frosting for the cake, so I just keep adding cocoa and soymilk until it seems to be enough.
I like this because it is on the healthy side, and with it being vegan, it suits allergies as well as food preferences.
I usually bring a salad. I get one bag of organic spring mix (those small bags have a lot of leaves!), and mix in some chopped walnuts, grated carrots, and little cubes of apple. Then I stir in some home-made Italian dressing.
I just made some for a school potluck last night.
Sadly, it really stood out among the selection of store-bought cookies, brownies, KFC (I kid you not!) and previously frozen bagel pizzas.
In fact, it was the only salad available made solely with veggies and fruits, and was 99% gone before half the line had gotten to it.
It kind of depends on knowing your audience... I've made fabulous dishes that bombed at one party because of the attendees but only lasted half an hour at another party. It also depends on the setting. A Picnic potluck for 40 would need a different dish than a dinner potluck for 15. Either way, I tend to go all out...
A good standby is crab mold. It's great on crackers, bread, veggies. I've stuffed it into cream puffs or tartlet shells. This is one that I've never had anyone turn their nose up at. I've also made it with bay shrimp instead of the crab.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 packet gelatin
2 Tbs water
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (condensed)
1 c celery, chopped
1/2 c green onion, chopped
1 c mayo
1 can (6 oz. or so) crab meat
Soften the gelatin in the water. Dump the soup into a pan and heat it up. Stir in the softened gelatin until dissolved. Beat the cream cheese and mayo together, add the soup mixture and beat until smooth. Add the celery onions and crab. Pour into a ring mold and refrigerate until set.
Dip the mold briefly into warm water and invert onto a plate to serve.
If you're going to stuff it/pipe it into something, skip the ring mold and just pour it into a bowl.
I also find fruit salsas to be impressive, but they can be a lot of work. Mango or pineapple or peach/strawberry... I've even had cantaloupe salsa. Cranberry salsa is a big hit during the fall served over cream cheese with crackers.
I have a great green salad with smoked duck breast, blue cheese, dried cranberries and pecans that is a huge hit in the right company. I've also made mocha mousse piped into nut tartlet shells that again are huge in the right company.
I also have a great pasta salad that makes a HUGE batch (3 pounds of pasta). Unfortunately it requires advanced planning to make. I make it with artichoke hearts marinated in balsamic vinaigrette which I can every couple of years, but a normal person would need at least a couple days and access to frozen artichokes to do it. It has green and black olives, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese.
Salami "purses" stuffed with a soft cheese (like Allouetter/Rondele/Boursin) and a cherry tomato.
Salami roll-ups with cream cheese and pepperoncinis.
Butterscotch pudding from scratch can be impressive, if you have cups to serve it in (take it already portioned and top with whipped cream).
If any of those sound good, PM me and I'll send you the recipe... I'm assuming you didn't want something that needed to be served hot.
ETA - Baklava!! Always very impressive.
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