I was in the grocery store a couple of days before Thanksgiving and the young man in front of me had two boxes of cake mix and two cans of icing on the conveyor. I wondered if he was baking a cake or if he was purchasing them for someone else to bake a cake. I wondered if he had the eggs and the oil needed to make them. I resisted the urge to ask, which was very hard for me to do. He was checked out and headed for the door when I saw him lift his bag and yell to someone else in another checkout line, “I’ve got the cupcakes for tomorrow.” Mystery solved. I sure hope he had eggs and oil – maybe I should have asked. Workplace potluck season has begun!
Potluck holiday parties’ ebb and flow in popularity. I don’t know if it’s an economy issue or if it’s like long hair v. short hair, always changing in popularity. In any case, chances are you might find yourself invited to a potluck in the next few weeks, so it’s not too early to start planning what you’re going to contribute. If you’ve got leftover turkey in the refrigerator, then put it in the freezer right now and sign up to make Turkey Tetrazzini or Turkey Sliders. Leftover turkey problem - potluck contribution solved! I just love it when I can solve two things in one decision!
Potlucks can be a great time to try new dishes. Just looking at a table spread with a variety of foods excites me. Even if there are three dishes of Mac & Cheese, I taste them all, because they are all different! If you happen to be a great cook, it’s your time to show off your culinary skills and impress your co-workers, but if you’re not, then don’t shy away from a box of fried chicken or a grocery store cookie tray. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. Make something simple and stick with what you know how to do. Whatever you do, don’t forget the most important thing to take to a potluck is a really big appetite! What you take is optional – but being hungry enough to taste everything isn’t!
After deciding what to prepare, the next challenge is holding it hot/cold until it’s time to eat, especially if it’s a lunch party at the office. No one likes a warm green salad or a cold pan of spaghetti. Use one of these ideas to make sure your dish is served at its optimal temperature.
1. If your dish is cold, then don’t expect there to be room in the hostess’ refrigerator. Pack it on ice or surround your dish with ice packs and put it in a cooler. If all you have is a large cooler, then purchase a small insulated bag from the grocery store. They’re cheap and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll use it!
2. For hot dishes, start by wrapping the entire thing in heavy duty foil two to three times. Then wrap it in a heavy towel or several layers of newspaper. Buy a few bricks, wrap them in heavy duty foil and heat them in the oven on 350 degrees. Place the hot bricks on the bottom of your cooler and put the wrapped dish on top. This works really great if it’s an outside party like a tailgate.
3. Make something in a crock pot and keep it plugged in on warm until ready to eat. The manufacturers and health agency don’t recommend reheating in a crock pot, so if you have to cook it in advance, then reheat it in the microwave or oven and use the crock pot to keep it warm.
Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie’s Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to www.sophiesmarketplace.com.
• 1 ½ cup cooked turkey diced
• 2 tablespoons chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 (10 ¾ ounce) can mushroom soup
• ½ can water
• 1 tablespoon dry sherry
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
• Dash of hot sauce
• 1 (2-ounce) jar pimentos
• 1 (8-ounce) package spaghetti, cooked according to packaged
1. Saute onion in butter until translucent.
2. Add turkey, soup, water, sherry and cheese, simmer until cheese melts.
3. Stir in parsley flakes, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and pimentos.
4. Add cooked spaghetti and blend well. Pour into a greased casserole dish.
5. Bake at 350 degree or 30-40 minutes.
• 1 package King's Hawaiian Rolls
• Sliced turkey
• 8-12 slices Swiss or Havarti cheese
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Slice tops off dinner rolls and set aside. Transfer bottoms to a 9x13 pan. Top bottom rolls with turkey and sliced cheese. Place tops back on rolls.
3. In a small sauce pan combine butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire and poppy seeds. Bring to a boil and pour over sandwiches.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and crispy.
Berry Gelatin Mold
Gelatin salads are a staple at church suppers, family reunions and potlucks. This one is not only delicious, but pretty. You won’t have to worry about taking leftovers home!
• 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin
• 2 cups cranberry juice
• 1 1/2 cups club soda, chilled
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 3 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries)
1. Dissolve gelatin in boiling cranberry juice. Set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in club soda, and lemon juice. Refrigerate until partially set, about 45 minutes.
2. Fold in berries.
3. Pour into a ring mold or a 10x13 pan lightly coated with a flavorless cooking spray. Refrigerate until fully set, a minimum of 4 hours.
4. Unmold, slice and serve on a bed of lettuce.
Many different cake recipes are named Preacher Cake. They were named so because they were made when there was a visiting preacher coming over to your house after church for lunch. This one uses a cake mix which is perfectly fine and no one will know the difference!
• 1 cup butter, divided
• 1 package spice cake mix
• 1 can (8-ounce) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
• 1 cup Baker's Angel Flake Coconut
• 3 eggs
• 3/4 cup water
• 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 2 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Melt 1/2 cup butter; pour into large mixer bowl. Add cake mix, pineapple, coconut, eggs and water; beat until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup nuts.
3. Pour into 13x9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
5. Beat cream cheese, sugar and remaining butter in medium bowl with mixer until blended; spread onto cake. Sprinkle with remaining nuts.