Posts Tagged ‘potluck’

ravioli casserole

Looking for something tasty and hearty to take to a holiday potluck? Well, consider yourself “potlucky” that you found this recipe! Like a lasagne, this casserole has layers of meaty tomato sauce and shredded cheese, but magnificent rows of cooked raviolis replace the lasagne noodles. My two guest taste-testers gave this casserole a two-thumbs up and even took some home as party favors.

Lisa’s Ravioli Casserole
From Paul & Phil’s Potluck Cookbook

9 oz. fresh or frozen raviolis
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
Salt, garlic, ground black pepper, and Italian seasoning, to taste
1 – 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded cheese (mixture of mozzarella, Romano and Parmesan)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Boil 8 quarts of water and cook raviolis according to package instructions. Drain them.

3. While raviolis are cooking, brown hamburger with the spices. Drain fat from meat. Stir in spaghetti sauce and set aside.

4. Spray a large casserole with nonstick spray. Layer meat sauce in the bottom of the dish. Place a few raviolis on top of the sauce. Put another layer of sauce on top of the raviolis. Sprinkle a layer of cheese on next. Continue to layer the ingredients with final layer being cheese.

5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.

Serves 4-8

Linnell’s Notes:
1. This recipe creates a good casserole. Nothing exotic, though. The great thing about this recipe is its adaptability. The next time I prepare this casserole, I will use more interesting tasting ravioli (I used cheese ravioli the first go-round) and add some sweet Italian sausage to the ground beef mixture for more depth of flavor. Chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed dry), chopped mushrooms, diced green peppers, chopped onions, and a can of diced tomatoes would also enhance the flavor of this recipe. Oh, and maybe a little wine, too . . . .

2. I doubled the recipe and it fit nicely in a 9 by 13-inch pan.

3. Instead of placing “a few raviolis on top of the sauce” as the recipe states, I layered the  raviolis in rows to cover the sauce (approximately 4 raviolis across and 6 raviolis long). This way every person is guaranteed to get his share of ravioli!


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Lightly freckled bananas sit on my kitchen counter and beg to be eaten while still in their prime. A thought crosses my mind, “What about using them in a dessert for the potluck dinner tonight?” Being short on time, I search for a quick and easy banana recipe. Voilà! Paula Deen to the rescue again! This recipe tantalizes me, because it contains all sorts of sinful ingredients like cream cheese, whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk. But what really lures me in is the use of a big-time favorite cookie of mine – buttery Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies. I can’t wait to sample this dessert! Hold on a minute . . . how am I going to taste this luscious banana dessert AND serve it at a potluck? I don’t think anyone will notice a missing corner piece, do you?

Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

1. Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies . . .

. . . and then layer bananas on top of them.

2. Notice that some of the cookies are broken. Eat them.

3. In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.
4. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 12.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Because I like my banana desserts to be full of fresh banana flavor, I cut up eight bananas.
2. To prevent the bananas from turning yellow, I sliced the bananas and, in batches, put them in a strainer over a bowl and poured lemon juice over them. I poured the lemon juice from the bowl back into the measuring cup to use again.

3. For better flavor, I whipped up some fresh whipping cream and used it in place of the frozen whipped topping.
4. This recipe does come together easily and makes a wonderful dessert for potlucks, family dinners, and parties.


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Throwing a football party at your house? Got kids coming home for the holidays? Going to a potluck dinner soon? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will want to make this colorful, flavorful, and healthy salad. It’s the type of salad you can make for two and have leftovers, but it more easily feeds a crowd! There are few hard and fast rules in this great recipe; it is a salad after all! Like avocados? Put them in! Don’t like jicama? Leave it out! Want to serve it as a main dish? No problem, just add some protein in the form of diced chicken breast, bacon, shrimp, taco meat or hard-boiled eggs. Want to make it ahead of time? Prepare the ingredients the night before and store them in airtight containers. Assemble it right before serving. This salad travels well, too. Put the prepared ingredients in separate zip-type plastic bags or small plastic containers and then arrange them over the bed of greens when you arrive at your destination. Other than for the spicy southwestern-inspired salad dressing, there are no specific measurements for this salad. Adjust the amounts of the salad add-ins proportionally to the amount of greens you use. For the sake of giving you some parameters, I am giving you rough estimates of what I would serve as a side salad for six to eight people.

Southwestern Chopped Salad

Southwestern Ranch Salad Dressing (Adapted from a recipe found on Food.com):
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons minced tomatoes
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons canned diced jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon honey or real maple syrup

Directions to Make Salad Dressing:
1. Note: The flavors in this salad dressing need time to meld, so it should be made three to four hours ahead of serving time.
2. Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, except for the milk.
3. Add milk to thin, as needed.
4. Cover and chill.

Salad Ingredients:
3 heads of romaine hearts or 1 head of iceberg lettuce
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cups frozen corn
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans
1 medium can sliced black olives
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium-sized jicama, diced
1 bunch cilantro
1-2 cucumbers, diced
Shredded cheddar cheese
Corn chips or toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 avocados, peeled and cubed (optional)
1-2 fresh tomatoes, diced (optional)

Directions to Make the Salad:
1. Wash lettuce leaves and spin or blot dry. Stack three or four leaves at a time and cut into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. The large leaves should be stacked and cut in half down the spine before slicing into ribbons.
2. Finely dice half of the red onion.
3. Place frozen corn in a strainer and run cool water over it until the kernels are thawed. Drain thoroughly.
4. Pour the can of beans into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Let drain.
5. Drain olives.
6. Dice the red pepper.
7. Peel and dice the jicama.
8. Wash and spin or blot dry the cilantro, pick leaves off and put into a small bowl.
9. Dice the cucumbers.
10. Break corn chips into coin-sized pieces, reserving whole pieces for garnish along the edge of your bowl.
11. When ready to assemble, place lettuce ribbons into a large, shallow bowl.
12. Except for the red onion, cilantro leaves, cheese, and corn chips, arrange each ingredient in concentric rings on top of the greens, beginning with the ingredient you have the least of and ending with the ingredient you have the most of. Try to balance the colors.
13. Sprinkle the onions, cilantro leaves, cheese, and corn chips decoratively on top of the salad.
14. Place whole corn chips on edge of salad bowl.
15. Serve with dressing on the side.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Romaine lettuce is more nutritious than iceberg, so it is always my fist choice.
2. All diced items should be diced approximately the same size for a uniform appearance.
3. Taco-flavored Doritos are really good in this salad!
4. Diced fresh tomatoes can be added or substituted for the red bell pepper. I leave out the tomatoes if the salad is to be made in advance or if I’m traveling with it. The red bell peppers provide enough color with out getting juicy like the tomatoes.
5. The salad dressing recipe only makes one cup, so if you’re serving a crowd, multiply the salad dressing recipe as needed.
6. The spicy-heat of the salad dressing can be adjusted by adding fewer jalapenos and less cayenne pepper. Remember to let the dressing sit for a couple of hours before you decide to adjust any of the flavors!
7. The salad dressing makes a great dip for vegetables, too – just don’t thin it out with the milk.


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