Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Potluck Exchange...

Chopping, prepping, priming, assembling, cooking, roasting, baking, all in the spirit of the festive season. Gathering with friends and family just can't be without an assortment of delicious food to indulge our senses silly! And what could be better than helping out the host by bringing a potluck dish...? Something you're proud of to pass around or serve on a common table buffet-style for all to savour, sip and devour. Here is a round up of some of my everyday favourites and special occasion specific dishes and foods that are holiday-worthy for a potluck exchange. From finger foods to desserts, or entertaining with an International theme or a popular heritage food, there's something here for everyone!

My entertainment spread of appetizers one Festive gathering sans kids in years past.

Chinese jiaozi dumplings would be welcomed at any soirée. Aromatic and crispy- YUM!
Pan-Fried Dumplings

Make your own crispy Spring Rolls!

Lemony Dill Yogurt Dip

For something different, try using edamame to make the classic guacamole dip. Creamy and delightful, give it another twist in an Asian Edamole served with sesame rice crackers.

Basic Edamole
Asian Edamole

Surprise your gathering with Curry Beef Rice Korokke- So satisfying, with a pleasing crunchy crust and a delicious rich filling!

Flaky Curry Beef Palmiers are pretty, savoury and irresistible!

Chinese Lettuce Wraps can be served as an appie or side. If you've ever had the the famous appetizer chicken lettuce wrap from American-based restaurant chain PF Chang's China Bistro, you'll understand why there's so many copycat recipes out there. And it's all about the sauce you spoon over!

Five spice powder and with just an addition of a few ingredients, then oven-baked and pan-fried the results are wings that are slightly sticky, very moist and full of flavour.

Five Spice Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

Healthy quinoa replaces bulgur wheat in this twist on tabbouleh. Colourful and flavourful!
Tabbouleh with Quinoa

Creamy Dill Apple Salad

Waldorf Salad consists of tart apples, celery, grapes/raisins and walnuts dressed in creamy mayonnaise. For a new spin on this classic with a nod to the festive holiday, there's sweet red jewels of cranberries to replace raisins and instead of creamy, a healthy oil and vinegar dressing to tie it altogether, all on a bed of vitamin-rich wheat berries.

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad

Toasting almonds to just short of being burnt gives an interesting slightly bitter dimension to this unique salad dressing. Balanced with the sweetness of honey, sourness of red wine vinegar, piquant Dijon mustard, and salt, this nutty vinaigrette strikes a harmonious chord in fresh green salad mixed with the juiciness of grape tomatoes, licorice crunch of fennel and the creaminess of avocado. The results are gloriously addictive, it has been a shining star at all my gatherings!

Mixed Green Salad in a Burnt Almond Vinaigrette

Other Sides

You can't go wrong with bringing a roasted vegetable side. Oven-roasting vegetables is a snap. Simply toss your vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and some dried herbs such as thyme or oregano; spread them on a foil-lined oven pan and let bake at 425F until caramelized. Try it with asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower!

Oven-Roasted Tahini Cauliflower

We all love mashed potatoes but not the guilt of piling on the creamy starches, so I came up with a made-over healthier version with a contemporary spin. An updated homage to a classic dish we all love to pass around- one that is loaded with flavour but you can also feel good about serving and eating!

Made-Over "Fully Loaded" Mashed Potato Bake

Baked Scalloped Potatoes

Meaty Mains

Beouf Bourguignon is a delicious famous French slow-simmering beef stew made with red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms. Properly done and flavoured it is truly one of the most wonderful tasting beef dishes out there.

A slow cooker is perfect for putting together a big batch pot of something delicious. Try this Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs for a hearty dish for your get together that will garner serious praise.

Slow Cooker Short Beef Ribs

Shepherd's Pie

Beef Tourtière (Meat Pie)


Highlighting a few cultural favourites, try these popular numbers that are great for sharing:

Korean Chap Chae Noodles

Soba Noodles with Spinach

Persian Kotlet Meat Patties

Cantonese Chow Mein

Smita's Home-Style Butter Chicken


A finale of sweets and treats. You can never go wrong with classic chocolate-rich brownies.

And you are good to go with any of these holiday treats. Perfect for entertaining and dressing up a sweet table. No-Bake White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Clusters and Fruit and Nut "Fudge",S'Mores Cookie Crisps, Make-Ahead Ice Box Sugar Cookies, Big-Batch Kris Kringle Cookies, and Chocolate Bliss Cookies.

Happy Cooking, Happy Eating, Happy Sharing...

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