This is embarrassing to admit so please tell me I’m not the only one who does this – I excitedly accept an invitation to a party or potluck a few weeks away, make a note of the upcoming event on my calendar, and then file it away for later. The week of the potluck arrives and I have no dish planned, but, I don’t fret because there are still a few days to think of something. The day of the potluck arrives and I spend the entire day void of good ideas and wishing I had planned my dish in advance.
If you can relate to my method (or lack thereof) I have a suggestion for both of us. Choose a signature dish. Once you have chosen a signature dish you will be less likely to find yourself paying for a bag of chips and a tub of salsa thirty minutes before a party (at least grab one of the refrigerated options!).
Suggestions for choosing a signature dish:
- Start with ingredients you are likely to have on hand at any given time.
- Pick fresh ingredients with year round availability.
- Look for a dish that will be great if made a day in advance or just a few minutes prior to serving.
- Imagine your dish fitting easily with a variety of entrées (grilled meat, fish, casseroles, etc).
- Consider appealing to a wide range of dietary needs and preferences.
- Most importantly – make your signature dish something that you enjoy, that fits your health goals, and could satisfy your hunger if the other food options do not meet the first two criteria.
A few weeks ago I found myself hours from a potluck dinner with no solid plan for what to make. Adding to my stress was the guest list – all the other diners were food blog writers. Ack! I knew the meal would be casual but I wanted to bring something I was proud to share with the talented group.
This salad came together less than an hour before I scrambled out the door. When I showed up to dinner with my bowl of Creamy Broccoli Salad I was very happy with my contribution. It fit right in with the hostess’s main dish and complemented the other appetizers and side dishes. It fits the criteria quite nicely and I may have found my signature dish.
Here are some of the other goodies we enjoyed:
Artichoke and Goat Cheese Phyllo Appetizer – by Shut Up & Cook (cheesy briny goodness in a crisp papery envelope)
Persian Cucumber Bites with Lox & Dill Cream Cheese – by Everyday Maven (crunchy, salty, creamy, and gorgeous!)
Creamy Broccoli Salad
Make this versatile salad a day in advance to let the flavors mix and mingle overnight or throw it together right before the meal begins. The dressing makes just enough to coat the salad with a flavorful creaminess but stops short of becoming heavy or gloppy. Make sure to add the orange zest to the dressing it gives this salad a playful twist.
Prep time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: n/a; Yields 10 servings
- 6 – 8 cups broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
- 3-5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup raisins, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, kernels only toasted without salt
- 1 batch (approximately 2/3 cup) Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing (see below)
Approximate nutrition per serving: 79 calories, 2 g fat, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3.6 g protein, PP = 2
Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing
This creamy dressing has a lightness you won’t find in a bottle. It is quick to prepare and can be used to top a salad or in place of the usual condiments on a burger, wrap, or sandwich.
Prep time: 5 minutes, Cooking time: n/a; Yields 6 servings approximately 2.5 tablespoon each
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) Chobani – Non-fat Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1teaspoon orange zest
Approximate nutrition per serving: 26 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein, PP = 1
Disclaimer: Chobani recently sent me a selection of yogurt to experiment with. There was no agreement that I would recommend any of the flavors. However, I like their products and they work well in recipes so I want to let you know that I specifically used Chobani 0% plain in this recipe and was very happy with the result.