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Monday, February 9, 2015

Mommy Monday: quick potluck recipes

So you've just been asked to bring something to a potluck-style meal or event, and you don't have any time to go to the store beforehand. You also don't have a lot of time to cook. Sure, you could just bring something store-bought (drinks, cookies, chips and salsa, or a rotisserie chicken are great in a pinch!), but you'd rather bring something you've made yourself. Are there any options for you in this situation?

Why yes, yes there are! ;)

In the last couple of years I have found a few recipes that require only ingredients I can keep on hand, and can be made very quickly. Since I find that often I am asked to bring something in a particular category, I have listed one in each main category of meal items.

Dessert: Pumpkin Spice Bars (or cookies, or muffins...)
I heard this recipe from a friend and have since found several different sources for similar recipes, so I'm not sure who to attribute this to. There are several ways to vary the recipe so even if you are making it for the same people, you can change it up to seem totally different!

Ingredients: 1 (15oz) can pumpkin
                    1 (14.5oz) box gingerbread mix
                    optional: raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, cream cheese frosting

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350.
                   2. Mix pumpkin, gingerbread mix, and any mix-in's (my favorites are raisins and white
                       chocolate chips) in large bowl.
                   3. Pour into 9x13 pan or muffin tin, or spoon onto cookie sheet.
                   4. Cook for around 20 minutes (adjust depending on the pan, oven temp etc)
                   5. Allow to cool completely. You can add frosting or serve as-is.

Main Dish/Meat: Mexican Chicken
This is another one that I've seen on many, many blogs and websites, but I found the recipe here. You can serve the chicken as-is, or use it to stuff burritos, in fajitas, or on top of a salad- basically any Mexican recipe with shredded chicken. I usually have tortillas and shredded cheese so I can just take those with the chicken and let people do what they want :)

Ingredients: 3-4 chicken breasts or 5-6 thighs
                    1 cup salsa
                    optional: 2 tsp each of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, and/or

Directions: 1. Put chicken in crockpot first (can be completely frozen), then salsa and any seasonings.
                   2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (3-4 on high).
                   3. Shred or cut up the chicken.

Side/Appetizer/Veggie: Spinach Balls
Yep, in my opinion you can use these for any of the above categories. The beauty of this recipe (which I got here) is that you can make them pretty quickly from start to finish, but you can also make them ahead and freeze them. I often leave out the onions (I adore onions but my girls don't so I don't always have them on-hand) and just add a little extra cheese. I don't use the extra seasonings. I find the stuffing mix has enough seasoning already.

Ingredients: 2 (10oz) packages frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
                    2 small onions (finely chopped)
                    2 1/4 cup stuffing mix with herbs
                    6 eggs (beaten)
                    1/2 cup butter (melted)
                    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
                    optional: 2 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp black pepper

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare all ingredients as listed above (thaw, chop, beat, melt).
                   2. Mix everything in large bowl, then make 1" balls and place on cookie sheet.
                   3. Bake for 20 minutes.

Shopping List
OK, so if you want to have the ingredients on hand to make any of these three options at the drop of a hat, here's what you'll need:

Pantry: 1 (15oz) can pumpkin
             1 box gingerbread mix
             1 box stuffing mix
             1 small jar of salsa

Freezer: chicken (breasts or thighs)
              2 (10oz) packages spinach

Perishables that you will need to have on hand when you make them: eggs, butter, parmesan cheese, onions

Pretty simple, right? What are your super-simple recipes that you keep at the ready?

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