Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Game Night & Potluck, March 28, 2015

We like to have Jeannene's team from the plant over for parties every so often. The last one was our Practice Thanksgiving, so it was about time. We decided to have a game night and asked everyone to bring a favorite spring dish. Some people went along with the theme, some (like my wife) did not, but everything was really, really good. Here's what we had:

-I made 2 quiches (one broccoli cheddar, one ham & swiss), an asparagus berry salad, a fruit tart, a prosecco punch (the punch they served at my childhood church, with added prosecco---I wish I'd thought to split the batch for those who were not drinking), and, at Jeannene's request, a triple batch of guacamole (I just mash avocados with some key lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

-Jeannene made the Velveeta/Rotel/sausage dip we always have for the Super Bowl and set out tortilla scoops with that. She also put out some spinach artichoke dip from Costco with pita chips.

-Jim & Cindy brought some excellent homemade black bean salsa with chips.

-Ken made a creamy & spicy dip, also with tortilla chips, and Meghan made one of her adorable & delicious desserts, zucchini cupcakes with little Easter egg sprinkles on them. Ken always brings all kinds of awesome beers, as well, and sometimes wine, too. He is really interested in trying different craft beers and he loves to share his finds.

-Kelvin & Pat brought their signature shrimp cocktail, which is always gone in moments.

-Xifan & Denny brought a big pot of her chicken & vegetable soup, colorful and yummy.

-Glenn & Kim brought teriyaki chicken wings he made (the men in Jeannene's group tend to be terrific cooks).

-Connie & Frank brought a very springy pasta salad made with rainbow rotini & topped with deviled eggs---you know how popular deviled eggs always are!

-William & Lillian brought a big box of really fabulous baklava of various sorts that I had a hard time staying out of---and a bottle of champagne for us to enjoy later.

-Michael showed up a little late, bearing chicken, shrimp, & sausage jambalaya, which all of us fell upon as though we'd not eaten anything else. He said he's a little rusty, but it was great. Jeannene even said it was better than mine & I couldn't be mad.

Pie shell for 9" pie (I use store-bought)
Grated parmesan
6 eggs
3/4 c. half & half
Salt & pepper
Fillings of choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fit pie crust into 9" pie plate, rolling extra under along the edge, then crimping. Line with parchment and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake until edges are light golden, 15-20 minutes. Remove parchment & weights/beans. Sprinkle bottom of crust with parmesan. Place fillings in the crust. For the ham & swiss, I used a package of diced ham (6-8 oz, I think) and a cup & a half of shredded swiss. For the broccoli cheddar, I used one crown of broccoli, cut into small florets, and a cup and a half of cheddar. I debated about whether to steam the broccoli, but decided the florets were small enough that I could skip it. Whisk eggs, half & half, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper together well. Pour into crust and bake until the middle of the quiche is just set, 40-45 minutes. Serves 6-8 and is a great dish for a party like this because it's good at room temp, as well as warm, so  it can be made ahead with no need for re-heating before serving. 

Asparagus Berry Salad
3 bunches asparagus
2 pints raspberries
A handful of halved strawberries
Strawberry or raspberry vinaigrette (my absolute favorite is Maple Grove Farm's Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette)

Trim the asparagus, snap in two, and blanch a couple minutes in boiling water. Remove to an ice bath and allow to cool. Arrange on serving platter. Sprinkle with berries and drizzle with dressing. Serves 10-12 and is quite beautiful.

Cheater's Fruit Tart
1 roll sugar cookie dough, room temperature (I like Pillsbury)
1 tub cream cheese fruit dip, chilled (I like Marzetti)
A bunch of cut-up fresh fruit (I used halved strawberries, kiwi cut into demi-lunes, mandarin oranges from a can, pineapple, blueberries, and a few raspberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tart pan with fluted sides and a removable bottom. Press cookie dough into tart pan and up the sides, trimming if it squishes over the sides & pressing the excess back into the bottom of the pan. You will want this nice & even. Bake 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Slather with fruit dip. Arrange fruit on top. Chill, if not using promptly. Serves 6-8. 

Westminster Punch, Prosecco-fied
12 oz. can frozen pink lemonade
12 oz. can frozen limeade
46 oz. pineapple juice
Small container sweetened frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
2 liters ginger ale
750-ml bottle prosecco

Mix everything together in a punch bowl and serve. 

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