We are going to have a dinner at church....?!

Question: We are going to have a dinner at church....?
...Will you share your favorite group recipe with me? An easy one, please???
It can be a casserole, a dessert or a salad, I don't care. Just something that is different and tried and true. I am tired of bringing the same old things.


This pasta salad is very easy you can slice everything up ahead of time and then assemble it the night before.

Vegetable Pasta Salad

8 cups cooked fusilli al dente (1 lb uncooked) or pasta shape of your choice.

You can add whatever veggies you like. I use sliced fresh mushrooms, red and green bell pepper sliced, sliced zuchinni,thinly sliced red onion, lightly steamed broccoli, snow peas, and carrots. I also add defrosted green peas and sliced black olives. Use your favorite Italian Dressing. (I like Newmans Own). Mix with half the dressing the night before, and add the rest when you get there. If you like you can add shredded chicken or steamed shrimp.

For something really different try this easy because it can be made ahead of time

Couscous Salad

2 cups good stock
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup couscous
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 small cucumber or zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 small Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/3 cup currants or raisins
1-2 cups canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together the stock, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. Add the couscous in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly, and continue to boil, stirring, for 1 minute.
Cover the pot tightly, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.Fluff the couscous grains with a fork, transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool. Then fluff again, rubbing with your fingers to break up
any lumps. Add the carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, onion, apple, currants and chick peas and toss.

In a small jar with a lid, shake the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil with the lemon juice, salt and pepper until well mixed. Pour over the salad and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or up to 2 days. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste before serving.

It doesn't get any easier than this one all you have to do is chop the apple and toss everything. This can be doubled or tripled with no problems.

Broccoli Slaw

1(12ounce)bag bocccoli slaw
1(15ounce)can pineapple chunks, drained
1 tart apple chopped (I like to use Granny Smith)
1/2 cup rasins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1(8ounce)bottle coleslaw dressing

Combine all ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Angel Dessert (easy to double)

1 pack (8 oz) Cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 carton (8oz) Cool Whip
1 angel Food Cake (14 oz), cut into 1" cubes
2 cans pies Filling (your choice) or fresh strawberries

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese & sugar together; fold in the Cool Whip and cake cubes. Spread evenly into an ungreased 13" dish. Top with the pie filling. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Fruit Pizza ( a little more involved)

1stick margarine 1tsp Baking Powder 3/4 cup Sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1 egg 1 1/2 cup flour vanilla

mix all together in a large bowl and refrigerate 1 hour; spread on greased pizza pan and bake 10 mins or till golden brown. (350 degrees)

1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup water dash salt 2tbs cornstarch 1/2 cup OJ 2tbs lemon juice

cook until thick stirring constantly

1 8oz cream cheese 1 8oz Cool Whip

blend then spread on cooled crust; arrange fruit on top; brush with glaze

Possible fruit
seedless grapes, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple



BLT salad. Cut all of the usual ingredients very small and forget about the bread. Tastes great and it's different.

I just found this website for cooking for a crowd. All kind of goodies!


A simple yet really popular dish I bring to potlucks quite often is baked spaghetti with pepperoni. It’s easy to make--just make your spaghetti as you normally would, using your favorite bottled sauce. Chop up some pepperoni and add it to the spaghetti, stirring it in. Pour into casserole or baking dish. Add more sliced pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on top, and pop it back in the oven (375) for 20 mins. or so. Yum! Or, make it up and pour into a crock pot for serving! It doesn’t take long to melt the cheese on top and warm up the pepperoni.

Here is a GREAT salad recipe that’s different and very popular:

Broccoli Salad

2 bunches fresh broccoli, washed & drained (use tops only)
? cup brown sugar
? cup raisins
? cup vinegar
2/3 cup chopped onion
? cup mayonnaise (regular, or light, etc.)

Mix all together and add the broccoli heads. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, cook 7 slices of bacon (crispy) and sprinkle bacon pieces over top and serve.

A "dessert salad"--

Pretzel Salad 2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons white sugar

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter and 3 tablespoons sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture onto cooled crust.
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in still frozen strawberries and allow to set briefly. When mixture is about the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

This is my standby for potlucks, because it travels well and is so quick to make. I usually get asked for the recipe. This is a vegetarian side dish, and will definitely stand out as different. The original recipe is online here. I have made comments below in italic type.

12 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti - I usually use straight ramen noodles.
1/2 cup vegetable oil - I used 1/8 of a cup and liked it even better. 1/2 c is overkill IMO.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed - I never have any so I usually leave out.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sweet hot chile sauce (nuoc cham ga or mae ploy, a Thai condiment) - Sriracha works too. Amazon carries these, or you can get sweet hot Thai sauces at an Asian market, if you have one nearby.
Chopped scallions, for garnish, optional

In a stockpot over high heat, bring about 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain well and place in large bowl. Set aside. - Ramen only takes about 4 minutes to cook, and should not be overcooked.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the noodles and toss well. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped scallions, if using. - Cool before serving, though it is fine to eat at room temperature. I don’t like it warm from the boiling noodles.


All American "Baked" Beans
16 hot dogs, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped onion
4 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons dry mustard
3 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon pepper
2 28-ounce cans baked beans
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

In a dutch oven, lightly brown hot dogs with onions in butter. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serves 16.

I usually transfer it to my crockpot for serving, and plug it in to keep it warm if an outlet is available.

5 lbs of Potato Salad
5 lbs of all-purpose potatoes
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1 cup green pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1 cup mayonnaise (I usually use Hellman's lite)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Sliced hard boiled eggs (optional)

Boil potatoes whole until cooked, approximately 30-40 minutes. Slip from skins, cut into 1-1/2" cubes, and place in large bowl. Add celery, green pepper, and onion and chill thoroughly. While potatoes chill, in small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except eggs and paprika. Stir into potatoes. Garnish with egg slices and sprinkle with paprika as desired.

If you want to splurge a bit, get a bag or two of frozen cooked, cleaned, and deveined shrimp and serve (defrosted) with this cocktail sauce:

Cocktail Sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons prepared horse radish
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
3/4 teaspoons hot sauce, or to taste

Stir everything together, cover and chill.

For dessert for large crowds, I usually like to do a big bowl of cut up in-season fresh fruits and a tray of cookies. Grocery stores usually carry big containers of cut fresh fruit, and their bakeries have home-made quality cookies.

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