The rest of my weekends in June are booked solid!
I say this with the biggest smile on my face because there is nothing I like more than a gathering of friends and family with plenty of food and ice cold drinks. This weekend and the last weekend of the month I'll be going with my boyfriend to a couple of his family reunions; next weekend the rocking birthday party of a dear friend of mine. She has requested dinner and dancing!
Then, there's the wonderful celebration of my baby boy turning three years old! He achieves this milestone mid-month, but we're celebrating the last Sunday so more family can be present. I'm sure that will produce a few new recipes for me to share.
As is par for the course, a couple of these gatherings are pot-luck style. I never mind contributing since my main reason for attending is the people. Plus, I'm a much bigger fan of all the personality shown through food variety, than tepid buffet warmers full of catered food. Don't get me wrong, I can put a serious hurt on some fried chicken and "muskacholi" as they call it here in the St. Louis area (it's mastacioli - penne noodles with meat sauce), but I'd rather fill my plate with the wonderful add-on dishes each family member or friend brings to beef up the buffet line. And I can NEVER get enough fresh salad with house dressing on a hot summer day.
Since my blog has sort of become a narrated cookbook, I'm sure you have already guessed that I'm now going to pass on a fabulous recipe of some sort that would be pot-luck appropriate. Ding ding ding! You're right!
I'm not even going to TRY to claim this as my own recipe, but I no longer remember where I got it from. There are many versions of it out on the interwebs. I could never have been so clever as to come up with something like this, but I have changed things just a bit to fit into a busy mom's schedule and budget. This dish is fresh and delicious, bursting with flavor. It is a bit high in sodium, but the shredded cabbage mixture cuts that a little and you only have to feel half guilty about seconds with this recipe. (In fact, at particularly low-attendance barbeques in the past, this has been the main part of my meal next to a bun-less brat.)
I'm taking this on a two hour trip, so even though I'll probably mix this up the night before, I'll wait to add the noodles just as I'm leaving the house so that they retain a bit of crispness to them, but still get infused with flavor.
And now for the most elegant pot-luck dish of the century...
Ramen Noodle Salad!
Hey...don't be fooled by the $.33 sold-in-a-brick-shape base for this salad. It is truly refreshing and a delight. The coleslaw mix can usually be found alongside the pre-bagged salad. Still not convinced? There's no cooking involved...feeling it now, aren't ya?
1 package Beef Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
1 bag pre-chopped coleslaw (no dressing!)
1/2 Cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 Cup sunflower seeds
3 green onions chopped
1/2 Cup olive oil
Ramen noodle flavor packet
3 Tbsp vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider vinegar are all ok)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
Directions: Whisk together dressing in the bottom of your container/bowl (whatever you're going to serve out of). If you're serving soon after making this, go ahead and put all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl also. If you are making this ahead to let the flavors meld, wait to add your Ramen until just a few hours before you serve. I like to just close the lid on my container and shake this up really well, maybe stir it a few times to be sure that the dressing coats everything. Or you can use salad tongs to mix this up. Stir again before serving. Serve chilled!
TIP: Make and bring to the party in an inexpensive plastic-ware dish and dollar-store serving spoon. You won't have to worry about clean up or carrying anything home! Don't worry, someone will be happy to inherit it or it can be recycled.
So, for now, I wish you all a fun summer in the sun (apply sunscreen!) I'm currently relocating my residence so it may be a bit before I have the energy to post something creative again, but keep an eye out - I'm always trying new recipes and creating some of my own!