Tis the Season of Pot Luck Parties

It’s been a while since we last had a pot-luck at work. So glad to see that we are getting back to the old ways now that we are under new management. Just wish we were doing our Christmas Pot-Luck on a Monday rather than a Friday. It’s so much easier when you have all day Sunday to prepare. After a long day at the office, to come home and “cook” for the whole gang at work is a real drag. I’m grateful that I have kiddo around. He can do the prep while I concentrate on the finishing touches and presentation.

Like most office pot-luck parties; there are certain challenges that need to be met and overcome. For example, our office “kitchen” consists of two very small microwaves and one toaster oven. We are equally limited in accessible outlets, most utilized by the small appliances in place; the water cooler, refrigerator and break room soda machine. That leaves one (count ’em – one) outlet. Too bad – I have at my disposal a portable roasting oven (large enough to roast a fat turkey), a two-burner stove top, several electric skillets and a multitude of crock pots in various shapes and sizes. When we moved from our big house with its gourmet kitchen to our tiny house with a single stove/oven; I “expanded” my kitchen with an array of portable appliances. It was the only way I could survive in my tiny world. Since “cooking” and serving warm dishes was nearly out of the question, my search became more concentrated on things that could be served cold. All the while, reminding myself not to go crazy – I am NOT catering the party but rather contributing. Just one or two dishes will do – keep it simple, that’s the key.

Now this first recipe, I’ve shared before. The beauty of it is that everything ferments in a zip-lock bag overnight. Then it’s just a matter of placing it on a serving platter, a few last-minute touches and away we go. Pretty as you please. A lot of variety on a single platter.

Antipasto Platter (6)Antipasto Platter
Mixture Ingredients
1 jar (24 oz) pepperoncini, drained
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups marinated mushrooms
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, seeds remove
1/2 pound provolone cheese, cubed
1 package (4 oz) marinated Mozzarella balls, oil drained
1 can (6 oz) pitted ripe olives, drained
1 package (3 oz) sliced pepperoni, cut into quarters
2 jars (3 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 bottle (8 oz) Italian Dressing, Robust and Zesty variety

In a large bowl, combine antipasto ingredients. Toss with your hands to blend well. Pour Italian dressing over mixture; toss again to coat. Spoon mixture into a zip-lock bag. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Platter Liner
1 package (3 oz) Uncured Salami or similar deli meat, slice thin
1 Head Green Lettuce, leafy part only

Line a serving platter with lettuce leaves, leaving center of platter open. Arrange salami or similar deli meat around platter overlapping ends of lettuce leaves. Spoon antipasto mixture onto center of platter and arrange. Salad tongs for serving, with cocktail picks for “eating”.


I’m not sure why, but Smoked Salmon Spread and Christmas holiday parties just seem to go hand in hand in my mind. Growing up, it was something that only appeared at holiday parties. Sometimes my mom used a fish-shaped copper jello mold to make it even extra special, other times it came in the form of a ball rolled in pecans. Smoked salmon anything was a luxury reserved for special occasions. Even if you have oodles of money, reserving certain things for “special occasions” is what separates special from ordinary in the first place.

smoked-salmon-ballSmoked Salmon Ball with Pecans
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (7.5 oz) Pink Salmon, drained, flaked and cartilage removed
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Horseradish
½ Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
Sprigs of Parsley for garnish
Choice of crackers

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, salmon, parsley, green pepper, red bell pepper, lemon juice, horseradish and liquid smoke. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Form salmon mixture into a ball, roll in chopped pecans. Slightly flatten one end to prevent salmon ball from rolling about and place in the center of a serving tray. Tuck sprigs of parsley around salmon and ring with crackers.

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