Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Filler Food

We were supposed to host friends at our house for Labor Day.  I got as far as mixing my fruit salad, making my dip and had my veggies roasting in the oven when our friends arrived and immediately had to leave due to a medical emergency.  We didn't feel like celebrating much of anything after that, and we ended up eating only fruits and veggies with dip for our Labor Day meal.  Fortunately, everything seems to be on the upswing for our friends now.  I call these "Filler" foods because while they are never the main dish, they always go very well with whatever is cooking and each make a great "side" dish on their own for pot-lucks.

The above fruit salad is so easy, it hurts. I took a container of cut pineapple and then I rinsed and cut the stems off a container of strawberries and mixed them together.  One of my friends loves this with mangoes instead of pineapple. For Memorial Day or Fourth of July, I like to add blueberries and blackberries instead of pineapple and I add a dollop of whip cream on top.  One year, I made a kiwi and pineapple salad for St. Patrick's Day.  As long as you have a pretty dish and the fruit is fresh, it can be anything.
The Cilantro-Jalapeño dip is one of my favorite dips to make because it can double as a salsa when poured over pulled pork tacos or carne asada!  I originally found the photo & recipe for this dip on Pinterest, but I tweaked it a bit and this is what I use:

-5-6 mature jalapenos, chopped
-1 packet of dry Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
-8 oz. of Sour Cream Lite
-half a bunch of cilantro
-Substitute 8 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese for the mayo (We prefer cream cheese to mayo)
-Add the juice of half a lime

Blend it all together and then add a sprig of cilantro for garnish.  It tastes best with Ruffles potato chips, or Ranch Dip Doritos, but it will be just as gone with regular tortilla chips!
Finally, I stole this roasted veggies idea from a friend and fellow winer.  Our boys love roasted veggies and it is the only way that I have ever fed them brussel sprouts and they don't even blink.  Here is how I make them:

-Take all your veggies and chop them up into small slices
    In this case, I used broccoli,  carrots, and mushrooms (I've added pototoes, brussel sprouts, squash, even apples before)
- In a gallon ZipLock bag add:
- 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
- 4 Teaspoons of Italian Dressing
- Lemon and Pepper to your taste
-Add the veggies to the ZipLock Bag and shake well enough to coat the vegetables.
-Place the veggies on a baking pan and add some cloves of garlic
-Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes

This is another recipe that works with any vegetables that you want to roast.  I sometimes remember that I want to do roasted veggies for dinner the next day and will prep everything until I add the veggies to the ZipLock Bag.  Then I let them sit in the bag overnight in the fridge to marinade them very well.  More often than not, one of the kids will ask for veggies while I am contemplating dinner and I will just drizzle the olive oil, italian dressing, lemon juice and pepper right onto the baking pan where I've laid out the vegetables and it still turns out great.

I hope you all had a great and safe Labor Day Holiday!

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