Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Trio of Vegetarian Dips and the Labor Line-up

This year as I have for the last 2 years since I bought my house, I hosted a Labor Day get together. It's always a challenge to decide on a menu and I wanted to try something a little healthier this year. After many suggestions, including roasting a pig on a spit Hawaiian style (rather ambitious for us however), I finally decided on a spread with some Mediterranean flare.

Moroccan Carrot Dip- I omitted the olives in this one.
Cucumber Dip (see recipe below)
Hummus en Fuego- I omitted the olives in this one and used 2 cans of beans.
Panzanella (containing homemade croutons, tomatoes, basil, red onion, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
Hot Melon Salad-I changed the quantities and used 3 types of melon (honeydew, watermelon, and cantaloupe)
Caesar Pasta Salad (see recipe below)
Grilled Chicken
Hot Italian Turkey Sausage
Make-Your-Own Ice Cream Sundae

Sadly I completely forgot to photos of any of the rest of the food. The ratatouille and the carrot dip were the favorites. The pasta salad was extremely popular as well. The panzanella was a little stale by the time I served it and I slightly overcooked the melon so it was runnier than I thought it would be. The hummus was better after 2 days but the cucumber dip was tasty. The rest was just a little mundane in general so there isn't much to talk about. All in all it was a great party with good company. I only wish I had remembered the photos.

Cucumber Dip (from Doris)
16 oz. softened cream cheese (I used low fat)
1 large cucumber grated and drained
Seasonings to taste (paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt, onion powder or whatever you like)

Mix well. Whipping is ideal but not essential.

Caesar Pasta Salad
1/2 cup low far mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup low fat milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 box pasta twists or penne, cooked according to directions and cooled
fresh ground pepper

1. Combine first 5 ingredients.
2. Add lettuce and pasta and toss to coat. Season with pepper.

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