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When Casserole Won't Do, Try These Dishes At Next Potluck

Copyright 1994 The Chicago Tribune
From Knight-Ridder Newspapers/Tribune Information Services
Selected and Prepared by Tribune Media Services

By Pat Dailey
Chicago Tribune 

While there's no mystery to the allure of potluck entertaining, a lot of cooks can be
stymied as they ponder what to bring. The chosen dish needs to be portable, shouldn't
require a lot of fussy work at serving time, should do just fine if served at room
temperature  and it should be a little different. Here are three summery options.




MINESTRONE SALAD
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 servings 

FOR THE SALAD:

8 cups cooked pasta shapes (1 pound dried pasta)
1 can (16 ounces) each, rinsed, drained: garbanzo beans, kidney beans
1 each, seeded, diced: red andgreenbell pepper
3 ribs celery, sliced
6 ounces summer squash or zucchini, diced
6 ounces small green beans
3 ounces Genoa or hard salami, diced
4 ounces provolone cheese, diced
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 clove garlic
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt, crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Shredded spinach or lettuce for serving 

1. For salad, combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a large bowl.

2. For dressing, mince garlic in a food processor. Add cheese and basil; process until fine.
Add oil, vinegar, salt and pepper flakes and mix well.

3. Pour dressing over salad; garnish with tomato wedges. Serve over shredded spinach
or lettuce.




MOROCCAN COUSCOUS SALAD WITH CHARRED BEEF
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Marinating time: 4 hours or overnight
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings 

FOR THE MEAT:

1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon each: brown sugar, soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound beef sirloin, cut in strips

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

2 cups instant couscous
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup each: tahini paste, fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 green onions
1 small red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon each: ground red pepper, ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon each: ground coriander, caraway seeds
1/2 cup each, chopped: watercress leaves, fresh cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
2 large tomatoes, sliced 

1. For the meat, combine all ingredients except beef in a large, plastic food bag. Add meat,
turning it several times so it is well coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or
overnight.

2. For couscous, put couscous in a large bowl; pour water over and add tahini, lemon
juice and oil. Stir well, cover with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a
fork. Add remaining ingredients, except tomatoes.

3. To cook the meat, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Remove the meat from the
marinade; pat dry. Grill, turning once, until cooked, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. To serve, mound the couscous into a bowl and surround with tomato slices and strips
of meat.




CARAMEL APPLE CAKE WITH GRANOLA STREUSEL
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 to 50 minutes
Yield: One 13- by 9-inch cake 

FOR THE CAKE:

1 box (18.5 ounces) caramel-flavored cake mix
1 cup granola
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup each: vegetable oil, water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large, tart apples, cored, finely chopped
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

FOR THE TOPPING:

1 cup granola
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans 

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

2. For cake, combine cake mix, granola, eggs, sour cream, oil, water and vanilla in a large
mixing bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until well-combined, 2 minutes. Fold in apples
and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle over batter.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool
on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.





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