Going to a Potluck Dinner? Here are some tips and suggestions for dishes that travel well:
Pre-baked casseroles held together with cheese or eggs
Slow-cooked dishes that travel in the crock pot
Salads with separate dressing to be mixed in just before serving
Savory pies and tarts
Dishes that do not need re-heating – use an insulated carrier to keep the food hot.
Italian-American Meat Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
Two 35-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes
2 cups of water
6 oz can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Heat the olive oil in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Make a little room in the center of the pot, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and pork and season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the meat is brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, Italian seasoning, tomatoes, water and tomato paste. Stir until the paste is dissolved. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 hours.
Spinach Ricotta Cheese Filling
Two 10 oz pkgs frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
32 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine all of the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to stuff the shells.
Stuffed Jumbo Shells
One 12 oz box jumbo shells (about 46 shells)
Spinach ricotta cheese stuffing (see recipe)
Meat sauce (see recipe)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drop the jumbo shells into boiling salted water and cook about 10 minutes or until tender but not overcooked. Drain and place on kitchen towels.
Arrange the shells stuffed side up in the baking dish. Spoon more meat sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes.