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What would you bring to an all day buffet?

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  • Val Dec 9, 2006 10:51 PM
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We're having this all day holiday buffet at work this week, everyone is bringing something and, of course, the easiest things to bring "sweets" are covered. I'd like to make something savory that can safely be left out all day for grazing and so I'm thinking something in the crockpot, that can be served from the crockpot. Someone is already bringing cocktail meatballs and I was thinking some kind of taco soup or possibly chili. Does anyone here have a great chicken taco soup recipe? I've seen so many "rave" reviews for Paula Deen's taco soup but hell, it's got a packet of taco seasoning AND a packet of ranch dressing mix in it, sodium city! I can make my own turkey chili but am leaning towards the taco soup idea more. (I thought of curry of some kind but the folks I work with are, well, ethnic-challenged, shall we say? And am already aware of one co-worker who loathes curry of any kind.) Thanks, chow-amigos!

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  1. How about Chicken Gumbo Soup? You will have an easier time finding recipes for Chicken Gumbo soup that Taco soup. Just a thought!

    1. Frittatas and bread pudding like stratas are good for that sort of thing. Most love them.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Candy, do you mean a savory bread pudding? Do you have a specific one you can recommend, please? Thanks!

        1. re: Val

          I usually just make them up. Whatever appeals at teh momnet. Choriao, green chilis and cheese? I usually use a stale baguette , half & half let it all soak over night and bake off while i am showering and getting dressed. Bulk Italian sausage browned first of course layered with the bread, Muir Glen Fire Raosted chopped tomaotes, drained, smoked provolone is another combo. I just go with what I am feeling at the time.

          1. re: Candy

            When I do savory bread puddings, I'll often use alcohol instead of half & half.

            I do a "ploughman's lunch" bread pudding that's bread, Guiness (or other dark ale), sharp cheddar, mustard and onion if I have it. Its always quite popular. There are other ones where I'll use white wine, I think it balances the flavors better when going savory.

            1. re: Candy

              Sounds good, reponse intended to larochelle: Do you layer with the bread in slices? How do you arrange it all? Thanks.

              1. re: Babette

                Candy & Babette,
                Here's my notes on the dish, it really changes every time I make it. It's based on an essay I read in one of John Thorne's books (Outlaw Cook?)

                Ploughman's Lunch Soufflé / Ploughman's Bread Pudding

                This recipe is based on the traditional English ploughman's lunch that consisted of bread, cheese, onion and beer.

                8 slices of bread (1/2 a loaf?), torn into bits
                8 ounces of cheddar, grated
                2 eggs
                1 small onion, minced
                1 bottle of beer/ale (Newcastle works well)
                1 teaspoon cayenne
                salt/pepper
                2 Tablespoons butter

                Grate the cheese into a large bowl, add the eggs, stir in the onion and ale.
                Season with cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
                Add the bread and mix it all together.
                Let sit 30 minutes or so to allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid.
                Pour into a buttered dish (soufflé or casserole)
                Dot the top with butter.
                Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.

                Variations –
                Separate the eggs & whip the whites to make it more soufflé-like. (You may want to up the eggs to three if you do this.)
                Add mustard.
                Use of mix of cheeses - I frequently use this dish to finish up all the cheese bits in the fridge.
                Sauté the onions before adding them in – I almost always to this.
                Vary the bread – this is a great way to use up stale bread so it doesn't have to be one specific type
                Toast the bread – I rarely do this but it does cause the bread to soak up more liquid, which is nice.
                Add veggies or meat – every now and then, I'll toss in something I want to use up, chopped ham, chicken breast, roasted veggies, etc.

                Caveat: These are really just notes in recipe format so I'm not swearing to the amounts - if its too wet for you, more bread; if its too cheesy, cut back and so on. Its a very forgiving dish.

                1. re: larochelle

                  Thanks so much. I'm going to try this very soon. Sounds like a great way to use things up. I have about 1/3 lb. of bacon + everything else you mentioned. Would you try this with (cooked of course) bacon bits?

                  1. re: Babette

                    Totally! As my husband says "everything's better with bacon!"

              2. re: Candy

                Same question here as these sound delicious and I've never done this--is the bread in slices? Layered or just random mixture of ingredients? Topped with cheese layer? Thanks

          2. I like stuffed cherry peppers.

            Take a jar of pickled cherry peppers, cut the tops off, and stuff the pepper with a meatball mixture. The mixture I use has ground turkey, italian sausage, bread crumbs, a bit of egg, minced onion, garlic, parmesan cheese and rosemary. Bake the stuffed peppers at 325 until the meatballs are cooked through. They have a bit of a kick, but aren't super spicy and taste good hot and at room temp.

            1 Reply
            1. re: HoneyHoneyNY

              HoneyHoney...that sounds great! Not sure I'll make them for this event since someone's already bringing meatballs but thank you for the recipe!

            2. Tortilla espagnole is very good for hours at room temp.

              1. Chicken Tortilla Soup

                INGREDIENTS:
                1 onion, chopped
                3 cloves garlic, minced
                1 tablespoon olive oil
                2 teaspoons chili powder
                1 teaspoon dried oregano
                1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
                1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
                1 1/4 cups water
                1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
                1 cup white hominy
                1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
                1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
                1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
                2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
                crushed tortilla chips
                sliced avocado
                shredded Monterey Jack
                cheese
                chopped green onions

                DIRECTIONS:
                1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
                2. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
                3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

                1. Val, is anyone bringing a punch? Whenever we have office parties the beverage "cart" amounts to sodas, water and coffee. Wouldn't it be great if a punch was offered.

                  1. HillJ, your soup looks like just what I need. From what I remember last year, our food & beverage person made the punch; I'm pretty sure he's doing that again.

                    1. I usually do a cous cous salad for all day, non refrigerated things. You could use the large, more pasta-like cous cous since it is more familiar to people, and do an Italian salad with veges, parmagana and Italian dressing. Everyone is familiar with Italian, even ethnically challenged people. It is also mega cheap and easy.

                      1. I agree with the idea of a strata. I also make them with whatever I have on hand, usually chicken sausage, scalions, fontina cheese and a crusty stale sourdough. Another suggestion is to make jumbalaya, with chiken, suasage and shrimp. It travels well and people love it.

                        1. When I bring things to an all day buffet I usually make them in my crock pot and bring the entire thing to the party. That way they stay hot and there is never any need to worry about reheating or keeping it out all day.

                          1. Last year, I was in a funky mood so I made homemade mac and cheese with toasted breadcrumbs on top, didn't want to go to any bother and guess what? It was gone so quick I should have made two pans! It was just sitting at room temp.

                            1. Bacon wrapped-almond stuffed-dates are a good choice. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them (no toothpick necessary) then microwave before serving. You could bring a bunch and cook them as needed.

                              1. Two tasty recipe's for grilled chicken wings;

                                Grilled Wings a la Steven Raichlen:

                                Any of Steve Raichlen's dry rubs are fantastic. The Island Spice Blend is my current favorite. Trader Joe's, Costco, or Aldi sell fresh frozen chicken wings. They're $5.99 at Aldi for a huge bag. Thaw them thoroughly and then remove the wing tip and then seperate the drumette and wing. Dry the chicken thoroughly and then sprinkle the Island Spice Blend generously and rub. Winter's in Chicago are pretty cold and snowy but I use my grill year round. I grill wings on my BIG GREEN EGG grill/smoker at 350-375 degrees until done. Don't forget to soak some hickory chips for great smoke flavor.

                                Grilled Barbacue Wings;
                                Marinate the chicken for a few hours in plenty of fresh squeezed lemon, fresh crushed garlic through the press, salt, and ground pepper. Pour a decent amount of your favorite barbacue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's works well) into a large stainless bowl. Grill the wings until nicely charred and then toss them in the bowl with the barbacue sauce until generously covered. That's it.

                                The above two recipes will surely impress even your "ethnically challenged", coworkers.

                                Shredded Chicken Quesadillas would be really easy as well. They're much better fresh off the skillet though. You can buy a freshmade rotissierie chicken from your local grocer and toss in some Chihuahua or Jack cheese.

                                1. It may be sacrilige, but I like Wolfgang Puck's tortilla soup recipe a lot, and that might be similar to the taco soup you're looking for. It's on the wolfgangpuck.com website.