I do frequently dig into the binders to hunt for new recipes. However, I have found that the least accessed recipe file is titled Side Dishes. Most side dishes make recipes that will feed at least 4-6 people, and we just don't need that much food until the boys get a bit older. I modify plenty of main dishes to feed our required 2-3, but for the work that many side-dishes require, a salad or simple veggies is my go-to side dish right now. Lucky for me, our church has a monthly potluck lunch. The church potluck = heaven for a girl who likes to try new recipes! I mix something up, quietly slip it onto the table in-between a bunch of other platters, and slyly watch to see if it was a worthy undertaking or an unsuccessful experiment. Important to note: presentation is key. There is a reason that fancy restaurants plate their food with style! If something looks delicious, most people will put it on their plate. So, I always help myself to a taste test. An empty bowl doesn't always mean the food didn't end up in the trash can after a temporary layover on someone's plate.
The fruit salad seen below was completely gone at the end of the church potluck...and it was good. Better yet, it was simple to make, and could be made year-round even during the winter months when a lot of fresh fruit can be difficult to find. I didn't spend a lot of time making mine look fancy, but it would be easy to make an alternating spiral with the strawberries and kiwi for a festive Christmas party or otherwise place the fruit creatively on top for a fun or pretty presentation.
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 (21 ounce) can peach pie filling
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
3 kiwis, peeled (2 sliced, 1 chopped)
6 ounces blueberries
1 pint strawberries
In a medium-size bowl, toss the chopped apples in reserved pineapple juice. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove apples from juice, reserving juice. In a large salad bowl, combine the peach pie filling, pineapple chunks, chopped kiwi, blueberries, and apples. Add bananas to reserved juice and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Chop 1/2 of the strawberries, slice the other half. Remove bananas from juice and add to pie filling mixture. Add chopped strawberries to mixture and gently mix together. Arrange sliced strawberries and sliced kiwis decoratively on top.
**Soaking the bananas and apples in the pineapple juice keeps the fruit from turning brown.
**Although the peach pie filling might seem odd, it provides a subtle no-fat sauce. Look for one (like Lucky Leaf) that does not contain high fructose corn syrup.
**This is extremely versatile: you could use many different kinds of fruit, just try to keep the volume of the fruit equal to the quantities above. Avoid fruits, such as watermelon and raspberries, that won't hold their shape when tossed with the other fruit.