Potlucks are one of the best forms of a social gathering. Friends, coworkers, or colleagues all get together and each share a homemade dish, a perfect opportunity to try a variety of food. It makes it even more special since everyone has put effort and love into making their dish, whether it be an old family recipe or their own. Growing up at home, my family and I would go to tons of family friends’ houses for potluck gatherings so it’s nice having them 0nce in a while at school.
This past weekend, our Spoon University members had our first potluck. Once all the dishes were arranged on a table, we all stood around ooh-ing and ahh-ing, taking photos and strategically planning which foods we wanted to try first. There was a nice balance of savory and sweet – pulled pork sliders, honey glazed meatballs, alongside apple crumble, pumpkin donuts, mini oreo pies and much, much more. We were all feasting with our eyes and by the time we were done eating, we were all slipping into food comas.
My contribution to the potluck was a butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread, a dish that I think is a potluck staple. It can be cut up into small bite-sized pieces to eat with your hands and it is mess-free. I had bought almost all of the ingredients earlier that day at the farmer’s market, including homemade dough. I was originally going to buy pre-made pizza crust from the store but the pizza vendor at the market gave me 2 homemade rolls of dough for $2! Another reason to love farmers’ markets
- 1/2 butternut squash, cubed
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 pre-made pizza crust or 2 small rolls of homemade dough
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into strips
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel squash and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes.
- Thinly slice half an onion. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil on low heat and add onions. Stir periodically for 30-40 minutes, until caramelized.
- When squash and onions are finished cooking, put onto the crust. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is brown.
- While flatbread is baking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small pan and lightly saute sage leaves.
- When the flatbread is finished baking, top with the sage leaves.
My suitemates and I have a tradition of making each other Pillsbury dough boy cinnamon rolls from the can for our birthdays or other special occasions. They are so easy to make, already pre-cut into perfect circles. All you have to do is pop them in the oven and spread the prepackaged icing over them. So gooey and fluffy.
I’ve always wanted to make them on my own but thought it would be too time-consuming. Well I finally got to it and it does take a bit of time, but it is worth it!!! And these are way healthier so that’s an extra plus. Believe it or not, I didn’t make them healthy on purpose. It happened because our house ran out of all-purpose flour, so I had to use whole wheat flour instead. I was scared the buns would be rock hard when I baked them but they turned out fine. They could definitely have been fluffier, which is why I would recommend using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
The best part is that you don’t have to wake up really early to make them. You can just prepare the rolls the day before, leave them in the fridge overnight, and then all you have to do is put them in the oven the following morning. Easy peasy 😀
WHOLE WHEAT CHOCOLATE CINNAMON ROLLS
1 cup milk, warmed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour (half all-purpose, half whole wheat mixed together)
Filling and Icing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
Combine warm milk, butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 2 min until yeast softens. With the bread hook attachment stir in the egg, salt and 3 cups of the flour mixture. Mix well, then add remaining flour and mix until dough pulls away from the bowl edges, about 5 minutes.
Form dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all sides of ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a very warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hr. (I put the dough in a microwave with a large bowl of hot water).
Make filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon and chocolate. Butter two 8-by-8-inch pans and set aside.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 14-by-24-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Starting with one long end, roll dough tightly to form a long spiral. Pinch the seam together. Cut into 18 slices, about 1¼ inch thick each, and place 9 in each prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning remove rolls from refrigerator and bring to room temperature in a warm place, 1 hr.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F and bake until rolls are golden and cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes.
Let rolls cool slightly and then frost them with icing.
Vanilla icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar with 1 melted butter, vanilla extract and milk until smooth. (Makes 1 cup).
NOTE: If you make and bake them on the same day, don’t refrigerate after rolling; just let the rolls rise a second time before baking.
adapted from Bakerella
After you try this, you’ll never look for another banana bread recipe. Best. Banana bread. Ever. It’s a healthy treat that will also satisfy your sweet tooth (double win!) A light, moist, decadent bread that perfectly blends the wonderful flavors of chocolate and banana together.
If you ever have overripe bananas, put them to good use by making banana bread. They act as a natural sweetener so you can put in less sugar! The browner the banana, the better. The sweetness from the Nutella also allows you to cut back on additional sugar.
I made this one Saturday afternoon and the whole loaf of bread was demolished by my family within 24 hours. Several days later I made another loaf for the my co-workers at my summer internship. It was a huge hit and since they all do nutrition research, it got bonus points for being healthy. (Walnuts=Omega-3s!!!)
Eat it for breakfast, eat it for dessert, a snack, whatever! Just beware that once you make it, it won’t stick around for long :p
NUTELLA SWIRLED BANANA WALNUT BREAD
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 medium ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk *
1 cup plus 1/2 cup walnuts, divided
3 tablespoons plus 3 tablespoons Nutella, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together canola oil, butter, brown sugar, and bananas until well combined. Add eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add flour and buttermilk to banana mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir after each addition until just combined.
Using your hands, break 1 cup of walnuts into halves. Fold them into the mixture.
Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with baking spray. Pour half of the batter into the pan.
Drizzle entire surface with 3 tablespoons of Nutella. Pour in the remaining batter and drizzle the other 3 tablespoons of Nutella on top.
Use a knife or chopstick to lightly swirl the batter.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Bake bread until deep golden brown, about 50-55 minutes. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center and see whether it is clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan. Then remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.
*If you don’t have buttermilk you can substitute it with a mixture of lemon juice and milk. Pour a tablespoon of lemon juice into a 1 cup measuring cup and fill the rest of the measuring cup with milk. Stir and let sit for 2 minutes. Then use 2/3 of it for the recipe.
adapted from Pass the Cocoa