Quick and Easy Party Dishes

My daughter’s playgroup meets this week for our Halloween bash (eight moms and 12 kids under the age of four—so it’s not a huge gathering). Since we are celebrating a holiday we decided to forgo our usual small-snack-only rule, instead each mom is required to bring one main or side dish. Since I am not hosting the party (whew) it means I need to find a versatile dish that will travel well.

The following are some of my tried and true party/potluck dishes. I will be making and taking one of them along on Tuesday (I haven’t decided which one yet). But as you can tell from previous recipes I am not a gourmet chef, most of the recipes I work off of take less than an hour to make. These are no different. They are simple, yet delicious, and may come in handy the next time you need a quick and easy party dish to pass.


5 pounds spareribs

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large piece ginger root, crushed

1/2-teaspoon salt


1-cup sugar

1-cup soy sauce

1-cup ketchup

1/3-cup oyster sauce

Cut spareribs into 1-1/2-inch pieces. In a large pot, combine spareribs, garlic, ginger and salt. Add water to cover spareribs, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until spareribs are tender. Drain.

Combine marinade ingredients and marinate spareribs in overnight in refrigerator.

Place spareribs on rack of broiler pan and broil 3 inches from heat for 7 to 10 minutes, basting with remaining sauce. Turn and broil 5 to 7 more minutes. Serves 15 to 20.

Rice-a-Roni Salad

1 box (6.9 ounces) RICE-A-RONI Chicken Flavor

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, shelled, cleaned, diced

3 stalks green onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare RICE-A-RONI according to package directions; cool. Add remaining ingredients, mix well; chill.

Asian Noodle Salad

8 ounces Japanese udon noodles or vermicelli, uncooked

4 ounces fresh pea pods, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons dark roasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon peanut oil

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, such as shiitake, porcini or morels, soaked in warm water 15 minutes, drained and sliced

1 small carrot, thinly sliced

2 green onions, sliced diagonally

1 cup bean sprouts

2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts or cashews

Cook noodles according to package directions, but don’t add salt. Add pea pods 30 seconds before noodles are cooked. Drain pasta and pea pods.

Mix sesame oil and peanut oil in a small bowl.
In another small bowl, combine soy sauce and vinegar. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of oil mixture.

Put hot noodles in large bowl. Mix remaining tablespoon of oil mixture into noodles. Add mushrooms, pea pods, carrot, onions and bean sprouts. Add soy sauce dressing; toss well. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. This salad is delicious hot, as a dinner entrée or as a cold salad for lunch.

Related Articles:

Quick and Easy Rice Side Dishes

Thai Noodle Salad

Asian Coleslaw

Low-Fat Mediterranean Couscous With Mozzarella and Roasted Peppers

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.