Babies and weddings call for showers of dainty food

May 29, 1994|By Dallas Morning News

If it's spring, it must be shower time. Not necessarily low in fat or calories, shower food is still dainty food. From dips to desserts, cream cheese is a perennial favorite that greases the social wheels. Weddings and babies call for mountains of the white stuff.

Here are some old shower food standbys and some fresh takes -- from hearty appetizer spreads to rich casseroles and gooey-sweet dips and cheesecakes.

Spinach pesto appetizer

Makes 16 entree servings

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

2 teaspoons dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound cream cheese, softened

1 cup ricotta cheese

3 eggs

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese (2 ounces)

cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for garnish

crackers or French bread slices

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line sides with wax paper and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, combine spinach, walnuts, oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper; process until smooth. Set aside.

In a medium bowl with electric beaters on medium speed, beat cream cheese and ricotta for 1 1/2 minutes, or until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in Romano cheese and spinach mixture, blending until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the center is just set. Cool on wire rack.

Place pan on a serving dish; carefully run a knife around the edge and remove pan sides. Garnish with tomatoes and basil leaves. Serve with crackers or bread.

Per serving: calories: 203; fat: 19 grams; cholesterol: 81 milligrams; sodium: 252 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 81 percent.

Kay's Chinese chicken salad

Makes 15 to 20 small salads or 10 to 12 entree salads.

3/4 cup oil

12 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 teaspoons Accent

6 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

6 cups roasted, shredded chicken

6 heads iceberg lettuce, shredded

12 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro

3/4 cup chopped cashews

2 (7-ounce) packages rice sticks

Mix oil, vinegar, Accent, sugar, salt and pepper a day ahead; refrigerate.

Combine chicken, lettuce, onion, cilantro and cashews; pour dressing over salad just before serving. Serve over rice sticks.

Per serving: calories: 300; fat: 15 grams; cholesterol: 47 milligrams; sodium: 419 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 46 percent.

Fresh fruit dip

Makes 16 servings

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 (8-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

fresh fruit

Blend cream cheese and marshmallow creme thoroughly. Serve with strawberries, pear slices or other fruit.

Per 2 tablespoons: calories: 92; fat: 5 grams; cholesterol: 15 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 45 percent.

Easy banana pudding

Makes 16 servings.

1 (6-serving) box instant vanilla pudding plus

ingredients for preparation

1 large container non-dairy whipped topping

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 box vanilla wafers (save 1/2 cup, crushed, for garnish)

6 to 8 bananas, sliced

Prepare pudding as directed on package. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Combine whipped topping and condensed milk; stir into chilled pudding. Line bottom of 13-by-9-inch pan with

cookies, banana slices and filling; repeat, ending with crushed cookies.

Easy punch

ice cubes made from pineapple juice

red cream soda

Place frozen pineapple juice cubes in punch bowl; pour soda over. Adjust amounts depending on how much punch you need.

Smash cake

Makes about 2 dozen squares

1 box plain yellow cake mix

3 eggs (divided use)

1 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, 1 egg, butter and pecans. Press into ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan; set aside.

Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs, vanilla and confectioners' sugar; spread over cake mix in pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Per serving: calories: 261; fat: 12 grams; cholesterol: 48 milligrams; sodium: 215 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 39 percent.

White wedding punch

Makes 30 servings

1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled

1 cup white grape juice, chilled

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

3 quarts ginger ale, chilled

Mix juices together. When ready to serve, put juices in punch bowl. Add scoops of ice cream; pour in ginger ale. Stir lightly.

Shrimp Noel

Makes 10 to 12 servings

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped celery (string first)

4 teaspoons butter or margarine

1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento

2 (16-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes with juice (chop

tomatoes if desired)

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

freshly ground black pepper

3 cups brown rice, cooked in chicken bouillon

3 cups cleaned, cooked shrimp

salt to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

melted butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Saute mushrooms, green pepper, onion and celery in butter or margarine until tender, but not darkened. Add pimiento and tomatoes; stir in seasonings, except salt. Mix in cooked rice and shrimp. Adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with melted butter or margarine. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Per serving: calories: 240; fat: 9 grams; cholesterol: 115 milligrams; sodium: 941 milligrams; percent calories from fat: 34 percent.

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