As many of you know, I don’t cook. Well, unless it primarily uses my favorite household appliance. Yet, there are times when I have to <gasp> really cook. Like for people. That come over. To my house. And expect real food.

So I guess I can cook, but I don’t like it. So when I do have to slave over the stove or oven, it better be easy. So when 5 other Bloggers and I were compensated and challenged by the Motherhood and Lawry’s Seasonings to come up with a meal (appetizer, main course and a side) that would be appropriate for large groups as part of the “Make Your Summer Sizzle” campaign, of course I signed up. (Did you not see the word challenge?)

So Lawry’s sent us the ingredients we could use: 16 oz Seasoned Salt, Balsamic Herb Marinade, Seasoned Salt Marinade, and we broke up into teams of two to craft something that would be editable (and easy) for a lot of people. Apparently, we are going to be judged for our creativity, as well as the ability not to food-poison each other. (Kidding about that last part. It is not a real criteria, but a real worry amongst the six of us.)

So here are our recipes for a main dish, a side dish and an appetizer.

Spicy Veggie Puffs (See for her take on this dish too)

What you need:

  • 2 x store bought puff pastry (we used the Pepperidge Farm sheets)
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 squash diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper cored and diced
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s seasoned salt

How to make:

Remove the frozen puff pastry from the freezer for 30 minutes at room temperature, else use directly if it was kept in the refrigerator. Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil in a hot skillet until translucent in medium heat. Then add the 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry’s seasoned salt. After a minute, add the crushed garlic. Give it another minute and add the rest of the vegetables. Sautéing the veggies until slightly soft and the liquid (that came from the veggies) has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the finely chopped coriander. Allow mixture to cool completely.

Next, open one sheet of puff pastry and cut into 9 squares, which don’t need to be perfect. (Each package has a total of 2 sheets) Put a little of the mixture from above in each in each square and fold over in half and lightly seal the edges. Try to work fast so that the pastry remains cool. If you want to be fancier you can press the edges together with  fork else just touching the edges is good enough as the pastry puffs during baking. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top of the puffs become golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from baking sheet and serve.

Savory Whole Grain Pasta Salad (See 3 Garnets and 2 Sapphires and Moms Favorite Stuff for their take on this dish.)

What you need:

  • 1/2 box (approximately 7oz) of whole grain penne pasta 
  • 1/2 box (approximately 7oz) of whole grain rotini pasta
  • 4 to 6 whole white mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4oz Mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2.25oz can of sliced black olives
  • 5 or more bacon slices, cooked
  • 13 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp mustard powder

How to make:

Boil pasta according to package instructions.  Rinse thoroughly in cold water and drain well. Chop previously washed peppers, mushrooms, and previously cooked bacon into small bite size pieces. In a large pasta or salad serving bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cubed Mozzarella cheese, peppers, mushrooms, and bacon. Drain olives. Then add them to the contents of serving bowl. Combine the olive oil, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, red wine vinegar and mustard powder together in a small bowl. Then add to the pasta and mix well. Cover bowl and put in refrigerator to chill for at least a half an hour prior to serving. This serves about 12 people but can easily be scaled back for a family dinner or up even more for a larger group.

Tango Rub (See In the Trenches of Mommyhood or Mommycosm for their take on the dish.)

What you need:

  • 4 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper according to taste 

How to make:

Mix all the ingredients above into a dish or container. You can make larger and store as a spice for later use. Rub your meat of choice (chicken, steak, etc.) with olive oil. Then shake or rub the Tango Rub onto the meat until it is covered. Grill on high heat until internal temperature is medium, depending on the type of meat you have.

Needless to say, all of this was the nicest meal I have had in a long time. All of the recipes can be scaled down for a small family dinner or up for a massive BBQ bash. These dishes can be made in advance too, so they are super simple all around, which is a huge bonus in my book. And our plates were empty (after second helpings all around).

I also realized as part of this venture that I could use the Lawry’s ingredients in a variety of places. Since our Blogging cookoff, my family has sprinked the Lawry’s seasoning salt on corn-on-the-cob for a fabulous kick. We added some of the seasoning salt to potato salad too. We have also used the marinade as a drizzle over grilled zucchini and summer squash.

For more recipe inspiration, check out Lawry’s website or their Facebook page.


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