Monday, November 5, 2007

Recipes for the Cooking-Impaired

It's November now, and the holiday season will be here before we know it. It's a time of family gatherings, evenings out with friends, and endless potluck dinners. Yes, potlucks… For many of us, that one word can induce panic attacks complete with heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and cold sweats. We're the people whose first response to the potluck invitation is usually something along the lines of, "I'll bring the plates!"

It's not necessarily that we're cooking-impaired… Surely most of us could master boiling water provided we have careful instructions. I like to think that I am merely cooking-impatient. My personal philosophy is that anything that calls for more than five ingredients or that takes more than five minutes to prepare is just not worth the hassle (aka. the 5/5 Rule). Give me cold Pop Tarts or EZ Mac-N-Cheese any day.

Whatever the case, some of us just need a little help finding the perfect potluck dish. Luckily, I've collected a few recipes over the years that adhere to the 5/5 Rule, and you'd never be able to tell. People will rave about your tasty dishes. They'll beg you to tell them your secrets. I say, let them marvel at your newfound talents in the kitchen. They need never know you followed the 5/5 Rule.

Creamy Fruit Dip

1 bar cream cheese
1 jar marshmallow cream

Beat cream cheese. Add marshmallow cream; beat until smooth. Chill before serving.

(If you'd like to get really adventuresome, add a few tablespoons of crushed pineapple or orange juice to the mixture.)

--- NOTE: It might be a good idea to make sure someone is bringing a fruit tray before making Creamy Fruit Dip.

Dump Cake

(You can call this Cherry-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for added flare)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine
1 large can crushed pineapple (not drained)
1 can cherry pie filling

Mix pie filling and pineapple in a 9x11 glass dish. Cover with cake mix. Dot with margarine. Bake for 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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