Christmas Benefit

Every year our church has a Christmas benefit concert. This year we raised money to aide in the fight against Ebola. This is my second year catering this event. It's always so much fun to do because I can do anything. The main problem usually is lack of help. So many people travel for the holidays, so it's hard to get enough volunteers. So I end up doing foods that are both convenient, delicious and fun.

Twice baked potatoes (originally I wanted them to be potato skins, almost the same thing, less prep. In my opinion a lot easiest construction-wise, but they still turned out delious.)These are super simple to make, but take a while because of the baking. First, bake your potatoes at about 450 degrees for 45 mins, longer for bigger potatoes. Next, scoop at the insides into a bowl, leave a little potato inside for structure purposes. Once you have all the insides scooped out, add all your favorite things. For me this means cheese, chives, sour cream, and baco-bits , and seasoned salt to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the potatoes and bake again until cheese melts. Serve and enjoy. And remember skins are edible too, so enjoy the whole potato.

Next, veggie turkey rollups. These are super easy. All you need is a tortilla or sandwich wrap, veg. turkey, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and a condiment of choice. I used mustard, but hummus, mayo or even vegenaise would have also gone nicely. Roll up and slice.

This is perhaps my most versatile dish. And it uses the most basic ingredient, Grand's biscuits. These biscuits are no longer just for breakfast, as they're commercials now show. This year I rolled them out and stuffed them with cheese and topped them with a herb butter mixture for a garlic bread taste. Last year I used them to wrap a meatball and cheese in then topped them with marinara sauce. Divine! Three simple steps: stuff, bake and serve. You hardly break a sweat.

If it ain't broke don'w fix it Caesar salad. Need I say more.

I never have a party without fruit. Whether it's in my water or straight up, it's a must have at all my affairs. But even fruit sometimes can stand a little jazzing up. But not too much as to distort there're flavor. First, try to always choose things that are in season when dealing with fruit. This ensures that you get the best and ripest fruit. I went with strawberries (I gave them a light dusting of sugar, very light, to bring out their juices), blueberries, and kiwi. I added basil for a nice palate cleanser on the end. Mint would have worked also. Herbs make fruit pop, and bring out otherwise muted flavors. I use this trick in water also, basil and strawberry water, lemon and mint, the combinations are endless. Toss and voile! 

A southern classic, Banana pudding. So simple, yet so often badly done. This delectable dessert calls for 4 ingredients: vanilla pudding, Vanilla wafers, whipped cream and bananas. I seen it made with condensed milkā€¦not a fan, it's very soupy. Ick! Use these 4 ingredients, have them in abundance, layer and served. Preferably after being chilled for a few hours to soften the cookies. You want them soft but not completely moist, at least the first go round.

Lastly, not pictured, was my mint lemonade. I made a quick simple syrup, equal parts sugar and water, tossed in a hand full of mint and boiled for about 20 mins. Once it cooled I added it to a lemonade mix with more water and served. In a smaller setting fresh lemonade would have been a lovely touch, but with over 200 mouths to feed, the mix it was.

More than the the food we raised over $12,000 at the benefit concert to aide in the fight against Ebola. And that made it all worth it!