alive logo

Buffet Party—New Favourites


Preparing food for a festive gathering can make for a lot of work for the host. That’s where potluck brings welcome respite—from the chaos of planning and prepping. Inviting guests to bring their own contributions to the festive fare will help you turn that chaos into calm. 

This year, we’ve raised the bar on potluck. Wonderful mainstays such as traditional mashed yams, whipped potatoes, and Brussels sprouts make way for new traditions with four easy potluck recipes that can be prepped ahead. 

Our colourful rice dish is a feast for the eyes. It offers a wonderful blend of herbs and spices, complete with candied nuts, that turns this dish into the perfect complement to any main dish. Plus, we’ve given sweet and sour meatballs a makeover, serving them with a delicious homemade red onion marmalade that does double duty as topping for practically anything, including crackers and cheeze. 

For a lighter taste at the table, citrusy endive boats are a refreshing starter that can also do duty as stand-alone hors d’oeuvres for any gathering. They’re pretty to look at and easy to eat, without a lot of fuss. Don’t forget the caponata: it’s vegan, versatile, and can be served in any number of ways.  

Each of these delicious recipes is so good they’ll long be sought after—even after the holidays have passed. 


Brown Rice and Spinach with Candied Almonds and Pomegranate Arils

Roasted Meatballs with Red Onion Marmalade

Many of us are familiar with age-old sweet and sour meatballs, regular fare on the buffet line or served from a slow cooker or fondue pot with long-handled forks. Roasted meatballs anyone? This version is definitely upscale and will have everyone hovering with forks in hand.

Festive Caponata Two Ways

Many caponata recipes include something sweet, such as plumped raisins. Some even have anchovies or tuna. We’ve kept our recipe on the simple and savoury side to give it a myriad of serving possibilities. We suggest serving it on crostini or on top of creamy hummus. It’s also delicious served in a lettuce leaf or tucked into mini pitas.

Belgian Endive Boats with Citrus Crab Salad

This delicious appetizer is a terrific hors d’oeuvre for the holiday season. Dungeness crab is just being harvested at this time of year, and it’s a light delicacy that’s so easy to transport. For extra freshness, carry the crab filling and Belgian endive leaves in separate containers, and simply spoon filling into spears when you arrive.

Keep it safe

We raised the bar this year with some delicious additions to the holiday buffet. However, one small bug can spoil an otherwise beautiful celebration. The following are some useful food safety tips to keep in mind when transporting and handling food.  

  • Transport food in tightly sealed containers. 
  • Use hand sanitizer before serving. 
  • Keep hot foods hot (140 F/60 C) and cold foods cold (40 F/5 C).  
  • Always use serving utensils, one for every dish.
  • Make sure utensil handles don’t fall into food.  
  • Never top up a buffet dish that has been standing for a while with fresh food. 
  • Supervise children at the buffet.  
  • Never leave food out for longer than two hours. 
  • When in doubt, toss it out. 



Recipes to Dream About

Recipes to Dream About

A good night’s sleep can change everything. Being well rested not only gives your body and brain time to recharge, but also helps your immune system operate to its full potential and lowers the risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease. But if you’re spending more time counting sheep than actually catching zzz’s, you’re far from alone. For many of us, it can be tough to get enough sleep. And, over time, there can be troubling consequences that go far beyond feeling like you’re more worn out than your favourite jeans. For instance, people who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more calories and accumulate visceral fat around the abdomen, potentially contributing to cardiovascular disease risk. Restorative sleep is also important for helping you recover from exercise training and reap more of the benefits from these sweat sessions. So, with all this said, you should do what you can to get the most out of each night. Poor sleep has a lot of causes, and no one antidote will allow you to bag the sleep you need. Along with proper sleep hygiene—including maintaining a regular sleep schedule, powering down electronics in the last hour or so before bed, and keeping your sleep environment dark and quiet—dietary choices may be one part of the better slumber puzzle. Science now shows that what you eat can influence how much quality sleep you get. So, with some savvy cooking, there is hope for finally getting the ever-elusive shut-eye of your dreams and feeling like a champ. These recipes feature the foods you need to help bring on sweet dreams.