Fantastic Food Ideas for Enrichment Meetings and other LDS Activities

For the un-crafty members of Relief Society, like me, coming up with creative ways to present food during activities can be very intimidating. Here are some ideas that can help you:

Please be sure to post your food-related ideas and links in the comments section below!

Fantastic Fruit

Watermelon Fruit Basket

About.com has a fantastic video instructions on how to cut a watermelon fruit basket. These colorful baskets are a fun way to display seasonal fruits and are pretty easy to create, even for beginners. Don't get too worried about crooked edges when you cut -- you can fix them later by cutting a sawtooth pattern around the basket.

Edible Flower Arrangements made of Fruit

I love these! Check out the following links for detailed instructions on how to make and arrange fruit:

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

This is shockingly easy to do. I mean it -- totally easy. So easy that I can do it (don't laugh!) and have even been asked to do it for a couple of weddings! They're always the first platter to be picked clean!

To melt chocolate in the microwave, place it in a microwave safe dish and cook for 90 seconds. Stir well. Continue to cook for 15 second intervals, stirring well after each interval, until smooth.

I melt my chocolate in a ziploc bag in the microwave, fold the edges over a measuring cup or glass, and then dip the strawberries. I find I waste less chocolate that way b/c I can dip into the point. It's tricky sometimes, though, because you can bump the edges and ruin your smooth surface.

Find out how professionals dip and decorate strawberries by clicking on the preceding link.

My strawberry dipping tips

  • Strawberries must be eaten same day -- don't make them ahead of time!
  • Leave the green leaves on your strawberries for color.
  • Use white chocolate chips and semisweet chips or milk chocolate chips and semisweet chips (I use Ghiradelli's) to add color and make your display even prettier.
  • Chocolate chips taste better than the ready-made chocolate dipping kits, imo.
  • To display, space your berries evenly on a platter, largest strawberries on the outside, in concentric circles.

Carrot Cake

This delicious cake was served at a Stake Women's Conference I attended. The women RAVED about it, so I asked for the recipe.

Combine the following ingredients in one bowl and mix well:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups veg. oil
  • 2 teas. baking soda
  • 2 teas. cinnamon
  • 1 teas salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 lb. grated carrot
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. This cake freezes really well take out of freezer ice and enjoy!

Carrot Cake Icing

The icing on this cake was to die for -- it must be the butter: Blend:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 teas. vanilla
  • 1-2 cups of powered sugar

Sides

Foccacia Bread

This Easiest, Bestest Foccacia Bread Ever Recipe is elegant and delicious, definitely living up to it's name. I made it myself -- first bread I ever made -- and it turned out great. Well, it was great the second time.....

The instructions didn't say how long to knead the bread, so I baked a gigantic, aromatic cracker the first time. So follow the instructions on kneading and rising bread here.

Also you should know that the cup of water must be hot in order to activate the dry yeast. (Found that out by reading the instructions on the yeast package.)

Chicken Ramen Cabbage Salad

This salad is almost a cliche' at LDS meetings. This is the best version of it I've ever had. This is easy to scale up or down, and is best when it sits over night, giving you time to worry about other things on the day of your event.

Mix the following items together and toss:
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 small red onion or 2-3 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 1/3 cups chicken, cooked, cubed
2 packages of Ramen noodles, chicken flavor
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Mix the following items together for the dressing, and pour over cabbage mixture:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 Ramen noodle flavor packets (chicken)

Takin' It Easy Main Courses

Potato Bar

One super easy meal to prepare and scale up or down for a big or small group is a potato bar. Simply assign attendees to bake potatoes and or bring toppings. Just add a bowl of lettuce greens to your bar, and people can make their own salads, too! Serve fresh lemonade to drink. Yum!

Go crazy with your potato bar toppings and sides! Consider:

  • chili
  • steamed broccoli
  • melted cheese
  • finely diced ham
  • bacon bits
  • Lil' Smokies in gravy
  • chives
  • grated cheese
  • corn (ears or kernels)
  • baked beans
  • tomato soup
  • black olives
  • salsa
  • chopped tomatoes
  • butter
  • sour cream
  • salt
  • pepper

Here is a website with detailed instructions and amounts for planning a potato or taco bar for 100 people.

One tip Jared's aunt taught me is to rub oil on a paper towel and then wipe each potato with the oiled towel before you bake it. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt if desired. The oil will keep the potatoes from drying out and improve the taste.

Soups

You can't go wrong with old-time favorites, like chili, chicken noodle, or broccoli cheese soups. Consider inviting a few people to bring their favorite soup and serve the soups with breads or rolls, like the foccacia recipe above, baguettes, rye, or wheat bread made from food storage.

Don't forget to ask everyone to bring their soup recipes to share!

There are several soup recipes available at MormonChic.com: Recipe Chic for Enrichment meetings.

Salad

Invite groups to bring a fruit, pasta, or vegetable salad. Determine how many salads you want of each, and let people sign up. Alternatively, people with last names starting with A-J could bring fruit salads, K-P can bring pasta salads, and Q-Z could bring vegetable salads.

Tip for Food Sign up Sheets

When I was activities committee chairperson, I found the people in my ward wanted to bring easy items (like butter) or glamorous items (like dessert) to activities, and we often ended up short on the boring-but-necessary foods like mashed potatoes or green salad. To solve the problem, I started making sign up sheets that said exactly how much of an item I wanted. Here's an example below:

Veggie or Fruit Tray (to feed 12-15 people)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Dessert (to feed 12-15 people)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Baked Potatoes (15 potatoes)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Butter (1 lb)
1.

Sour Cream (1 tub)
1.

TWO 2-liter soda bottles (any flavor)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

You may notice that Butter only has one slot, even though I would need 2-3 lbs. Here's why: because I passed out different copies of the same sign up for YW, Priesthood, Primary, and RS, I would only put one blank for items that I wanted less than 3 of , keeping me from ending up with 6 lbs of butter when I really need veggie trays. When I got home, I'd type in the names of people that signed up, reprint out the forms, and pass out the new forms the following week. People that wanted to bring more than one item or double sized items just signed up for two slots.

This method quickly solved the too-much-dessert problem and made it very easy for me to see what we would end up short on. Hope it helps you!

Share your ideas

Please be sure to post your food-related ideas and links in the comments section below!

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1 Comment

candy's picture

Wow! I enjoyed watching the

Wow! I enjoyed watching the video's and got lots of ideas on how you could make selected foods not only taste good, but also look good by being able to create an artistic variety of shapes and design. Truly love the post and thanks for this wonderful share.