Taking the stress out of preparing bridal shower food

(ARA) – If you’re planning a bridal shower, you want to make it a relaxing, fun time for everyone – and right at the center of the fun is good food. If you’re feeling anxious about what to serve and how to get it prepared – especially with everyone nowadays paying so much attention to what they eat – relax. You can serve delicious and healthy food without hiring a professional chef or spending a week in the kitchen.

Here are some time-saving tips and recipes from the Simply Organic test kitchen to help you get the food under control and host a simple but sensational shower for the bride.

* Share the work. When guests ask if they can bring anything, say “yes.” And don’t be afraid to ask them to bring something if they don’t contact you first – most guests are eager to help. Get others to prepare dishes you either don’t really enjoy making yourself or you know they do especially well. You can even have each guest bring a dessert or appetizer and share the recipes with the new bride. Doing the food as a group is fun, and it helps build the joyful spirit of the occasion.

* Keep it healthy. There’s a good chance a lot of your guests are trying to eat healthier. Why not go that route and make it delicious too? You can provide great-tasting, nutritious snacks that also go easy on artificial additives, salt, fat, sugar and other potentially unhealthy ingredients. For guests with special diet restrictions, gluten-free baking mixes are now readily available for easy, worry-free baked treats.

* Take some shortcuts. For enticing, freshly made dips without fuss, use high quality organic dip mixes. Just add a creamy dill, French onion, guacamole or ranch dip mix to equal parts low-fat cottage cheese and non-fat plain yogurt and mix in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with fresh veggies you can buy already cleaned and cut up at the store, and you get a lot of healthy snacking with very little prep time. Or use pre-blended mulling spice to create flavorful cider, punch or other beverages without a lot of work.

* Remake everyday favorites. One way to combine simple and special is to take easy-to-prepare favorites and dress them up with special festive seasonings. Try distinctive seasoning blends like curry or Italian seasoning. A seasoned sugar combination like lemon sugar or cinnamon sugar will add a gourmet touch to your tea. Or add a touch of a spice like tarragon or a chili powder seasoning blend to your usual deviled eggs, and you’ll instantly have something out of the ordinary.

* Shop smart. Make your shopping list well in advance. That way you can pick up everything in one trip – and eliminate any last-minute sprints to the grocery store. You can even order some ingredients online. For example, Simply Organic offers a wide range of all-organic products online to enhance your shower food – everything from spices, seasoning blends and baking extracts to easy-to-make mixes for dips, dressings and other snacks – and they’ll ship them to your house within a few days.

Here are two of the many easy-to-prepare, healthy bridal shower dishes from the recipe collection at www.simplyorganicfoods.com.

Spicy Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked and finely diced chicken

1/4 cup low fat yogurt

4 finely diced Roma tomatoes (approximately 2 cups)

1 package Simply Organic Guacamole Dip Mix

1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 tablespoons finely diced jalapenos

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, stir chicken and yogurt together. Add tomatoes and Guacamole Dip Mix; stir. Blend in shredded cheese and jalapenos. Refrigerate.

Chef Suggestions

Serve chilled with chips or crackers. For a less spicy version, substitute green olives for jalapenos.

Turkey & Cheese Meatballs

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey

1 package Simply Organic Roasted Turkey Gravy Seasoning Mix

1/4 cup Simply Organic Pancake & Waffle Mix

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients until evenly distributed. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Chef Suggestions:

Serve with a side of barbecue sauce or Simply Organic Ranch Dressing.