Ask the Swag Gal – August 3, 2011

Today’s question comes from a Swaggernaut looking to spice up her entertaining recipes:

“Hi SwagGal,
I play Bunco once a month with a bunch of friends and we all bring something wonderful and yummy to eat. I am running out of fantastic foods to take to these events. Salads are getting boring, already made frozen meals are, well, just frozen meals. I’m tired of those meatball things, the little weeners in a blanket, puddings and plain old bags of candy, chips etc. Can you suggest some out of this world, quick and inexpensive to make, and easy to transport dishes? I have just plum run out of great ideas.

It can be quite difficult to come up with a new and exciting recipe every single month.  Many of us strive to come up with different, unique, and fun dishes to keep our guests full and happy.  But when you’re looking to spice some things up (no pun intended), sometimes you have to think outside of the box.  Here are some great recipes that are perfect for a party, a barbecue, or just a simple night with friends and family.  I looked to Kraft Recipes for my inspiration:

Cowboy Salsa


total time – 20 min
prep – 20 min
servings – 12 servings, about 1/2 cup salsa and 5 crackers each


3 tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped
1 can  (15.5 oz.) black-eyed peas, rinsed
1 can (11 oz.) corn, drained
8   green onions, thinly sliced
2 avocados, chopped
1/4 cup  chopped fresh cilantro
4 slices OSCAR MAYER Baked Cooked Ham, finely chopped
1/2 cup  KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
WHEAT THINS Baked with 100% Whole Grain Crackers

Combine all ingredients except crackers.

Serve with crackers.

Prepare using KRAFT Balsamic Dressing.
Toss with 1-1/2 qt. (6 cups) torn mixed greens just before serving. Or serve on lettuce leaves.

Make-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups

total time – 55 min
prep – 30 min
servings – 30 servings or 5 logs, 6 servings each
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 cup ATHENOS Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 tub  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Garden Vegetable 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese
4 green onions, finely chopped
15 sheets  frozen phyllo (14×9 inch), thawed
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended; set aside. Brush 1 phyllo sheet lightly with butter; top with 2 more phyllo sheets, lightly brushing each layer with some of the remaining butter. Place remaining phyllo between sheets of plastic wrap; set aside.

Spread 1/5 of the spinach mixture along 1 short side of phyllo stack; fold in both long sides then roll up, starting at 1 of the short sides to make log. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and spinach mixture to make 4 more logs. Brush with remaining butter. Make small cuts in tops of logs at 1-inch intervals. Place in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove desired number of logs from freezer. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, several hours or overnight until thawed. Unwrap, then place on baking sheet. Bake in 375°F-oven for 25 min. or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet 5 min.; transfer to cutting board. Use serrated knife to cut each log into 6 slices.

Easy Crisp Cucumber Salad
total time – 15 min
prep – 15 min
servings – 7 servings, 1 cup each
4 large cucumbers
8   radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ATHENOS Crumbled Feta Cheese with Basil & Tomato
1/3 cup  KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup  chopped red onions
Use vegetable peeler to cut 1 cucumber into long thin ribbons.

Peel remaining cucumbers; cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Spoon cucumber mixture onto center of platter; surround with cucumber ribbons.


total time – 15 min
prep – 15 min
servings – 8 servings
4 cups kettle potato chips (4 oz.)
1 cup  KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 small tomato, chopped
2   green onions, sliced
4 slices OSCAR MAYER Center Cut Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1/4 cup  BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream

Spread chips onto large microwaveable plate; top with cheese. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 2 min. or until cheese is melted.

Top with remaining ingredients.

Serve immediately.

Pizza Pasta Salad

total time – 1 hr 50 min

prep – 20 min

servings – 10 servings, 1 cup each


3 cups penne pasta, cooked, cooled
4   tomatoes, chopped
12 slices OSCAR MAYER Hard Salami, chopped
1 cup  KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup KRAFT Tuscan House Italian Dressing and Marinade
Combine ingredients.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Nutty NILLA Mallow Bites
total time – 15 min
prep – 15 min
servings – 8 doz. or 24 servings, 4 squares each
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 pkg.  (10-1/2-oz.) JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows (about 6 cups)
1 pkg. (12 oz.) NILLA Wafers , coarsely crushed (about 5 cups)
1 cup  PLANTERS Cashews, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; spray with cooking spray.

Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 45 sec. or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1-1/2 min. or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every 45 sec.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Press onto bottom of prepared pan; cool. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan; cut into 1-inch squares.

Now I’m hungry!  For more delicious recipes, click here.
What your favorite dish to make for entertaining guests?
P.S. – Send your questions to  If your question is picked your answer will be featured in the blog and you’ll be hooked up with 150 Swag Bucks!