Monday, April 18, 2011

teacher appreciation

i am the hospitality chair for the pto.  i've been the chair/co-chair for about 3 years now.  this position is perfect for me because hospitality deals with all things food related.  food for pto meetings, food for grandparent's day, and food for volunteers at different events.  but the best part of this job is planning the teacher appreciation luncheon twice a year.

the first one is in september, as we welcome the teachers and staff back to school.  and the second one is in april, at the end of teacher appreciation week.  i love that we get to pamper them with a hearty feast.  they are always so appreciative, which makes us feel so good.

i try to come up with a theme for the luncheon.  last year the school-wide theme was "going green", so we did a picnic on one of our fields.  we served bbq chicken and beef sandwiches with cole slaw and salad, chips and dessert.

this year our school-wide theme is "ancient world cultures".  we took the five cultures and created an international salad bar that looked like this:

china:  chinese chicken salad
greece:  greek salad
mayan:  black bean and corn salad
rome: pasta salad
egypt: couscous salad

ok, it's a loosely based interpretation of the cultures but it worked.  we also had a fruit salad, rolls and lots of desserts; brownies, cookies and honey cake.

after the menu was set, i recruited parents to contribute to the luncheon.  moms and dads signed up to bring one of the salads or any of the other items that we needed.  it's easy to get volunteers - families love to help out the teachers.

we set up a buffet line and seating for the teachers on the lawn.  the mom i work with does all of the decor, table cloths, centerpieces and servingware.  then we set up and wait for the hungry people to arrive.

i made the couscous salad this time around.  it's a recipe i learned while taking a cooking class at the california health and longevity institute a few years ago.  i love everything about this salad and was so happy to make it.

couscous and vegetable salad
10 oz of couscous, cooked i use israeli couscous because it's bigger and easier to use.  it's more of a pasta.
3 cups of greens; arugula, spring mix or baby greens
2 cups vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
2 cups of corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/4 cup salted pumpkin seeds i buy a bag of unsalted and then i toast them and salt them.
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup asiago cheese, grated

1/2 cup fresh, packed basil leaves
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 cup lite mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender. blend until smooth.  i put mine in a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

mix all of the salad ingredients, except the cheese, in a large bowl and toss to combine.

when ready to serve mix in the salad dressing and sprinkle the cheese on top.


this dish is perfect in the summer with grilled fish or chicken.

although i couldn't make for you, this goes out to the wonderful teachers in our family, and there are many, and friends who are all amazing.  thank you for all that you do.


Kelly Noel said...

what a sweet thing to do for the teachers! that salad looks delicious!!

ArlaMo said...

Your teachers are very lucky! Looks fabulously yummy!

lisa truesdell said...

This is an awesome idea- thanks fir sharing the details. I'm bookmarking for future use. :)

Mindy Miller said...

Looks amazing! They are lucky to have you!

memanzur said...

The pictures look amazing. Thanks for organizing this and for posting the recipe. Yummy!