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Mixed Vegetable Platter with Potato Cups and Cauliflower

Mix it up and create a decorative platter for holidays and at-home dinners

If you want to impress guests or are in charge of a festive holiday dinner, think about combining those traditional favorites. Most of the time we think of serving mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and peas in separate bowls or casserole dishes. But keeping them separate but equal on one tray can create quite an interesting color arrangement.

For this mixed vegetable plate, we'll include a cauliflower head and cheese sauce at the center. The outer ring will be a blend of potato cups, peas, and fresh green beans. You can add glazed carrots, corn or other goodies if desired.

Blanch the cauliflower and divide it into bite-sized bracts. You'll pile these back into the center and cover with your favorite cheese sauce just before assembling and serving.

Next, blanch the green beans. They'll be arranged in circular fashion around the rim and in between the potato cups. The potato cups are filled with peas or corn or glazed carrots.

To make the potato cups
Use smallish potatoes of uniform size. Microwave on high until tender but still firm. Remove the skins and cut in half at the middle. Remove a slice from the bottom of each end so the halves will remain upright. Very gently scoop out the insides but leave a thick wall and bottom. Place in oven on a cookie sheet and let back at 325º F. for about 20-30 minutes. Or until tender and somewhat crisp, but not too dry or tough.

Remove, arrange on cauliflower tray and in between the green bean bundles and fill.

To make mashed potato cups
These are also very tasty. Prepare mashed potatoes as you normally would, but add one egg. You can also season with garlic, ground pepper, and cheese if desired, but you'll want a thick consistency. Fill a muffin tin with paper cup holders. Spread the mashed potatoes into the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 325º F. for about 20 minutes or until nice and brown. Remove wrappers and place on serving tray. Fill with vegetable of choice. These are easy to make a day ahead; just refrigerate and don't bake until ready to serve. They will, however, reheat just fine. Top with paprika for added color.




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