Originally Posted by StirBlue
What have you brought together out of the ordinary to make a meal?
Hmmm, creative menu, meal or dish? I am pretty traditional in planning a menu in so far as what type of cuisine I want to prepare, decide on a main dish & start building the menu/sides around that cuisine - flavors that will not over power the main attraction. i.e. if it's Greek, Italian, etc - I keep within that theme. The individual dish is where I get creative - looking through my recipes for some faves & tweaking them, prior to putting it 'on the menu' or experimenting with a new dish first.
For an everyday meal, sometime I use some ready made/prepared foods as either an accompaniment or incorporating them into the recipe -- semi-homemade.
Bagged salad - add mandarin oranges, or fresh fruit, veggies, dressing of choice.
Lasagna, pasta, pasta salad - almost anything goes - from sauce, fillings & type of noodle. I like Stouffer's spinach souffle, and have mixed in ricotta etc and used as a filling for stuffed shells or lasagna - manicotti would be another choice.
If I make fried rice or won tons, I may add a few ready made sides like egg rolls, won ton soup, etc.
I also like Mrs. T's perogies - I turn that into a cold salad, side dish or an appy.
Semi-homemade desserts - prepared cheesecake or poundcake and adding fresh fruit - strawberries, blueberries etc - posted a recipe for cheesecake in a martini glass on this site.
Some of the creativity also comes into play in changing out the serving dishes, i.e. guacamole or shrimp cocktail served in a margarita glass. Or, preparing mini dishes i.e. souffles etc. in individual servings like ramekins, rather than one large dish. The tricck for me, is turning something ordinary into something extra-ordinary. Hope I understood the question correctly.