Going with a potluck dinner?
Consider a nondairy dish

For the past seven months, I have not eaten ice cream, courtesy of my daughter who is nursing and has a milk protein sensitivity. So if I eat dairy foods, she suffers from acid reflux, resulting in pain for her and, in turn, horrible sleep for me. The hardest part about this is that I love dairy products. Ice cream, pizza, cheese and crackers, milk with chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese sandwiches are some of my favorites. 
Large gatherings that include potluck meals have been particularly challenging. When I get together each month with my group to play Bunco, for example, the delicious foods that people bring often contain dairy. The game we play using three dice is fun, but the highlight of Bunco nights for me isgetting together with great friends and enjoying a potluck meal without several little hands helping themselves to my plate. 
I arrived late to one of our recent gatherings. I was starving and headed right for the food table. I was toting some guacamole and chips so I knew there would be at least one item I could eat. Much to my delight, there was a better, delicious, nondairy dish on the table.  Thanks to Amy Doherty, I enjoyed a scrumptious dish with linguine, chicken and asparagus topped with a sesame peanut sauce.  
That night, all I could think about was that great peanut sauce. I e-mailed Amy and asked her for the recipe. As soon as that e-mail appeared in my in-box, I was off to the store for the ingredients. I must admit that my kids didn’t take to it as much as I thought they would  (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a lunchtime favorite in this house).  This didn’t bother me, however, because it also tasted great as a cold leftover.

Sesame chicken and asparagus pasta
from “The New Basics Cookbook,” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Ingredients
8-ounce package linguine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot chile oil (I omitted this and added a dash of red pepper flakes)
2 boneless, skinless, cooked chicken breast halves  (I used Hormel “natural” cooked chicken breasts.)
5 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed
3 scallions, white bulb and 3 inches green cut into 2-inch julienne
1 small cucumber, halved, seeded and cut into ¼-inch dice

Method
Cook linguine, drain under cold water. Combine garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and soy sauce in a food processor. Process for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add sesame and hot chili oils through the feed tube, and process until well blended.
Shred chicken into 2-inch pieces and toss with linguine. Add sauce and 4 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, and toss to coat well. Cut asparagus on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths.  Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain, rinse under cold water and pat dry.
Place linguine and chicken into a large flat serving bowl; arrange asparagus on top.  (I added ½ of the asparagus and cucumber into the chicken/linguine mixture to give it more body.)  Sprinkle with the scallions, cucumber, and remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature. 


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