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For the Love of Potlucks

November 29, 2012 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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Everyone likes a good potluck: you get fed while you socialize with people you like. That’s awesome. In my opinion, the downfall of the potluck is the amount of preparation needed to make food good enough to be put on display.

I believe people fall into one of two groups: people who dislike getting ready for potlucks and people who plan potlucks. I’m in the first group; I don’t particularly like to cook and I’m not a planner. However, I still want to bring something delicious and healthy. Cost is also a consideration.

This is a lot of pressure. I need to know what I can bring to a potluck that doesn’t involve me getting up at 5 am to make a quiche or, on the other extreme, stopping at a grocery store on my way to the potluck to pick up something, when I don’t know what that something is until I see it in the store. I need something in between. What is that?

If I could figure it out, perhaps I could like getting ready for potlucks too. When I need good food ideas, I turn to fellow blogger and cook extraordinaire, Andrea Godfreyson. Here are some of her suggestions:

Bring it from home

  • Make a soup, stew or casserole in a slow cooker. If it’s a lunch potluck, make it the night before and cook it overnight. Once it’s cooked, keep the lid on and keep it on “low” until the potluck. If it’s a dinner potluck, you can make it in the morning and slow cook it all day. 
  • Make a salad. Salads can serve as a meal or a side dish. You can make this ahead of time. Just add the dressing right before you serve it. 
  • Make a plate of sandwiches or wraps and cut them into quarters or halves. Andrea has given us some great ideas in Lunch Wraps for Kids – people of all ages will love them!
  • Assemble a ‘make your own’ taco bar. A stack of 4-6” tortillas and some containers full of fixin’s (lettuce, tomato, salsa, cilantro, cheese) will please the masses - you could even serve the meat from a slow cooker if you were so inspired.
  • Lasagna. Good warm or cold, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love it.
  • Play the nostalgia card. Try some of these retro snacks.
  • Tapioca or rice pudding. Try infusing the milk first with chai tea bags for a great twist on a classic. 
  • Chocolate fondue. Dip cut up fruit, angel food cake, pretzels and homemade cookies.

Pick it up

  • A thin crust pizza with lots of veggie toppings. (If you’re more inspired than me, you could also make this at home.)
  • A selection of cheeses and fruit. Just don’t forget to bring a plate to put it on, a couple of cheese knives and something to cut up the fruit with.
  • You will be the life of the party if you bring dahl and pita, souvlaki and greek salad, or sushi rolls.
  • Be the person to bring an awesome holiday inspired beverage.

I may be able to pull off a potluck or two after all. What are you bringing?


Recommended Resources:
Slow Cooker Savvy

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