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Easy Potluck Shopping Tips
Try to create a balanced meal when shopping: look for a starch, a protein, and some greens.
Easy Potluck Cooking Tips
When preparing appetizers try to avoid repetition of similar foods and flavors - aim for variety in textures, colors, and cooking methods.
"This tasted so good. It's a great meal to make ahead when my kids come to visit."
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10 easy, one-dish meals that are perfect for a potluck
The word ‘casserole’ may conjure up not-so-tasty memories of your mom throwing noodles, meat and sauce into a baking dish to create her famous “Casserole Surprise.” But with the rise in popularity of one-pot recipes, casseroles are making a comeback in a big way.
As a matter of fact, you’ve probably been invited to one or more potluck dinners this holiday season — they are a popular way to celebrate with colleagues at the office, your monthly book club or a group of friends. With the help of new tools like the Instant Pot (and not-so-new tools, like a good old slow cooker, skillet or casserole dish) whipping up a one-dish wonder for a party is easier than ever. Not only can many of these recipes be made ahead of time, they are also extremely easy to transport and reheat. Plus, they taste so good that your friends will soon be referring to you as “Master Chef.”
Spanish-Style Chicken in Tomato Sauce
This simple dish delivers on flavor and aroma. Just one skillet is required to brown the chicken and then simmer in a tomato bath. Garnish with parsley and olives for a fresh and salty bite. Make it in a cast-iron skillet, cover with aluminum foil and bring it straight to the party. When you arrive, just simmer it for 5 to 10 minutes on the stove-top to warm it up!
Southwestern Cauliflower Rice Casserole
While most baked casseroles include some sort of pasta or grain, this recipe uses cauliflower rice instead. Perfect for vegetarians, this casserole is packed with meatless protein from the black beans and cottage cheese. Admittedly, roasting the sweet potatoes ahead of time adds about 20 minutes to the prep work, but you can omit the tubers if you’re short on time. Best of all, this casserole can be made days in advance and reheated when it’s time to eat!
Chicken Florentine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
This one-pot meal cooks chicken, pasta and veggies in one pan. Simply start by cooking the chicken in a skillet, then add the sauce, pasta and veggies and you’ve got a flavorful one-pot meal in 20 minutes. Not to mention that a box of pasta is extremely affordable and can feed a crowd. Throw this in a Tupperware to bring to the party or transport it right in the skillet.
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
If you’re looking for a simple, customizable meal to please vegetarians at the party, look no further than this meatless enchilada casserole. The recipe calls for zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, but you can sub in whatever type of veggie suits your fancy. The same goes for the type of tortilla — flour, wheat or rice work just fine. Bake it all in a casserole dish and bring it with you to add some spicy flair to your next potluck.
Spring Tortilla de Patata
Don’t let the name scare you off: This one-pot meal is extremely straightforward and a real crowd-pleaser. A traditional Spanish tortilla is baked eggs and potato, but this one also includes asparagus for a hint of color and texture. This recipe may seem too simple for a party, but pair it with a baguette and everyone will be asking for seconds. Plus, anything looks fancy when you serve it right out of a cast-iron skillet.
Vegetarian Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Dip
Grab your food processor and baking dish for this incredibly tasty vegetarian buffalo dip. No potluck party is complete without a cheesy dip, and this one does not disappoint. But there is a little secret: it’s actually quite healthier than the traditional buffalo dip because of some easy swaps. Use cauliflower instead of chicken, Greek yogurt in place of cream cheese and cut back on the cheese. Not only is this dip spicy and cheesy, it’s vegetarian, gluten-free, fiber-filled and satisfying.
Chicken Tikka Masala
This Indian-inspired dish cooks in the Instant Pot, and it’s sure to stand-out from the standard casseroles at the potluck. Coated in aromatic spices, yogurt and lemon juice, the chicken is juicy and is accompanied by nutritious veggies, like cauliflower and tomatoes. You’ll need about every spice in your cupboard to make the orangey red sauce, which is sure to be showstopper.
Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Bake
Is this one pot cheesy dish a dip or an entree? You decide. It combines cooked quinoa with feta cheese, milk, egg, spinach, artichokes, beans and white wine and it’s all topped with mozzarella cheese. While you can eat it right out of the pan with a fork, it pairs really well with some toasted French bread. Either way, it’s all baked in a casserole dish and is easy to transport to any party. Just reheat, serve and let your guests decide how they want to eat it!
One-Pot Moroccan Tagine with Dried Apricots and Chickpeas
If you’ve never had tagine before, let me introduce you to your new favorite dish. It gets its name from the cooking vessel, the tagine — a North African clay pot with a wide bottom and conical top. Luckily, the home cook doesn’t need a tagine to mimic the flavors. Instead, all that is required are some veggies and spices. Cook them all up in one pot until they reach a stew-like consistency and serve with rice. This mouthwatering dish will not only be the hit of the party, but sharing the fun facts about the tagine makes some stellar small talk.
Slow Cooker Vegan Tacos with Walnuts
If you’re going to a party, but you don’t have time to cook all day, break out the slow cooker. Just throw beans, veggies and spices into the slow-cooker, go about your day and swing by after work to grab the cooked dish and some tortillas to bring along to the fiesta. This recipe calls for unique taco toppings, like walnuts, avocado, cabbage and lime, but feel free to switch it up and use any ingredients you have laying around, like jarred salsa, sour cream, Greek yogurt or shredded cheese.
12 Easy Potluck Recipes
We know you have plenty of potlucks to attend as the summer season kicks into high gear. But even when the sun isn't blazing, we have all the potluck ideas you need right here! From summer potluck recipes like our Apple Cider Slaw to potluck casserole recipes such as our Italian Zucchini Bake, we've got you covered. Not to mention the fact that these diabetic picnic recipes are tasty enough for the whole gang. They'll definitely be coming back for seconds!
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Apple Cider Slaw is a great side dish or lunch. It's a perfect partner for pork and pretty much everything else. It's one of those easy potluck recipes that's welcome at graduation parties and summer barbecues!
Adding beets and peas to this Un-Beet-Able Potato Salad not only adds plenty of bright colors, but also kicks the flavor up a notch. Next time you're looking for a jazzed up potato salad, remember this one!
Pass around a platter of our Asian-inspired pork Teriyaki Cocktail Meatballs and watch them disappear. Just 'cause the ingredients are lighter, doesn't mean we've skimped on flavor. They're scrumptious!
This salad is a celebration in and of itself. Not only is it delicious, it's beautiful. That makes our Special Seven-Layer Salad the perfect side dish for any outdoor get-together.
Imagine serving this warm and comforting Italian Zucchini Bake on a chilly night with your favorite main dish. It has all the tastes you'd crave, with none of the higher fat ingredients.
Lower in fat ground turkey breast combined with zesty salsa makes for the perfect healthier filling for these tasty Turkey Stuffed Peppers!
Paella (pronounced pie-ay-yuh) is traditionally made with a variety of meats, shellfish, and veggies, each prepared separately before being combined in one big pot. This 'light' version is much easier, since everything cooks together in one pot, and One-Pot Paella works with just about anything we've got on hand - chicken, shrimp, clams, sausage … you name it!
This easy pasta dish might just earn the "Popeye Seal of Approval!" Loaded with nutritious mushrooms and spinach mixed with a lighter cheese filling, it'll earn a thumbs-up from your hungry gang. It's an easy potluck recipe that works well when you need to bring something impressive over to the in-law's.
These Cauliflower & Cheese Cakes will trick anyone into eating their vegetables, and loving them! After all, with cheddar cheese and a pinch of cayenne for a little zing, what's not to love?
This one's a take-off on a traditional Greek favorite known as spanakopita, which is simply spinach pie. We've captured the flavor and spirit of this Old World classic without all the old-time work.
Just because you're making an effort to eat healthfully doesn't mean you can't enjoy a treat now and then. Indulge your sweet tooth with our Rainbow Bars, which include low-fat peanut butter and candy-coated chocolate pieces.
If you're looking for the ultimate dessert presentation, make this Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle in parfait glasses so the decadent layers can win you loads of raves!
23 Potluck Side Dishes for Easy Entertaining
There's nothing like a potluck party with friends and family gathered in one place. A few people may be bringing appetizers or desserts, another is stationed at the grill, and a pro mixologist is behind the bar. If you're in charge of bringing a potluck side dish, these recipes, such as the Pasta Salad with Chickpeas, Green Beans, and Basil pictured here, are exactly what your family and friends are hoping for.
Let's start with the classics&mdashour Test Kitchen's Favorite Potato Salad. We use russet potatoes, which are light and fluffy. Toss them with a creamy combination of Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar, which is a lighter, sharper, and more flavorful version of the usual dressing. Another potluck side dish recipe that's sure to please is our Hold-the-Cabbage Slaw. It's a bright and crunchy version of Simple Coleslaw but instead of the usual mayonnaise, this version is dressed with apple-cider vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.
If you're attending a Thanksgiving potluck party, Green Bean Casserole with Bacon is a timeless side dish recipe that we've dressed up with homemade crispy fried shallots. It's a well-done, totally from-scratch version of the essential side. Or bring our Three-Pepper Corn Casserole, which gets a bit of a spicy kick from minced chipotle in adobo and pepper jack cheese.
Potlucks are all about dividing and conquering, and everyone at the party will be happy when you place one of these delicious dishes down on the table. Whether you're attending a potluck party in the heat of summer or the dead of winter, these potluck side dish recipes are sure to win high marks all around.
Pimento Cheese Dip with Sriracha Pecans
Sweet and spicy sriracha pecans add some fabulous crunch to pimento cheese dip. This crowd-pleasing, Southern staple is having a renaissance these days and after one bite you will understand why. This dip can be made ahead will be ready and waiting when hungry (and soon to be happy!) guests arrive.
Deliciously Easy Potluck Recipes
We promise that your friends won’t know that these casseroles are healthy or don’t have any gluten. Seriously, they’re so delicious and filled with flavor that no one will ever know the truth…until they ask for the recipe.
Allergy-Friendly Tater Tot Casserole – Make this casserole if you have a friend that’s allergic to everything — don’t worry, it’s still delicious!
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Casserole – (pictured, above) Just as much protein as the original, but naturally gluten free!
Overloaded Taco Casserole – Because really, who doesn’t love Mexican food?
Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork – (pictured, top collage) A potluck staple! Just be sure to buy some gluten free buns–or make these Gluten Free Buns!
Delectable Side Dishes
Need something to serve alongside your main dish? These side dishes are super simple to make and are filled with whole ingredients. When tossed with dressing and veggies, gluten free pasta doesn’t taste gluten free!
Grandma’s Favorite Broccoli Salad – Even the pickiest of vegetable eaters will gobble up this broccoli salad.
Lemon-Basil Pasta Salad – (pictured, above) Super light and fresh, this pasta salad is very delicious.
Simple Italian Green Bean Salad – (pictured, top collage) Yummy and delicious, this easy salad will be gone in no time.
Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad – The homemade dressing really makes this dish amazing.
Grilled Potatoes with Bleu Cheese – A little bit different, but super simple to prepare.
What’s a party without dessert? These easy recipes are sure to impress your friends and leave them wanting more. Make one or make them all because they’re sure to be a hit.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini Cheesecakes – (pictured, top collage) These little cheesecakes are as delicious as they are adorable. Plus, cookie dough is a fan favorite.
Seven Layer Bars – These bars are SO WORTH the effort needed to make them.
Creamy Peanut Butter Cheese Ball – Peanut butter is my favorite food, and this is basically a giant ball of peanut butter. What could be better?
Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies – (pictured, above) Chocolate and mint are just super refreshing together, don’t you think?
WAX BEAN SALAD WITH POTATOES, CAPERS AND EGGS
“I love a summer potluck dish where the components can be made completely ahead, and assembled right before the potluck begins,” says Sarah Copeland, author of "Every Day is Saturday: Recipes + Strategies for Easy Cooking, Every Day of the Week". “That way the dish stays fresh and beautiful but is still easy for you to pull off.” With crispy beans, sharp red onions, tender potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, capers and olives, this dish is satisfying and refreshing, says Copeland. For a potluck, she recommends making the dressing, cooking the potatoes and blanching the beans up to two days ahead. Store everything covered in the fridge and bring to room temperature before finishing the rest of the dish, which you can do up to an hour before serving.
8 Recipes to Make for the Perfect Italian Potluck
It’s a typical college problem: you’re craving Italian food, so you convince your friends to accompany you to an upscale Italian restaurant (because what other kind of Italian place is there?) You take a look at the menu and are overwhelmed with panic. Can your bank account even handle this?! What about those concert tickets you’ve been saving up for? Before you know it, you’ve ordered spaghetti…without meatballs.
This doesn’t have to happen again. Try convincing your friends to an Italian potluck instead. Here are all the recipes you could possibly need:
1. For the friend that tries to eat the food while it’s still cooking
Try this signature Italian appetizer, bruschetta. It’ll keep tempers cool and tummies happy while the rest of the cooking is happening.
2. For the friend that’s concerningly carnivorous
Have them make these classic Italian meatballs. They’ll be the star of the pasta show.
3. For the friend that swears mac n’ cheese is Italian
Photo by Daniel Schuleman
These seven recipes are easier than Easy Mac – and even they have to admit that Easy Mac is a breeze. Plus, now the entrées are all covered.
4. For the friend that protests the potluck because they’re vegan
There’s something for everyone — try this dairy-free pesto recipe that takes less than 10 minutes.
5. For the friend with the Asian takeout obsession
Who knew your leftovers could be converted into Italian food? This incredible recipe transforms your fried rice into delectable risotto balls.
6. For the friend who pretends they know how to cook
What’s better than a homemade pizza? This half-homemade recipe is a breeze, yet produces incredible results.
7. For the friend that actually knows how to cook
Let’s leave the important stuff to the pros. Check out this marinara recipe for the secret sauce to the whole meal.
8. For the friend that has an insatiable sweet tooth
This rich, authentic hot chocolate is sure to satisfy anyone’s wildest dreams. Less hot chocolate, more melted chocolate. It’s heaven. Enough said.
5 Easy BBQ Potluck Sides
Slice the vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Drizzle the heat-safe oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt. Heat the grill to medium-high heat and lay the vegetables on the grates. Let them cook, flipping once, until dark grill marks have formed and the vegetables are tender. (Cooking time depends on the thickness and type of vegetable.)
Whisk together garlic, pepper flakes, fresh herbs, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Arrange the grilled vegetables on a serving platter. Drizzle over the vegetables, turning the vegetables over until they&rsquore all coated in the vinaigrette. Let them rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, up to a couple of hours before serving.
I love BBQ potlucks! They&rsquore one of my most favorite summer activities&mdashand the bigger the potluck, the better. I love seeing everyone&rsquos offerings and trying a little bit of everything. My kids get to run around like monkeys, and I only have to put a minimal effort into dinner. Win-Win.
I have some ideas for you that are (relatively) healthy, easy to throw together, and are sun-safe. Because mayo in the sun? No bueno.
1 - Grilled Marinated Vegetables
One of my favorite summertime side dishes is grilled marinated vegetables. Unfortunately, my kids wince and make gagging noises when I pull out any grill-friendly vegetable *eye roll* so I make a big batch and take it to a potluck so I can have some and not have to eat it every day for a week.
You can use zucchini or other summer squash, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, thick tomato slices, asparagus, and other vegetables that aren&rsquot too delicate and would hold up to grill heat.
After you grill them, they get drizzled with an herb vinaigrette and hang out for an hour or so to get nice and tasty. It&rsquos a perfect side dish to make ahead and it doesn&rsquot have to be warm to eat. I actually prefer it at room temperature!
2 - Light Cabbage Slaw
Another of my summertime staples is a light and fresh cabbage slaw. Traditional mayonnaise-coated coleslaw is a classic sidekick to a plate of BBQ, but I&rsquom usually craving something lighter in the summer. Coating a slaw in a light, citrus dressing keeps it sun-safe and won&rsquot leave you feeling heavy. I left you a recipe for some honey-mustard dressing, but you can play with any citrus. I also like to dress it in a southwest combination of lime, cilantro, and cumin.
And if you have a food processor with a slicing blade, this slaw comes together in a snap!
3 - Flavored Butter . On Everything
Potlucks frequently feature a big container of cooked corn on the cob and some butter. Or a large pan of baked potatoes and some butter.
What if the butter wasn&rsquot just regular butter? What if it was garlic butter? Or lime butter? Or chipotle butter? You&rsquod be guaranteed an invite at every potluck after that. My absolute favorite? Baked sweet potatoes with lime butter. TRY IT. Pretty please.
Flavored butter, or compound butter as it&rsquos often called, is so easy to make. Just soften a cube of butter and stir in whatever you want. Make sure to use high-quality butter for maximum flavor. I really love Kerrygold grass-fed butter for its richer buttery flavor.
For the flavored butters shown above, just use one cube of butter with any of these add-ins:
- For Garlic Butter, add 2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic
- For Lime Butter, add the zest from 1 lime
- For Chipotle Butter, add a minced chipotle pepper from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce.
You could do lemon butter, orange butter, herb butter, spicy butter, green chile butter, onion & chive butter or even bacon butter. My heart just skipped a beat with that one.
4 - Melon-Berry Salad with Goat Cheese & Honey
Bringing a large bowl of melon to a potluck might seem like a boring idea, but have you noticed there is NEVER any melon left at the end?
This recipe might not guarantee leftovers, but it&rsquos an easy and creative riff on a bowl of chopped watermelon. Watermelon feta salad is a popular choice, too, but I went with goat cheese, mixed berries, and a drizzle of honey. It&rsquos a fun and unexpected combination.
5 - Fancy Burger Bar
Another way to make a BBQ more interesting is making fancy burgers! If you&rsquore not in charge of the burgers, volunteer to bring some fun toppings. This might seem like a lot of work, but it doesn&rsquot have to be. Just gather some odds and ends from your fridge and add a few more prepped/cooked items.
You could do a Southwest/Mexican theme and bring hot sauce, pepper jack cheese, whole green chiles, salsa, spicy mayo, and guacamole. Or a steakhouse theme and bring sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, and BBQ sauce. Or just bring a mishmash of things and let everyone go wild. It&rsquoll be fun.
I hope this gives you some ideas to shake up your potluck offerings. I&rsquod love to hear some of your favorite things to share!