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Wendy South Hampton
Valued Contributor

South Hampton, NY
USA
132 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  12:04:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am going to a pot luck type event. I hate going to these in general, especially when I don't really know the people, what they like or what they expect people to bring.

No one every seems to give any direction or guidance as to what they expect. I'm a good cook, I just do not want to bring something and people say "Look what SHE brought "

I just joined a social club and they seem to have many of these and they are intimidating to me.

I called the hostess to RSVP and mainly ask what to bring. She said "whatever you want." I insisted on some direction or guidance. She said "people bring all different things. some a lot, some a little. some cook, some buy."

She said she was not asking people what they were bringing. So, for all she knows 15 people are bringing deviled eggs. (I went to a pot luck BBQ at my home owners association this summer and 2 different people brought that.)

She did not say if there was a main course and we were bringing a side dish, or if everyone was bringing appetizers and we just have that.

And how much do I bring? Say I decided to make deviled eggs. Do I make 6, a dozen, 3 dozen? I figure I should bring the equivalent of what I personally am going to eat. Does that make sense?

I have a few ideas but wanted to see what you guys thought. There must be some regular pot luck goers here. Help me not be so scared of them.

Thanks,
Wendy

MargeI
Star Contributor

Middletown, MD
USA
900 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  12:48:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
You need some idea of how many people are coming to the event. After all, if 90 people are coming, you don't need to bring 90 devilled eggs, but 6 would be a little silly, don't you think?

If you want to do something safe, I would suggest a layered dip with chips. Or a fruit platter. Or a tossed salad.

Try to have fun....

PS I hate devilled eggs!!!!
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LindJorg
Star Contributor

Tacoma, WA
USA
921 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  1:11:50 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
A fruit salad would be easy & good. Also, the 7 layered salad is a good idea..........people always like that one!!!

Linda
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JanJojo
Star Contributor

West Virginia
USA
42759 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  1:32:20 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The only bad thing about layered salads and dips is that many people do not dip clear to the bottom and you end up with places where there
are fewer layers.Unless you dole out the dips and salads like this yourself,I do not think that it is a good idea to take something like this.

Janette Johnson
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Heather86
Star Contributor

Bourbonnais (S. of Chicago), IL
USA
2015 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  1:39:44 PM  Visit Heather86's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Since you do not know if it is a main meal or appetizers only - go for an appetizer that could be a meal component like meatballs, little smokies, shrimp coctail, a salad.

I don't know what the temperature is like where you live, but here up north I might make something like meatballs and then if that wasn't enough, go back out to the car and bring in something else. The temp is so cold out that if I ended up not bringing it in, it would still be "refridgerated"
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LisaBGoesShopping
Star Contributor

PA
USA
3092 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  4:17:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I go through the same anxieties! Here are some things I've come to terms with re potlucks:

1. You don't have to feed -- or please -- everyone. Few people eat some of every dish available. People pick and choose based on what they like, their dietary needs, etc. I'd say make 10-12 servings of something like a casserole or salad, maybe a couple dozen servings of something like, uh, deviled eggs or brownies.

2. Since you have no idea what people will bring, make sure that what YOU bring is something you'll want to eat if nothing else looks good.

3. Since you have no way to gauge the tastes and styles of the other guests, it's hard to know how far to go to make sure what you bring is liked. Does it need to be upscale, with only gourmet ingredients? Or would the crowd like your jello mold? Will everyone be dieting and want only low-fat or low-carb stuff, or would your torte be welcome? Should you try to be a star by bringing a cooked specialty, or would a fancy bakery bread with a crock of herbed butter or a crate of clementines do? I'd say:
-- if you're a great cook, people always appreciate good cooked food
-- use fresh, natural ingredients and avoid pre-made sauces with MSG
-- if you're an uneven cook, don't bother trying to be the star. Be a supporting player instead, and bring the bread or fruit.

4. Your hostess really isn't doing a great job of coordinating if she isn't making sure the meal will be at least somewhat balanced. Remember, that's her job, not yours. So pick something you'll like and that's not too much trouble, and go and enjoy yourself.

When I haven't wanted to cook, I've brought:
-- that crate of clementines I mentioned above -- that was a hit!
-- sodapop
-- cheese and crackers and cut-up veggies

When I felt like cooking, I brought:
-- spinach quiche
-- chocolate chip brownies
-- shrimp rollups (recipe long lost, boo hoo)
-- carrot salad
-- pumpkin bread
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SJones
Star Contributor

USA
3118 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  5:22:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree with Lisa. Definitely bring something that you yourself would like to eat. I have been to potlucks where some weird looking and not necessarily good tasting stuff has been brought by other people. I give everything a try, but my DH won't eat it until it is also visually appealing. He is very picky. Standard salads are always a good way to go, since they don't have to be served warm. A simple tossed green salad and two or three choices of popular dressings will be grabbed up. I also have good experience with a simple potato salad or a veggie platter with dip. A fruit platter is something easy and popular as well. People also like cheese. A sandwich platter is usually popular, too. In my experience, people will give a dish a try as long as it is not too weird looking and as long as they can sort of identify the ingredients.
Don't worry about it too much and bring a dish the first time that is popular with your family and friends. I'm sure people at the potluck will like it, too.

Susanne
MSPA Silver Certified!
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

Shreveport, LA
USA
2831 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  7:01:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Whatever you bring, make sure it is something you wouldn't mind eating left-over if need be. I also suggest something that does not require extra serving dishes or utensils. If you bring a soup, you should expect to bring bowls and spoons, as the hostess may not have thought to provide that. If your dish requires people to poke it with toothpicks, bring them along. If tongs are needed, provide them. Etc.

My favorites for pot-lucks--that are not the most common addition and are acceptable at many themes:

blanched asparagus wrapped with thin slices of ham, served with a hot mustard for dipping

home baked bread filled with just about anything

fake crab, shrimp, and a few crunch veggies on a tray with cocktail sauce (for when I don't feel like putting forth much effort, but don't want to just bring a bag of chips)

artichoke dip and chips

home-made salsa and chips

booze pie, well-labeled so people who want to avoid alcohol don't get an unpleasant surprise (this is a cream pie with liquor added at the end--it does not get cooked off)

a nice bottle of wine--or two

coke or root beer and vanilla icecream for floats--bring plastic glasses and an ice cream scoop

Jnanne
Silver certified and looking for work near my new home
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LindJorg
Star Contributor

Tacoma, WA
USA
921 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  8:20:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Another good cold appetizer is green onions wrapped with cream cheese and ham. You just mold the cream cheese around the bulb of the onion and use slices of ham to roll them up. You can prepare a day ahead of time and refrigerate. They arrange nicely on a tray.[

Linda
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PennyC
Star Contributor

GA
USA
656 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2006 :  07:09:07 AM  Visit PennyC's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Linda yum!
My fav cooking Aunt exchanges the onions for pickles too for an option for my hubby!

PennyC
MSPA Gold Certified 5/04
Shopping Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson Counties in Georgia
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ChristieGibson
Member

American Fork, Utah
USA
12 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2006 :  1:24:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Personally, I am a pasta freak! I love pasta salads, and most people seem to like them as well. My husband and I will usually do a search on the internet and try a new (cold) pasta recipe. OF course we will try it before hand. Pasta usually goes with everything and anything. My favorite consists of

cooked macaroni
hard boiled eggs
diced olives
diced dill pickles
tuna
mayo mixed with a little mustard and seasonings to taste.

Another favorite noodle salad of mine includes that mini shrimp you buy in cans. Yum!

Christie
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KarenSE
Star Contributor

Helen, GA
USA
333 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2006 :  08:41:43 AM  Visit KarenSE's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been to many potlucks at churches and campgrounds. I think it would safe to say that if you take enough to serve 8-10 people that would be enough. And, from experience, I think a meat dish would be a good choice. I have been to many potlucks where I brought a bucket of fried chicken and it was the ONLY meat on the table. Good choices are fried chicken, meatloaf, pot roast, or ham. All of these would be well received, are not hard to make, would hold up well on the table, and make good leftovers if not all eaten at the dinner.

If you are not into taking the meat, make your best casserole or dessert. That way, if there is left over, you know it is something you like.

Potluck is not fancy, just good food shared by all.

Hope this helps you.
Karen in Georgia

Karen
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DaphneMorris
Contributor

West Valley, UT
USA
80 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2006 :  09:27:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I found out a new easy recipe last night which I have not tried but it would be great. Take store bought chocolate chip cookie mix and spread out on a pizza pan. Cook according to directions and cover with a light layer of cream cheese. Cover with whip cream and serve.
Also try something easy mini custard pies. Small keebler crusts with lemon pie filling or raspberry and cool whip.
One other in utah we have cottage cheese and jello salad. One container cottage cheese. One container cool whip, and dried jello to add color and flavor. Also if you like add crushed pineapple and use lime jello. Or try mandarine oranges with orange. Or even be creative. In utah we are the jello state so we have lots of these. Also the LDS church out here hosts lots of these so we know lots of tricks. Hope this helps.

Daphne
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JanJojo
Star Contributor

West Virginia
USA
42759 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2006 :  8:28:54 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
A good friend of mine gave me this recipe.She said that she takes this cake to potluck dinners all of the time.She claims that it is always a very big hit,and seldom has any to take home with her!!!

Earthquake Cake
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
8 oz. cream cheese,softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
1/2 lb. butter,softened
Heat oven to 350 degrees.Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan.
Mix cake mix according to package directions.Pour into pan.
Spread coconut and nuts over cake.Mix butter,cream cheese
and powdered sugar together.Drop teaspoons of this mixture
over cake,using all of it.Bake for 45 minutes.Cake will set
when cooled.

Janette Johnson
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Wendy South Hampton
Valued Contributor

South Hampton, NY
USA
132 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  08:55:11 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jan,

Your cake may be great, but I hope the person running the event knows it is coming. The pot luck I went to, I would estimate 60% or more brought a desert. One person I saw walk in with a candle (nice hostess gift, but not FOOD) and at least one brought a bottle of wine. There was very little actual food to eat. The desert table looked great, but I wanted to first eat and then have desert.

This goes back you my first post:
No one every seems to give any direction or guidance as to what they expect.

I would like to see the hostess dictate what you have to bring when you RSVP. I have no problem being told: You must bring a vegetable.

Wendy
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ShawnaL
Star Contributor

USA
492 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  10:22:01 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
While it might be a bit annoying to have 60% desserts at a potluck, the main reason for a get together is to be with friends and/or family. If you must have a main course (or any "real" food) before dessert, just bring that type of dish. Personally, if the candle or bottle of wine added to the ambience, they would be welcome at any of my parties. As a hostess, I always make several main dishes to be sure there is a variety. If I attend a party with such a problem, I am grateful and have a wonderful time no matter what. Then after the party I go ahead and pick up some food that I want to eat.

As for things to bring to a potluck, I like spinach dip, spinach salad, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, asiago cheese dip, garlic bread, chicken strips, 7-layer dip, or potato salad...just to name a few :) I always make enough to fit into one or two 9X11 pans or a big bowl (depending on the item and the size of the party).


Shawna
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.StephanieA
Inactive

Redmond, WA
USA
1816 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  12:04:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Growing up in Hawaii we were always taught it was OK to eat dessert first as you never know what may happen and you should always have the best first as you then have room for it.

Shopping WA especially, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Woodinville and from Tukwila to Lynnwood.
MSPA Gold
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JanJojo
Star Contributor

West Virginia
USA
42759 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  9:58:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My good friend that gave me the Earthquake Cake recipe told me that often the ladies at these potlucks exchange recipes with each other.
She gave me another recipe that she says goes over very well at these potluck events.This one is not a dessert.

Crockpot Macaroni And Cheese
2 cups cooked macaroni
1 TBS. butter or margarine melted
2 cups evaporated milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onion,chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Add ingredients to crockpot.Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours,stirring twice.
If you would like to make this a main dish add some cooked,cubed ham
towards the end of the cooking cycle.

Janette Johnson
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Andie
Valued Contributor

Sealy, TX
USA
166 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  08:32:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The thing I see missing at most pot lucks (besides meat if not provided by the host) is plain vegetables. I will steam or grill a variety of vegies or bring a salad and dressing (remember the dressings, I bring at least 2). My husband and I are both not fans of casseroles and we cannot be the only ones! With a lot of people trying to eat healthier these days, the vegies always disappear.

P.S. In a large gathering, most people don't know who brought what unless it was outstanding and they ask for the recipe!

Andie
Gold Certified, CCSE
Small Town TX
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Misha
Star Contributor

NV
USA
827 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2006 :  8:32:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Here's the perfect potluck dish...I use it all the time and it's very simple....

1 bag frozen meatballs
2 jars of marinara or spaghetti sauce

Dump the sauce in a crockpot and add enough meatballs so that they're covered in lots of sauce. Cook on high for about 2 hours.

Voila! Cocktail meatballs.


Misha
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LoriNC
Contributor

Charlotte, NC
USA
62 Posts

Posted - 11/15/2006 :  12:03:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Banoffee Pie

This is delicious and super easy. Four ingredients-graham cracker pie crust, one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 bananas and cool whip.

In a sauce pan, boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for 3 hours. Monitor the water closely, to make sure there is always water in the pan. Remove can from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
Open can and pour toffee into pie crust. Allow to cool.
Slice bananas over toffee. Top with cool whip. Refrigerate before serving.

Good luck

Lori
Charlotte NC
shopping anywhere my little car will go
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