What to Take for Our Pot-luck Party
Christmas time is frequently a time when we are invited to social gatherings – many of these will be pot luck based meal choices where each person brings an item of their own preference. This can make for an interesting meal choice, yet at the same time allow us to gather and mingle.
We have a Christmas party for a social group that I am a member of this week. The event has two key aspects:
- Bring a Pot-Luck dish, and don’t tell people what you are bringing; and
- Bring a re-cycled gift – take a look at some of the things you have in your house and pass it on to another member of the group.
Here are a few pot luck meal ideas (some thanks to 30 Fast and Easy Potluck Ideas) and some of my own thinking and observation:
- Spring rolls – Easily purchased in your local supermarket.
- Caesar salad – Very cheap to produce made from fresh romaine lettuce leaves and drizzled in Caesar dressing.
- Pasta salad – An effective way to use up the pasta that has been sitting in the fridge, mix with lettuce leaves, grated carrots and sliced onions.
- Shrimp tray – These are easiest purchased from your local supermarket, just simply bring a suitable dip.
- Fruit salad – Another easy to make dish always good to include watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes, and strawberries. But also best to avoid apples (they go brown when exposed to air) and oranges as many people are allergic to them.
- Assorted Cheesecake – Some stores sell these, take them out of the freezer just as you leave home and they should be ready for everyone to enjoy.
- Bacon wrapped treats – these always seem popular, I have seem bacon wrap meatballs, scallops and many other things.
- Spinach Dip with Pumpernickel Bread This is a most unusual combination, yet it works and home made is usually better than shop bought.
- Baked Chicken Wings – bake the chicken in your favourite marinade and take them to the party. Usually best served with a dip.
- Muffins or cupcakes – Every one loves these, especially home baked mini versions.
- Cheese platter and Crackers – It is good to have a varied selection of cheeses, not simply cheddar. Brie, Stilton. Those provided should have the same consistency – semi-hard ones are often best.
- Potato Salad – a perennial favourite.
- Vegtable tray with dip – Another firm favourite the beauty is that almost any vegtable can be used, simply chop them raw and add a selection of dips.
- Meat or Vegtable Lasagna – often easiest prepared by purchasing a frozen one and heating it before the event.
- Mini Sandwiches – This gives so much choice, put together your personal favourites cut each sandwich diagonally into fours and place tastefully on a plate. Remember it is also possible to make sweet mini-sandwiches by adding preserves, or fruit (but never serve in the same dish as savoury sandwiches).
- Home Made Coleslaw – You can either purchase your own coleslay vegitables or shred them yourself. Add a mouthwatering sauce. I like to add either Thousand Island or other creamy dressings, but not mayonaise.
- Home baked bread – Especially if you can serve it fresh out of the oven, normally only something that the host can do.
- Corn bread – This seems to be a firm favourite in North America.
- Pizza slices, or Mini Pizza’s – mixed vagtables makes a good choice, but there are plenty of meat options. BUT do not call a pizza delivery service!
- Sushi – This is certainly an interesting add-in and will be sought after by those with discerning taste. Store bought is usually best.
- Feta Salad – Mixing feta cheese with salad is a favourite. This is best featuring tomatoes and olives.
Remember in EVERY meal there MUST be a vegetarian dish served, this can be quite a challenge when serving a pot-luck dish as the vegetarian in the group is often the only one bringing this item. If you don’t know what to pick then pick something simple and something vegetarian.
I think it best to avoid wet, or sloppy, meal items especially where the participants will be eating from paper plates as there is nothing worse than accidentally pouring your meal down your front (or worse someone else’s). Meals such as Chicken Casserole may bring out the contributor’s cullinary talent, yet they can be awkward in a social gathering where people will be standing.
Whatever you do at a potluck event remember that this is an opportunity to network with people in a way that may not have been possible in the group previously. Complement people on how good the food was even if it was obviously purchased from a store.