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 Return of the potluck party 
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Location: Friendswood, TX
 Return of the potluck party
I'm in hurry up and wait mode right now - yeah they better hurry up or else!

Found this and thought I would share. We've been doing a bunch of potlucks both at work and in the family.

These are some pretty good old stand bys - but I agree with the first comment on the Chronicle site - they worked waayyy tooo hard on the poke cake. A white cake mix, any flavor gelatin and cool whip does, indeed, work awesomely.


By GREG MORAGO Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
April 28, 2010, 10:31AM

‘‘I need to do this more often,” my friend remarked near the end of a charming dinner party she and her husband recently hosted. “This was actually fun.”

And, for her, relatively painless, despite about two dozen guests who ate heartily from a lavish spread. How did she get off so easy? She went potluck.

Her guests were happy to chip in, bringing a variety of food including an Indian rice dish; a potato gratin in porcini cream; lasagna; beef stroganoff; beet and pear salad with walnuts and goat cheese; three different chicken preparations and a coconut flan for dessert. It was one of the nicer parties I've been to and, as it turns out, totally on trend.

Potlucks — those pitch-in suppers where the covered dish is king — are enjoying a revival in these cash-strapped days. Instead of abandoning entertaining altogether, families are finding they can still host dinner parties without breaking the bank by sharing the responsibility for food and drink. The potluck, considered a culinary anachronism before the recession, is now being embraced as a smart, hip way of entertaining. ;)

Extravagant entertaining is out; “We're at the other end of the pendulum at the moment,” said Jack Bishop, editorial director of America's Test Kitchen, which recently published a new cookbook, Cook's Country Best Potluck Recipes. “It's perfectly fine now to have people over and serve them what comes out of your slow cooker.” :roflmao

Filling casseroles, Crock-Pot entrees, baked pastas, rice suppers and sheet cakes are the new darlings of home entertaining. “People are looking to do more dinner entertaining in place of other more expensive forms of entertaining. Potlucks fill the bill,” Bishop said. “Everyone pulls his or her weight. Everyone pitches in. It's an efficient economic model for entertaining.” named potlucks the top entertaining trend for 2010, saying it's a way to take the burden off the host and also show off Iron Chef culinary skills. “The trendiest hosts are now into unpretentious entertaining that focuses on exciting food, not bells and whistles,” the foodie website stated, adding that formal dinner parties are out. :roflmao

While this may be a novel concept in urban hubs, the potluck never went out of style in middle America. “We're definitely seeing more and more of it. People are so busy all the time, especially working mothers,” said Monica Willis, features director of Country Living magazine. “But we've always been big fans of any entertaining that takes stress off the hostess. Potlucks are perfect.”

Not only are potlucks easy, they tend to feature filling, homey, comfort foods. “It's the kind of food you make in huge portions. It could be anything from a pot of chili to an enormous macaroni and cheese,” Willis said.

While few people can resist a pot of meatballs or King Ranch casserole, potlucks are also an opportunity to expand culinary horizons.

“Cooking skipped a generation where the dinner party is concerned. People didn't want to do it because their parents did. Now there's a generation that thinks cooking is cool,” said Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Culinary hipsters are now trying to outdo each other in a “gonzo competitive spirit” by bringing atypical dishes to the potluck dinner party. They can even be organized as themed competitions among foodie friends. :roll

Still, when it comes down to it, a potluck is about simple pleasures.

“It doesn't have to be filet mignon or beef Wellington to have people over,” Knowlton said. “Good food is good food. I have no shame in making a casserole or meatballs.”

The potluck, whatever is served, ultimately accomplishes the whole reason for getting together.

“Everyone loves to talk about food, and it doesn't matter if they're a cook. They can be a great ice breaker. Potlucks are very democratic that way,” Willis said. “It's a perfect way for people to get together.”


From Cook's Country Best Potluck Recipes


1 medium head iceberg lettuce, cored and roughly chopped (about 6 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon salt

½ medium red onion, sliced thin

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

1½ cups frozen peas

4 celery ribs, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin

1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1½ cups crumbled blue cheese


1 ½ cups mayonnaise

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons hot sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons pepper


Place half of the lettuce in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Rinse sliced onion under cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Layer onion, eggs, peas, celery, bell pepper and cucumber over lettuce.

Add remaining lettuce to the bowl, sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and top with bacon and cheese.


Combine all ingredients and spread dressing evenly over the top of the salad. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 1 day. Remove the plastic wrap and toss until the salad is evenly coated with the dressing. Serve.

Note: Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce is our favorite brand of hot sauce. If using a hotter brand, such as Tabasco Sauce, reduce the amount to 1 tablespoon.

Makes 12 servings, each 500 calories (83.8 percent calories from fat), 46g fat, 155mg cholesterol, 1,060mg sodium, 7g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 13g protein.


From Home cooking With Trisha Yearwood

6 slices bacon

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped bell pepper

3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with liquid

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced ripe black olives, drained

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced ripe black olives, drained

1 or 2 tablespoons dried oregano, according to taste

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

12 ounces thin spaghetti cooked and drained

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until slightly crisp, then cut into smaller pieces. Remove bacon and saute garlic, onions and bell pepper in bacon drippings until tender. Add tomatoes, olives, oregano, bacon and cooked beef. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Place half the spaghetti in the prepared pan. Top the spaghetti with half of the vegetable-beef mixture. Sprinkle this layer with 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Repeat the layers. Mix the canned soup and water until smooth, and pour over the casserole. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until heated through.

Note from author: “This dish meets all the requirements for the perfect potluck take-along. It's a crowd pleaser, it's big enough to feed a crowd, and it's easy to transport.”

Makes 12 servings, each 320 calories (56.1 percent calories from fat), 20 g fat, 55mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 17g protein.



Recipe courtesy Southern Living

Olive oil, for brushing dish

2 cups corn kernels

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

½ small yellow onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup grated reduced-fat Swiss cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons flour

1½ teaspoons dry mustard

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a 1½- to 2-quart baking dish with olive oil and set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together corn, bell pepper, onion, cheeses, flour, mustard and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir egg mixture into corn mixture and pour into prepared dish. Bake until set, about 45 minutes.

Makes six servings, each 221 calories, 12g protein, 10g fat, 22g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 92mg cholesterol, 376mg sodium.



From Cook’s Country Best Potluck Recipes


2¼ cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 large egg whites, room temperature

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1¾ cups sugar


4 cups frozen sliced strawberries

6 tablespoons sugar

½ cup water

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin

2 cups heavy cream, chilled


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla and egg whites.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk mixture.

Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk mixture. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is very brown, about 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.


Combine 3 cups of the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the water and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the strawberries are softened, about 10 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a medium bowl, reserving the strained solids. Whisk the gelatin into the liquid and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Use a wooden skewer to poke 50 large holes in the cooled cake. Don’t poke the cake through to the bottom, but twist the skewer when poking to enlarge the holes. Pour the cooled gelatin mixture evenly over the top of the cake, making sure to cover the holes. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the gelatin is set, about 3 hours.

Pulse the reserved strained strawberries, 2 more tablespoons sugar, and the remaining 1 cup frozen strawberries together in a food processor until the mixture resembles strawberry jam, 5 to 7 pulses. Spread the mixture evenly over the cake. (The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Before serving, with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together to soft peaks and spread evenly over the cake. Serve.

Note: The top of the cake will look very dark and slightly overbaked — this helps keeps the cake from becoming too soggy after the gelatin is poured over the top.

Makes 12 servings, each 490 calories (47.9 percent calories from fat), 27g fat, 90mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 60g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, 6g protein.

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:03 pm
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