People have strong feelings about potlucks. Some people love the idea of sharing the workload for having a dinner or brunch party, and some would sooner die than eat food cooked in another person's kitchen. I get it. What if they let their cats walk on the cutting board, or the chicken sat on the counter too long? But, with close friends, I think it's one of the best ways to hang out and get your grub on.
Here are some ways to make a potluck fun and easy:
1. Give guests an idea of what you need
You don't want to end up with 5 desserts and no veggies (or maybe you do!) If you're hosting, make the entree and ask guests to provide the sides and dessert. Some easy crowd pleasing entrees include:
- Fajitas or tacos-guests can bring guacamole, rice, beans, chips, queso, and tres leches cake
- Lasagna-assemble it early in the day and bake it just before your guests arrive; they can bring salad, garlic bread, wine, and tiramisu
- Chili-another great make-ahead dish that can be kept warm in a slow cooker until dinner time; guests can bring cheese, sour cream, chips, and something cool for dessert to beat the heat; ice cream or root beer floats would be perfect
2. Go with what you know!
Hosting any type of dinner party, potluck or not, is not the time to try out a brand new recipe. Go with a time tested favorite that you know you can pull off. I once tried to make pasta with a porcini mushroom sauce and homemade rosemary bread and...it did not go well. Your friends won't go home saying, "I can't believe she made us tacos," they'll say, "Oh my gosh-it was so nice to eat tacos that somebody else made"
3. Potluck isn't just for dinner
My friends and I love to have potluck brunches. There's something so relaxing about hanging out mid-morning with delicious breakfast food, coffee and mimosas. Especially if you're used to eating breakfast on the run and not getting around to your coffee until it's already cold. Egg dishes can be made in advance and are often just as good room temperature as they are warm from the oven.
4. Make it the usual
As we get busy with work, kids, school, and life, we often don't get to see our friends as much as we'd like. Having regular potluck dinners or brunches is a great way to stay in touch without a lot of work or preparation. Take turns hosting and keep it casual so it's stress free.
- Heather Lindow