Saturday, October 3, 2009

Potluck Party Tips

Tips For Creating the Best Potluck Recipes
By Helen Polaski

The best potluck recipes are recipes that have history. While there is nothing wrong with adding a new recipe to the mix every now and again, when you hold potluck dinners your guests will want the tried-and-true favorites. Because of this, it's always fun to bring along the recipe someone is sure to ask for it.

Ask The Hostess: Before you assume you should bring this dish or that dish, ask the hostess. There's nothing like surprising your hostess, but you need to make sure you don't bring the same dish as someone else.

Preparing Potluck Recipes: The best potluck recipes are prepared just hours before you attend the event. For example, crock pot chili can be made the day before, and reheated at the potluck, but you don't want food to be days old. You want to showcase your best recipes.

However, if you are making something that must be chilled for several hours, make it the night before. Don't take chances. Guests will not gravitate toward a gelatin mold that did not set or a frozen dessert that is not frozen.

Signature Dishes: The hostess and other party-goers who know you will recognize your signature dish. If you generally bring potato salad to an event and it always disappears, don't mess with perfection. Bring potato salad. Your fellow guests will be expecting it.

Use Fresh Ingredients: Because you want your recipe to be as appealing as possible, it's important to purchase fresh ingredients for your dish. A vegetable tray that has seen better days will not be the hit of the party, but a vegetable tray that's covered in fresh veggies with plenty of tempting dip will disappear fast.

Bring Insulated Containers: Casseroles that should be served hot should be brought in a dish that keeps them hot. Purchase an insulated carrying case that will keep the dish hot until it's served, or use a crock pot as your container and then reheat it as soon as you arrive at the party.

Keep Cold Dishes Cold: If your potluck dish should remain cold, then by all means bring along a larger container and ice. Place the larger container on the table, add a few ice cubes and then set the dish with the food in it on top of the ice. Leave enough room to slide ice cubes between the two containers. If packed with ice in this manner, the dish will remain cold for several hours.

For more information on potluck, visit the holidays section of

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