To help make potluck preparation easy, I always look for extra inexpensive serving dishes and utensils whenever I go to garage sales; that way I don’t have to worry if I leave behind the plate or spoon I brought with my dish. Other times I put a piece of masking tape with my name written on it in magic marker on the bottom of my serving dish or underneath the handles of spoons to ensure I can pick out my tableware at the end of the event.
Here are some favorite take-along recipes bring to your next communal feast. These dishes can all be made ahead, include colorful, healthy fresh ingredients and don’t involve a lot of complicated preparation. They all have been hits for me over recent years and I enjoy sharing these recipes with others in the best potluck tradition!
The Mediterranean Salad is quick and simple to put together. The flavors of olives and capers and pickles add a zesty richness to the crisp-steamed fresh vegetables enhanced by a simple vinaigrette that melds all the tastes into a great ensemble. This is the kind of salad I love to offer at a gathering – vivid colors, lots of flavors and easy to eat!
Last summer I went to a potluck at my friend Harvey’s where I enjoyed the stuffed mushrooms my recipe Harvey’s Spinach, Ricotta and Basil Stuffed Mushrooms is based upon. They were so juicy and delicious I had a really hard time not eating more than my share! These great finger foods can either serve as a scrumptious appetizer or make a satisfying main dish. Their creamy filling combined with fresh spinach and savory sundried tomatoes is an unbeatable combination of flavors that complements the meaty flavor of the baked mushroom caps.
My Broccoli and Cashew Salad always gets finished down to the last spoonful. Broccoli’s natural sweetness pairs perfectly with the nutty, rich taste of cashew notes set off by the spicy note of cilantro, all bound with the delicious creamy dressing.
My Middle Eastern Stuffed Peppers features juicy peppers stuffed with a filling of lamb, fresh mint, pine nuts, little rice shaped pasta and feta cheese. The pretty ripe pepper halves’ sweet flesh sets off the flavors of the tasty filling that will gently remind you of the exotic places and great food of the southern Mediterranean.
and Basil Mushrooms
Pea and Toasted
Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw
Harvest Pumpkin Cobbler
Try more great recipes from Renee's cookbooks:
Pea and Toasted Walnut Pâté is tasty vegetable based dip that will surprise you with its depth of flavor. Fresh peas and toasted walnuts along with hard boiled egg, sautéed shallots and fresh thyme combine to make a consistency and texture and nutty flavor just like a rich pâté.
Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw is a great new way to go beyond coleslaw as I’m always looking for new twists on this classic standard. In this one, the lovely color and crunch of orange carrots are combined with shredded kohlrabi bulbs, whose flavors of sweet apple/nutty turnip marry perfectly with the carrots in a light dilled cream dressing.
I’ve made Harvest Pumpkin Cobbler dozens of times, often by request, as my friends and family remember it always and ask for it often! Easy to assemble, the topping ingredients go in first, then the filling. As the cobbler bakes, the topping rises to the top to form a wonderful crispy caramelized layer over a temptingly rich pumpkin filling, a combination that is quite irresistible. I find this dish much quicker to make than pumpkin pie and more warmly appreciated as a new sweet treat.
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