Wedding dinner potlucks are also a lot of fun as everyone brings one festive side dish and the bridal party just makes the main dish and provides the drinks. I hosted an afternoon wedding potluck in my garden last year-the bride and groom provided cold turkey and salmon and we probably had 50 other fabulous salads and vegetable dishes to feast on. Everyone who brought a dish also brought the recipe on a card so the bride was able to have a wedding recipe index and she can make whichever ones she likes best in her new home.
It's also interesting to see how some potluck dishes seem to go in popularity waves. When I was a girl there were always fruit and gelatin salads. Then there was the era of lots of raw vegetables and dips, especially spinach dips carved in hollowed out French breads. Chinese chicken salad and baked brie also enjoyed a few seasons of being on everyone's list. Lately I've seen a lot of stuffed baked potatoes and spicy chicken wings on potluck tables.
When I go to garage sales I always look for extra inexpensive serving dishes and utensils that way I don't have to worry if I leave behind the plate or spoon I brought with my potluck 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 my serving spoons. This ensures I can pick out my tableware at the end of the event.
Here are some of my best 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 big hits for me over recent years and I enjoyed sharing these recipes with others in the best potluck tradition!
Wendy's Summer Garden Cornbread is always a crowd pleaser because most people love the nutty warm taste of cornmeal combined with fresh corn. The addition of the cheese, herbs and spicy jalapeno chiles really gives the bread a rich flavor punch that is both satisfying and hearty. It's also a very handsome bread.
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!
and Basil Mushrooms
Pea and Toasted
Chunky Chicken Salad
Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw
Harvest Pumpkin Cobbler
Try more great recipes from Renee's cookbooks:
My Spinach, Ricotta and Basil Stuffed Mushrooms are so juicy and delicious I have a really hard time not eating more than my share! These baked goodies can either serve as a scrumptious appetizer or satisfying main dish. Their creamy fresh herb and cheese 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 version of Stuffed Peppers features a Middle Eastern filling with 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. This classic dish is sure to become a standard in your repertoire.
Pea and Toasted Walnut Pate is a fine vegetable based dip that will surprise you with its depth of flavor. Fresh peas and toasted walnuts contribute a wonderful nutty taste and the hard boiled egg, sautéd shallots and fresh thyme combine to make a consistency and texture just like a rich pate.
The Chunky Chicken Salad is one of my favorites to bring to potluck affairs ever since I began finding dried cranberries and cherries readily available at the supermarket. It combines the sweet flavors of fruits mixed with a hint of cinnamon and sweet white wine with the piquant tartness of sour cream and a little horseradish all tumbled together with crunchy apple chunks and freshly poached chicken breast pieces. The result is a sweet/tart explosion of tastes and texture appreciated by everyone.
Carrot and Kohlrabi Slaw is a great new way to go beyond cole slaw – a new twist on this classic standard. The lovely color and crunch of orange carrots are combined with shredded kohlrabi bulbs, whose flavors of sweet apple and nutty turnip marry perfectly with the carrots in a light dilled cream dressing.
I've made Harvest Pumpkin Cobbler dozens of times 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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