Potlucks are a tried-and-true tradition that brings together family, friends and coworkers to celebrate food and our favorite dishes. If you find yourself invited to a potluck and have very little time for cooking, try one of these recipes. They’re a couple of my favorites and are easy to prepare, budget-friendly crowd-pleasers.
Try homemade macaroni and cheese, an inexpensive option that can be used either as a main or side dish. You’ll spend some money on the cheese, but that’s about it. Even better, this dish can be made all in one pot, then placed in the oven and left to bake. After 30 minutes, your dish is ready, and you’ve just spent the past half-hour doing other chores. ¡Muy bueno!
In a 2–3 quart ovenproof baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, add 2–3 cups of plain uncooked macaroni. Add a half-cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of olive or vegetable oil, and stir until the macaroni is just coated. Then, layer in about six ounces of the shredded cheese of your choice, diced baked ham, sliced bell peppers and chopped fresh broccoli. Once you finish layering, add a can of diced tomatoes with half the liquid. To add more fiber to the dish, top off the layers with three cups of fresh spinach. Season to taste. Cover the dish and bake at 450 degrees for half an hour. Once the dish is cooked through, you can transport the dish and serve as is.
If you’re pressed for time—and, really, who isn’t?—make a tray of mini quiches. Buy a package of premade mini quiche cups, either traditional or phyllo cups, depending on your preference. In a bowl, mix together frozen spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, shredded Parmesan and Swiss cheese, a half-cup of light cream and an egg. Fill each cup with the mixture and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. The result is tray of bite-sized artichoke Parmesan appetizers.
Experiment with these dishes! Try different cheeses (I like Swiss and cheddar), adjust the vegetables for seasonal options or use a different pasta shape. Our family found that the best thing about these dishes was that we didn’t have to wait for a potluck to enjoy them.
What is your favorite potluck dish?