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Potluck Perfection

Posted on December 17, 2012

At this time of the year, potlucks have a way of sneaking up on us and stressing out even the most adept holiday entertainers. But they don’t have to rock your world. Seriously, you can make a dish that will shine like a star if you just give it a little forethought. Here are a few potluck ideas to create perfect dishes that are simple enough to squeeze into your schedule even during the busiest season of the year.

Pick a star. Don’t try to recreate the wheel every time. Find one dish that you love and own it! Try our Warm Chicken Lentil Salad or Pan Roasted Maple Dijon Chicken. Each time you “rehearse”, the recipe will become easier. That means less kitchen time and more compliments to the chef!

Travel with style: Avoid recipes that are going to wilt, wither or suffer in any way during the trip from the kitchen to the potluck table. Fried foods can get soggy and quesadillas may turn rubbery. Great options are pastas, roasted FreeBird chicken, casseroles and veggies that can wait for slow moving guests to graze. Chopped salads in vinaigrette, rather than a mayo based dressing, are terrific as well, often benefitting from those additional minutes of marinating.

Look fabulous: You don’t have to struggle in the kitchen to make it look like you spent a lot of time on your dish. Come up with creative ways to serve even the simplest of foods and you’ll wow and impress those party people. Slice on the diagonal and serve them sitting on their sides with their colorful fillings showing. Place skewered kebabs of fresh fruit or FreeBird Chicken Nuggets in a flower pot or vase filled with pebbles or dried beans and serve with a variety of dips or sauces. Prepare this Ginger Curry Wraps recipe  serving the crisp lettuce stacked up next to the colorful prepared salad for a stunningly beautiful dish.

Go for an Encore: Look at your calendar ahead of time. Do you see more than one potluck scheduled in the upcoming week? Perfect. Double or triple your recipe the first time around and divide up portions to reheat and bring with you to each event. Stews, casseroles and baked pastas are great options. While you’re picking that perfect outfit for the party, your prepared potluck meal just has to reheat to be ready when you are.

Add a Finishing Touch: When preparing your food, don’t limit yourself to the kitchen. Finishing touches like fresh chopped herbs, crispy bacon bits and toasted nuts can elevate your dish from another boring buffet item to something special. Pack these ingredients separately and sprinkle on top of your pasta, greens or grains just before guests begin to eat.