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POTLUCK PARTY TIPS

Summer is all about the potluck party, and I've got some potluck party tips to make your next potluck easy and, of course, delicious!

Actually, MOST parties tend to be all about the potluck: from Memorial to Labor Day, Halloween to Christmas, concerts in the park to picnics in the beach, not to mention weekend gatherings with friends.

What makes potlucks so appealing?

A potluck makes life a bit easier for the host of the party.  It can be INCREDIBLY overwhelming to cook for a large crowd. There are tables to set, candles to light, a house to clean, linens to iron (not in my house, but this might be happening in yours), bar to stock…..the list can go on, and on.

Not to mention, you also need to plan the meal and cook the food.  Trying to figure out what to cook can be overwhelming and time consuming because, let’s be honest, the food is what people will remember.  They might have a vague recollection of the cute napkins or matching plates, but what IS guaranteed is your guests WILL remember the salad they kept going back for seconds for, the bbq that was the perfect char, and the dessert that provided the perfect about of sweet at the end of it all.

Here are some rules I think every potluck dish should have:

* It should be as delicious cold as it is warm. (I'm looking at you grilled salmon!)

* A dish that won’t spoil in the heat.  (There's a reason most people stay away from the creamy potato salad on a hot, sunny day!)

* Easily transportable. (which means it won’t spill all over the inside of your car when your driving to the party)

* It should appeal to the majority of the guests. (fois gras is fabulous, but not everyone loves it)

* And my favorite rule of all: you should be able to make it ahead of time, so you can spend time with your friends and not in the kitchen.

To help you out for your next potluck, here are some of my favorite (and most requested) dishes, just in time for Labor Day weekend.

Click on the links to go straight to the menus and recipes.  

Below is one of my "go to" dessert recipes I make all summer long.  It's super easy, crazy delicious and can be made ahead of time.

I'm so excited you're cooking one of my recipes, so don't leave me hanging -- tag your pics #amenuforyou so I can see what's cookin' in your kitchen!

 

Like what you've read and want more deliciousness? 

 

Sign up for my free weekly newsletter  ( for a limited time you'll also get my FREE Summer eCookbook with 30 pages of recipes, menu planning tips and party inspiration) and get recipes, menu planning tips and cooking shortcuts straight to your inbox.

 

Hungry for more info on how you can get started menu planning? Read this blog post.

Appetizers:

Crab and Artichoke Dip

Prosciutto and Ricotta Baguette Bites

Roy’s Edamame

Smokey Fried Chickpeas

Salads:

Kale Caesar Salad

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad

Radicchio, Fennel and Olive Panzanella

Desserts:

Almond Tart

Blackberry Dump Cake

Coconut Thins

Very Blueberry Lemon Tart

Links to recipes for the slider photos above:

Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts and Mint

Orzo with Tomatoes and Basil

 

 

BLACKBERRY DUMP CAKE

 Serves: 8  Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick butter (this is the perfect time to use high fat European butter, Kerrygold and Plugra are my favorites)
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (don’t have self-rising? No problem! Add 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt to all-purpose flour, mix and VOILA you now have self-rising flour!)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen), rinsed and pat dry (if fresh)

INSTRUCTIONS

1

Melt butter in a microwavable dish.

2

Pour 1 cup of sugar and all of the flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well.

3

Then, pour in melted butter and whisk until all ingredients are fully combined. Don’t overmix though. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated.

4

Butter a baking dish. I use a 9x12 which works great and creates a thinner cake. If you want a thicker cake, feel free to use a smaller baking dish. A smaller baking dish means it will take a bit longer to cook because the cake will be thicker, so add cooking time in 5 minute increments.

5

Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

6

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

7

Serve with a heaping spoonful of vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream or both!

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