Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday Helper - Potluck Recommendations

If you're heading to a potluck dinner at work or with your family in the next couple of weeks or if you're hosting your own holiday gathering soon, you're probably in the market for a potluck recipe. I'm not someone who usually creates my own recipes, so I thought sharing some of my faves with you might be a good idea. Here are 10 of my faves!

Pioneer Woman Green Bean Casserole - Creamy, homemade deliciousness that isn't your grandma's recipe. I've made this multiple times, and it always turns out great and feeds an army. You can easily double the recipe if needed too.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad - Perfect for the holidays, it's a  yummy mixture of textures and colors and flavors. This is a great dish to take to an office party since it doesn't need to be reheated. I do recommend keeping the dressing separate until just before serving. I've also substituted slices of crisp, tart, green apple for the pears in case you don't like the taste/texture of pears.

Pan Fried Onion Dip - if you need something a little more elegant and adult oriented to take to an appetizer potluck, this would be the perfect option. Beyond tasty!

Icebox Coconut Cake - maybe this is a Southern thing, but my mom made it, my grandmother made it, it was the quintessential Christmas dessert for our family. It's easy and delish - trust me on this! (If you have leftovers, it's even better the second and third day.)

5 Cup Fruit Salad - I'm not sure if this is a Southern thing too, but my mother and grandmother both would make this for virtually every family gathering my entire childhood. It's creamy and delicious and cool for the summer and a tart yet sweet salad alternative for the holidays. The ingredients sound weird put together, but trust me that this is fab. (Personally, I go light on the marshmallows because I don't really like them...)

Breakfast Casserole - We do like us some sausage casserole down here in the South too. Every Southern woman I know has a go-to breakfast casserole that she takes to holiday brunch gatherings. There are lots of variations, but this is the one that I make and grew up with my family making. It makes the house smell delicious as it bakes. :)  And putting it in a pretty, fluted baking pan does seem to make it taste better, just fyi.

Pioneer Woman Cowboy Baked Beans - This is yet another favorite from my childhood. My mom called them cowboy beans and would make them frequently at our house. My fave was when she added fried bits of cut up hot dog - voila Beanie Weenies. Yum, that memory takes me back even though I don't like hot dogs. Lol! Seriously, these are great for any kind of large gathering.

Baked Brie - Here's another elegant appetizer offering that would be perfect for a grown-up party. I don't care for raspberry jam, so I have opted for either the apricot preserves or strawberry preserves in the past. Tip: buy the best quality preserves you can afford. The chunkiness and sweetness of really good preserves makes a big difference.

Baked Spinach Artichoke Dip - This recipe is the closest to the one that I actually  make myself, although I don't remember ever getting it from another source. I do a few things differently though. I use creamed frozen spinach instead of chopped and double the recipe. I also add in red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. My daughter is a vegetarian and loves to have this dip for dinner since lots of holiday gatherings seem to be a 'meat parade' as she puts it. Haha! (I also recommend baking it in a pretty stoneware or glass dish rather than a metal pan - personal preference and better for presentation, I think.)

Chocolate Covered Pretzels - If you have little kids, this would be a great recipe to make together. I've made it before with my daughter and niece, even once they were grown, and we had a great time doing it. Plus, you can individualize the toppings to the time of year and to your individual tastes. My fave pretzels are dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in chopped pecans or cashews and toffee bits.

I hope this has inspired you to make a couple of new dishes either for a holiday potluck you might attend or for your own holiday gatherings. :)

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