I have to go to a big pot luck dinner soon, and i was wondering what to make. usually everyone makes the same boring thing, and there are at least 2 or 3 of the same dish, what are some ideas for an unusual and interesting dish that will transport and kepp well for a couple hours?
I've done various chilis with a cornbread crust. It is so hot coming out of the oven that it stays warm for a couple of hours, and guests just love it. I would recommend putting it into a cooler, since they tend to keep foods warm as well. Just make sure you use lots of oven mits/hot pads at the bottom.
Another party main dish favorite is marinated shrimp skewers. You can marinate it in whatever you want (I usually do a cilantro/garlic marinade), skewer them up, and bake them on a cookie sheet for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees. Just soak your bamboo/wooden skewers all day in water beforehand. These are great room tempreature, and you don't have to spend a ton of time grilling them when roasting them in the oven works just as well. Marinate your shrimp for a good 4-5 hours, then skewer, then bake. Not sure where you live, but Trader Joe's has great frozen jumbo shrimp that are peeled and deveined (tails are on, which looks better anyway). They go for about $7 for a bag of 25 or so, and you only need a couple of shrimp per skewer.
Giada De Laurentis has a fantastic butternut squash lasagna recipe on the food network site that is always a hit as well. It's comfort food with a twist.
And, for the best mac & cheese EVER, try Ina Garten's mac & cheese recipe. It's not that hard to make, and you can feed a crowd. The difference is she uses Gruyere and Cheddar cheese. I usually make it with rigatoni instead of macaroni for that extra big bite. But I omit the tomatoes from her recipe as they tend to make the breadcrumb crust too soggy. I also use Japanese panko bread crumbs so that the topping is extra crispy. It's not on the food network site, but I found it online here:
When I go to pot lucks, I always bring a baked brie. I roll out regular pie crust dough then wrap a slice or two of double cream brie and bake. You can pour something over the brie after it's baked like fig jam or cranberry relish. Or, wrap and bake inside - marinated artichokes and sun dried tomatoes. Serve with crackers or home made croutons. Carry to party in an insolated dish. It should keep warm. If cheese hardens - micro for 2 minutes. I have also made chocolate fondue. Go to Smart and Final and buy their fondue chocolate discs and put into a small crock. Cube cakes, slice fruits, spear marshmallows. Good Fun! Esp. around the holidays. :)KQ