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Dec 15, 2009 11:48 AM

Has anyone encountered a rare and elusive inspired work potluck dish?

I admit it, I usually take the easy way out of my work's potlucks (they have maybe 3 a year). Usually I make a dessert, like from scratch brownies, cookies, etc since I don't have to worry about heating anything up or fighting for fridge space. I want to try and contribute a main dish this year but am stumped. There are always the old stand-bys like chili, pulled pork, meatballs, etc thrown in a crockpot which are fine, but uninspired and regular staples at these events.

So has anyone come across a great food item at a potluck? Something different? Have one you make yourself? Oh, and a big stipulation: I have access to a tiny microwave, a freezer and a fridge. I also have a crockpot at home.

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  1. Will they eat spicy foods? Are they adventurous? Maybe some spicy wings in your crockpot, unless that's ho-hum for your crowd. I was also thinking why not something Thai in your crockpot? Unless of course, they would think Thai is weird, which is what they would think in our office. boo-hoo!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val

      If you decide on wings, I have just the recipe for you...involving ground coriander, cinnamon, and sriracha. Excellent in a crock pot.

      1. re: ChristinaMason

        LOL, can you please post it even if mels needs something else? thanks!

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          I would love the wing recipe! Mac n cheese would also likely be a crowd pleaser. I would say maybe 1/3 of the attendees are adventurous. I made Thai noodles last year which were OK for the timid crowd, so that's probably as far as they'd go. I would keep spiciness to the medium level, again to appeal to the masses.

          I am unfortunately very aware that a Chowhound potluck would have way more variety than the bland coworker potluck!

          1. re: mels

            Sure thing. Here you go.

            I can't claim too much credit for the recipe, as my changes to the original basically involved adding honey. But I really think the slight sweetness balances out the flavors. These do have a kick. The original recipe also called for deep-frying. I get great results with a hot roast instead.

            p.s. if using a crock pot, be sure to pour any remaining sauce over top.

      2. A mac & cheese dish with maybe some meat like chorizo, bacon or proscuitto is a nice change. You can make it with several cheeses; one of my personal favorites is smoked gouda, which pairs well with any pork meat like bacon..

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cherylptw

          I agree with the macaroni and cheese. It's what I always make for out office potlucks, and although I sometimes would like to try something new, people always ask...will you please make your mac and cheese? I use a very basic Betty Crocker recipe with a white sauce and usually use extra sharp cheddar , plus at least one other kind of cheese (smoked gouda, fontina, gruyere , goat cheese, stilton are some of the "others" I;ve added. I also do a crunchy topping...used to do a combination of fresh grated pameasean, bread crumbs and melted butter, but have recently tried a thing I saw on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, with crushed Pepperidge Farm Extreme Cheddar goldfish crackers, instead of the bread crumbs, which we loved in the crunchy topping.

        2. Our last potluck included:

          Doro wat & injera - made by an Ethiopian
          Gravlax & homemade bagels (no other kind available here)
          Laab & khao niyao (I made this)
          Carpaccio (also made this)
          Lindsetorte - made by an Austrian

          1. Well, just be aware that if you make great brownies and show up with a tamale pie, there may be some who throw rocks at you! Beyond that, let's see...

            I have a drop dead delicious recipe for traditional home-cooking terayaki chicken made with boneless thighs with the skin on. That's critical. As a main course, I do two thighs per person, but for a party, you can slice them in the traditional way and serve a platter full.

            If you want to do the cooking a day or even three days ahead of time and have a truly great dish, there's always boeuf Burguignon or coq au vin. Always best made ahead so they can mellow and marry and either is a show stopper.

            Mousakka. Assuming everyone likes eggplant. The advantage to mousakka is that it's traditionally served at room temperature.

            If you prefer pasta to eggplant, there's always lasagna.

            Two or three great and unusual quiche could be fun. Or if you don't mind obsessing over things, a whole bunch of individual quiches.

            A huge tray of enchiladas suisa (chicken enchiladas with green sauce, swiss cheese, and sour cream). Or even cheese enchiladas. People love them.

            Whatever you decide on, Have fun! And maybe have a few brownies in your pocket just in case? '-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Great ideas....I may one of these days may have to insist on NOT making mac and cheese and try one of them:)

              1. re: Caroline1

                The enchiladas suisa is my go to for pot lucks. I do mine casserole style for these events and bring extra sour cream and cheese for the truly timid. Have never had a scrap left and many requests for the recipe.

                My Mom does the "traditional" chicken enchilada casserole with the creamed soups and canned chilies which is also a crowd pleaser.

              2. I have had an excellant response to italian beef in a crockpot, served with little rolls.