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The Office Pot Luck - What Would You Bring?

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I can't believe this yielded no results in a CH search!

Seems to be the season for the office pot luck.

Assuming most offices have a fridge and microwave...what would you bring?

Or, what would you like someone else to bring?

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  1. I always bring something I want to eat in case I don't like anything else. It sounds strange and offers nothing practical but it's the mindset I have when trying to decide what to make.

    My Mom always brought a taco salad since it was different.

    2 Replies
    1. re: eperdu

      I always employ this strategy as well. My consistent contribution is 7 layer dip with real chips, and real salsa.

      Logistics:
      chop veggies the night before and bring them in sandwich bags.

      No need for heating anything:
      layer:
      Refried Beans, and then anything else is optional:
      cheese
      onions
      diced avocado
      s cream
      olives
      cilantro
      tomato
      lettuce
      salsa

      1. re: eperdu

        As a vegetarian, this is the only way to go.

      2. breakfast? lunch? dinner?

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          Let's say breakfast or lunch foodieX2. Good question.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            We often do breakfasts ones at my company and the first things to go are
            -Bagels w/ assorted cream cheese
            -french toast casserole and the like
            -frittata, especially the ones with meat
            -bacon stuffed cherry tomatoes

            For lunch our company always assigns (or has people sign up for) categories because the balance of food was alway off.

            I usually signed up for salads and my chicken caesar would fly out the door. The other popular ones were interesting wraps/rollups. Once woman is known for her chicken salad w/ red grapes on whole wheat wraps, so good! Crock pot dishes have been popular too. Things like carrot/ginger soup, clam chowder, chili, meatballs etc.

            1. re: foodieX2

              I've done bagels (sliced in half and then maybe half again depending) with the cream cheeses. That's always a good one. Easy to eat, no mess, no heating, etc.

        2. I usually bring deviled eggs. It's a pita to line up at the microwave to try and reheat things.

          Last week hubby brought a huge bowl of cucumber salad to their lunch and they ate all of it. I had thought they might not even touch it but it was the only cold, crunchy thing there.

          Looking forward to the responses. I usually rack my brains and then just do eggs.

          1. I'm going to a potluck tonight and I'm bringing thai-ish chicken salad. Chicken, jicama, red chili, cilantro, onion, ginger and lime dressing. Scatter roasted peanuts on top. Hope they like it.

            1. Pot stickers in a crockpot always seems to be a big hit. I oil the slow cooker, then drizzle some oil, vinegar, soy and zest an orange over it all. People go nuts for it. Easy to make it vegetarian or vegan too.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                So do you cook the potstickers first and then put then in the slow cooker to keep them warm? Sounds so good!

                1. re: tasteeone

                  Yeah! How do you do that potsticker slow cooking thing?

                  1. re: tasteeone

                    Yes, I cook them first (they are quick) then layer them with a little oil (peanut or sesame), soy sauce and zest..or whatever you like...so they don't stick together. You only need to have the crockpot on low to keep them warm. Just be sure to oil the sides of the crockpot because that is where the crockpot heats up and if you don't, they will stick to the sides.

                  2. re: sedimental

                    that is such a good idea! i am going to make that for our upcoming holiday potluck.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      love this idea

                    2. My standby salad for potlucks is my mother's marinated 4 bean salad. It has a ton of sugar and black pepper in it and is always a hit.

                      For a hot dish, I've made a baked rice casserole that has green chilies, sour cream, and Cheddar and Jack cheeses in it. That also has been popular.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                        jmcarthur9, would you mind sharing your mom's recipe for bean salad. I have looked for a good once for ages.

                        1. re: Wtg2Retire

                          Gladly!

                          Vicky's Marinated 4 Bean Salad

                          1/2 cup white vinegar
                          1/2 cup salad oil (I like safflower oil for this)
                          3/4 cup white sugar
                          1 tsp salt
                          1 tsp pepper
                          1/2 cup diced onion
                          1/2 cup diced green or red bell pepper
                          (Rinse and drain all beans)
                          1 can french style green beans
                          1 can wax beans
                          1 can kidney beans
                          1 can garbanzo beans

                          Stir dressing ingredients together and add drained and rinsed beans. Stir well and let marinate overnight.

                          I've taken this quantity to a potluck of about 30 people, and it's enough for everyone to have some without having any leftovers.
                          If you substitute anything or use less sugar, it's just not the same. I don't change a thing.

                          Here's the funny story about this salad..my mother only made it for potlucks when I was growing up. She used the same big blue bowl and platter every time, and never ever made this for the family, even though we loved it. I guess nobody ever asked her to!
                          When I grew up and left home, she gave me the recipe. And I only made it for potlucks. I must have had that darn recipe for a good ten years before I realized that I could have it any damn time I pleased. The first time I made a batch for hubby and me, it was such a treat - I didn't have to wait for a party to have some!

                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                            Thank you so very much.

                      2. Fresh spring rolls; veggie, baby shrimp and pork
                        They go in seconds.

                        I usually bring sparkling water for those of us you don't like cola.

                        1. Try "potluck" instead of "pot luck" for your search.
                          There are lots and lots of results for potluck ideas in CH.
                          http://www.chow.com/search?query=potl...

                          1. I would bring something that did not need a microwave or a fridge. Homemade bread, pretzels, pita bread and hummus, pasta salad, etc.

                            Personally, I think office potlucks are a horrendous idea. If the company thinks you should have lunch together, then they should cater it. I prefer to know that my food has been prepared in a safe environment, and hasn't sat on a car seat all morning.

                            Back when I had a ton of employees, I chose to give an extra afternoon of vacation time since I didn't have the budget for a real lunch that showed how much they were valued.

                            ::stepping off curmudgeon ladder now::

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker

                              FWIW, I think you have/had a great idea. Back in the day the extra afternoon off would have meant alot to me.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                Not at all -- I used to work at a place where the monthly pot lucks were huge source of fun and enjoyment for everyone -- sometimes it was a holiday, sometimes it was a theme month -- but I worked with some really amazing cooks, so there's no way the company could have afforded the calibre of the food we had. There was always an option to throw in $5 for chips and dinner rolls if you couldn't/didn't want to cook, and lots of folks brought stuff from Costco that was eaten right along with all the homemade stuff.

                                Somebody (usually someone in HR, but not always) kept a signup sheet -- not to be regimented, but just so we didn't end up with eleven cakes, four bowls of potato salad, and nothing else!

                                We had a blast, and I miss the camaraderie, even if I don't miss the company much!

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  i'm not trying to be nitpicking but...if expense management was one of the concerns, wouldn't "paid time not worked-salary expense" be a bigger budget buster than a nice lunch?

                                  that being said, extra time off with pay is always appreciated!

                                  1. re: ritabwh

                                    we had them during our regular lunch period -- we typically ran over an hour, but it wasn't ever two hours. Still cheaper than catering in the same quality food.

                                    1. re: ritabwh

                                      Probably. But one affected the cash outflow, and one didn't. All about using what you have.

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        a lot of companies will balk at paying an invoice totaling thousands of dollars (there were 50 people in this company, so catering wouldn't ever be a cheap affair) -- but allowing a slightly longer lunch hour didn't show up on the books, so it was, by default, cheaper.

                                        The owner usually ate at these functions, too...so he knew first-hand that it was good eats.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I'm a government employee and our "company" doesn't ever mandate or come up with the idea of potlucks--it's our volunteer employees' association that does. They are just over the lunch hour.And, everyone loves them. As there are an awful lot of us in government I suspect this is the case with many of us potluck-goers.

                                  2. 'Cheese ball' rolled into a log and cut into coins with nice crackers around it. Veterinarian, no heating, and is quick to grab while going down the buffet line. No leftovers ever. :'(

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: Crockett67

                                      I bet Aggies love that dish lol.

                                      ;)

                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                        ???... Dang spell correct! Vegetarian not Veterinarian. grr.

                                      2. re: Crockett67

                                        Or take your traditional cheeseball and make them bite size, rolling them into truffle size balls. I've done them herbed or coated in roasted nuts (I've also made cheeseball monsters but that was for a kids' halloween party) :)

                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                          Love that idea! Mini cheese balls ftw!

                                          1. re: Crockett67

                                            I've done those too. I actually made them on popcicle sticks once. Big hit!

                                            1. re: jbsiegel

                                              Cute and functional, you're alright there jbsiegel.

                                              1. re: Crockett67

                                                LOL! I had to make both an appetizer and a dessert for a function. I made the cheeseball pops as the appetizer and chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough pops as the dessert. STILL have leftover sticks, though. Guess I'll be making more!

                                        2. re: Crockett67

                                          I made a cheeseball with bacon and jalapenos for a potluck party last night and people gobbled it up. Not "veterinarian" (;)) but still very good. The log or mini idea is great for a buffet line setup.

                                        3. I always bring this roasted pear and amaretto trifle to holiday potlucks. Letting it sit just makes it better.

                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Mallomary

                                            I'm coming to your potlucks!

                                            I'm not allowed to bring anything but my kugel to any food gathering. :D

                                          2. before you spend 7 hours over two days marinating and dicing and arranging and sautéing etc. remember that it will be just one dish among many. sure people will enjoy it whatever it is, but thats just the point. this is not when you get to show off your culinary skills to an appreciative audience. save that for a dinner party.

                                            Half of the office will be dressing up something from sams or costco, there will be a few standards (margaret always makes her sweet potato casserole, or Juan always brings some of his mom's tamales), and the rest is a smattering of things ranging from a bag of chips and carton of french onion dip to an elaborate dessert creation that everyone will be afraid to take the first slice out of.

                                            26 Replies
                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              Word.

                                              Just go with the flow and join the Sam's or Costco crowd.

                                              Buy a big cheesecake or pumpkin pie and then sit back and enjoy the company, the holiday (and mostly awkward) chit-chat, and then skedaddle your way out of the room early so that you're not left with "volunteer" clean-up duties.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                My first potluck at my new job, mostly everyone followed your instruction and went "with the flow." 37 Costco/Sams cakes, cookies and pies. The only "real" food were my LIthuanian meatballs, a jambalaya, and an olive tray. And, fyi, this was not a dessert potluck, this was a lunch potluck. Although my meatballs always are amongst the first foods to disappear, let's just say that this time, they were gone in a blink. The cakes, pies and cookies went back home.

                                                Besides the meatballs, I rotate with homemade sauerkraut and homemade Lithuanian sausage. If I'm out of sausage, I go to this this Polish shop where they make their own sausages.

                                                If the weather is hot, I make a shrimp pasta salad. I have also had success with cold beet soup, after getting people to look past the pepto-pink color.

                                                If I'm bringing a dessert, it's either my quadrupal chocolate brownies, pina colada cheesecake, or sour cream walnut coffee cake.

                                                I never have leftovers to bring home.

                                                I enjoy good food, and by preparing it for the potluck, I know that I'm going to have something good. Also, I enjoy cooking for groups and I don't frequently get to do that, so potlucks present a great opportunity.

                                                And one last thing, by taking something homemade and, also, something that is not typically available, I'm introducing my colleagues to new foods with no investment on their parts.

                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                  Vidute,

                                                  I love your attitude! Any lazy person that does not care too much can just pick something up at Sam's Club and throw that on the table at the pot luck. However, it takes thought, time and effort to make something and perhaps introduce a colleague to a cuisine/dish that did not come from a Sam's Club.

                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                    I agree as well...however, knowing your (food loving) audience at a company pot luck is also worth considering...afterall you want to be appreciated for your efforts as well.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      HillJ,

                                                      Was your response intended for me ("RE:Fowler")?

                                                      I would think that we would be totally in agreement on the subject. Thought, time, effort...

                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                        hi dear Fowler. Yes, we are in agreement on this. At the same time, I was speaking to the notion that we food lovers often wrestle with ie, thought, time, effort if unappreciated can be frustrating.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          You are correct as always, HillJ. It can be very frustrating.

                                                          I go through a somewhat similar thought process with wine. Do I really want to open up a rare and special bottle of wine when I know it will not be appreciated? But often (not always) I will indeed open that bottle of wine because I recall the time someone took a chance on me and served an expensive bottle of wine thinking that I would most likely not appreciate it at all. It turned out to be an epiphany for me and completely changed my view of wine.

                                                          I feel the same way about the food I bring to a party. Maybe, just maybe someone might taste it and think, "You know what? This is really good and now I am going to start putting the effort and care into making my own food from scratch rather than just picking up some prefabricated food from Costco or Sam's Club".

                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                            Good points all. And I'd share a bottle of wine and some outstanding nibble coming out of your kitchen, anytime Fowler.

                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                        I've never tried "skewing" my food toward a particular audience. I believe in "word of mouth" and "taste testing". Everywhere I've worked, there has always been at least one adventurous person who will try an unknown dish and spread the word. And, after a couple of potlucks, a cook's reputation is made, and if it's a favorable one, just about everyone is willing to try something unknown made by that cook. Hence the success of the pepto-pink cold beet soup. :)

                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                          Good for you. Pepto pink cold beet soup at a company pot luck-that's impressive.

                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                            We have a once a year potlock and we have many cultures in our company. I look forward to the Korean food and Indian food it is exquisite in presentation and absolutely delicious. I wish we had these dinners more often.

                                                            1. re: Ruthie789

                                                              I agree with you completely, Ruthie. I always go for the homemade ethnic food first, and follow-up with everything else that is homemade. Except, of course, my boss's Costco rotisserie chicken and mayo salad. Boss always looks to see who takes a serving of her dish, and eats it (no tossing it in the trash, she DEFINITELY notices and becomes quite unpleasant for a while.)

                                                              1. re: Vidute

                                                                Rotisserie chicken is not too inventive for a potluck dinner.

                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                  I know. Unfortunately, sarcasm doesn't always come across. I was explaining that I enjoy the homemade foods, but that I feel forced to partake of my boss's contribution because she is my boss and she holds grudges.

                                                        2. re: Fowler

                                                          Thank you, Fowler. I just enjoy cooking and use every opportunity I can to make "big batch" food.

                                                        3. re: Vidute

                                                          Vidute - care to share your recipe for Lithuanian meatballs? My mother was Lithuanian and don't recall her making meatballs - dumplings, yes, potato sausage, yes - Kulgela, yes.
                                                          Thank you

                                                          1. re: Lolaclaire

                                                            Here you go, Lolaclaire.

                                                            1 lb ground beef
                                                            1/2 lb ground veal
                                                            1/2 lb ground pork
                                                            1 large only finely chopped and sauteed until golden
                                                            2 eggs, beaten
                                                            2 tbs heavy cream
                                                            some beef broth to moisten mixture
                                                            pinch of allspice
                                                            salt to taste
                                                            pepper to taste
                                                            your favorite beef gravy, somewhat thick
                                                            sour cream to taste
                                                            rendered bacon fat or oil, for frying

                                                            Combine ground meats. Mix in beaten eggs and sauteed onions. Add the heavy cream, allspice, salt and pepper. If meat mixture looks dry, add some beef broth. Do not overmix.

                                                            Form mixture into meatballs. Brown meatballs in bacon fat/oil until almost cooked through. Place meatballs into gravy and heat until meatballs have finished cooking. Allow mixture to cool and then stir in sour cream.

                                                            I always cook the meatballs a day ahead and let them sit overnight in the sour cream-gravy. This way, the meatballs absorb more flavor.

                                                            Hope you enjoy. :)

                                                            1. re: Vidute

                                                              Yay. Filed with Skanaus's potato kugel recipe. I sense a Lithuanian night approaching.....

                                                              (eta: Lithuanian potato kugel here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8694...)

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                Sunshine, that link is broken. I did a search for the kugel recipe you mentioned above, but cannot locate the recipe. Would you mind posting the recipe, please.

                                                                1. re: Wtg2Retire

                                                                  that's very strange -- I had saved that link so I could go back and find the recipe!

                                                                  Here it is -- sorry I can't give proper credit:

                                                                  Here goes.
                                                                  I use Idaho potatoes. Yukon golds work well too. Do not use waxy or white potatoes.
                                                                  1 lb bacon, diced
                                                                  2 large onions, diced
                                                                  1/2 cup butter
                                                                  5 lbs russet potatos, peeled and finally grated, remove and discard 1 cup of potato liquid
                                                                  1 cup whole milk
                                                                  6 eggs, beaten
                                                                  2 vitamin c tablets crushed (or 1/4 tsp citric acid or fruit fresh to keep potatoes from turning gray)
                                                                  Salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to take into consideration how salty the bacon is.
                                                                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
                                                                  Place bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat, cover, and cook until the bacon has softened and begun to release its grease.
                                                                  Stir in the onion and cook until softened and translucent. Remove the cover, and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture caramelizes and turns a deep, golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in butter to melt.
                                                                  Add bacon and onions to grated potatoes. Stir in the milk and eggs until well combined. Stir in vitamin C. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
                                                                  Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden on top. Test to make sure that it is cooked through. If there is any "crunch", place back in oven in five minute increments until done.
                                                                  Serve with dollop of sour cream.
                                                                  Skanaus

                                                                  (the only mention of "skanaus" I can find was with a poster named CoolerByTheLake -- but the profile is gone...???)

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Thank you so much, Sunshine.

                                                      3. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        I make something that I like, and am able to eat (reduced lactose, no wheat), and sometimes choose to make something vegan. In this way, I know that I won't go hungry. And, I bring a tag/card listing the ingredients, to place on the table beside the dish. But definitely, keep the prep to a minimum; not everyone in the group will notice or care how much preparation goes into your contribution.

                                                        1. re: KarenDW

                                                          This. ^^^

                                                          I always send a list of cookie names (descriptions) with any potential allergen ingredient listed, nuts, peanut butter, etc. I also separate my cookies with nuts and cookies without in deference to allergy sufferers.

                                                          Jerseygirl111

                                                          1. re: KarenDW

                                                            Exactly my point Karen. I wasn't trying to persuade people to do the costco thing. You put it just right, most of the people won't notice the extra time and effort an elaborate preparation took. If you love doing it, fine.

                                                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            That sounds terrible, KaimukiMan. Why encourage everyone else to be as mediocre as your office mates are? People come to Chowhound because they care about the food they make. Potlucks are a big deal at my work and people really do appreciate good food. The rare Costco thing that appears gets picked at but that's it.

                                                            FYI, a good potluck dish will not take 7 hours over two days, and it's not about showing off.

                                                            1. re: christy319

                                                              You are entitled you your opinion, I am entitled to mine.

                                                          3. I almost always bring an "asian" ramen salad with cabbage, green onions, toasted almonds and sesame, etc. I love it, after all these years, and other people seem to as well.

                                                            1. I am an RN....most potlucks I have ever been involved in have been most of us ordering tons of pizza.....good chinese food in those huge trays.....big trays of mexican food.....soda....waters...coffee and buying cakes...cookies...brownies for the aftermath of devouring the food:) 12 hour shifts sort of prevent doing a lot of food prep.If I ever had time I would bring about 4 dozen deviled eggs...gone in 60 seconds people LOVE them!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                We have plenty of the "order-in" meals but nurses tend to be pretty good home cooks (am I biased a little? well sure!). Usually lots of good homemade food at our holiday potlucks. The bakers are held in special regard. Too bad there's usually so little time to grab a bite.

                                                              2. Fried Chicken

                                                                1. I brought a fresh cut fruit salad of pineapple, blackberries, mango, kiwi, and scattered marachino cherries around the platter. So many people thanked me for bringing the fruit, they found it refreshing.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                    I generally do some steamed veggies; green beans, carrots, zucchini, broccoli . I will put an asain dipping sauce, or some ranch dressing on the side. The preparation is real easy, the night before, I cut and clean, place them in micorwave containers. I bring a disposable plastic serving plate, and one or two cups for the and of course a serving tool.

                                                                    People always chideme..."oh we're eating so healthy". Actually it all goes, and what ever is left is taken by someone who repurposes them with their own meal that day.

                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                      When a healthy option is on the table people do like to partake of it. I think it balances out the options that are offered.

                                                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                        Ruthie, you are so correct , and for me the veggies are really a no brainer. I serve them room temparture or slightly warmed....but if given a category of baked goods....it is always a chocolate chip cookie cake!

                                                                    2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                      I have a similar strategy: I like to bring fruit or a salad (with homemade vinaigrette on the side. People are strangely impressed by homemade salad dressing.). I've found that potluck food tends to be heavy, and people appreciate something nice and light.

                                                                      I save the fancy things for dinner parties.

                                                                    3. I have had good luck with taking home made Tzatziki. It does not need to be heated, is vegetarian and is not likely to hit any food allergy (but I always tell people what is in it, just in case).

                                                                      Love HillJ's idea of sparkling water. It goes with just about anything.

                                                                      1. Don't laugh. How about a platter of really fancy sandwiches cut diagonally of course. Crusts removed. Made using large enough bread slices so when the crusts are removed the sandwich isn't one of those tiny 'one bite' types you get at a funeral. Some classics. How many people today have ever actually eaten a real watercress sandwich made the old fashioned way? No messy gigantic 'it must be eaten 'Delany' style over the kitchen sink'.
                                                                        Real lobster in aioli. The best sliced deli ham and cheese. 'Kobi' beef with the best mustard you can find. Best ingredients in small classic sandwiches. Maybe just four types to choose from saving you extra work/$. I guarantee they'll be a hit. I can see everyone now holding a paper plate and napkin with a few 'gourmet' sandwiches just itching to dig in. "Thank God someone brought sandwiches!" LOL

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          I think that's half the reason one of my colleagues chicken salad rollups are so popular. They are delicious, easy to eat and substantial with out being too big. They go very fast!

                                                                        2. I will be bringing Potato Salad. Not a hot German Potato Salad, but it does have crumbled bacon mixed in. No mustard!

                                                                          1. Last week I went to a pot luck in which the facilities and crowd were unknown to me. Played safe with curried deviled eggs that flew from the platter, and took a chance with finger food that I dreamt up:
                                                                            I steamed fresh Brussels sprouts, then halved them and smeared a little honey mustard dressing on the cut side. Then topped them with TJ's English Cheddar with Caramelized Onion, and fried onion bits from the canister. Into a low oven until the cheese melted. I had lots of sprouts to be used up, from a massive stalk I got at TJ's, and I figured they'd be okay room temp if I couldn't warm them (I could). I know Brussels sprouts are polarizing, but people gobbled them up.

                                                                            1. DH and I just made up a huge batch (28 quarts) of spaghetti sauce full of mushrooms, peppers (red, green, yellow and orange), onions, garlic, italian sausage and ground sirloin, along with tomatoes and spices which we package in our food saver and freeze. I would do a big crock pot of spaghetti. Quick and easy for me to prepare!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                BZ....28 Quarts!! of sauce..I assume you use the crockpot at the potluck meal to keep it all warm.

                                                                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                  Yes, I throw a bag of sauce in the crock pot to warm it up then cook some pasta separately and throw it in. Then just keep it on low just to keep it all warm. The pot never came home with anything in it. We use my old canning cooker to make the sauce. Every year around Dec. 1 we make up a huge batch because that is one of the things my grown kids ask for for Christmas. So we portion out the pot and they get bags for their freezers. Definitely a labor of love. But it also works for pot lucks, as well as gifts to close friends. Usually we make up batches several times a year like this.

                                                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                    BZ...great idea for potlucks!...always on hand, and IMO pasta is really a vegetable!

                                                                              2. potlucks scare me!
                                                                                dip-ophobia
                                                                                i always try to think of something that is already "portioned" no matter what part of the menu it is - apps, mains, desserts
                                                                                i often haul out my tiered serving display thing - they are so cheap these days - and i have certain plain white sturdy paper plates that fit in the 3 rings etc etc.

                                                                                then i put things in those cupcake paper cups -
                                                                                i try not to bring stuff that needs heating

                                                                                the other thing i do is put chips/crackers/fancy popcorn in those parchment sandwich bags that i buy from a local restaurant (she doesn't mind ordering me a case once a year) - that way nobody is sticking their hands in the bowl - it's all portioned and makes it fun too - like a bag of chips or popcorn is fun.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                  Yeah, I've worked with film crews where the whole meal sharing thing led to illness...gotta know your food loving audience. Portions, hand held things are easier anyway so you can mingle instead of camping out by the chow line.

                                                                                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                                                                                    My daughter is a home health nurse and absolutely will not eat at a potluck. She says she has seen too many kitchens where the sanitation is nonexistant. That being said, I like to bring a crockpot of meatballs. Just the kind from the freezer case . 1 can cranberry sauce, 32 oz bag saurkraut, drained, lg bottle Sweet Bay Ray's BBQ sauce, 1 cup brown sugar. mix together & heat, Add 32 oz pk meatballs and heat til hot. Sounds a bit strange, but they go like hotcakes!!

                                                                                    1. re: miriamjo

                                                                                      I've done frozen meatballs as well. But I use some Hines Chili Sauce and Grape Jelly. They always disappear quickly too.

                                                                                  2. Our potluck is this week and I am bringing casserole of shells with pumpkin puree, caramelized onions and cheese. I will assemble it at home and bake it there.
                                                                                    I always bring a vegetarian main course as we have several vegetarians.

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                                                                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                      Thanks for reminding me of this! I make something similar from Everyday Food.

                                                                                    2. I bring cous cous salad made with lots of confetti-pretty addins like dried cranberries, chopped cilantro, pine nuts, cucumbers, etc. in a citrus vinaigrette. tastes good, looks good, holds up well, and is healthy

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                        Sounds delicious!
                                                                                        I have some tri-colored couscous that would be perfect for that salad. Thanks for the inspiration!

                                                                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                          Yum, but be careful about the pine nuts!

                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                            always a good reminder to put a list of ingredients together because it's hard to remember all the potential allergies! thanks for the reminder fowler.

                                                                                        2. How about a dessert? Not sure I saw that mentioned above. Obviously won't work too well for breakfast, but for lunch, some kind of brownies / cookies / bars would be easy.

                                                                                          1. in the large retail store where i worked with average 150 employees on board, if we were lucky if 30% of the employees would participate and the store usually provided coffee, pop, water, etc.
                                                                                            there were some bad feelings that non-contributors were partaking in the potlucks.
                                                                                            so we started a program of voluntary donations of $2-$3 for folks who did not contribute, and at year end, donated the amount collected to our local food bank.

                                                                                            1. How about some sichuan street noodles with some spicy peanut sauce. Meat or no meat up to you.

                                                                                              If you dislike them: Anything boiled egg or cabbagy. They will smell it for a long time, but you won't... initially. Leave early.

                                                                                              1. Gujarati-style green beans, from a Madhur Jaffrey cookbook: mustard seeds heated in oil until they start to pop, add chopped garlic, then French-cut green beans, Sriracha, salt, pepper, and a little sugar. I use Sriracha instead of fresh chiles, because I'm lazy, and frozen green beans ditto.

                                                                                                Dead easy, good even cold, and a healthy alternative to all the rich dishes.

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                                                                                                1. re: Felila

                                                                                                  Oh that DOES sound so good. What a treat. I would chow on those!!! And pray nobody else noticed them so I could return to them time and time again.

                                                                                                2. A friend just brought this to a potluck we had, and it was a hit with everyone. I'm pretty sure she just made it up, but she called it 3-2-1 dip. She took 3 pkgs cream cheese and nuked them in a casserole dish. Added 2 cans of Rotelle tomatoes and 1 package ready-to-eat turkey sausage crumbles. (Actually, I think she cooked the sausage in pan and then drained on paper towel before adding.) Stir and nuke some more. She said she was able to do it at work and then bring it over to our party. Served with Fritos Scoops. I don't even like sausage but thought this was great. (We spooned it onto our plates, so there was no dipping over the bowl.)

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                                                    T4F....Does your friend use turkey sausage to cut down on the cholesterol?

                                                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                      She told everyone, "It's not too bad [calorie-wise]: I used turkey sausage." But I wondered to myself why she didn't use Neufchatel cheese if she was trying to reduce calories.

                                                                                                  2. We're having one this week. We've actually discussed what we're bringing, so it will be a bit balanced. I'm bringing a spinach and orange salad.

                                                                                                    1. At my office we have started having "salad day" in the middle of the season, sort of a rest from all the sweets. I made garbanzos, diced tomatoes and cucumbers, minced onion, and crumbed Feta, tossed in rice vinegar with some Greek herb mix.

                                                                                                      1. Paper Plates, Untensils, Napkins and Cups

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                                                                                                        1. re: flylice2x

                                                                                                          Very smart and useful. Inevitably some cutlery or plates are missing. I would add a roll of plastic wrap for the aftermath.

                                                                                                        2. I make a marinated boneless turkey breast served with a cilantro lime mayonnaise (served room temperature in slices or chunks). or one of these two salads: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
                                                                                                          or Orzo with Everything that I swear is an epicurious recipe but I can't find it - orzo, radicchio, pine nuts, basil, balsamic...

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Bigley9

                                                                                                            http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... Here is the epicurious orzo with everything recipe.

                                                                                                            1. re: ctfoodie

                                                                                                              Thanks - I searched the site for Orzo with everything and it didn't come up - weird!

                                                                                                              1. re: Bigley9

                                                                                                                i did the same and came up with nothing as well. I had the recipe saved in my recipe book. That is how i found it.

                                                                                                          2. I'm bring something to our potluck this week which I'm not sure I've ever seen at an office potluck before. A few fresh baguettes, simply sliced up, and softened butter.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Midknight

                                                                                                              I am finding it very interesting reading this thread!

                                                                                                              Our potlucks usually has lots of (good) bread and butter but not on its own. I think because there are so many dishes that it goes with.

                                                                                                              For our last potluck someone brought in some fabulous Italian sausages in sauce with peppers and onion along with a few ciabattas and sweet cream butter. The person who brought lasagna also brought a couple of loaves of traditional Italian bread with butter.

                                                                                                            2. Just planning ours now - thank you for asking this question!!

                                                                                                              1. Last time I signed up for a vegetable, since these things are always full of dips and desserts. I made roasted apple and butternut squash soup, which I reheated in the crockpot and served in coffee cups from the breakroom. It worked out great, and we had something healthy to boot!

                                                                                                                1. I used to bring a bitter greens winter salad recipe from Silver Palate with a garlic vinaigrette. People went nuts over it. Greek salad is also popular.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: thymeoz

                                                                                                                    Yeah, you would be a god-sent if done at our Pot Lucks. Far too little greens.

                                                                                                                  2. Broccoli salad -- the one with raisins, sunflower seeds and bacon. The dressing is mayo based. I've made it a few times and it is always a big hit. Like empty bowl, ask me for the recipe hit.

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                      Great suggestion: I could eat an entire bowlful of broccoli salad myself.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                        Happen to have that recipe handy? I love that salad. Love being the biggest understatement I have made in a long time. OK EVER. Now it is not the biggest. Whew. I get gushy over broccoli salad.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                          Here's the Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation recipe for Joan's Broccoli Madness:

                                                                                                                          Serves 6-8.
                                                                                                                          1 bunch uncooked broccoli*
                                                                                                                          ½ cup crumbled cooked bacon
                                                                                                                          ½ cup cashews
                                                                                                                          1/3 cup raisins
                                                                                                                          ¼ cup chopped red onions

                                                                                                                          Dressing
                                                                                                                          1 cup mayonnaise
                                                                                                                          1/3 cup sugar
                                                                                                                          2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

                                                                                                                          Mix the first five ingredients in a large bowl. In a second bowl, beat dressing ingredients together gently until smooth.Toss the salad with the dressing approximately 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld. Serve on chilled salad dishes.

                                                                                                                          *The broccoli is a loose guideline: often people have to make it a few times before they get it just the way they like it.

                                                                                                                          There are other ways to make it, but this one is pretty darn good. I plan to make it tomorrow.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Thanks4Food

                                                                                                                            I made this last night and just scarfed a bit this morning to see if flavors melded. Yup. So good! I am going to make this Sunday for the Seattle/San Francisco game! Thank you!

                                                                                                                            Go Seahawks!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                              I ate too much of it last night and have to leave off for awhile. :-)

                                                                                                                          2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                            Here is my friend's recipe -- which is slightly different than the Sweet Tomatoes/Souplanation recipe;

                                                                                                                            Broccoli Salad:
                                                                                                                            1 package of bacon, cooked to a crisp
                                                                                                                            1 head of fresh broccoli (about 3 cups chopped)
                                                                                                                            1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
                                                                                                                            1/2 cup raisins
                                                                                                                            1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
                                                                                                                            1 cup of mayonnaise
                                                                                                                            3 tablespoons of white sugar
                                                                                                                            3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

                                                                                                                            Place bacon in a large skillet, cook until crispy. Drain on paper towel, crumble and set aside.

                                                                                                                            Peel the woody skin off the broccoli and chop into tiny bite size pieces.

                                                                                                                            In a medium mixing bowl, combine broccoli with the red onions, raisins, sunflower seeds, and bacon to taste.

                                                                                                                            In a small bowl, wisk together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and sugar. Set the dressing aside in the fridge.

                                                                                                                            When ready to serve, add dressing as desired to the broccoli mixture and toss.

                                                                                                                        2. the pulled chicken jerk sliders are what I brought... with a orange, lime, cylantro and Jalapeno slaw.

                                                                                                                          I put in my crock pot in the A.M by lunch time it was ready to go...

                                                                                                                          Very good and cheap too... make - sweet spicy etc.

                                                                                                                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/27788-pul...

                                                                                                                          1. I have never had an office potluck but we do have alot of catered meetings. The things that seem to be a big hit are barbecue, either a platter of ribs, or pulled pork, or wings from a local joint. Other favorites are asian food, such as chicken satay, or dumplings as someone else mentioned.
                                                                                                                            If it had to be homemade I would do a Greek salad, a fruit salad, or bake brownies.

                                                                                                                            1. My favorite dish to bring for work potluck is Wa Fuu Curry. Someone on a CH thread mentioned it.

                                                                                                                              http://tinyurl.com/ybks9gv

                                                                                                                              Last year it was so popular that I gave cans of S&B curry to my coworkers for Christmas.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Kiyah

                                                                                                                                That does look good. And the extra fun with potloucks (for me at least) is to see who eats what. Watch who will eat curry.

                                                                                                                                I used to think - who would not love curry? And each time I would make it someone would balk. More for me fools!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                  One of my colleagues at the company that did potlucks all the time was a young guy from Sri Lanka -- I always tried the food his wife sent in with him -- and it was always delicious.

                                                                                                                              2. Retired now, but I always used to bring chili...and a crockpot to warm it up in....we had limited kitchen space at our office and there was always a HUGE line up to warm things up...I'd just plug my crock pot in at my desk and warm the chili up all morning....smelled great and nice and hot and ready to serve when the time came...no hassle!!!

                                                                                                                                1. In general I opt to make (and eat) items that can be eaten with one hand as you inevitably end up standing at these things and holding your plate in one hand.
                                                                                                                                  The last one I went to was in Singapore when I was working there in a quite multi-cultural office. We all tried to bring something typical to our culture which was fun. Being from New Zealand pies are a huge lunchtime item so we baked a big bacon and egg pie and sliced it up. It was fine cold and not messy to eat. My favourite dish was a Hakka dish that I had never heard of as it's a special occasion home-style dish - Abacus Seeds, gnocchi like things made from yam and tapioca starch and cooked and mixed with minced pork and spring onions.

                                                                                                                                  1. Wow, what a post full of great ideas! Thanks.

                                                                                                                                    1. Melissa Clark's Garlic-Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad. It is easy, vegetarian, tastes good at room temp, and is crunchy -- a texture I often miss at potlucks.

                                                                                                                                      1. Our pot luck is desserts- the main lunch is catered. I'm making a cake- probably poke style key lime, using a mix and a blend of key lime juice, heavy cream and condensed milk.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                          that sounds good -- kind of a riff on tres leches.

                                                                                                                                        2. Antacid - ;)

                                                                                                                                          1. Quiches. Relatively inexpensive. Easy to make ahead. No need to reheat. Easy to tailor the fillings for various types of eaters (and for ingredient sales).

                                                                                                                                            My spinach/feta/dill seems fairly popular. Mushroom/leek. Bacon plus almost anything.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: NE_Wombat

                                                                                                                                              In the bacon dept. - I'm thinking of making this but in mini phyllo cups:

                                                                                                                                              http://www.oprah.com/food/Caramelized...

                                                                                                                                            2. Cheater salsa. I start with a jar of a favorite commercial brand of salsa then dump in black olives, can of black-eyed peas drained, corn, red bell peppers, whatever.

                                                                                                                                              Edamame salad. I cook a bag of frozen, shelled edamame, then add chopped red bell pepper, chopped summer squash and zucchini, English cukes, green onions, and whatever other veggie I have on hand. I toss it all with a wonderful ume balsamic dressing made by the local whole foods co-op. Colorful, tasty and healthy.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: semisweet

                                                                                                                                                And you can add wheat berries or bulgar or rice... a grain to the edamame salad to stretch it and still keep it healthy. I often make it and to that you have there I might add dried cranberries or raisins, chopped nuts and maybe feta or soft goat cheese.

                                                                                                                                              2. I used to bring a crockpot full of red cabbage & kielbasa. It is so simple, but people said it tasted like their grandmothers cooking. And I always took home an empty crockpot.

                                                                                                                                                1. Duck-liver pate' with crostini. Oui!

                                                                                                                                                  1. I take a crockpot full of red cabbage and kielbasa cut into slices. I never brought home anything except an empty crockpot. I heard comments like 'oh, I havent had this since my grandma used to make it", 'What is that wonderful aroma?'

                                                                                                                                                    Simple, and relatively cheap, AND goes over well.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I like to try and make something vegetarian, in case there are any vegetarian coworkers (even though I'm not vegetarian myself).

                                                                                                                                                      Baked spinach and artichoke dip is easy and fun. Just bake it at home and reheat it at work. Top it with some diced tomatoes before serving. I serve it with garlic bagel chips.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                        Yes we have a resurgence of vegans in my office this year, so I have made this recipe for potlucks so that they can have another option. I sub the chicken thighs with slices of sweet potato and carrots, but you could really put almost any dense vegetable into it.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I would bring a vegetarian option, rice salad and a coffee cake. As well I enjoy all the different types of cuisine that my coworkers bring, Asian, Indian, West Indian, Italian etc. Someone at work brings Korean spring rolls to our buffets and they are delicious.