1) Tamale pie is baked goodness into corn bread. Jiffy - brand mix works in a pinch. Consider some combination of taco meat, red beans, olives, onion, tomato, & cheese. Give eaters option to top with a choice of: salsa, green onion, cheese, olive, home made ranch dressing out of a squirt bottle... Here is how chef John does it: http://allrecipes.com/video/486/how-to-make-tamale-pie/ Have also gone chicken enchilada and corn in it kinda like: http://pinchofyum.com/chicken-tamale-pie
2) Pea salad. Defrost 32 oz petite frozen peas - Do not cook and put peas in a bowl. For flavor add bacon bits, sliced green onion, grated cheddar cheese, with a half cup total 50 / 50 mix of sour cream with mayo. Optional for crunch add a bout 4 sticks of cubed celery and a can of water chestnuts cubed 1/4". Often needs about 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper to taste at the end. Can be made the day before - keep refrigerated.
3) Lasagna - best when mingles and sets up so great at a potluck
4) Baked layers of noodle, meat, sauce, cheese, olive
5) Enchiladas - try white sauce inside and red outside
6) Good spicy pickles. Make in about a week - refrigerator style
7) Baked beans - are great cold.
8) Taco Salad Nacho Bar with Chili and Baked Potato options
Use inexpensive plastic, throw away, tinfoil pans, dollar store, or homemade tinfoil containers. Easier when plan to let the host or others have all left overs up front. Keep dishes or serving utensil you care about home.
I've brought the following to potlucks, & it's been very popular. It's very good (& safe) served at room temperature. NOT chilled - room temp.
BACARDI1 GREEK PENNE PASTA WITH KALE AND FETA
Half to 1 pound penne pasta (Barilla is my favorite brand), cooked according to al dente package directions & drained
1 block/container of Feta cheese, or to taste, chopped/crumbled
Approx. 12-24 Kalamata olives, pitted, & roughly chopped **
Approx. 1 pound/bunch of Kale, rinsed, stems removed & discarded, & leaves roughly sliced/chopped
½ a large or 1 small red onion, peeled & chopped
A few dollops of extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
Dash or so of chicken broth or water
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
While the cooked pasta is draining in a colander, heat the olive oil in the pot the pasta was cooked in & saute the onion until softened but not brown. Add the chopped kale, stir a bit until wilted, & add a dash or 2 of chicken broth or water if necessary to prevent burning. Add chopped olives, cooked pasta, feta cheese, & crushed red pepper & stir again – gently - until pasta is heated through. Serve hot or at room temperature.
** If you can’t obtain pitted olives, pitting them is accomplished easily by simply placing your broad kitchen knife (sharp side away from you) over each olive & briskly hitting down on the knife with your hand. Olive will break open & pit will be easy to remove.