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Jeruba's avatar

Potluck challenge: can you think of a take-along dish that meets all these criteria?

Asked by Jeruba (41856 points ) December 30th, 2010

For a New Year’s Day (afternoon) open-house potluck buffet, I’d like to take something that meets every one of these criteria. Yes, all of them. Can you think of anything that does?—and provide a recipe if it isn’t self-evident?

•  Looks and is “made,” meaning assembled to a recipe (doesn’t look like it came straight out of a box, package, or deli section).

•  Is easy to make (not a whole lot of fussing).

•  Uses ingredients I can get at an ordinary supermarket (not a specialty shop or fancy grocery), and not too many of them.

•  Is easy to transport (won’t self-destruct riding in the car, doesn’t require a specially molded carrying box; this lets out deviled eggs, for instance).

•  Can be served cold (will survive a 45-minute drive, doesn’t require use of the host’s oven or microwave).

•  Is delicious (subjective, of course, but I thought I’d throw that in).

Bonus points if it’s a finger food that is not too messy.

Oh, and preferably not sweet.

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27 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Bowtie pasta with homemade pesto, made from fresh basil, garlic and parmesan. Just as good cold as it is hot.

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marinelife's avatar

Teriyaki chicken wings.

janbb's avatar

Crab or spinach dip in a bread bowl made from pumpernickel or rye bread. Recipes available online (Spinach dip uses Knorr’s dried soup.)

MissAnthrope's avatar

A frittata is super easy and we often serve them at room temperature in Italy (doesn’t detract from taste or appearance).

Homemade hummus and pita chips is another fave.

Seelix's avatar

@MissAnthrope‘s answer got me thinking. A classmate once brought in homemade polenta with a marinara sauce. I had only ever had it hot, but it was excellent at room temp too. I can’t vouch for that particular recipe – I’ve never tried it, but it might be worth a shot.

downtide's avatar

Here’s something called Tortas which I “stole” from a local Mexican restaurant.

Toast some slices of French bread. meanwhile, take a can of refried beans, add some grated cheese and a bit of dijon mustard (and a bit of chilli if you want to). Heat in the microwave until the cheese is melted. Mix it all up and spread thickly on the toast pieces. Put them back under the grill for about 3–5 minutes. Garnish with pieces of fresh tomato and chopped fresh parsley. They’ll survive transport in any kind of box but if you’re stacking them more than one layer deep you might want to put the tomato garnish on when you arrive.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Well, it is not a finger food, and it is kind of messy but it is so easy and so good. Eclair

The recipe calls for chocolate frosting, but it works just as well topped with your favorite fruit pie filling.

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Kayak8's avatar

There are any number of salads that would fit your description. Seven layer salad, the Asian salad with the crunched up ramen noodles (my fav), potato salad (in your own container), and this one sounds delicious!

charliecompany34's avatar

grilled chicken salad finger sandwiches.
prepare chicken salad as you usually would, but for extra flavor the chicken meat has been grilled. it’s an extra step that does not take much effort at all. make salad like you usually do with peppers, onions, celery, mayo, etc. and refrigerate. cut white bread pieces in triangles and remove the crusts. assemble a gang of little finger sandwiches and arrange on platter.

tasting something “grilled” on a winter day is sick ridiculous! they will not stop eating this.

Kardamom's avatar

You might like this recipe for a cold soba noodle salad with peanut butter dressing I made this 3 weeks ago for a potluck and the great thing about it is you can change it around a little bit (to add different items at your preference) and although it is cold, it is perfectly fine if it gets up to room temperature. I made a double batch, not realizing how big the soba noodles swell, so I had quite a bit of extra to take home with me. It got better and better even after a few days. If you think the soba noodles would be a little too strong in flavor, then just use somen noodles instead (same size and shape, white in color, milder flavor).

I used baked, herbed tofu (the kind that has a really firm texture similar to cheese or chicken) from Trader Joe’s, but you can either leave it out, use regular firm tofu, or add chicken instead (of course you wouldn’t want to leave it out at room temp if you add chicken). I used broccoli instead of asparagus and I added thin strips of raw, red bell pepper. It was soooooooo good. But I think peas or water chestnuts or macadamia nuts would be good additions/substitutions.

Taciturnu's avatar

Couscous with plenty of fresh vegetables and a homemade dressing served cold. (You could also add meat if you’d like.)

One of the things I made recently was cherry tomatoes and mozzerella wrapped in fresh basil on skewers. They were very handy for people to walk around with, and there were a lof of compliments on how “elegant” they looked.

Have fun!

Kardamom's avatar

Another pasta dish that I made for a birthday party was cold cheese tortellini salad with pesto

I cooked up a big batch of cheese filled tortellini (you can use one or both of the 2 pack from Costco’s deli section) rinsed it, let it cool and then added about a cup and a half of cubed mozzarella cheese, one pint container of grape tomatoes, 2 cups of small broccoli florets (that I blanched at the last 30 seconds while the pasta was cooking, in the same pan) and about a half a cup of pine nuts. Then I poured the contents of Costco’s (or Sam’s Club if you still have one) own brand of Pesto sauce over it and mixed well, using care not to break open the tortellinis.

YARNLADY's avatar

It doesn’t get any better/easier than this. My favorite

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Hummus and pita. (You can confess to the pita not being homemade.) And you can make it in so many ways.

Kardamom's avatar

Also Tabouli, made from a boxed mix, such as Casbah brand, can be doctored up pretty easily by adding your own chopped mint, parsley and grape tomatoes. Then you can set a pretty ring of pitted Kalamata olives on the top with a sprig of mint and a sprig of parsley.

Also, I make this really fun dip (which I change the name of to suit the party). It has 2 ingredients: 1 or 2 blocks of feta cheese, depending on how much you want to make, and 1 or 2 jars of Adjvar (red pepper, eggplant and garlic dip) like this or this which can be found in most Middle Eastern Sections of the grocery store, or you can use Trader Joe’s own brand of Red Pepper Spread with Garlic and Eggplant like this which is the exact same thing as adjvar. Mix it well and you will have a tangy, bright red/orange dip that looks very dramatic served with blue corn chips. If you like it a little more spicy (it’s not spicy at this point, just tangy) you can add a little bit of cayenne pepper to give it more of a bite.

Because of the color I have called this dip: Fire Feta, Santa Claus Dip and Volcano Dip, depending upon the season or the type of party. You could could call it Jeruba’s Red Hot Classy Sassy Dip.

tranquilsea's avatar

We make a seafood dip for almost every potluck we go to because people request it.

Base layer:

250g/8oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonaisse

Cream all the ingredients together and spread over the bottom of 8×10 (or close) dish.

On top of this layer add the following ingredients in the following order:

2 cans broken shrimp (or crab)
1 cup seafood cocktail sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1 green (or red or orange) pepper, chopped
1 green onions, chopped
1 tomato, diced

Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Jeruba's avatar

Sounds great, @tranquilsea. Is this line ok, or is something missing?

1 green onions, chopped

I’ve found a lot of great ideas here! The cold couscous and pasta salads sound like they’re right up my alley, even though they’re not finger foods, but I also love the idea of wrapping something (maybe not hot dogs) in crescent rolls. Seems like that would be best served warm, though. The fruit skewers look terrific but do depend on having a variety of ripe, fresh fruit in the middle of winter. Still studying on the options. I have about 2 more hours to make up my mind before the grocery trip.

tranquilsea's avatar

It should read one bunch. Sorry I was typing from a recipe. I had made the leap in the multiple of times I made it but I didn’t think of editing it.

6rant6's avatar

Hands down: Humus and pita bread. The humus takes a can or two of garbanzo beans, garlic, lemon and olive oil. If you want it fancy, sprinkle paprika or pour olive oil over. Recipes often say you need tahini (sesame paste) but most people don’t express a preference for that.

I once went to a potluck with a disk of cold beef tongue and tomato slices. No one thought it came from the store. And I got to eat all of it.

Supacase's avatar

Apple Broccoli Salad

2 McIntosh, empire or cortland apples – cored & chopped
3 cups fresh broccoli, cut up
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
⅓ cup raisins
½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

Mix all ingredients together.

rooeytoo's avatar

I love cold chickpea meatballs. Mush up a couple of cans of chick peas in the food processor, add oil, an egg, some breadcrumbs, minced onion, I like a chili and of course some garlic, you can add some worchestershire sauce or soy sauce, or even curry flavorings, whatever taste you lean towards, fry them until brown, put them in a bed of lettuce and/or some pitas and there you are. Very good and pretty darned healthy too.

Blueroses's avatar

My favorite potluck salad is unusual, easy and I get asked for the recipe every time but it’s a little different every time. I’m sorry it isn’t exact but it’s impossible to mess up.
Cold Rice Salad:
Chilled cooked white rice
Sliced green onions
Red and/or green grapes, halved
Sliced toasted almonds

Dressing:
Olive oil
Balsalmic Vinegar
Curry powder
Soy Sauce

Mix enough oil and vinegar to coat the amount of rice evenly and leave some extra to be absorbed (varies with amount you’re making)
Add curry powder and soy sauce to taste.

Throw it all together, chill it and have a glass of wine while everyone else is cooking more complicated things.

Also great as a main dish if you add cooked chicken or shrimp.

downtide's avatar

@Jeruba I’m dying to hear what you end up taking. :)

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