Potluck Meals Made Easier

We’ve been worshiping in a church which has a Potluck meal each Sunday morning after the worship service.  This week I’ve been contemplating ways to make that time more enjoyable for the younger women and less stressful.  If you have several little bitties to get fed and dressed on Sunday mornings then you will know what I mean by stressful when you throw in preparing a meal to transport to church.

Remember this is a church fellowship, a meal among family, not a time to wow everyone with your cooking skills or one-up another lady.  It isn’t a competition to have the most raved about meal.

Another thing to remember is what are the dynamics of your church.  If your church is mostly elderly with several widow ladies and a few elderly couples then you can probably get along with preparing a single dish, taking into account dietary needs such as sugar-free or less spicy.  However, if your church is made up of families with lots of little ones preparing one dish won’t be enough and child friendly meals will work better.

Don’t forget the drink!  Some churches provide drinks and others depend on church members to bring a drink, jugs of tea and lemonade go over well.  Save some large gallon jugs from bought juice or punch, they are sturdier and easier to clean than milk jugs.

What makes things more manageable for you in this situation?

These are some things I’ve learned that help even though I don’t have several little bitties to take care of.

Plan ahead!!

I know, duh, but how many times, like tonight, do I have plans for a meal item only to find I’m missing a crucial ingredient.  I can’t make my Cheesecake for a Crowd because I have no cream cheese!  Sorry no cheesecake Sunday. 🙁

Menu Planning

I go through spurts of menu planning but the funny thing is if I find a menu plan from years ago I will see a favorite meal that somehow has been missed.  Having a record of Potluck meals will help keep you from falling into a rut with meals.  Also keeping track of special instructions for preparing potluck meals will help.  Potluck meals might require a little adjusting compared to the way you prepare the meal at home.

Gather Recipes

Meals to transport and then to sit unattended for hours at church have special requirements.  Some things just won’t work no matter what.  Develop a file of recipes that work well in a potluck situation.

A Crock-pot is your friend

I’m not the queen of crock-pots but you can usually guess I’ll have one or two with me at least for a potluck.  It is amazing what you can do with a crock-pot if you get some good recipes and just give it a try.  Just don’t try something new on Sunday morning unless you don’t mind embarrassment.  Give things a try at home first.

Simple Chicken

Place Chicken breasts or tenders in Crock-pot with a favorite seasoning.  Add vegetables if desired.  Cook the appropriate amount of time.  Always better to over cook than under cook in a potluck setting.

Our favorite Simple Chicken recipe is cooking the chicken in a Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad dressing or Italian Salad dressing.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes work well in a crock-pot for a potluck.  Find a recipe for crock-pot mashed potatoes or play around with your own.  Just remember that they need to be thinner to cook for a while, don’t start out with them at serving consistency.  One trick I’ve learned is to transport a small container of instant mashed potatoes to add if your mashed potatoes need to be thickened.  You can always add water if too thick.  If really desperate for a quick meal, measure water into a crock-pot and heat during church then add the correct amount of instant mashed potatoes.

Make ahead Items

Cookies, cakes, and pies can all be made ahead of time.  That will make Sunday AM much smoother.  Some pasta salads, chicken salad and green salads can also be made and refrigerated overnight.

Double or Triple up

Many, many times what we are eating Saturday night is the same thing I take Sunday morning.  Just make extra and refrigerate, then you can warm it the next morning or place in a crock-pot on low to warm.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, roast, turkey and BBQ all work for this idea.

Casseroles

Many casseroles can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until time to cook.  Then you can stick them in the oven to bake while you dress.  Or use a roaster oven at church to bake if timing works out.

Child Friendly Meals

We have lots of children at our church. So child friendly and appealing meals go over well. Hot dogs, Pig-n-blankets, corndogs, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken nuggets, etc.  Remember also that there might be several moms with little bitties who are just beginning to eat so simple mashed potatoes, peas, and finger foods work well.  Bread and cookies make good finger foods.

Themes

While some churches might have a theme for individual meals like Mexican, Italian, etc. ours doesn’t.  However, I tend to prepare my meals with a theme in mind.  So if I’m taking BBQ, I’ll have potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, buns, chips or some other things that fit a BBQ meal.  If I take Mexican, I’ll include the fixings like salsa, sour cream, and cheese.  Essentially I prepare my potluck meal like I would a meal at home but with extra servings.

 

 


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3 thoughts on “Potluck Meals Made Easier

  1. OH, Thank You! These were great tips! We attend a church that has a weekly fellowship meal and I’ve been having difficulty trying to figure out what to do each Sunday while keeping my 3 year old and 1 year old boys in line.

    This post reminded me where my focus should be: easy to prepare, good food. Nothing fancy, just food.
    And crockpot mashed potatoes? Can we say “hip hip hooray”?

    Love your blog, btw, Very inspiring!

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Melodie,

    Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

    I’m cooking for tomorrow right now. Meatloaf in the oven. Cake baked this afternoon. Mash potatoes in the crock-pot tomorrow morning. I just take simple mashed potatoes and doctor them up. Our favorite is Loaded Baked Potato Mashed Potatoes. I honestly could take them every week because everyone seems to enjoy them so well. It is amazing what sour cream, butter, chives, cheese and bacon can do to something so simple. My son even asked me to make more because the mashed potatoes are gone so quickly that if you are last in line you might not get any. 🙁 That is with a 6 Quart Crock-pot full to the rim.

    I’m sure you have your hands full. 🙂 But you can work out some meals to rotate through and Sundays will become much easier. I imagine your church has several young children so just think of what will appeal to your children. Even when someone brings boxed Macaroni and Cheese the kids devour it. The other children will often request me to bring my ________ next week.

    Have a blessed Sunday of worship and fellowship.

    Berean Wife

  2. Pingback: Food Friday: Tips for More Peaceful Potluck Preparation

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