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More Potluck Helps

Kim at Life In a Shoe has the following to share about potlucks.

Potluck protocol and recipes

… We love potlucks and have hosted them nearly weekly for years.  Our church also has a potluck meal after the worship service every week.  We love the additional fellowship and I believe our church body is exceptionally close because of this tradition….

The Common Room has more to share about potlucks.

Welcome to Potluck Saturday

… My mother taught me that you should also bring a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert to a potluck, and it should be enough to feed as many people as are in your family plus around four others. …

Previously I had shared some helpful tips to make potlucks easier:

Potluck Meals Made Easier

Our church has potluck meals each Sunday AM.  We also had been in a previous church that had Providence Meals each Sunday. 🙂  So I’m beginning to get some experience with them.

When I was little my grandmother would fix a complete meal for a Dinner on the Grounds, different term same meal.  She would prepare everything.  Meat, sides, dessert, salads, drinks, etc.  Right down to sliced tomatoes, pickles, hot pepper sauce, chow-chow ….  How we got everything to church is a wonder.  She always had a large box that she would pack with her food.  I have a couple of coke bottle carriers that work well for transporting casserole dishes, hot crock-pots, etc.  By the time my family of seven is loaded in the car with all the food, bibles, computers, camera equipment, and violins we are jamb packed.

Here in the south we do use the term pot luck in two ways.

1) Covered dish meal

2) You get whatever is in the pot when visiting.  Although we may have to throw in a few more vegetables. 🙂



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Pecan Pie Bars

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 13×9 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in 1 cup of margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared pan, and press in firmly.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, corn syrup, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons margarine, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread the filling evenly over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until set. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into bars.



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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Crust 

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

 Filling

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup lemon juice (less if desiring milder lemon taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 11×7 inch pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup flour and confectioners’ sugar. Blend in the melted butter. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden.
  4. In the same mixing bowl, beat eggs until light. Combine the sugar, baking powder and 1 cup of flour so there will be no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Finally, stir in the lemon juice. Pour over the prepared crust and return to the oven.
  5. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until bars are set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers



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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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Fruit Salad

My husband likes fruit salad and this recipe is so easy and quick.  This is easy to transport or to prepare ahead of time.

Fruit Salad

  • 1 large #10 can of Tropical Fruit Cubes (Wal-mart and Sam’s sell these)
  • 1 small bag of Coconut
  • 1 small bag of Marshmellows
  • 8 – 16 oz container of Sour Cream

Drain very well the can of fruit.  This is very important to keep the fruit salad from becoming runny with time.

Mix in Coconut and Marshmellows.

Add Sour Cream just to make creamy.  Add less than you would think because the fruit salad will get a little more moist over time.

Refrigerate.

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Cheesecake for a Crowd

I get tired of making the same desserts each Sunday.  Recently my family suggested Cheesecake.  But most recipes make a small round cheesecake that doesn’t serve too many people.  However, I found this recipe and tried it with my own personal adaptations. (I don’t know that I’ve ever followed a recipe exactly or done the same thing twice.)

Cheesecake (11 x 7 Pan)

  • 1  cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in pan in preheating oven.

Sprinkle graham crackers and sugar over melted butter.

Press down and form crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Mix together in mixing bowl.

  • 4 packages of cream cheese, (8 ounces) softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Almond flavoring (optional)

Beat on low slowly adding ingredients together.  Too many air bubbles will cause it to fall when baking.

Pour into crust and bake for 50 minutes or until set.  (Cheesecake works best in a moist oven so add a pan of water below the cheesecake.)

My husband didn’t want the sour cream topping but for those who do:

Topping

  • 1 16 ounce sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Blend together.  Spread over top of hot cheesecake and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Refrigerate.

This sliced well enough that the cheesecake could be served as bars.

I guess it was liked well enough because there was fighting over the last slices. :0

 


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Pineapple Casserole

This recipe is very good. Could easily be a dessert. Goes well with ham.

Pineapple Casserole

  • 3 20-ounce cans pineapple tidbits or chunks, in its own juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sharp grated cheese
  • Topping

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • ½ cup Ritz cracker crumbs (I just crumble one tube of crackers.)

Drain pineapple, saving 2 tablespoons of juice. Mix the juice, sugar and flour. Add pineapple and cheese. Put in greased casserole. Mix butter and crackers. Put cracker mixture on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C) for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Swedish Nut Cake

This cake is very bad for you which is what makes it so good! I often take this for covered dish meals because it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. But if you want it when it tastes best serve it still slightly warm! 

Swedish Nut Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice 

  • Icing

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 11×7 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, 1/2 cup nuts and baking soda. Add eggs, pineapple and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat until smooth and pour into 11×7 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t overcook. Cake will be moist.
  4. For the icing: In a large bowl, cream butter or margarine, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Fold in 1/2 cup nuts. (I normally don’t add the nuts to the icing.)

I sometimes add about ¾ cup of coconut, estimated amount, to the cake batter before baking.

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