We had a very enjoyable evening tonight with three other families, our first outdoor dinner event of the summer. We gathered at my friend Amy’s house, and each family brought meat to grill, plus something to share. As is usual with these kinds of affairs, we had a LOT of yummy food! I got to thinking about how, at least in Minnesota, the food you bring to a summer potluck is very different than the food you bring to a winter potluck. So I thought we ought to talk a bit about fun EASY things to bring to a summer potluck–especially one that’s held outdoors. I’ll start with things we had tonight, and Barb will chime in, but PLEASE add your comments and tell us YOUR favorite thing to bring to a summer potluck!
•I was in a panic about what to bring, and didn’t really have time to make anything complicated, so I brought a big bowl of fresh cherries–they are at the absolute perfection of ripeness right now, and they disappeared very quickly.
•Chips of any variety are always popular.
•One gal brought a prepackaged broccoli salad that came with the broccoli, some craisins, some sunflower seeds, and some bacon, as well as the dressing. She added roasted soy nuts and a bag of broccoli slaw to beef up the salad for the larger crowd.
•Same gal brought a prepackaged salad that was a spring lettuce mix, walnuts (or cashews? can’t remember now), craisins, and dressing. It would be easy to duplicate either of these salads without the pre-pack.
•There was also a tray of sliced apples, with a tub of caramel dip.
•And a plate of baby carrots with some creamy dill dip.
Other quick easy things to bring:
•A fruit or veggie tray that you make yourself or buy from Sam’s Club.
•A canteloupe or honeydew melon–cleaned and sliced at the last minute.
•Caprese salad: Arrange slices of fresh ripe tomato, slices of fresh mozzarella, and leaves of fresh basil. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
•Pinwheels or roll-ups: Using a large flour tortilla as the base, spread with whipped cream cheese (easier to spread than regular); add a layer of spinach or other leafy green, a layer of cheese, and other garnishes desired (bell peppers? shredded carrots? ranch dressing? pepperoni? use your imagination!) Roll up tortilla carefully and chill 15 minutes or longer. Cut into 1″ slices, and serve side-up.
•A tray of filo cup hors d’oevres: Buy the mini-filo-cups that come already cooked and formed into tiny tart crusts. Fill with something gooey, like tuna salad, egg salad, hummus, bean paste, etc. Garnish with something in a contrasting color: red bell peppers or matchstick carrots, sliced olives, sprigs of cilantro, basil leaves, etc.
•Alternately, you could fill the filo cups with pudding, or pudding whipped with Cool-whip, and garnish with mint leaves, chocolate shavings, or berries.
Now your turn: what things do you bring to a picnic or outdoor potluck? Please share!