12 Days of Christmas Countdown – Day 9 – Potluck Preparation

The Holidays mean plenty of get-togethers, and often times, family get-togethers take on a potluck theme. I love potlucks. They relieve the host or hostess of some of the stress of preparing a big meal for loads of people. They also lend themselves to serving dinner buffet-style, much less stuffy than the formal Christmas Dinner. It also gives the guests the opportunity to contribute to the meal, and to try out some of their own favorite recipes.

Tomorrow, we are going to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for our family party. My contribution: Roasted Carrots and Butternut Squash, seasoned with a little nutmeg and balsamic vinegar. (I confess – I am adapting this recipe from one that I found on “The Perfect Pantry” blog. This blogger has some wonderful recipe ideas – please check it out!)

Roasted Carrots vie The Perfect Pantry
Roasted Carrots from The Perfect Pantry

This got me to thinking about how many great potluck recipe ideas there are out there, but when I usually need one, I find myself racking my brain for something tasty to bring.  So here are a few Holiday Potluck ideas to keep in reserve:

  • Homemade Macaroni and Cheese:  What better example of comfort food than this? Everyone has their own favorite recipe. (I like mine with a mix of several cheeses, including parmesan, cheddar, and cream cheese.) The great thing is that you can make batches that are as large or small as you want. It’s easy to wrap in foil and a casserole plan, so it travels well – and the leftovers are just as tasty the next day!
  • Tangy Kielbasa in the Crock Pot: Just throw a couple of pounds of kielbasa and a couple of cups of grape jelly and ketchup into the crockpot and heat it until the kielbasa is hot. A co-worker made this a couple of years ago and it was great! (Just about anything you can make and serve from a crock pot could be a great potluck idea – though I’d stay away from anything too soupy, unless you are prepared to bring soup bowls to the party.)
  • Chicken and Pasta Salad – I made this for a potluck baby shower last year, and I wish I had made more of it! There are so many variations of it, as well. For me, I poach about a pound of chicken and then pull it apart. After cooking pasta (rotini, bowties, take your pick), I blend the pasta and the chicken with my own blend of creamy chicken soup, milk, cheddar cheese, frozen veggies (I like broccoli), and some sauteed mushroom and onion. After adding it to a lasagna pan, I top with breadcrumbs and bake.

Of course, desserts are the staple of any holiday party. My eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to preparing all of those creative holiday dessert ideas like peanut butter reindeer cookies, and Santa lollipops. I so want to spend an afternoon preparing batches of these with my kids, but I never seem to have an afternoon to spare. 

That being said, there’s no shame in rolling out the store-bought sugar cookie dough, and letting the kids go to town with the red and green sprinkles and cookie cutters.  Bring those to your next potluck, and you’ll have nothing but an empty plate to bring home!

Baking Christmas Cookies
Let the kids bake the cookies!

4 thoughts on “12 Days of Christmas Countdown – Day 9 – Potluck Preparation

  1. I can just imagine the special flavor roasting veggies produces. I don’t boil veggies anymore. Micro or steam to retain nutrients. I usually boil kielbasa for 10 minutes before I make it however I am going to make it. Gets rid of a lot of fat. After triple by-pass that’s important cooking change.

  2. Maura Donnelly

    Mary, this blog post of yours leaves me wondering….How is it possible that after 15 years of marriage, I do not own a crockpot? I’ve got to get one and make those roasted carrots and butternut squash!
    BTW, what a great photo of Michael making cookies!

    1. maryct70

      Thanks for the inspiration. Those roasted veggies were delicious, and the balsamic vinegar is just the right complement to the sweetness of the carrots and squash. And probably one of the easiest recipes around! Can’t wait to get some more appetizing recipes from your blog!

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