I didn't experience many potluck meals when I was growing up - and the ones I did, I certainly never paid any attention to what my mom was fixing for them. So, when I began to follow the Lord with a passion in my mid-twenties and was blessed to join a congregation that had potlucks every Sunday, I had no idea what to do. Fortunately, the men and women in that congregation have been the teachingest Christians I have known.
From the women there, I got a much bigger perspective on potluck meals than I knew was possible.
Here's what I learned were the 2 most important rules for what to bring to potluck:
1. Most importantly, bring yourself.
If you're not in a situation to bring food, come anyway. Perhaps finances are such that you don't have anything in the house but Ramen (which is perfectly acceptable to bring to potluck, by the way). Come anyway. Maybe your family is just getting in from out of town and you haven't had a chance to fix anything. Come anyway. The number one goal behind every meal - including potluck meals - is fellowship...which is impossible if you aren't there.
2. Bring enough for your family, plus....
Rule #1 won't work if rule #2 isn't followed. The reason we can tell others, "don't worry about bringing anything, just come" is because those who can bring plenty do.
This rule can play out in a number of ways. In the congregation where I learned this, families brought what would have been a full meal for their family, plus a little extra. This means that they each brought a main dish, a side dish and a dessert - sufficient to feed every member of their family and a couple more at least. In other congregations, dishes might be assigned, but the concept is the same - only you need to bring even more of the one dish you bring. (Obviously, if you're bringing a main dish, you need to bring enough not only for those who cannot bring food, but for those making side dishes and desserts. The same is, of course, true, if you are making a different element of the meal.)
Of course, if you found this blog post from an Internet search, you are probably more interested in what, exactly, to bring to a potluck meal. Here are just a few of our family favorites:
Roast Beef: I don't like using canned soup or mixes if I can help it, so I just throw a chuck roast in the crock pot and smother it in my favorite seasonings: rosemary (lots of rosemary), thyme, sage, salt and pepper! Let it cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6. You can either start this early and let it finish cooking at your destination, or slice it up and cover it with gravy or its own juices and warm it up in the crock pot or a baking pan.
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Slow Cooker Meatloaf
Ham & Cheese Rolls - I just cut open Hawaiian Rolls and stuff with ham and cheddar cheese, wrap in foil and put in the crockpot on low to warm up. But this recipe looks interesting too.
Oven Baked Chili Cheese Dogs
Crock Pot Pasta Pizza
Pulled Pork or Shredded Beef
Green Salad: I bet you know how to make one without a recipe!
Deviled Eggs - a potluck staple! I love this classic recipe, but The Cowboy prefers dilly deviled eggs - so I skip the mustard, add a little dill pickle juice and some diced dill pickles for him.
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Brownies - always a good fall-back dessert.
Cupcakes - ahh...so many options...
Potluck can be an awesome time of not just great food, but wonderful fellowship as well. Believe it or not, however, like everything else, Potluck is made more fun when we follow the basic rules of etiquette. Next time: "potluck etiquette."