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Your Favorite Bring and Share Dish?

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Hey ya'll!

 

I live in the south, which doesn't mean much.  But it does mean that gatherings are not just in the summer. 

 

I attend a lot of gatherings, and they are usually potluck. 

 

What is your favorite bring and share dish to take to gatherings?

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My favorite is a seasonal thing, as it uses watermelon, but the other one that is most often requested works any time of year: Ina Garten's roasted shrimp and orzo.  It's easy, is designed to be made ahead, travels well, and feeds a ton (at least 10, if not 12, despite her claim it yields 6 servings -- Ina's serving sizes are notoriously huge).

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In my family I am known as the "salad queen"! If it is a dinner event that I am not hosting I am always in charge of salad. If it's a snack event I usually bring Texas Caviar (salsa) and chips. My new favorite however is buffalo chicken wontons.

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I like to bring desserts--cheesecake, brownies, and the like. Or a chocolate sour cream cake baked in a 13x9 pan and topped with a frosting made of melted chocolate and more sour cream.

 

For a main dish, I made this when I received a box of lumaconi as a present from Italy and everyone loved it: http://www.chicken.ca/recipes/chicken-pistachio-lumaconi

Be warned, though--although it's billed as a "great everyday recipe," it's not a quick 'n' easy thing. It's not difficult, just time consuming, though you could probably speed things up by buying bottled pasta sauce and rotisserie chicken.

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Chocolate dipped strawberries.  They're quick, easy and if there's a good sale, cheap.  And yet they get ooh-ed and ahh-ed over everywhere I go.

 

And if you have a deviled egg plate, the strawberries fit quite nicely on it.

Edited by Qoass
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Last time I went to a potluck style gathering, I brought a roasted potato and green bean salad (Google presents dozens of recipes) and it got RAVE reviews.

 

Pretty easy too. Quarter your new potatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt & pepper, roast on a sheet pan. Trim the beans, toss in olive oil, salt & pepper, roast on a separate sheet pan (because they don't take as long as the taters.) Simple vinaigrette... olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon. Toss it all together. I added some tweaks... capers, parsley, chives, pimentos for some extra color.

 

No mayo, so it can sit out for a good long time without really having to worry about refrigeration. That's convenient. It's great at room temp or slightly warmed. Nice crunch from the beans. If there hadn't been a couple kosher folks in attendance, I'd have probably crumbled some bacon in there. If I had thought about it at the time, I'd have just had a bowl of crumbled bacon on the side. I've also seen some recipes call for some crumbled feta.

 

Anyway, I cook fairly often for other people, and I tend to get positive reviews, but I was floored by the dropped-jaws response to this particular dish, given that it's relatively cheap & simple compared to some of the other high-falutin' stuff I've served people while trying to impress. It went over like gangbusters.

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My go to for gatherings this summer was Texas Caviar. It's insanely easy to make, you can (should!) make it the day before, it looks pretty, and in my part of the world, there is zero chance someone else will bring it. It's a nice contrast to all of the mayonnaise-based salads, and because there's no mayo or dairy, you don't have to worry as much about refrigeration.

My base recipe is this one from ATK/Cooks Country: http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/7884-texas-caviar. Depending on the crowd, I replace some or all of the cilantro with additional parsley. I also have had success swapping a tomato for the red pepper, as not everyone likes THAT much pepper, but the tomato still makes it colorful. And I typically substitute black beans for the BEPs, just because I think they're prettier.

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Hey photo fox, does this recipe look like a near match for the Cook's Country/America's Test Kitchen one?  

 

ATK and CC's site requires that you register at it to view the recipes and the last time I did that, hidden somewhere in that registration was apparently an agreement for a free trial for their magazine and after the free issue, you had to manually opt out of having it delivered.  They may have since changed that, but when I did, I got the magazine once, wasn't interested in it and thought that was that.  Then I started getting invoices from them featuring words like "Past Due"  and despite repeatedly writing letters and emailing to say that I never subscribed and wasn't interested in it, they kept sending me an invoice now featuring crap like 2nd Notice! in giant red letters.  

 

It's much longer story than you might think it could possibly be, but this went on long enough that I reported them to both the Better Business Bureau and the freaking state's attorneys office (to say I was ticked the hell off would not even begin to encompass how angry I was by about my eighth attempt to get them to bugger off).  

 

So point being? My personal experience with registering at that site wasn't just unpleasant, I had to go to go full-throttle complaining ass on them in order to get them to stop insisting that I somehow owed them money for something I had literally never ordered.  They sent me a letter of apology.   It was three years before I could even watch the PBS ATK again, I was that darned mad.  In case this doesn't ever really come across, wow, do you ever have to put your back into it to get me that mad, mainly because it is a purposeful device: they count on people being so desperate to stop receiving the notices, they'll just pay the 19.99 or whatever and on behalf of whatever little old lady they had intimidated into doing so in the past, I went Verbosely Berserk on them because I'm not old and I'm not that little either and I am half Scottish and the other half is pure donkey. 

 

Register with caution, basically :-)

ETA: Thank you for the recipe suggestion though. The version I found is vegetarian and I'm always grateful to have more vegetarian take-to-potluck offerings.

Edited by stillshimpy
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Definitely a valid point about the ATK site. I guess I get logged in automatically, so I had forgotten their recipes were behind the registration wall.

That recipe is somewhat similar, but I'll post mine when I get home tonight. (I've changed it enough I feel like it's "mine" at this point. Lol)

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No problem, stillshimpy!  This already has the modifications I mention above worked in.

 

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
2 (15.5-ounce) black beans, rinsed
6 scallions, sliced thin (or green onions, whatever
1 tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
INSTRUCTIONS

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl.

2. Add beans, scallions, tomato, bell pepper, celery, cilantro, and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for at least 1 hour before serving.

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I always make the Pioneer Woman's restaurant-style salsa.  Insanely easy to make, the recipe makes a TON, and it's gobbled right up.  

 

I've also had a lot of success with Skinny Taste's taco dip; if I bring that anywhere, there's never any leftovers.

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The recipe for Szechuan Black-Eyed Pea Salad is really good and it modifies very easy.  Every time I have made it, at least one person has asked for the recipe.  I leave out the jalepeno and bell peppers when I make it (just because I don't care for them), I've subbed balsamic vinegar for red wine vinegar, etc...make it at least an hour in advance so the flavors have a chance to marry.

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If it's a picnic or BBQ, I usually bring potato salad.  I also make a mean deviled egg (I put cream cheese in the mixture, which richens it up and makes the filling go a longer way so that the eggs don't look skimpy.  I also mince the little bit of onion I put in very, very finely so that you get a taste of onion without the crunch, since some people don't like to bite down on raw onion).

 

If I'm bringing something sweet, I've gotten in the habit of making something that I can bake in my big metal baking dish that has the plastic cover for easy transport.  Usually brownies, Snickerdoodle bars, etc.  I found a good recipe for Key Lime Poke Cake, which is really refreshing in the summer.  If I'm bringing something to a 'nicer' get-together, especially at Christmastime, I usually bring a Sour Cream Pound Cake.  Very simple, but popular.

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Admittedly,  I'm typing hungry, but those Snickerdoodle bars sound awesome.  BooksRule, do you have a favorite recipe?

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something that I can bake in my big metal baking dish that has the plastic cover for easy transport

 

My mother once gave me a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish, that came with a silicone cover and complicated carrying apparatus with handles.   For all those church potlucks I attend?  I've never taken it out of the box, it might be the bomb, but I just can't.

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My mother once gave me a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish, that came with a silicone cover and complicated carrying apparatus with handles.   For all those church potlucks I attend?  I've never taken it out of the box, it might be the bomb, but I just can't.

 

I have one of those.  It's fabulous for taking the sweet potato and apple dish to Thanksgiving dinner.

 

For a bring and share, I usually go with a cheesecake.  So easy and so tasty!  

 

If dessert is not needed, I like roasting green beans or sliced brussel sprouts or asparagus on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil and salt until they're crispy.  Also easy, plus delicious and nutritious! 

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I like to bake and hate cooking, so desserts for me.  Cookies or cupcakes usually.  Once in awhile I might make a cake, but only for special occasions.  I once made a carrot cake and it turned out delicious, but it took too much effort.


If dessert is not needed, I like roasting green beans or sliced brussel sprouts or asparagus on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil and salt until they're crispy.  Also easy, plus delicious and nutritious! 

Yes, roasting is my new favorite way to eat veggies.  That's how I had brussel sprouts for the first time.  Roasted cauliflower is also super yummy!

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I bring desserts.  People invite me for dinner specifically because I bring dessert.  Cakes, pies, brownies, cookies... bring it on. And I try to never feed the same group the same thing twice.   I'm very popular at dinner parties.

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I am so glad BooksRule revived this topic! We've just learned that one of the boys down the street who is 12 has Hodgkin's Lymphoma and someone has set up a food calendar for volunteers to take dinner on certain nights so his mom doesn't have to worry about feeding the family. I don't cook many dishes very well, but do make an awesome pot roast. So here is my "take a dish" etiquette question....do I go ahead and carve the roast before I take it or do I take it over in one big slab? Of course I will have side dishes in different containers. I think carved would look nicer, but what do y'all think? I know I typically think of a casserole (lasagna or chicken spaghetti) when taking an entire entree but I imagine they will get tons of those dishes.

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Maybe carve a few slices but leave some of it intact.  That way people have ready-to-use slices and they can use the rest as they want (thin, thick, chunks, etc.).  A pot roast sounds good to take.  My mom used to alternate bringing food in cases like this with bringing half gallons of iced tea, lemonade, etc. (the kind you can buy ready-made in the store) and would sometimes bring paper cups, plates and plastic utensils so that the family didn't have to worry about washing dishes. 

 

Now I want pot roast!

Edited by BooksRule
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If dessert is not needed, I like roasting green beans or sliced brussel sprouts or asparagus on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil and salt until they're crispy.  Also easy, plus delicious and nutritious!

Please share your secret for successfully transporting roasted vegetables. Because poor little me is single, my relatives automatically assume I can't cook so I am usually assigned "the vegetable." In the old days it was the ever famous green bean or broccoli casserole, which is a dream to make ahead and transport. Since no-one will eat those anymore I have tried with very limited success to bring my favorite roasted veggies that I make all l the time at home, but when I transport them they are either mushy or greasy. Ideas?

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In the old days it was the ever famous green bean or broccoli casserole, which is a dream to make ahead and transport.

Well that's the problem, who turns down broccoli casserole!!??

 

 

I normally bring deviled eggs, cheesy potatoes, or cream cheese pound cake. Holiday time is sweet potato casserole or my spice cookies. One thing a friend of mine brings is broccoli salad. Really yummy! Also, weirdly enough, when I am running short on time I just bring sausage, cheese, and crackers and it goes pretty quick too.

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For summertime gatherings, I'll sometimes make a salad with red and green cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, green onions, some parsley and a good amount of dill, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and seasoned with garlic salt.  It's so easy to make a little or a lot.

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Maybe carve a few slices but leave some of it intact.  That way people have ready-to-use slices and they can use the rest as they want (thin, thick, chunks, etc.).  A pot roast sounds good to take.  My mom used to alternate bringing food in cases like this with bringing half gallons of iced tea, lemonade, etc. (the kind you can buy ready-made in the store) and would sometimes bring paper cups, plates and plastic utensils so that the family didn't have to worry about washing dishes. 

 

Now I want pot roast!

 

Paper cups, plates and napkins and plastic utensils are a very good thing to take to someone who has a family member in the hospital, a new baby or a death in the family. When my father died, lots of people brought food to my mother's house (we were all there for about a week, so it wasn't just her to eat all the stuff), and we ended up with a lot of pizza and KFC. It's good at first, but after the fifth fried chicken meal, it's a little old.

 

But the paper and plastic were such a big help and meant we didn't have to do dishes all the time, even though she has a dishwasher.

 

I like to take either a chocolate dessert (to make sure there is something chocolate) or a pasta salad I make with tri-colored rotini, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese and Italian salad dressing (and bacon bits and croutons). People have asked me for the recipe, and I always say I don't really have one. Just add the vegetables you like and be sure to use lots of salad dressing (and add some at the last minute because it soaks it up while it's chilling). My mom adds olives, and I have a friend who adds carrots. I would never do either, but they like it.

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