Cold Potluck Ideas

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Potluck dinners give you a chance to visit with your friends and show off your culinary skills. Because each person only brings one dish, potluck dinners are less work for the hostess. A kitchen quickly becomes crowded if too many guests try to cook at one time, so dishes served cold are perennial favorites.

Pasta Salad

  • There are many varieties of pasta salad and you can adapt them for vegan or vegetarian guests. On combination combines black olives, green olives, green chilies, red onion, some celery and cauliflower, green pepper, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms with the pasta. Just dice the vegetable ingredients, mix them all together in the large bowl with the pasta and add your favorite Italian or Greek dressing. For more of a main dish, cube your favorite semi-soft cheeses such as Swiss, cheddar or Monterey Jack and toss them into the cold pasta salad. For meat lovers you can add ham, turkey, chicken or salami chunks. This dish is best prepared the night before and allowed to marinate refrigerated in the dressing.

Cold Bean Salad

  • Cold bean salad is a summer picnic tradition but it is also great for potlucks. You can include any of your favorite canned or fresh cooked and chilled beans but some traditional favorites are kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, green beans or yellow beans. Combine the beans in a large bowl along with chopped red onion and red and green peppers. Add your favorite spices and any special treats like stuffed green olives. Marinate overnight in a mixture of white wine vinegar, olive oil and sugar. Mix the marinade separately starting with equal portions of olive oil and white wine vinegar and adding sugar a teaspoon at a time. Taste test the marinade before pouring it over your beans.

Devilishly Good Eggs

  • Hard boil your eggs, cooling them in a bowl of ice before peeling. Cut lengthwise through the egg and remove the yolks to a small bowl. Cream the yolks with the back of a spoon, add mayonnaise and mix well. Spoon the mixture back into the dip in the egg whites and dust the top with paprika. For a different take on this standby recipe, add mustard to your mayonnaise mix. Additionally, you can add finely minced onion or celery to your egg yolks or finely minced sweet pickles. Refrigerate your eggs inside a covered dish until it's time to serve them.

Fruit Salad

  • Fruit salads can use almost any seasonal fruit, except perhaps pomegranate. Select your fruits keeping both color and flavor in mind. While you can serve them sliced on a tray, a mixed fruit cocktail salad stays fresher longer. Fruits traditionally used in fruit salads include diced melons, cantaloupes, pineapple, apples, pears, seedless grapes, clementine and tangerine sections, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, and peeled and sliced bananas and kiwis. As you cut each fruit, dip the cut pieces briefly in a bowl of lemon juice. Mix your prepared fruit together. Add sugar to taste and a small amount of salt to your bowl of lemon juice. Pour the remaining lemon juice over your fruit salad. Refrigerate the fruit salad until it's time to serve.

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