Recently, I have noticed a sizable increase in the number of invitations I receive for potluck parties. These parties are generally hosted by one of the following people: 1) a wife, fiancée or long-term girlfriend of my fiancé’s co-workers; 2) a newly christened homeowner; or 3) a 30-something friend who has enough hosting experience under her belt to realize that the stress of solo cooking for 20 guests is highly overrated.

Perhaps it’s the time of life (I’m now in my mid 30s *shudder*). Perhaps it’s because I recently became engaged and have inherited a newly expanded tribe of my fiancé’s friends. Or perhaps it’s simply because January and February marks the crazy one-two-punch of awards season, Super Bowl, March Madness and other events that seem to scream “house party!” and “potluck!” Either way, whenever I see this phrase at the bottom of an invitation, “Please RSVP by _______ with THE DISH you will bring,” my temperature starts to rise. On the one hand, I’m flattered to be a guest. But on the other hand, the hostess is assuming that A) I have a Mac-and-Cheese casserole sitting in my recipe box, just waiting to be plucked out of cooking oblivion and B) I have a recipe box. (I have neither.) I know it must be shocking that a 36 year-old woman does not possess at least one reliable potluck recipe for the annual Super Bowl party—but I somehow missed the potluck train (that’s the train one rides as one amasses a personal collection of hand-me-down recipes from mothers, grandmothers and Oprah). And now, momma’s desperate! I have not one, but two potluck parties on my social calendar in the next few weeks and I need to find a crowd-pleasing plate, stat.

Luckily, our team at California Home has got my back. From vegan pot pie to cheesy artichoke dip, a few of our team members shared their favorite potluck recipes with me. I never understood why they call it a “potluck,” but I do have a pot and I’ll need a whole lot of luck to make these delectable dishes! Behold:

 

Taco/Burrito/Nacho Style Layered Dip (Recipe from allrecipes.com

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“Most Super Bowl parties I attend lack a dip with proper substance, this one will get you through the toughest 2-minute drill. Nom nom.” – Mehdi Ghannadan, digital marketing coordinator

  •  1( ounce) package of taco seasoning mix
  • 16oz can of refried pinto beans
  • 16oz container of low/nonfat sourcream
  • 16oz jar good salsa
  • 1 Large tomato, chopped nicely
  • 1 red/orange bellpepper chopped nicely
  • 1 sweet yellow onion chopped nicely
  • 6oz can sliced black olives drained
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped finely
  • 2 avocados, pitted, scooped
  • Lime
  • 2 cups shredded mixed/Mexican cheeses
  • Small head of iceberg lettuce shredded

Directions:

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans with some of the minced/chopped onions. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter. In a small bowl, scoop out the avocados and mix/mash them smooth with some of the cilantro, onions, and the juice of the lime. Spread this quazi-guac over the refried beans. Add a layer of the minced/chopped bell peppers, and then layer the sour cream over the avacados. Add the olives over the sour cream. Add some of the cheese on top of the sour cream. Add salsa, and then more cheese. Feel free to sprinkle left over cilantro over the top (who doesn’t love cilantro?). Serve with anything.

Vegan Pot Pie (Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times magazine)

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“I made this dish for my parents recently and it was a hit! They’re not even vegan, but I’m slowly turning them. They’re amazed by what you can do with ‘fake meats’ these days.”  – Susy Klass, writer  

For Dough:

  • 2-cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. cold Earth Balance buttery spread
  • 10 tbsp. ice-cold water (adjust as you’re forming the dough)

For Filling:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6–7 small redskin potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 asparagus spears, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsp. cold water (optional, if additional thickening is necessary)
  • 2-1/4 cups vegetable broth (Better than Bouillon vegetable no-chicken base is best)
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning (don’t worry, it’s vegan!)
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 package of super-firm cubed tofu

To Make Dough:

Whisk the flours and salt in a bowl. Cut up Earth Balance and mash with a pastry cutter until there are no big pieces. Add ice-cold water, one tbsp. at a time until smooth dough forms. Form into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate.

To Make Filling:

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot. Add the leek, carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté until they’re soft (about 7 minutes). Add the potatoes, broth (for Better than Bouillon: dissolve 2 tsp. of paste in 16 oz. water) and tsp. of poultry seasoning. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Add the tofu. Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the asparagus, peas and corn. If the sauce seems too thin, add the cornstarch mixture.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit). Roll out your dough to about 1/8 thickness. Pour the filling into your 9×13 oblong pan. Cover filling with the dough (cutting off any excess dough), poke holes in the crust with a fork and bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Chicken Salad With Apples and Cranberries(Recipe courtesy of Southern Food)

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“It’s good. That is all.” – Marcos LaFarga, graphic designer

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • lettuce leaves

Preparation:

Combine the chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.

In a cup or small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, and salt and pepper. Stir into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed and for taste. Line bread or rolls with lettuce and spread chicken salad on the bread or serve the chicken salad on lettuce-lined plates.
Serves 4.

Hot Cheesy Artichoke Dip (Family Recipe)

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“I bring this almost every time I go to a potluck as long as I will have access to an oven or can make sure it’s still warm when it’s time to serve. People ALWAYS ask for the recipe and can’t believe it’s so easy and so good. It’s an absolute crowd pleaser.  If you have a big crowd, double or triple the recipe, because it will be gone.” – Jaymi Naciri, writer 

  • 1 can  (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup  parmesan cheese (I use the grated stuff in the can—super low maintenance)
  • 1 cup  Best Foods mayo
  • 1 clove  garlic, minced

Mix everything and spoon into a shallow ovenproof dish. (Jaymi uses a Pyrex, but you can also use a pie plate). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bubbly. Serve with Breton crackers, Wheat Thins, or crusty bread.

Egg Rolls (Family Recipe)

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“I make these egg rolls all the time when I don’t feel too lazy. Everyone seems to enjoy them because it’s different then what you’ll find in the restaurants. We never have any left overs. It’s a combination of Filipino Lumpia’s, Chinese vegetarian eggrolls and Vietnamese fried spring rolls. A mix of everything, created into something extraordinary. Hmong eggrolls.” – Candi Lau, marketing assistant

  • 2 bags Menlo Wrapping shells
  • 1 bag Silver noodles
  • 1 pound Ground meat (pork, chicken, turkey)
  • ¼ cup Green onion
  • ¼ cup Cilantro
  • ¼ cup Black fungus
  • 1 Carrots
  • 2 tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups frying oil

Directions: 

Soak the silver noodles in hot water for 5 minutes or until soft and drain. Soak the half the bag of the black fungus in cold water for 5 minutes or until soft and drain. Grate one whole carrot. Finely chop the cilantro and green onion. Marinade the meat with fish sauce, oyster sauce ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Mix the noodles, fungus, carrots, cilantro and green onion in a bowl and add sauces and seasoning. Add meat and crack one egg to the whole mix. Unwrap the eggroll shells and separate them. Follow the directions for wrapping eggrolls on the back of the wrapping paper. Crack one egg in a separate bowl to use to seal the egg roll.  In a pan add oil to fry egg rolls. Fry until cooked and golden and drain off excess oil.