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Prize-winning potluck recipes

Story and photos by Angie Sutton


I love church potlucks. I hoard church cookbooks. What a better way to sample some of the best main dishes, tasty treats and scrumptious salads out there. But we’ve all been to a potluck that had a few dishes that missed the mark. I’ve clipped out recipes and dog-eared the edges of cookbook pages with my favorite potluck contributions. The recipes in this article are ones that receive rave reviews at gatherings.

The fact that the word potluck ends in the word “luck” is a pretty good description of how these gatherings can go. You hope that you are sitting at the table that gets called to go through the line first so you have the best dishes to select from. You grab a plate and look at the choices within your immediate sight and then peer down the table at what you might want to save space on your plate for. If you happen to be the unlucky people who must wait patiently and are the last ones down the chute, you’re likely looking at the bottom of a lot of empty bowls and picked over salads. It seems like there are usually one or two bowls of something not easily identifiable and they are still in ample supply.

We’ve probably all considered if we could get away with buying a prepared potato salad, pie or dip from the grocery store and simply making it look “homemade” by putting it on own dish. Am I right? Hopefully these recipes will make you the most popular person at the next potluck!

Spaghetti Coleslaw

Source: Anita O’Neil

This recipe makes a large amount so use a big bowl. I use a food processor to shred the cabbage, onion and carrot together.

2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. celery salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. onion powder (optional)
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 (16 oz.) pkg. spaghetti noodles

Make sauce with mayo, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, sugar and onion powder. Prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions. Drain. Mix noodles with sauce and refrigerate overnight.

Creamy 3-Cheese Macaroni (for the slow cooker)

Source: Cade Cohorst

Not your ordinary mac-n-cheese. Kids will appreciate this choice at a potluck!

2 c. dried elbow macaroni
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
4 T. butter
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. milk
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions, drain, set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter and stir in cheeses until all melted. Remove from heat and set aside. In a slow cooker, combine eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, pepper, milk, mustard and mayo. Stir well. Add butter and cheese mixture to slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Italian Sausage Pasta

Source: Maureen Crist

So good. Seriously! I use just a couple garlic cloves.

1 lb. Italian sausage, browned and drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 c. broccoli florets
1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 c. white cooking wine
5 large Roma tomatoes
1 lb. rotini pasta
1 c. parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 c. prepared Parmesan cheese salad dressing

Saute sausage in heavy large skillet until cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel and drain grease. Meanwhile, prepare rotini according to package directions, drain and set aside. Add oil to the skillet and saute onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli, zucchini and wine; saute until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes. Add sausage and tomatoes, toss until heated through. Transfer to a large bowl. Add pasta, Parmesan cheese and enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Fudge-Striped Cookie Salad

Source: Segen Sutton

2 sm. pkgs. instant coconut cream pudding (3.4 oz. ea.)
1 1/2 c. half-and-half
1 pkg. fudge-striped cookies
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (10 oz.) container whipped topping

Beat the pudding with the half-and-half. Fold whipped topping into the pudding mixture. Add fruit and stir gently. Break cookies into small pieces and stir into the mixture, reserving 5 whole cookies. Dump into serving bowl. Break remaining cookies into large pieces and garnish top. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

Brownie & Peanut Butter Trifle

This can be the most tempting on any potluck table spread by displaying it in a clear container.

1 fudge brownie mix (9- by 13-inch size)
1 package peanut butter chips
2 (13 oz.) packages miniature peanut butter cups
4 c. cold milk
2 (5.1 oz.) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 c. creamy peanut butter
4 tsp. vanilla extract<
3 (8 oz.) cartons whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and stir in peanut butter chips. Coat a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and spread in brownie mix. Bake 20 to 25 minutes (do not overbake.) Cool completely and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Cut peanut butter cups in half and keep 1/4 cup for garnish. Whisk milk and pudding mixes in a large bowl for 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and vanilla and stir until well combined. Fold in 1 1/2 cartons of thawed whipped topping. Place a third of the brownies in a 5-qt container; top with a third of the remaining peanut butter cups. Spoon a third of the pudding mix over the top. Repeat process for two more layers. Spread remaining whipped topping across top and garnish with the reserved peanut butter cups. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

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