pot luck

A Pot Luck Dinner Party is a great way to ease some of the holiday kitchen stress and host a fun get together. A Pot Luck dinner is simple to plan too and everyone helps out with the cooking. Just ask each family you invite to the dinner to bring a dish to serve at the dinner.  You can assign them a course or type of dish to bring (i.e. appetizer, salad, side dish, etc.). Setting a theme for your pot luck will give your guests cooking ideas when planning what to bring to the party.

A MyPlate theme is a great way to get a nicely balanced fun and healthy dinner. Some of your guests may not be familiar with MyPlate, so this is a great opportunity to share your excitement about eating foods from each food group.

For your MyPlate Pot Luck theme, simply assign each person to bring a food that represents one of the 5 food groups; vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and dairy.  Include all the courses in your menu when you are planning the dinner. Examples: You can ask the person making the appetizer to use vegetables or dairy and ask the person making the dessert to use fruit. Assign people to make side dishes with grains and/or vegetables and the main course can be protein.

Depending how many people you plan on inviting you can assign one course to each guest, or have a couple of guests make the same course.  This will provide a larger variety of dishes to taste. Be sure to let your guests know how much food to prepare based on the number of dishes each guest is making. For example, if two people are making soup and you have 10 people coming to the party, ask each soup cook to make enough for 5 people. Here’s your chance to impress your family and friends with your knowledge of portion sizes.

To limit kitchen chaos when guest start arriving with dishes, keep it simple by setting the dinner up buffet style. Create place cards on your buffet table showing where you want dishes to be placed. Be sure to have counter, stove, and oven space available for the folks who will need last minute prep time. For a special touch, have garnishes on hand to dress up the dishes.  Parsley sprigs, lemon wedges, and mint leaves are versatile garnishes.

To make your Pot Luck memorable for your guests, ask everyone to bring recipe cards for the dish they are preparing.  Give your kids a fun art project by asking them to decorate envelopes or small boxes to hold the recipe cards.  Send each family home with a mini cookbook.

Here is a sample menu from the Fresh Baby recipe files:
Appetizer – (fruit dairy): Stuffed Dates
Soup – (vegetable): Butternut Squash & Roasted Garlic Soup
Salad – (vegetable): Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing
Main Course – (protein, whole grain, vegetable): Teriyaki Salmon with Gingered Vegetable Brown Rice
Dessert –(dairy, fruit, grains): Maple Apple Graham Crisp with vanilla ice cream

Make hosting a MyPlate Pot Luck Party a holiday traditions with your friends and family. Bon Appetit!