hiddenacres32

Potluck that can be served unheated

Anne
15 days ago

I am attending a birthday party for a todddler at a park with a pavillion.

The parents always have potluck parties and the food is very random and church cookbook.

I enjoy some church hotdish but it would be nice to add some freshness.

That said it is one afternoon.

I will be transporting my dish about an hour. I have a Yeti so that is not an issue but I dont think I will have access to power for a crockpot.

Ideas for something that can be served without reheating. I can put the dish/pan in an ice bath. I will either buy a foil pan or dollar store serving bowl and serving utensils so I wont need to worry about anything getting broken. Thank you!

Comments (67)

  • amylou321
    15 days ago

    Maybe this group avoids green things at their potlucks because that's what they wanna eat at a party. That's my way of thinking. I eat lots of veggies every day. When I go to a celebratory event, I do not think of nutrients or calories. I have lots of dishes that can be served chilled or room temp, not many of them "healthy." If I were pressed upon to come up with something, I would maybe roast some veggies or make a hummus to serve with carrots. Or a bruschetta topping to serve with crostini. Maybe a fresh salsa. I would not consider the kiddos at all. They will eat kid food and are not likely to want to try a new healthy dish at a birthday party of all places. Sometimes I will make a sandwich meat and cheese tray and bring tiny rolls to serve with them so people can make their own little slider sandwich. That's about as healthy as I get at a party. And kids might like that too.

  • nicole___
    15 days ago

    Pigs in a blanket usually, if covered are good for an hour....if they last that long. Use little smokies, wrap in crescent roll dough, bake for 12 minutes.

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  • wednesday morning
    15 days ago

    So much of what so many of you have suggested sounds like fun to eat. But, what I cant quite commit to again with much enthusiasms is the idea of the communal bowl or servind dish..not so soon after what we have just been through. I think so many of us are rethinking those old communal ways of serving party food.

    I feel a heightened awarnes of all germs and microbes and really balk at too close sharing of food

    Keeping it simple and clean to eat would probably be a high priortiy.

    I am not sure that I ever want to go back to that average potluck sharing thing after this.

    Better that each brings theri own and share the experience... at least for a while yet.

  • maifleur03
    15 days ago

    I am with amylou things like this are splurge times. You can reduce what you are eating for the next week or so. Seldom does any green salad that someone brings to these things be eaten other than a token leaf or two. I did wonder at all the mentions of mayo not being for potlucks as I thought that idea had said goodbye several years ago. For those who have not read it, you can look it up to verify, the acid in mayo makes it less likely to cause food poisoning that many of the other picnic type foods.


    It has been a couple of years since I have been to a potluck but my go to was Whole Foods cold bar. Would normally select what looked good and complimented each other. At the site I would place each type side by side with a plastic spoon or fork in each one. Couscous, wheat berry salad, tabbouleh, pickled beets, etc. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds or chopped olives on top the set it on the table.

  • plllog
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Depends on the people. Around here, people eschew carbs and love vegetables.

    Anne thanked plllog
  • amylou321
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    It sounds like the people at this potluck do not. At least at parties. From the OPs description of previous events.

    I love veggies. I eat them daily. I dont want a green salad at a birthday party. I want queso and cake.

    I am always a bit concerned about people who cannot allow themselves to indulge in bad food at a party and get distressed at the lack of roughage. Gives me eating disorder vibes.....

  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    All adults are vaccinated. I know some folks dont think that is enough. with my degree in virology and the field i work in i am fine

  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    i just want an optiion for healthy. i eat all the fun stuff.

  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    I never said i would not eat the food, I said something healthy might be nice. Frankly if the food was not healthy enough a person could live for a few hours. I want to take something new.

  • amylou321
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    I was not referring to you specifically. I was speaking in general. I feel like there is always that one person standing in the corner, mumbling about saturated fat and macros... I did not get that impression from you. I just thought that since this particular group always lacks green/healthy things at their get togethers, it is probably because that it how they want it...... Nothing wrong about wanting variety or something new.

    Perhaps this just hits close to home for me today because I just had the most RIDICULOUS discussion/argument with my mother about the family party she is having later this month. I always cook everything. The subject of our disagreement: that stupid raw veggie tray. Again. Sometimes I think she brings it up because it amuses her to annoy me.....

    Anne thanked amylou321
  • l pinkmountain
    15 days ago

    Roll ups sliced into pinwheels has usually been scarfed down at most potlucks I've attended. Lots of filling options and you can mix colors of tortilla wraps.


    Easy peasy cheese and cracker plate with some hummus and or spinach dip to mix it up a bit.


    I've made Bobby Flay's sweet potato salad and many folks have liked it, if they don't mind a vinegar and oil based dressing. It's colorful, that's for sure. I usually add thawed frozen corn and chopped red pepper to jazz it up even more.

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-sweet-potato-and-scallion-salad-recipe4-2269105


    I've also made the green bean and new potato salad with vinegar and oil dressing. I love it. And a Mexican potato salad, to mix it up a little. You have to like cilantro though, but you could use parsley. https://shop.wegmans.com/recipes/3962/latin-red-potato-corn-salad

    Anne thanked l pinkmountain
  • nancyjane_gardener
    15 days ago

    Understanding the thing about not wanting to share foods, such as dips. When a certain store had very small avacados really cheap, I would buy a bunch along with some large ones to bump up the amount, Make some guacamole, and put a couple of tablespoons in a !/2 or !/3 shell to put on their plates to dip their chips in. Worked well!

    Also 3 bean salad is a good one!

  • plllog
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    It's not that I wouldn't have some of the high fat/salt/carbs stuff, same with my people. It's that most of us would rather have some yummy vegetables than a lot of pasta and cheese. The raw veg plate gets emptied, the chips do not. Not for "diets" but what we like to eat. Since Anne asked for something green, I thought maybe she wanted to eat something green.

    Equating that with eating disorders is insulting and highly inaccurate.

    And, yes, I've been at parties where there were a plethora of unappealing high carb/fat dishes and no veg, nibbled politely around the edges, and went to eat after. Some of us just don't like that stuff.

    Anne thanked plllog
  • Olychick
    15 days ago

    I make this often for potlucks. Granted, my circle isn't the church cookbook potluck bunch, but I've taken it to one of those that I attend every year and there is never any left. It's asparagus season. This is so easy, you just have to not overcook the asparagus (just barely tender) and be sure to add the vinegar at the very last minute or it will bleach the wonderful rich green color.

    Cold gingered asparagus

    https://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipe=cold_asparagus



    Anne thanked Olychick
  • colleenoz
    15 days ago

    Of course, if you do want to serve a hot/warm dish, a cooler box works the same way keeping the heat in as it does keeping the heat out. If you wrap the hot dish well in several layers of a thick towel and place it in a cooler, it will stay hot for quite a long time.

    Anne thanked colleenoz
  • Islay Corbel
    15 days ago

    Scotch eggs, mini ones made with quail's eggs or small sausage rolls. Everyone loves them!

    Anne thanked Islay Corbel
  • lindac92
    15 days ago

    I have made "Mrs Avery's Rolls" into slider sized sandwich buns, baked split, spread and spread with butter and a slice of deli ham folded up. I offer mustard but most don't bother....and they disappear like popcorn.

    I also have a yummy recipe for a white bean salad....it'ss everal kinds of white beans, baby limas, canellini, navy, garbanzos and maybe light kidney beans, chopped red onion maybe cucumber, I forget in a very limey olive oil dressing with grated peel and juice, it calls for cilantro but if i don't know the crowd I use parsley. Shout if you want me to look up the recipe

    And You can't gow rong with lots of cut up fruit, melons of all sorts pineapple strawberries, kiwi...I don't use banana because then it all tastes like banana and I don't use blue berries or red cherries nor raspberries because of color bleed.

    The bean salad is the easiest.

    Anne thanked lindac92
  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    A lot of very good suggestions. I personally only eat processed foods at events like this and usually feel it after. I would never comment on others food choices , I am not their keeper. I don’t eat certain things because I know i will have issues. I dont make a big deal of it . We have someone in this group with a nut allergy and someone with Celiac. I never use nuts although the person with the allergy will just ask amd has said dont worry there is always plenty and the Celiac person brings a dish that she can eat ( and is always a hit).

    I am getting used to pot lucks outside of church. I am used to the host preparing all the food and guests bringing wine!

    Just different ways. Growing up we did potluck after church and once a year with 5 area churches....literally 100s of people all bringing a dish to the park and you never had a thought about eating the food, how times have changed!

  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Pillog, I agree with what you said but reading amylou’s comments over time i know she wasnt being offensive- I try not to take all remarks in a bubble.

  • beesneeds
    15 days ago

    Not food, but cold and fun for kids running around the park on a nice day... freezies. There are some sugar free ones out there, and some mostly juice ones for a bit healthier than just frozen sugar-water.

    Anne thanked beesneeds
  • Anne
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Bees, I used to buy the ”all fruit” for my kids and their friends, I ate as many as they did! Good idea, I am going to add that to whatever I bring, I imagine it will be hot!

  • wednesday morning
    14 days ago

    I have come to never trust a potluck, ever. You never know how clean that kitchen is or that person is. My sensibilities and awarness around this has grown as I got older. it may be a bit differnet with a smaller group and limitied group of folks who know one another, but an open ended table put out by strangers I will avoidl

    I got food poisoning from a church potluck affair.

    Of course, there are plenty of dirty restaurants, too. At least there is some accountability there.


    Anne thanked wednesday morning
  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    14 days ago

    I recently visited family and cooked for them every day. Lots of fresh salads. Then had to cancel a bbq for friends last weekend due to 3 straight day of cold rain. Similar ingredients on hand, made a few salads for the two of us this past weekend. What i would bring to a pot luck gathering...

    Lacinato kale fennel slaw...quick pickle watermelon feta salad...quick pickles for snaking,... for a crowd and my parents i added/will add blanched sweet corn cut into inch and a half coins, blanched caultiflower and broccoli florets. And other available fresh veg. Sugar snap peas were a hit with my parents.

    Obviously other offerings on my re-scheduled bbq menu like smoked salmon, ribs, pork shoulder with slider buns...

    We are not too concerned about being overly covid sanitary at this time. We are all concious about what is necessary to make our friends and family confortable. Hand sanitizer, clorox wipes and wet-ones naps. I have three sets of 7inch tongs from previous parties...i think they were around ten bucks for five. I have an outdoor sink that i know one friend who does not cook will keep up with cleaning as she always does.

    I put two same/like bowls stacked, bottom one with ice. Gallon zip-lock re-fill salads on ice in a cooler.

    Quick pickles are basic one cup vinegar, 2 cups water. I use half ac vinegar, half unsweetened rice wine vinegar. A bit of pickling spice like celery seed, etc, fresh dill...best at 4-6 hours made day of. My parents in their early 90's love the pickles especially the watermelon feta. A four yr old loved them wanting re-peat trips to the garden, "can we pickle this?, how about this?". Every guest arriaving, with her bowl, "i made pickles!".


    Anne thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • l pinkmountain
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    Eggs and dairy and meat biggest risks for food poisoning--salmonella. Listeria can actually thrive in the fridge. On the plus side, a vinegar and oil dressing would probably be ok because the vinegar would counteract any danger from the oil. Theoretically oils can harbor bacteria but that would be unusual. You'd have to put something in the oil bottle to start the contamination . . . That's why one of my "go to" potluck dishes is pasta salad using Newman's Own Zesty Italian dressing. Nothing much risky there if I use a fresh bottle. Sliders or wraps with cold cuts probably ok, most store bought sandwich meat has preservatives in it. Baked beans with a sweet and sour tomatoey sauce probably ok since it's sweet and acid. They are good hot but not bad warm or cold.

    My friend got salmonella from roasted chicken pieces purchased at a hot foods deli. Your situation is a far cry from that . . .


    I agree with GG, if you know the people and they don't have a history of poisoning people with their food, probably not that great of a risk unless the risk comes up due to the conditions of the potluck. But most folks have common sense when it comes to food safety. Not saying it couldn't happen, but knowing the folks are reliable people with common sense and experience like with your own church potluck, seems to make for potlucks to still be prudent and fun.

    Anne thanked l pinkmountain
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    14 days ago

    Marinated green beans (my BIL's recipe, Italian-ish seasonings) always were popular at the family gatherings.

    Here is an idea about the rollups w/cream cheese (try it out ahead of time to be sure it works for you): when I was in high school my mother would make cream cheese and pastrami or ham sandwiches, wrap them well and freeze them for our school lunches. By the time lunch period came around, they were defrosted but still cold and IIRC the texture of the bread and filling was fine. She might have included well-drained pickles, but I really can't recall.


    Anne thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    14 days ago

    I do appreciate when people put some effort into food for potlucks instead of doing the quickest easiest thing -not always possible I know- so I would do a cold peanut Thai salad with rice noodles and serve it on some blue ice pads that are covered with a dish towel. That way you get lots of fresh crunchy vegetables but have a composed finished dish.

    Anne thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • wildchild2x2
    14 days ago
    last modified: 14 days ago

    The risk of the food coming to the potluck contaminated is slight to non existent as far as Covid. However the risk goes up from people helping themselves and often not practicing good standards of food safety and hygiene. Children add to the risk.

    The way my group of potluckers dealt with the issue is to designate servers for the time being. They are masked and gloved unlike the rest of the attendees at the outdoor events.

    Anne thanked wildchild2x2
  • nancyjane_gardener
    14 days ago

    One thing nice about a vege tray is that people will graze. There might be some leftover, but just chop it up and freeze it for a soup later! It'll get cooked and kill anything nasty!

    Anne thanked nancyjane_gardener
  • wednesday morning
    13 days ago

    wild child, I agree that the food in not likley to be a concern as far as the covid is concerned. But, our heightened awarness of microbes is real. After so much time spend avoiding contanmination from one another, it is hard to ignore the fact that we are vulnerable in unseen ways.

    Covid is not really a food borne disease, of course and that is not really the concern here.

    I have seen any number of unsanitary homes. Some people let thier cats walk all over the countertops and tables, after scratching around in their litter boxes. I love cats and have had several of them in my life but do recognize that a cats feet have likley been scratching around in it's poopy litter before it walked across your table or countetop.

    Our private kitchen habits are not generally suitable for others.

    I am very carefull when cooking for others and take measures beyond my normal personal use. If it is just hubs and I, it matters little and I will taste from the pot. but, for others I spoon some into a plate and taste away from the cooking.


    Potlucks are not something that I would wish to share with any but those that I am closely familiar with.

    I have seen some dirty practices at restaurants, too.

    Fragile and messy food shoud be avoided, at potlucks, in my opinion.

    Anne thanked wednesday morning
  • mdln
    13 days ago

    Great thread with many recipes I want to try. @beesneeds, wonderful idea about frozen treats. I'd not thought about that even though a few summers ago, during heat wave, bought a few cases of and stocked department freezer with pop treats that were very popular with ED & EMS personnel.


    Anne thanked mdln
  • l pinkmountain
    13 days ago

    We used to have a whole bunch of flavored ice in the freezer at work. We all worked outside in the heat and they were a fabulous pick me up at break time. I wouldn't normally eat something like that, if you can call that eating, but in this case, it was a small comfort during a hot, hot summer working.

    Anne thanked l pinkmountain
  • sjerin
    13 days ago

    Clhoebud, I made your potato salad (with the addition of chicken,) for a friend about to undergo chemo. She said it was delicious! Thanks for posting the recipe.

    Anne thanked sjerin
  • wildchild2x2
    13 days ago

    wednesday morning I agree with your observations. I am very picky about what I will eat at a potluck. The more hands on prep that goes into a potluck dish the least likely I am to eat it. I am especially leery of things like pasta salads that may have gone through various temperature changes also. I also observe the practices of people when they help themselves. Seems so many forget they basic hygiene and manners once they are at the trough. It's why I am not fond of most buffets.

    Anne thanked wildchild2x2
  • chloebud
    13 days ago

    sjerin, good to know...thanks! The chicken sounds like a nice addition. I found the recipe in Bon Appetit sometime in the mid 90's and have made it many times since then.

    Anne thanked chloebud
  • beesneeds
    13 days ago

    Glad folks approve of my freezie suggestion. Quite often food to serve is in abundance, but sometimes cold drinks and treats are a bit looked over. Freezies are the best of single serve, not terribly messy for eating, and if they defrost, no leaking out. And they attract the yellow jackets less than fruit bowls and cups often can.

    For extra, tie a pair of scissors to the handles of your cooler if you can- Makes opening tubes on the spot easy.

    Other complete not food things that can be overlooked and nice for someone to bring randomly is pest control. Like a couple yellowjacket traps, mosquito lanterns. A spare couple rolls of paper towel with a big jug of potable water to rinse/wash off hands with.

    Anne thanked beesneeds
  • Anne
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    What is funny is that I will make a great dish that one of you suggested (keeping them all for my rotation, now that things are opening up we will have family and friends at least once a week) amd take a cooler of freezies (with scissors) and i bet the freezies will be the hit!

    You cant make kids fake it!

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    12 days ago

    A few years ago i started making mini ice cream sandwiches. Then added homemade popsicles. 2020 started testing freezies. All a big hit and less mess but also avoids all the etra plates and silverware that pies and cakes need. I do make sheetpan cornbread and a sheetpan fresh beery buckle that is cut into squares....just a napkin is needed.

    This is ginger, turmeric, lemon/orange juice, matcha....have gaspacho and a chocolate fudge in the freezer now. So many flavor combinations. Some for adults and plenty for kids.



    Anne thanked sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
  • colleenoz
    12 days ago

    A beery buckle, eh? That's different :-D

    Anne thanked colleenoz
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    12 days ago

    I might like that ^^ recipe, sleevendog!

    Anne thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • sushipup1
    12 days ago

    We had a friend over recently and wanted a room-temp dinner to follow a wine tasting that followed an online class. Jim grilled a marinated tri-tip that came out right before we started the wine, so it could sit and rest for 45 minutes. I had made ratatouille (Alice Waters' recipe) and a French-style potato salad early in the day. I took those out of the fridge, both are much better at room temp. When we were ready to eat, all we had to do was pop the prepped garlic bread into the toaster over.

    Anne thanked sushipup1
  • Anne
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    I think i will make an Israeli couscous and take freezies. will be making the rest for the rest of the summer

  • l pinkmountain
    12 days ago

    Obviously helps to have mature guest and/or someone watching over how people serve themselves at a potluck, or have servers. That's half the battle, keeping hands away from the food. Now, having watched this play out at my own wedding at the dessert "serve yourself" table, if you throw unsupervised or poorly supervised or just "creative" kids into the mix, well then all bets are off. Things they do: touch but don't take, take and then put pack, double dip, place a tasted but disliked item back on the table, usually not on the serving tray but sometimes, leave used cups and other items that have had mouth contact on the serving table . . . . etc., etc.

    Anne thanked l pinkmountain
  • wednesday morning
    10 days ago

    wildchild, so many buffets went away with the virus and I hope that they dont return. In my young and reckless days I used to love a good salad bar and buffet.

    Now I am much more wary of them and I dont think that I would ever want to do that again. It is not just covid that changed. My mindset changed permanently.

    Just picking up and using the same serving utensil that the general public has handled is something that I wont do anymore. Yes, one might ask how is that any different from a door handle or a grocery cart and that would be a valid question. The difference is that the handle or the cart is not in context with my plate of food.

    Who knows what the next microbe will be to threaten us and how?

    I dont think that I will ever agian feel that casual about sharing of such anymore.

    I already had been heading in that direction and the pandemic solidified the notion.

  • adellabedella_usa
    10 days ago

    There is a nice restaurant that I've visited three times since Covid. They have have a really nice salad buffet line with the sneeze guards. The first time we went back after Covid, they had gloved servers putting everything on the plates. The last two times, there is a box of disposable gloves and someone who stands and supervises people. You put on disposable gloves and serve yourself as you walk down the line. There is a trash can for glove glove disposal as you walk away. It is visibly kept very clean. I would suggest gloves for your guests if you think they will use them.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    There was a restaurant chain that featured extensive fresh salad buffets and a few hot items, all serve yourself. It was called Souplantation in SoCal and Sweet Tomatoes in NorCal. They were very busy -fresh salads are a staple here because so many are health and calorie conscious.

    The pandemic caused closure of all the locations and it was announced a few months later that the company would be entering bankruptcy and dissolving. These places will be missed.

    I have had few occasions over the years to go to potlucks but when I do, I've eaten sparingly and only food I can take out of its packaging. I'm not a germophobe, I just have no interest in thinking about other people's food preparation and handling practices or potential consequences of same. Anyone who's ever had food poisoning may understand what I'm saying. I had it once, in college, and it's something I never want to experience again.

  • l pinkmountain
    10 days ago

    I've had food poisoning twice, once from seafood at a restaurant and once from a meal at a co-op in college. I don't know what food was the culprit there but the kitchen was a mess so I should have turned down the invitation. My suspicion would be dairy since it was a vegetarian place. I know some of us sound like little fussy pants and we are, but once you have had food poisoning you will never again feel as blithe about food safety. I try to measure my caution with common sense and pragmatism. Having to take microbiology kind of helped me realize where the biggest issue and risks were. Knowing what's most likely helps. (I was a frequent hand washer before hand washing was cool . . . )


    Salad bars were a fine idea, but the thought that they could be left unattended or attended by someone not trained in food safety was not. Salad bar serving spoons and tongs have long handles to minimize hand contact with the food, but they don't minimize your contact with something lots of other people's hands contacted. BTW, when we do microbe testing in biology labs, the highest microbe levels aren't necessarily on the high human contact surfaces. The amount and rate of cleaning of those surfaces his a huge factor . . . The toilet seat is usually one of the least problematic. Oy vey back when they had a phone booth with a phone in the hallways, that receiver grew some hideous looking germs because it was almost never cleaned. Now that doesn't mean that the germs were dangerous to humans or that folks were getting sick from using those phones, so that's a factor too, how likely are you to run into a problem microbe, most are not . . . well, off to sanitize my cell phone now . . . :)

  • sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)
    10 days ago

    Yeah, i agree the salad bars and hot bars of the late 80's-90's are over. I walked into a famous one down on Wall Street a few years ago, looked around, then walked out. (self serve handles had fallen into the pans...etc) No employee help to be seen.

    The most important recent great business model in NYC is Sweetgreens. Friends and co-workers that do not cook were so thankful to have them during lockdown. They added family meals of 1/2 rosted chickens with sides. A friend would order three salad bowls and 2 1/2 chicken meals once a week and feed her family of 3 with another delivery service for staples. (TJ's every other week)


    Order on my phone and pick up just inside the door. A set menu choice or build-your-own. Seasonal local produce specials. Made to order behind a glass barrier by careful employees.

    Not a germaphode either. We have a pretty good built-in defence system to combat lots of minor troubling germs. Not so much the raw chicken skin taco in Guatemala i took a bite of before inspecting.....

  • honibaker
    8 days ago

    A couple of years ago I brought a veggie pizza to a monthly group meeting/party. I had run out of ideas for easy-to- transport and eat finger food, and assumed not everyone would like it. It was a big hit! BTW, I brought it in one of those thermal envelopes (about 15" square) I bought at the Dollar Tree for $1. (sorry I cant make the picture smaller)


    Anne thanked honibaker
  • CA Kate z9
    8 days ago

    honibaker, that looks delicious. I deffinetly want a piece of that pizza.

    Anne thanked CA Kate z9
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