Five Rules: Potluck Flashback

Here's a recipe for a perfect potluck

By Lisa Petty
|  Wednesday, May 5, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 AM CDT
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Five Rules:  Potluck Flashback

Getty Images/StockFood RR

Love a great casserole? Hate a fussy dinner party? You’re in luck, ‘cause the potluck is back!

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Love a great casserole?  Hate a fussy dinner party?  You’re in luck, ‘Cause the potluck is back!  Lifestyle expert DeeAnn McArdle of Unleash Your Inner Foodie and the folks at Seagram’s Escapes have the recipe for creating your own casual retro get-together.

After 20 years in the corporate world, McArdle followed her passion to a new career as a blogger and culinary concierge.  She knows what’s hot in the world of cooking and entertaining, and right now she’s all about the potluck.

As with any fashion flashback, however, this trend puts a few twists on the original version.  Check out McArdle’s top lucky tips below, plus a bonus cocktail recipe courtesy of Seagram’s Escapes.  Together, they add up to the perfect potluck redux.

Five Rules:  Potluck Flashback

1.  Create an experience.
When it comes to entertaining, McArdle knows, “It’s the experience that counts!”  To create a truly memorable event for your guests, she suggests starting with a unique theme.  You could take your inspiration from a country, be it Italy, France or even Morocco.  Or, if an interactive evening is more your style, guests could each bring ingredients to your potluck and demonstrate their dish.  The sky is the limit!

2.  Plan ahead.
“To be successful, a potluck requires that the host plan the menu or at least the main entrée,” our expert explains.  “[Then] either send guests a recipe to make or assign a specific dish to each guest and let them be creative.”  In other words, you’ll want to take the proper precautions as to not end up with five bowls of dip and six pies.  (Which doesn’t sound half bad, actually.)

3.  Make it easy for your guests.
Have a friend with a world-famous mashed potato recipe?  Be sure he’s assigned to the side dish category.  Have another friend who could burn water?  McArdle says give her the green light to purchase her potluck contribution.  Nobody should have to buy a book or take a class, after all – this is about having a good time.

4.  Go with your strengths.
A potluck is all about stress-free entertaining.  To keep things easy, expand rule number three to yourself and stick with a tried-and-true recipe you know inside and out.  Keeping the kitchen drama down will also allow more time for you to choose a soundtrack, light a few candles and mix a special drink (see below).

5.  Stir things up.
Finally, nothing gets a party going like a signature cocktail.  (It’s also far more economical than stocking a full bar.)  Choose something easy and delicious, like the following recipe for Sparkling Peach Lemonade.  Greet your guests with a glass of this bubbly beverage and you’re good to go!

Sparkling Peach Lemonade

One 11.2 oz. bottle Seagram’s Escapes Peach Fuzzy Navel
10 oz. Dry Sparkling Wine
6 oz. Lemonade

Combine and serve chilled in a champagne flute or goblet with a slice of lemon.

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