Frugal potluck ideas - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-18-2005, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We love potlucks, but our financial situation at the moment is very tight, so I'm trying to come up with ideas for ultra-cheap things I can make for them.

This weekend I went to two potlucks, and baked bread both days -- cost me less than $1 for each potluck, but I it was well-liked and I don't think homemade bread gives the impression of being "cheap".

Deviled eggs is another thing I can think of -- under $2 for a dozen eggs' worth of deviled eggs.

Anyone have other thoughts about really inexpensive, yet well-liked items one could bring to a potluck?

Edited to add a couple of other ideas DH and I came up with:

Crepes with homemade lemon curd
Quiche

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#2 of 13 Old 09-19-2005, 11:03 AM
 
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I have a recipe for a baked bean casserole that is well-liked and makes a good potluck dish. It uses a can of baked beans (I usually buy the vegetarian variety), celery, onions, TVP (or ground beef - not as cheap that way, and not vegetarian), and some seasonings. It's very yummy .

Oh, and a good summer dish is a bean salad. I have a good recipe for that as well.

Let me know if you'd like me to share either recipe. I don't have them in front of me now, but can put them up later.
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#3 of 13 Old 09-19-2005, 11:05 AM
 
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A pasta salad with veggies from your garden can be really cheap but delicious. I think people always appreciate homemade goodies no matter the price!
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#4 of 13 Old 09-19-2005, 07:17 PM
 
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I do not think that its being cheap at all- just mindful.
I love to bake bread and its usually well received like you said.

I think making brushetta is another frugal idea right now. Esp for us with our tomatoes piling up. You can toast the bread you made, rub some garlic on it and top with chopped tomatoes mixed w garlic, basil, and olive oil (plus salt/pepr. This usually runs about $8-15 in Restrants which really irks DH since he makes it so cheap and his is so much better.

I also make a balsamic vingr and oil tomato salad. You can add onion and/or cucumbers to it. It usually goes very fast at my parties.

I see on catering menus baked mosscholi or rigatoni. It can run anywhere from $10-50. Again that is totally outrageous. Buy the pasta on special as low as $1 a box. A 1/4 lb of ricotta cheese, a bit of shredded zella and homemade sauce. The most this has ever cost me to make was $5 and the cheapest $2. I boil two boxes of pasta. Drain and then put in a 9x11 baking pan. Add sauce, ricotta(add an egg, a bit of milk and salt/pepper to riccotta and mix) top w cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes on 400. It again goes quickly. I have made 2 and served it to a crowd of 35. (my immediate family)

Dessert- Jello, choco chip cookies, and coffee that DH roasted and grinded himself always go over big.

Making a garlic bread from your homade bread would also be good.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#5 of 13 Old 09-20-2005, 10:44 AM
 
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For potlucks, I always get asked to bring bread. People really prefer homemade bread to store bought and if the same people are at the potlucks you go to and you do not bring homemade bread, you will probably hear about it

If you wish to do something different, a simple green salad is also a winner. Another thing that I have had people look forward to. A head of lettuce, homemade croutons, and a sprinkle of parmesan.
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#6 of 13 Old 09-20-2005, 01:15 PM
 
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A lot of salads can be cheep. Especialy if you have a garden. Potato salad, pasta salad, gree salad...my favorite right now that i have brought to a few potlucks and that has gone over well is taboli (sp) it's mostly bulger wheat with parsly, tomato cuccumber. Another is pasta salad with salmon and oranges. I toss the pasta with chunks of canned or leftover BBQ salmon, orange pieces, salad greens (whatever you have on hand) and a dressing of orange juice consentrate and mayo with a bit of basil and garlic. It's about 3$ for a big bowl of it and it goes over well and seems fancy.

Deserts can be cheep to. fresh, in season berries with sour cream and brown sugar, banana bread, apple pie (use baking apples they have blemishes but they are cheeper and you can cut off the bad bits no one will know)...

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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#7 of 13 Old 09-20-2005, 02:39 PM
 
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one thing I forgot- fruit salad. Its always gone when I take the bowl- usually the kids get to it first (all the ages of kids I should add). But any in season fresh fruit will do.

Also a plate of chedder slices/sticks, grapes, and some crackers is another kid favorite.

I have also made homemade mac n cheese. It can be as cheap or expensive as you want it. Cook ahead in the Crock Pot and bring like it is.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#8 of 13 Old 09-25-2005, 06:43 PM
 
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In the summer months I have brought a big bowl of whatever fruit is in season and it's always well received. Like, a bowl of cherries or even a bowl of apples. The kids usually dive in.

It's cost effective and tasteful to bring a simple dish of whatever is in season. In my experience, things like that usually more popular than elaborate casseroles! One thing that comes to mind is once I brought a dish of roasted quartered baby potatoes, garlic, olive oil, onions and green beans seasoned with salt and pepper. It was a huge pan that cost only a couple of dollars and a trip to the farmer's market.

Along the same lines as bread - monkey bread/pull-apart bread is good and just a slight bit more work and ingredients. (You take bread dough and roll it into small balls, dip it in melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar. You put all the sugared balls of dough into a bundt pan and bake. When it's done you can pull it apart and it's very cinnamony and sweet.)

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#9 of 13 Old 09-26-2005, 12:14 PM
 
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I make something we call ramen slaw, but you might want to glam up the name a bit (asian slaw ?) - shredded cabbage and green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and asian-inspired vinegarette (oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, a little bit of dark sesame oil). You add a flavor packet from Oriental Ramen to the vinegarette, then crumble the uncooked ramen noodles with the veggies - the dressing softens them up, but they still have a bit of crunch. If you have some sliced almonds or sunflower seeds, toss those in too. It's remarkably good, really easy and always a big hit.
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#10 of 13 Old 12-10-2008, 02:20 AM
 
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I was google-ing potluck ideas for upcoming potlucks at work and I had come across this post. I am a recent culinary graduate and there is one dish i love making. I had just made this dish for my sorority Thanksgiving Dinner. There were about 50 people there. It's a simple pasta dish and can be altered depending on your budget and taste preference. I made a Vegetarian tomato basil pasta and it came out to cost less than $10.00

$2.00 your choice of pasta (i usually buy what's on sale and i've learned
that 2 packages goes a long way)
$2.00 2 can's of canned tomatoes (i love using the trader joes tomato basil
brand)
$3.00 carrots, onions, garlic, celery
$2.50 fresh basil leaves
white wine or an liquors (it really depends on what i have in my pantry)
optional-
meats (italian sausage, ground beef)
Cheeses (usually for garnish)

Recipe for Tomato Basil Sauce.
1. Sweat carrots onions, garlic, celery in oil. 2. deglaze pot with choice of liquor and reduce until almost all liquids evaporated 3. Add canned tomatoes Simmer and reduce. 4. Chop some fresh basil and add to sauce. (reserve a few leaves to chiffonade (cut into strips) it adds to the presentation.
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#11 of 13 Old 12-10-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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another idea if you don't have all that time to make a sauce is Teriyaki Chicken. For around $1.50/lb.

Chicken
Soy Sauce (your choice)
garlic, ginger, onions
Brown Sugar

1. marinate (preferably overnight). 2. Bake in Oven until done. (or my favorite...grill the meats)

What's good about this is you can use this sauce for any marinade, fried rice, fried noodles, or just sauce. Just make in bulk Bring all ingredients to a boil just enough for the sugar to dissolve. Strain and leave in squeeze bottles in the fridge.
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#12 of 13 Old 12-11-2008, 02:44 AM
 
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I like to bake a cake. Homemade pound cake usually goes over very well. Pasta salads and veggie salads are great too.

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#13 of 13 Old 12-11-2008, 03:50 AM
 
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A rice dish? Sometimes a few handfuls of rice, some spices and some frozen veggies make a good dish. Just stick it all in the microwave/slow cooker/pressure cooker/stove top until it's cooked.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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