Perfect Potluck Dishes for a Festive Feast

It's eating season, you're allowed!

by Parents and Kids | Tue, December 12, 2017

By Connor Bell

‘Tis the season to eat, by golly! The holidays are here, and that means one thing, and one thing only... parties, parties, parties and, you guessed it, more parties. Christmas parties, school parties, going away parties, boxing day parties, New Year's Eve parties and more, and you know what comes with all those gatherings? Food. Yup, toss out your fitness goals, scrap the diet, and buy some elastic waist pants as you will undoubtedly be eating more in these next two months than the rest of the year combined.

Not only will we be eating a ton of food presented on gold-leaf serving platters, scarfing down multiple servings of turkey with stuffing and helping ourselves to more than one holiday pie, but more often than not, we will be cooking lots of these dishes ourselves! If you’re looking for some delicious and easy things to cook for one of the many potluck dinners you’ll be attending, we’ve got you covered. Check out a few fantastic recipes for this holiday season!

Sweet Potato Mash with Goat Cheese ‘Mallows’

This dish is perfectly laced with garlic and rosemary which are a wonderful addition to the sweet potato. Topped with pecans and delectable goat cheese, this easy casserole dish will have your friends coming back for more of this nod to the traditional holiday staple.

What you’ll need:

• 4 sweet potatoes

• 1/4 cup butter

• 1 large or 2 medium sprigs fresh rosemary

• 3 large garlic cloves, halved

• 1/3 cup heavy cream

• Kosher salt

• 1/3 cup chopped pecans

• 4 oz goat cheese

• Black pepper

What next:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork; arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until tender (about one hour) and cool for 30 minutes. Halve each potato and scoop flesh into a medium bowl. Discard skins. Mash sweet potato pulp with a potato masher or fork until quite smooth.

2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add rosemary and garlic; cook until butter just begins to turn golden. Discard rosemary and garlic. Add butter and cream to sweet potatoes; stir to combine. Season mixture with kosher salt and pepper.

3. Spread potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Top with chopped pecans and small pieces of goat cheese. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is lightly golden (about 25 minutes).

Maple Butternut Puree

Butternut Squash

What you’ll need:

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1 large butternut squash (2 1/2 - 3 pounds)

• 3 tbsp butter, softened

• 3 tbsp maple syrup

• 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

• 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted

What next:

1. Brush a 15x10x1-inch baking sheet with the olive oil. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash cut sides down in pan. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 190°C (375°F) until very tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine butter, 3 tablespoons syrup, thyme, salt, and nutmeg. When squash is cool enough to handle use a spoon to scrape flesh from skin into bowl with butter mixture.

3. In batches, puree mixture in a food processor or blender until smooth.

4. Transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with a little additional maple syrup, if desired.

The puree can be kept warm in a heavy covered saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, or covered and refrigerated for up to one day and reheated over medium-low heat in a covered heavy saucepan. Stir occasionally.

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

This cheesy potato layered side dish is always a hit at festive parties.

What you’ll need:

• 2 tbsp butter

• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 1 cup whipping cream

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices

• Snipped fresh chives (optional)

What next:

1. In a small saucepan, melt two tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in our, salt and pepper. Add whipping cream all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese (mixture will be thick).

2. Arrange half the potatoes in overlapping slices along the bottom of a buttered 2-quart shallow casserole or baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the potatoes. Repeat potato and sauce layers.

3. Bake, covered, for 40 minutes at 160°C (325°F). Uncover and bake for 25 to 35 minutes more, until edges are brown and potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. If desired, sprinkle with snipped chives before serving.

Cheese Ball "Ornament" Bites

What you’ll need:

• 12 oz cream cheese, softened

• 1 cup shredded cheddar

• 1 tsp garlic powder

• 1 tsp paprika

• Kosher salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 8 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped

• 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives

• 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

• 18 pretzel sticks

What next:

1. Mix together cream cheese, cheddar, garlic powder, and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Form into 18 small balls and refrigerate until firm (about one hour).

2. In a shallow bowl or on a plate, stir together cooked bacon, chives, and pecans.

3. Roll balls in bacon-chive-pecan mixture and insert a pretzel stick in each ball.

4. Serve. (If not serving right away, loosely cover with plastic wrap and return to fridge. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.)