10 Tips for a Perfect Potluck

1. When I fix hot dishes for potlucks, I use foil pans and lids. Then I wrap each pan in

1. When I fix hot dishes for potlucks, I use foil pans and lids. Then I wrap each pan in a thick layer of newspaper, like a gift package, sealing it with tape. This makes for easy transporting, food that arrives hot, and no need to worry about losing a good pan.
Patricia M., Chesapeake, Virginia

2. To fix an extra-large batch of potato salad, I first mix all of the ingredients except the potatoes into the dressing. Then I stir a third of the potatoes with a third of the dressing and transfer that portion to a serving bowl. Repeat until all potatoes are coated. The potato slices stay intact, since they’re not overmixed.
Jessie S., Santa Barbara, California

3. When I’m in a rush to fix a cold salad for a gathering, I add several ice cubes to the noodles in the colander after draining them. I gently stir until the ice is melted and the noodles are chilled and ready to use.
Joan G., Morgantown, West Virginia

4. A cooled pan of brownies or bars can be ready to serve in short order by making slices with a pizza cutter instead of a knife.
Gloria K., Redwood City, California

5. Don’t discard the empty plastic cups from snack-size yogurt and pudding. Wash them, fill with punch, and freeze. Later, use these large ice cubes to chill a punch. They last longer than standard-sized cubes and don’t dilute your beverage.
Dorothy S., El Dorado, Arkansas

6. I’ve found that mayonnaise-based pasta and potato salads take on a lovely rosy tone when I stir in a bit of beet juice.
Shirley E., Genoa, Nebraska

7. Before covering a frosted cake or cupcakes to take to a gathering, I coat the plastic wrap with a light layer of vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray. My frosting arrives intact.
Hazel G., Spring Hill, Florida

8. In addition to parsley, any fresh herb sprigs from your garden can be eye-catching and fragrant garnishes for meats, pasta, fruit, and sandwich platters for a gathering.
Barbara R., Klamath Falls, Oregon

9. When I share a potluck dish that has salsa, a dip, or a sauce on the side, I provide paper or foil muffin cups. That way, folks can put the condiment into the cup so it doesn’t run all over the plate.
Rachael M., Norwich, Connecticut

10. For perfect potato salad, I bake (rather than boil) the potatoes. Once cooled, they slice well and are never mushy or crumbly. I get lots of compliments on my salad.
Holly S., Hinckley, Minnesota

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest