pot·luck; noun (source: google.com)
used in reference to a situation in which one must take a chance that whatever is available will prove to be good or acceptable.
a meal or party to which each of the guests contributes a dish.
About once a year I will be invited to a potluck meal that's not Thanksgiving or Christmas. This style of gathering doesn't seem to be as popular today as it was when our parents, now grandparents, and our grandparents, now great-grandparents, were just parents. My gut tells me this is because my generation is not known for their A+ Home Economics skills. I KNOW there are some domestic goddesses out there, but if I look at myself and my friends as a sample, I can see a distinct upward trend of catered affairs or restaurant reservations. Even when the occasional potluck pops up on my calendar, the ratio of store-bought to homemade dish laid out on the buffet line is approximately 4:1.
My time in the kitchen has been filled with trials, tribulations, and outright disasters. I blame Pinterest and my mom, but mostly Pinterest because my mom is awesome and she will read this. Pinterest was very new when I took on the cooking responsibilities in our household. I filled up my boards with recipes that were too ambitious setting my novice self up for disaster. In the early days of my domestic relationship with my boyfriend-turned-husband, I would say the task of preparing meals was split 50/50, but I was lying. Honestly, J did more than his fair share - I started the meal; he finished it before I had a meltdown. Life shifted, we adjusted, I'm thrust back into the kitchen. Because I didn't gain much experience in the kitchen during my adolescence, I turned to Pinterest for instruction and guidance resulting in hundreds of phone calls to my mom for translation, reassurance, or just plain whining.
Now, I'm proud to say that I have collected a small, but satisfying repertoire of go-to dishes, and my mom receives more calls of triumphant than tears. My only potluck style recipe that is not a dessert (I've turned into a pretty good baker, actually) was shared by my fantastic mother-in-law. It is super easy and delicious. In fact, it is one of two pasta salads that I will eat. The other one is store bought from Eatzi's. Generally, I prefer my pasta served warm as a main and not a side.
Let's start an old-fashioned recipe exchange using this modern platform! Share your favorite potluck recipe in the comments below. Here's mine:
Potluck Penne Pasta Salad
Fills one large serving bowl. (Note: I usually double the recipe when entertaining at my home because it is a friends and family favorite!)
1 Box of Penne Pasta or 1 Large Bag
1 Package of Feta Cheese crumbles
1 Package of Grape Tomatoes
For the Dressing:
1⁄2 Cup Olive Oil
4 T. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1⁄2 Cup Fresh Basil, leaves torn by hand
Oregano, Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare penne pasta al dente. Put dressing ingredients in blender and mix well. I like to use an immersion blender. Pour dressing over cooked pasta and toss for even coating. Cover and chill. When you are ready to serve, mix in feta cheese and tomatoes. Give it a good toss to reincorporate dressing that may have settled on the bottom.
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