Summer is here!!! I love the sun and warm temperatures. It’s a great time to enjoy gatherings of family, friends and neighbors. An easy way to entertain is to organize a potluck meal. Going to parks and other locations makes it easy as no one has to feel obligated to clean their house. Having a gathering at a park is simple and easy, plus you don’t have to limit the number of guests as usually picnic tables are plentiful. Check first before planning your party as some picnic grounds and shelters have to be reserved in advance.
You can assign or ask your guests what they would like to bring. These choices can include a main dish, vegetable, dessert, salad, or paper plates/silverware/napkins. Make sure you have enough food in each category to feed the number of guests you have invited. I usually ask my guests to bring their own beverage. It’s too crazy to provide all the different types of beverages that people like. That being said I usually supply bottled water.
Start your 4th of July and the rest of your summer celebrations with some of my favorite potluck recipes and some new ones I have created. They are easy to make and don’t require too much of your time to prepare. The boneless ribs could be made 2 or 3 days in advance. The desserts only take a few minutes to assemble, yet look like a pastry chef made them. Watermelon Wedges are fun, easy and all ages enjoy them. The corn niblets are a twist on Mexican Sweet corn with an added kick. If you are having a small gathering you can greet your guests with a ‘Blue Okoboji Splash’ beverage.
When hosting some of your social functions this summer, try the potluck option. It is so much easier on the hostess, plus it gives guests the opportunity to share some of their favorite dishes with others.
Blue Okoboji Splash
9 oz UV Blue Raspberry Vodka, Chilled
9 oz Coconut Rum, Chilled
48 oz 7-Up or Mountain Dew, Chilled
- Stir vodka, rum (I recommend Captain Morgan or Parrot Bay), and soda together in a pitcher.
- Pour “Splash” mixture into glasses and add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed ice.
- Make a toast and enjoy the Independence Day celebrations.
Grill N' Bake Boneless Ribs
5-6 lb Boneless Pork Ribs
2 C Your favorite BBQ sauce
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Salt to taste
- Grill ribs on high heat just long enough so that black grill markings show; about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
- Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place ribs in pan and sprinkle on salt, pepper, garlic salt. Drizzle 1 cup BBQ sauce on top of ribs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
- Drizzle on the other cup of BBQ sauce and return the ribs to the oven uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Serve!
Easy Elegant Potatoes
1 lb Red Potatoes
2 lbs Russet Potatoes
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 Medium Onion, Thickly Sliced
8 oz Canned Sliced Mushrooms, Drained
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Yellow Pepper
1/4 C Butter
1/4 C Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper and Salt to taste
1 1/2 C Medium Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Knorr Hollandaise Sauce Mix Packet
- Spray medium size casserole dish with PAM.
- Scrub potatoes and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place in large bowl.
- Add thickly sliced onions, drained sliced mushrooms, green/red/yellow chopped peppers, 1/4 C butter cut into thin slices, 1/4 C olive oil and salt/pepper and toss together. Pour into greased casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until potatoes are tender; NOT MUSHY!
- Remove foil and gently stir in cheese. Return to oven uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Prepare hollandaise sauce mix according to package directions.
- Drizzle sauce on potatoes and serve hot or at room temperature.
You can use any assortment of potatoes that you like making sure the total amount of potatoes equals 5 pounds. Other additions may include crisp bacon, jalapeño peppers, artichokes, etc.
Strawberry Doughnut Cakes
6 Glazed or Cruller Doughnuts
4-5 C Sliced Strawberry
6-18 Whole Strawberries Sugar or Reduced Calorie Sweetener to Taste
16 oz Cool Whip, Thawed
- Slice doughnuts horizontally in half.
- Put Cool Whip in a one quart plastic bag with attached decorating tip. Squeeze a generous portion of Cool Whip on top of the bottom half of the doughnut.
- Gently place approximately 3/4 cups of sweetened sliced strawberries on each Cool Whip covered doughnut bottom.
- Squeeze a small amount of Cool Whip in the center of the strawberries. Gently place the hole of the top doughnut over the Cool Whip Center.
- Garnish with whole fresh strawberries.
4 Ears Sweet Corn
1/4-1/2 C Olive Oil
2 t Sweet Spanish Paprika
1 t Onion Salt
1 t Cumin
2 t Chili Powder
- Cut uncooked corn length-wise in half. (I found it easiest to stand the corn upright with the pointed end up for this first cut.)
- Then cut in thirds having the corn lying cut side down. (You will have a total of 6 lengthwise pieces per ear of corn.) Repeat for remaining 3 ears of corn.
- Toss corn in a large bowl with the olive oil.
- Set each piece of corn cut side down on a baking dish. Sprinkle the kernel side of the corn pieces with the spices.
- Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Serve as appetizers or as a side dish.
- If desired, you could make a dip for these Corn Niblets!
Indoor Triple Chocolate S'mores
4 Chocolate Graham Crackers
4 Plain Hershey Candy Bars
4 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
2 C Mini Marshmallows
- Gently break graham crackers and candy bars in half. (Scoring each graham cracker with a knife before breaking helps the cracker break evenly.)
- On a baking sheet line up the eight crackers.
- Layer as follows: 1/2 graham cracker, 1/2 candy bar, 1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, 4-5 miniature marshmallows.
- Cook on broil for 10-15 seconds. Watch carefully as you want the chocolate just soft enough so the ingredients stick together, and the marshmallows are a very light toasty brown. Immediately remove from oven and let cool.
- If you like a more burnt type marshmallow slightly scorch the marshmallows with a kitchen torch.
- Cooled S’mores can be stored in an air tight container for 3 days.
1/2 Seedless Round Watermelon
Cherries, Raspberries, Kiwi, and Blueberries
- Cut watermelon into two inch thick slices.
- With the slices laying flat on a cutting board cut each slice in half. Then cut each half into thirds. (You will have a total of 6 pie/triangle pieces per slice.) Place these shapes on a serving platter.
- Wash an assortment of fresh fruit. Arrange fruit such as cherries, raspberries, sliced kiwi and blueberries on top of each watermelon slice.
- If you are taking the Watermelon Wedges to a potluck I recommend not arranging the assorted fruit until you reach the location of the gathering.
- Other fruits that work well are sliced peaches, orange segments, strawberries, mangos or pineapple.