Check out these potluck pointers for the holiday season.

Cooking Light
August 14, 2008

If you're heading to someone else's house for a holiday meal,you'll likely bring along food. Here are strategies to ensure thefood arrives at the host's home looking good and tastingterrific.

1. Read the recipe thoroughly to identify the best way toprepare a dish to go. For example, if a dish needs to broil duringthe last five minutes to melt a cheese topping, save that step todo at the host's house. If it's a new recipe, it's also a good ideato practice preparing the dish before the party.

2. Dishes that can be served at room temperature are idealcandidates. That way, your dish doesn't take up oven orrefrigerator space at the host's home.

3. Soups and stews are crowd-pleasers, and you can tote themin a slow-cooker-just plug it in when you arrive. There's anadvantage for the host, too: no need to warm your dish in themicrowave or on the stove.

4. If a dish requires an oven, refrigerator, or freezer, letthe host know ahead of time. You may want to drop off the dishearlier in the day so the host doesn't have to juggle to make spacefor it during the party.

5. Use disposable bake-and-serve containers with lids forcasseroles and sheet cakes. Tote a frosted layer cake in aninexpensive cake saver that you can leave behind. Or choose arecipe that's easy to take along, such as the SmokedSalmon Knishes, which you can pop into a zip-top plastic bag.The host doesn't have to worry about cleaning and returning dishesto you.

6. Make a gift of a serving dish and utensils. For example,bring the Cauliflowerand Green Onion Mash or Honey-GlazedCarrots in a pretty (but inexpensive) bowl with a servingspoon, and leave the bowl and spoon as a gift for the host.

7. For dishes with several elements, package the different components separately. For example,pack salad greens and croutons in separate plastic bags, and storethe dressing in a jar; toss everything together when you're readyto serve.

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