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Tag Archives: potluck

Smoky Baked Beans

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Summertime is packed with barbecues and picnics, and I like to have an arsenal of crowd-pleasing recipes to bring.  With Independence Day approaching, I thought I’d share one of my new favorites!  I like to bring something that’s either OK at room temperature (because it’s hard to keep cold dishes cold), or something that can hang out in the crock pot without getting overcooked.  Baked beans go great with any outdoor summer meal and these were a hit at our Mother’s Day picnic. I would definitely make these again, even as a summer meal in itself!

Smoky Baked Beans

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1 lb. bulk spicy pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (31 oz) can pork and beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1 (16 oz) can butter beans
1 (16 oz) can white beans (such as Navy, Northern or Canellini)
1 (10 oz) can tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)
1/2 cup hickory-smoke flavored BBQ sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Brown sausage with onion in large skillet. Drain fat. Place in large slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 4-8 hours.

Recipe source: Our Eating Habits

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Tangy Pasta Salad

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This was the first recipe I ever pinned from Gina’s blog, At Home My Way, and that was years ago.  I’m so glad I finally got around to making it because it’s mega delicious, easy, and perfect for summer potlucks!  I’ve already made it for two of them in as many weeks and might have traded a few meals to enjoy an extra big bowl of it. LOL!  It’s really good stuff – not the typical dressing with oil or mayo (which means it won’t go bad in the heat!), but nice and tangy and fresh.  Love it!

Tangy Pasta Salad

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1 (16 oz) package tricolor spiral pasta
1 medium red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
1 medium green pepper (or red or yellow or orange, or some of each!)
1/2 red or white (sweet) onion, finely sliced and the rings cut into 1/4ths

Dressing
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook the pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch. Add to a large bowl along with remaining salad ingredients.

In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar, ground mustard, salt, and garlic powder. Mix in the vinegar and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, 2-5 minutes. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2-6 hours; serve cold with a slotted spoon.

Veronica’s notes: you can use a smaller package of pasta – I used both 12 and 14 oz packages and both salads turned out fine. Unfortunately the leftovers aren’t great so this is best eaten between 2-6 hours after making it. The pasta is fine the next day, but something happens to the vegetables and they just aren’t’ as good – the salt probably draws a lot of water out of them, and they just don’t seem as fresh or tasty.

Recipe source: At Home My Way

Neiman Marcus Dip

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I was perusing Minda’s Cooking after a long hiatus and I pinned everything I saw and then made it within a week.  OK, so it was three things, but that’s kind of epic for me. I pin tons of things (seriously, I’m almost at 8,000 pins), but rarely make them, let alone all at once. Minda’s blog was speaking my language, though.  First it was the  Frito Salad. Then it was this dip.  Then it was the Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing. Bring on the easy-to-make comfort food.

OK so we’ve already established that dip is my thing.  Dip is like majorly my thing.  If dip were a man, I would marry him and then eat all our dip babies. OK, maybe that’s going a little too far, but not by much.  And this dip is so, so good.  Totally meets my dip standards because it’s fat, plus more fat, plus some more x 2, with onions, which means it’s delicious. Can’t go wrong with quadruple fat plus onions.

All kidding aside, this dip is some serious goodness.  It’s creamy, crunchety, bacony goodness.  Make it, and you’ll be a superstar at your next potluck, game day, or to yourself as you spend some quality alone-time with it.

Neiman Marcus Dip

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5-6 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
1 (8 oz) package cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (3 oz) package real bacon bits
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted & cooled completely
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Stir all ingredients together well in a mixing bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe source: Minda’s Cooking

Frito Salad

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I have an internal maniacal laugh every time I say or even think, “Frito Salad.” Saying the words “Frito” and “Salad” in the same recipe title just makes me giddy with hilarity. Reminds me of one of my favorite eCards…

This “salad” is basically my two favorite things combined. Chips and dip (and one of my all-time favorite dips at that). And it’s called a salad. WINNING! :D  To be fair, it’s a little healthier than regular chips and dip because of all the corn (and some peppers & and onion), but let’s just get honest here.  This ain’t my Momma’s kinda salad.  But it sure is mine. >:)

This salad is downright delicious and would be great to bring to any potluck you might be attending in the near or distant future. I know I will be!

Frito Salad

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3 (14.5 oz) cans of whole kernel corn, drained
1 green pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced
1 cup (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1 (9.25 oz) bag of Chili Cheese Fritos

Stir the corn, green pepper, onion, cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, mix in Fritos, reserving a handful to lay on top as a garnish. Serve immediately.

Veronica’s Notes: The original recipe called for red pepper along with the green, so feel free to sub in half of the green for red to make it prettier. Also, if you know you will have leftovers, add the chips to the individual servings rather than all at once, because the chips will get soggy and gross.

Recipe source: adapted from Minda’s Cooking

German Baked Beans For a Crowd


~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Last Saturday was our 37th annual Davis Family Pig Roast.  (My maiden name is Davis, FYI.)  This family reunion was started four years before I was born, and now the responsibilities have been passed on to the next generation and I’m on the planning committee and have been in charge of creating & sending the invitations for the last five years.

The remaining Davis siblings (RIP Jimmy, Doris, and Mary): Margie, Nadene, Donnie (the one who started the pig roast), Ruby, and my Dad, Jon.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The younger generation that runs the roast nowadays.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

The pig roast is an all day affair, starting early in the morning when a few good men get up at the crack of dawn to put the pig (prepped the night before) on our custom roaster, and it doesn’t end until well after dark, with everyone gathering around a bonfire to drink, chat, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

We spend the day mostly talking, though there are things you can entertain yourself with, such as Bingo, swimming in the lake, bike riding, or walking.  The main event however, is the afternoon meal, which we eat when the pig is done.

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

Dennis leads us in a prayer before the meal, and then it’s on.  Well, after you stand in a really long line, then it’s on. :)

~Photo by Jessica Rose~

First we go inside where all the sides that family have brought are lined up on tables…

Then we go outside to the table where the meat has been cut up and laid out, along with garlic bread.

Then we go back inside (or take a chair outside) to chow down.

Some people bring the same thing every year, and I love that because it gives you something to look forward to.  Like Aunt Ruby’s Garlic Salad.  It just wouldn’t be the Pig Roast without her garlic salad (which she actually doesn’t even  make herself any more, her son Tyson does it for her!).   Then there’s people like me, who make something different every year.  This year I decided to bring a big crockpot full of German Baked Beans, which I found the recipe for on The Better Baker’s blog.  I knew when she posted it that it’d be perfect for our reunion, and I was right.  It was devoured!

Dennis said he could taste the saurkraut (and liked it), but if I hadn’t made it and couldn’t see it in there, I would have had no clue.  These beans are sweet and so good with the onion and sausage in them, but if you’d like more sass to them, you can try skipping the rinsing on the saurkraut and that might give them a bit of a zip.  This is how I made them in the crockpot for a crowd.  If you’d like the oven-baked, regular-sized recipe, you can click the link to Marsha’s blog at the end.

German Baked Beans For a Crowd

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2 (15 oz) cans pork and beans
2 (15 oz) cans baked beans
2 (14 oz) cans sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 (14 oz) package kielbasa sausage, sliced & quartered

Combine all ingredients in a 6 quart crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours, removing the cover during the last hour to let some of the liquid evaporate if desired.

Alternately, you can halve this recipe for a smaller crowd and bake it in the oven. To do this, preheat oven to 400F and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish, coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake uncovered for 1 – 1-1/2 hours.

Recipe source: The Better Baker

I just love my family!

KFC Coleslaw

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I put random photos throughout the introduction that have nothing to do with anything except the happenings in my life. Hover over for a brief description

I haven’t been blogging much and at first that was really nice, deciding not to blog when all I wanted to do was sleep, clean, spend time with the hubs, play Wii with my nephew, go to the lake with my family, etc.  It was very freeing, recognizing that it was my choice.  But last week, though I didn’t post at all, I really missed it!

I finally got a “permanent” schedule at work (“permanent” because it is still subject to change, based on the demands of the PO), 2:30-11 PM M-F with weekends off (praise God for that!) and I’m trying to go to bed right after getting home each night so that it won’t be as hard to get up early on Sunday mornings for worship.  So that was the main reason I held off blogging, because my intentions were good, to go to bed early, but then I’d get caught up in email/Facebook/Pinterest and I still ended up staying up till 3-4 AM each day, making it also impossible to blog in the morning since I slept through it.  And yes, Sunday was a very tired day for me, as always. Week 1 of trying to go to bed early: FAIL.

So I still don’t know how regular I”m going to be while I’m trying to get on a schedule that will allow me to get up at 8 AM each day with 8 hours sleep, but ultimately my posting time will likely start to be in the late morning/early afternoon as I switch from scheduling my posts for 8 AM the night before, to publishing after typing them each day before work.

Anyway, I’m happy to share something with you today and sorry for the rambling personal introduction that has nothing to do with coleslaw!  Oh wait!  If you can wait one more second, I have something else to share.  When I came home from work after a really bad day almost two weeks ago, I found a package waiting for me on the kitchen table.  It was the kitchen tile I won from Kudos Kitchen by Renee!  It was the happy ending I really needed that day.

She painted it from this image I sent her that I found on Pinterest:

I was pretty demanding for someone who won something (i.e. got it for free!), asking if she could make the colors a deeper red, green and blue to match the colors in my kitchen, and I even went so far as to ask her to change the font to a fancier one.  She didn’t complain at all and I’m totally thrilled with the tile and with Renee.  If you want to check out her work, visit her Etsy shop here.

Thanks for putting up with me today–it’s hard trying to write a short blog when you’ve been silent for so long!  Onto the coleslaw.  Finally!

I’m not a huge coleslaw fan, but I have always liked KFC’s coleslaw.  Have you met my sweet teeth?  (I usually claim they’re all sweet, but a few of my molars are actually partial to savory foods. ;))  Yeah, I think they enjoy the sweetness to it.  So when I volunteered to bring the coleslaw to our family’s July 4th celebration, I searched for a KFC copycat recipe and found one on Amanda’s Cookin’.  I was pretty stoked to find it there, because I already follow Amanda’s blog and have much love for her since she started the Secret Recipe Club, which I enjoy participating in every month.

This coleslaw is just like KFC coleslaw!  So good!  And if you have a food processor, man, this comes together in 10 minutes or less.  Even easier, you could just buy that bagged coleslaw mix and use the dressing on it.  Either way, this is a winner and my family raved over it.  Dennis and I ate an entire batch of it last week, so you know we love it too.

KFC Copycat Coleslaw

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Slaw
1 head of cabbage
2 medium carrots, peeled (about 1/2 cup shredded)
2 tablespoons dried minced onion

Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Chop cabbage into chunks, discarding the core, and run through your food processor using the shredding blade, or chop fine.  Empty into a large bowl.  Chop the stems off the carrots and shred them too, then add to the cabbage along with the minced onion.  Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl, whisk well, and pour over the slaw.  Stir well, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving to allow the flavors to marry.  Serve cold.

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Amanda’s Cookin’

Margarita Cake {Alcohol-Free}

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I got one of my favorite cake recipes, for Zesty Lemon Pound Cakes, from the back of the cardboard label that came on a Wilton pan.  So when I bought a Wilton bundt pan and found a recipe for Margarita Cake on the back, I saved it in hopes that it would be equally delightful.  Three years later, I finally got around to trying it!

This cake uses a mix, so I apologize to those who are averse to cake mixes.  If you have been following my blog for very long, you know I prefer cakes that start with a mix for not only the ease, but the flavor & texture.  (I make no apologies for my unrefined ways.)  As is the case with many doctored cake mix cakes, you can not tell it started with a mix.  The margarita mix, along with the lime zest in the cake and glaze, gives it a nice lime flavor, and the texture is incredible.  The only thing I’ve ever had that is similar to it is a sour cream angel food cake, managing to be both airy and a little dense all at the same time.  Honestly, the texture delighted me so much that I ate a second piece that I really didn’t need, just to feel it in my mouth a little bit longer.

Margarita Cake

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1 package (18.25 oz) white cake mix
1 can (10 oz) frozen margarita mix, thawed and undiluted
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped lime zest, divided
1 cup confectioners sugar
Lime juice, as desired
Coarse sugar for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside. In large bowl, combine cake mix, thawed margarita mix, eggs and oil. Beat at medium speed two minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the lime zest. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes; invert onto cooling rack, remove from pan, and cool completely. In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon lime zest and enough lime juice to make a glaze; drizzle over cake. If desired, sprinkle the top of the cake with coarse sugar to resemble salt.

Makes 10-12 servings

Recipe source: Wilton

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