Potluck protocol and recipes

My friend the Deputyheadmistress is hosting a linky for Potluck Saturday.  Here I am a day late and a recipe short, but the linky is open for 4 more days so we still have time.

I couldn’t help but giggle just a little at her request that recipes be large enough to feed at least 8, since that wouldn’t even go once around our table, but she is in the same boat so I know she won’t take exception at my snickering.  When we cook for potlucks, we generally aim for 15-20 servings.

We love potlucks and have hosted them nearly weekly for years.  Our church also has a potluck meal after the worship service every week.  We love the additional fellowship and I believe our church body is exceptionally close because of this tradition.

Since there is often some confusion about how much to bring or how many dishes, let me just share my own rule of thumb: regardless of how many dishes we bring, we try to bring enough food so that our entire family could make a meal of it and still have leftovers.

This means that if we’re only bringing a main dish or a vegetable or a dessert, we need to bring enough that our family could fill up on nothing but our main dish or creamed corn or dessert and still have some left to share.  If we bring 2 or 3 dishes, we will bring quantities closer to what we normally prepare at home since that would be enough for us to fill up and still have leftovers.

We also try to bring “normal” foods.  These are not necessarily common foods, but are foods that we think will have wide appeal.  Potluck is not the time to try out your new Lebanese casserole.  We find that Mexican food goes over very well and we love it, so it’s very nearly a staple for us at potlucks.   Mexican casserole, taco salad, and enchiladas all go over well.  Last Sunday, we took the electric griddle and Deanna cooked fresh hot bean-and-cheese quesadillas.  She was everyone’s hero.  🙂

Creamed Corn (20 servings)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk (heavy cream or half & half is better, but we rarely have these on hand)
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 6 cans corn, drained
  • salt and pepper to taste

First make a thick white sauce: melt butter over medium heat in a 4 quart saucepan.  Stir in flour to form a thick paste.  Cook and stir briefly to ensure that all flour is thoroughly moistened.  Whisk in milk.  Cook and stir until thickened.

Combine sauce, sugar, corn, and salt and pepper and heat thoroughly.  You can also heat or keep warm on low in a slow cooker.


  1. We made a half recipe of this last night. YUM.

    My son wanted it for breakfast this morning!

    Given how fast it is going — we better make a full recipe next time!

    I think I want to try making it with frozen corn, any idea how to convert?

    • I think you could just substitute frozen for canned. It’s not a touchy recipe at all, and they’re really very similar. I would use ~1.5 cups of frozen for each can that you’re replacing.

  2. We make a very similar cream corn but add parmesan cheese and white pepper into the mix to add a unique flavor. We also use frozen corn and make a lot less for our 1 child family 🙂 You can never go wrong with a white sauce based dish! 🙂
    Tawny- your bean dish sounds delicious! It is on my to-do list!

  3. I use a simular creamed corn recipe too!! I use lots of yummy fattening butter and a bit of sugar… So we try to keep it a special treat!! It’s always a #1 request! Yummy!!!
    (PS- to those who don’t know: soooo much better than canned cream corn!)

    I get a lot of request for my bean recipe!! It’s an easy one too!!

    *Boil & rinse beans (I use about alb of pinto beans, .5 lb kidney beans, & . 5 of another red bean – but I really just use what’s cheap, looks yummy, or already in the house! You really can’t go wrong!)
    *Put beans in crock pot – slow cook all day. I usually add a broth cube & a piece of ham or bacon for flavor) add water as needed
    * when beans are fully cooked (or in my case I remember them or have time) drain most of the water. I leave about 1/4c
    * in skillet brown sausage & sliced sausage link (or what ever meat you have around! I’ve used hamburger, hot dogs, ham, whatever) when fully cooked add to beans & allow to continue cooking. (adds flavor!)
    * sauté (I use the same skillet) 1 chopped onion & garlic (you really just want to wilt the onions. You can also use other veggies. This is a great place to sneak in a veggie the kids don’t care for!) add to beans
    * add BBQ sauce (I use about half a cup), a squirt of ketchup, salt & pepper & other seasonings to taste ( I add seasoned salt, or cajan seasoning, a dash of Tabasco sauce, a few sliced jalapenoes & brown sugar)
    *Stir- leave in crock pot about 10min or until at desired temp & serve!!

    This recipe adjust well.. Doubles well.. Eats well… & serves well!! Enjoy!!

  4. One easy way to encourage a brother or sister in Christ at a pitch-in:

    If you know someone in your church or in the group has allergies, make a dish or part of yours safe for them to eat. Then tell them about it and make sure they can get some. I have a dairy allergy, and it can be hard to find a variety (more than veggies and chips) at some fellowship meals. I always appreciate it when someone goes out of their way to prepare something for me! A sweet gesture of Christian love. I’m used to cooking for myself and taking my own food places, but it’s so nice when someone has made something for me!
    I try to practice this by taking gluten-free dishes, etc for my gf or allergic friends. That one extra item can really help dress up a plate; plus, it’s fun to taste something different than your own cooking! 🙂

  5. I go to kerri’s church, so I won’t elaborate on her comment, but I’m happy to hear of another church that has a weekly fellowship meal. I love ours! (In fact, I’m in charge of it.)

    We will be in Houston visiting family in October and are planning a trip to San Antonio to see the Alamo, etc. I’m thinking about maybe staying the weekend down there and worshipping at your church on Sunday. I would love to meet you and the community you worship in!

    • Amanda,
      Just say when! We would love to have you visit and stay for the meal. BTW, I think we may have some mutual acquaintances – I visited your blog and saw a reference to an aunt with a very familiar name!

  6. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    OOOh. If it is like Rudy’s I will have to try that. Their Creamed corn is the ONLY thing I like at Rudy’s!

  7. We have a potluck every week too. We have warmers and all of the dishes that need to go in them. They have to sit for over an hour so my other rule for potlucking is to make sure there is a little more moisture to the dish than if you were going to serve right away. Other wise things get pretty dry.

    The other rule is to put cheese on top-people always like stuff with cheese on top. 🙂

    I agree that everyone sitting and eating a meal together gives a LOT more closeness to the church body than if everyone just drinks a cup of coffee and heads home. My kids love our potlucks and having time to visit with friends. You know, those sheltered home schoolers who don’t get to see anyone all week. 🙂

  8. BTW… since this recipe uses canned corn. Does it taste better than canned creamed corn? Or make a whole bunch more or something?

    • My Boaz’s Ruth,
      It’s a different kind of creamed corn than what you buy in the can. It’s corn in a cream sauce, like they sell at Rudy’s and other bbq places. The stuff in the can is corn in a sauce of pureed corn. When you do that homemade, you just cut corn from the cob, then scrape the goo off the cob. Yummy, but not the same.

  9. The rule of thumb I was taught was to bring enough for your family +1. (And if you bring guests, your family + your guests +1)

    As a single, this was pretty easy. With a family now, we take evither a casserole main dish or a main dish plus a side of some sort.

    I LOVE potlucks — but I’m not sure I could handle them every week. Getting the food to the church, keeping it sufficiently warm, etc. Everything about them is sufficiently stressful to me that every week would jsut be TOO MUCH.

  10. The Mexican casserole and the enchiladas sound delicious. I will be making these this week!
    Your rule of thumb for quantities is exactly my rule of thumb for quantities to take to a potluck. No one looks like they won’t be able to feed us this way and wonders if we are going to eat up all the food. Like we really would….


  1. […] Potluck protocol and recipes … We love potlucks and have hosted them nearly weekly for years.  Our church also has a potluck meal after the worship service every week.  We love the additional fellowship and I believe our church body is exceptionally close because of this tradition…. […]

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