Your girls' night dinner just got a major upgrade.
The word potluck often conjures up images of old-school casseroles and over-cooked entrees, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Enter Ali Rosen, the author of the new cookbook "Bring It!: Tried and True Recipes for Potlucks and Casual Entertaining," who is reinventing the potluck with chic dishes that are easy to make and share with friends.
Rosen shared three of her favorite recipes along with make-ahead tips and trick to try for your next casual dinner party, solving the question: "What can I bring?"
Don't forget the rosé!
Read on for her tips and recipes in her own words.
Tips to host the perfect potluck
Potlucks are perfectly poised to make a big comeback. With casual dinner parties becoming the norm, the modern potluck is just a party where people come together and share the cooking. In my book, I aim to make it easier and more fun to host a party where everyone participates. With a little bit of planning, a potluck can be just as exciting as a "dinner party," but with less work falling on the host.
To throw the perfect potluck, follow these guidelines and your party will be on track.
Pick items that you can serve at room temperature
When too many cooks are in the kitchen, oven and fridge space comes at a premium. Focus on dishes that work at any temperature and don't require extra fuss on arrival.
Salads and dips are always an easy choice, but don’t be afraid of less traditional items as well. You can serve pastas and proteins cold as long as they pack enough punch where you won’t even remember that they aren't hot.
One recipe from "Bring It!" that I love is for ginger beef. The dish features an easy-to-serve steak with an exciting sauce you'd want to eat for days at any temperature. This recipe can also easily be made ahead, which is an added bonus of recipes that don’t need to be heated up. Get the full recipe here.
Color and texture are key to a vibrant table
With a lot of different dishes heading to the table, you want to make sure each one stands out from the crowd. And since many will be (hopefully) at room temperature, you want to give them excitement in other ways. Color variety adds vibrancy to a table of disparate items and textures ensure that every dish stands apart.
Do you ever discover a job so cool you think it possibly can’t be real? That’s how I felt when I learned about prop styling. The littlest spoon or vessel can totally change the look of a photo, and when you have dishes that aren’t as pretty the props can make all the difference. I didn’t understand how important that was until @kristihunter came to work on #BringItBook. She brought boxes and boxes of interesting items that she has sourced over years. She always knew exactly what to put out to pull everything together. Prop wizard is more like it. . This book is truly a team effort and can’t wait for you all to see it!
My shaved carrot salad completely skips greens for the crunch of carrots that you shave with a vegetable peeler and ingredients like pomegranate and sesame seeds. Get the full recipe here.
Bring dishes that can be easily served no matter the setting
Great potlucks make dining as easy as possible. Get rid of any recipes that are hard to divide among guests or couldn’t be eaten standing up with a plate in one hand and a fork in the other.
Avoid meats that need a lot of cutting or pastas with heavy sauces. You want to make trying each dish as simple as possible.
And the same goes for desserts. Items like my s’mores bars can be easily cut and ready for guests to pick up with their hands and even without a plate, ensuring that no one gets slowed down or the meal has to feel too formal. It also tends to make cleanup a whole lot quicker. Get the full recipe here.
Do you have favorite potluck dishes and tips to throwing the perfect party? Share your favorites in our new GMA Facebook Community Group.