The best pot luck recipe ideas

It’s the pot luck time of year, and as I have sojourned lo, these past weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy a number of awesome bring-a-dish-to-share meals, several of which included totally delicious smoked ribs and corn on the cob. Can’t go wrong with ribs and corn for a crowd. Armed with this recent experience, I’m here to share three secret recipes:

1. Butter: This is not a recipe, exactly, but a tip. If you agree to bring the cornbread to a gathering, either make it with a lot of butter or bring a lot of butter to spread on it. Butter, like bacon, makes everything better.

2. Speaking of bacon, it’s the secret ingredient in Kathi’s Baked Beans, the recipe for which I wrestled her to the ground tonight (just kidding about the half Nelson, but believe me, it was a trick to get actual measurements). Kathi’s Baked Beans do not require overnight soaking or even stinking your kitchen up with bacon grease. It’s an ingenious recipe for  dressing up canned baked beans to make people think you’ve slaved hours in the kitchen. Here’s the recipe for a small group (double for a block party):

Ingredients:

  • 1 28-ounce can of Bush’s Original Baked Beans
  • 1/2 pound hamburger, fried (but don’t drain the fat)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 4.5-ounce package real bacon bits (not that fake soy bacon in a can
    — look for the tear-here packets of bacon you might find in the salad fixings aisle)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and warm on the stove top. Serve to hungry picnickers.
  2. Seriously, it’s that easy. There is no Step 2.

3. Almond bark and sprinkles make everything better, especially dessert. A woman brought a pan of Rice Krispie Cake Pops to the block party I attended on the Fourth of July, and I am not kidding you, those pretty little desserts disappeared in 10 minutes flat. I watched her take them into the garage, followed her, and grabbed a pop before all the 5-year-olds discovered them, not because I love Rice Krispie bars but because they looked so darn delicious. Sweet and sticky — yum. And the best part: They’re super easy to make. Make a pan of Rice Krispie bars (I learned recently only to use fresh marshmallows). Cut them into roughly 2-inch squares. Insert cake pop sticks. Dip the tops of the pops into melted almond bark and cake sprinkles. Voilà, you’ll be the pop luck winner!

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