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Potluck Recipe
It's fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That's what human life is all about - enjoying things.
- Julia Child

What do you usually bring to a potluck? Some dedicated people bring their signature dishes, while others bring store-bought salad, veggie dip or fruits plate. There also are people who quickly volunteers for drinks, chips, or condiments before someone else signs up for it. All these options work just fine as long as you bring *something*. But as the number of "pot luck occasion" accumulates (because, you know, there are so many opportunities for pot lucks - office parties, neighborhood gatherings, holiday get-togethers, school events, kid's gamesc), you may start to look for a new ideas.

If you have endless list of signature dishes, or if you don't mind to be known as "the chip guy", that's great. But for those of us who wants to spice up the pot luck experience once in a while, but don't want to spend hours trying new recipes or preparing everything from scratch, there is a simple solution.

Here is what you need to do: (1) open internet (I know you have access to it because you are reading this); (2) think of a processed food product that you often use and like (such as a can of soup from Campbell Soup, a box of cake mix from Betty Crocker (which, by the way, is owned by General Mills), or even a bottle of Heinz ketchup); and (3) go to its manufacturer's website to find a recipe that uses the food product you selected in step (2).


"How is that simple?", you may ask. You see, many food manufacturers put great effort in developing recipes using their products, and those recipes are usually tested in their kitchen many times to make sure that they are easy to follow. Also, because the manufacturers have already done some preparation for you (by making their products), your part of the job is often much less than you would have to do if you were to make everything from scratch. And what I like most about using their recipes is that I don't have to do as much measuring as I would have done with the "from scratch" method (which means less chance for me to make a mistake).

There are many food manufacturers with much greater number of food brands, so I will not be able to list all of them here, but below is the quick list of some popular brands:


Betty Crocker Recipes using Betty Crocker products, as well as other General Mills products such as Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, Green Giant, Chex, and Progresso. You can find recipes by meal type or by product.
Campbell Soup Company Recipes using Campbell Soup Company's products including Campbell Soup, V8, Swanson, Prego Italian Sauce, Pepperidge Farm, and Pace Sauce.
Hershey Recipes for sweets as well as savory dishes.
Pillsbury Recipes using Pillsbury products. You can find Pillsbury BAKE-OFF Contest recipes too.


For more links to the recipe sites, please visit our recipe collection page.


Before I sign off, let me make a few more suggestions in preparing for a potluck (based on my painful experiences):


If you decide to bring a wrapped or roll food (e.g. egg roll or tortilla wrap), label them. People tend to stay away when they don't know what are in it, and you may not be near the food when someone asks "what's in this?"

If possible, don't bring anything unusual. I know it's difficult to define "unusual" for different people, but something like "seaweed salad" may not be popular at kid's after-game party regardless of how good it is.
If time allows, try the food (either store-bought or you make it yourself) at least once before the pot luck. It sounds obvious, but I can't tell you how many *surprises* I had over the years simply because I didn't follow this rule.
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