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Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck

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Published Jun. 27, 2017

What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game this year by bringing something different. Here are five ideas.

Pinwheels are great for a potluck because of how easy they are to make and how easy they are to eat. You can fill a pinwheel any way you like, but try roasted red peppers and hummus for something fun. To make the hummus, blend the following ingredients in a food processor: ¾ cup roasted red peppers, 2 cans drained and rinsed chickpeas, ¼ cup tahini paste, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoons crushed garlic, ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper and water as needed. For the pinwheels: Across 4 spinach and herb tortilla wraps, distribute 8 ounces of your hummus (2 ounces per wrap), 8 ounces thinly sliced ham or turkey, 8 (1-ounce) slices colby jack cheese and ? cup roasted red pepper slices. Tightly roll the wraps and slice into pieces that are 1 inch thick. Serve plain or with a dipping sauce of your choice. Hummus recipe adapted from toriavey.com; pinwheel recipe adapted from iwashyoudry.com.

Generally, someone always brings cheese and crackers to a party. To take any cheese tray up a notch, try marinating your cheese cubes the night before for more flavor. For Italian marinated cheese cubes, combine ½ cup olive oil, ½ cup white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, 3 tablespoons minced green onion, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup minced red pepper, 2 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a bowl and mix well. Arrange 1 (8-ounce) package cheddar cheese and 1 (8-ounce) package monterey jack cheese cubes on a large, raised-edge baking sheet. Pour the marinade over the cheese cubes, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. To serve, put cheese cubes in a serving bowl and pour marinade over the top. Serve with crackers and meats of your choice (like salami or prosciutto). Recipe adapted from whattheforksfordinner.com.

Millennials aren't the only people who eat avocados. This stuffed avocado recipe is sure to be a hit with anyone at your party. (It serves four, so you may need to double or triple it.) In a large mixing bowl, combine a 12-ounce can solid white tuna packed in water, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 3 thinly sliced green onions, ½ chopped red bell pepper and a dash or two of balsamic vinegar. Season with pepper and garlic salt to taste and toss. Then, pack the tuna salad mixture into a halved and hollowed avocado. Garnish with green onions and black pepper. Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Any time I serve these chickpeas at a potluck, they're always a big hit. I double down on the Parmesan, usually adding more than the recipe calls for so that they're crispier. Start by heating the oven to 400 degrees. Drain, rinse and pat dry 2 cans of chickpeas. Dump chickpeas into a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste), 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together until the chickpeas are coated and pour the mixture onto a large sheet pan, spreading the peas until they form a single layer. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Let the chickpeas cool before serving. Recipe adapted from abeautifulmess.com

Nothing says summer like watermelon, which makes this bruschetta a bright and fun addition to any potluck table. Start by prepping some crostini: Turn on your broiler. Slice 1 loaf Italian or French bread into ½-inch slices and brush with olive oil. Place bread slices onto a sheet pan and bake until golden. For the bruschetta: In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups diced watermelon, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives, 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint, 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in a bowl alongside crostini. Recipe adapted from relish.com.

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