4 Fool-Proof Potluck Recipes

Got invited to a potluck dinner and haven’t a clue as to what dish to bring? We’ve got you covered. Although cooking for a group can be daunting, think of it as a fun opportunity to make something that’s tasty and good for you and the crew. “Holiday spreads are often laden with rich, heavy foods, so I like to bring something delicious and healthy for a potluck dinner,” says Eila Johnson, award-winning food blogger for Full Plate Blog and creator of the Meals in a Snap Kitchen Coaching Program.

Her tip? Keep it simple with quick, stress-free recipes. Next time you’re asked to bring a dish, cook up one of these fool-proof, festive favorites.

1Eila’s Go-To Chicken Enchiladas with Cranberry Walnut Q...

Part 1: Chicken Enchiladas
Check out her video here on how to do this step by step.
Makes 6 servings (the dish is easy to double or triple and freezes beautifully)

12 corn tortillas
15-ounce can enchilada sauce (such as the Hatch brand)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 organic bell peppers, chopped
2 onions, diced
2 cups organic spinach (can be frozen)
Optional: any other vegetables you’d like to add, chopped
1 Bell and Evans rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded by hand
2 cups salsa
1 brick organic cream cheese
2 15-ounce cans organic black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large pan, sauté bell peppers, onion and spinach (and any other veggies you’d like) in a bit of olive oil. Add shredded chicken, salsa, cream cheese and beans. Stir until blended and creamy. Pour a drizzle of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Then scoop filling into corn tortillas and roll them, placing seam side down in the dish (don’t panic if they crack or unroll). Once your baking dish is full of enchiladas, pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese is golden.

This dish may be frozen, either cooked or uncooked. Store enchiladas in an oven proof dish and when ready to eat, bake uncooked enchiladas for 1 hour at 350 F, and cooked enchiladas for 45 minutes at the same temperature.

Courtesy of Eila Johnson, author of the Full Plate Blog and creator of the Meals in a Snap Kitchen Coaching Program

2Eila’s Go-To Chicken Enchiladas with Cranberry Walnut Q...

Part 2: Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
Makes 8-10 servings

4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken, or you can use water)
2 cups (12 ounces) quinoa
6 scallions, white parts chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 oranges, zested and juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 4 cups of broth (or water) and 2 cups of quinoa to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients (scallions, cranberries, walnuts, fresh mint, orange zest, juice, olive oil and vinegar) in a mixing bowl. When quinoa is cooked, add the warm quinoa to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine flavors. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dish can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to three days. It’s even better after the flavors have had a chance to meld for a day.

Courtesy of Eila Johnson, author of the Full Plate Blog and creator of the Meals in a Snap Kitchen Coaching Program

3Devin Alexander’s Better-Than-Classic Stuffed Shells

Makes 12 large shells

12 dried jumbo pasta shells
1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
4 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) finely shredded low-fat mozzarella
3 tablespoons grated reduced-fat Parmesan, divided
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
2 cups Mostly Mom’s Marinara Sauce or another low-fat, low-sodium marinara

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and reserve. Place a sheet of wax paper large enough to hold 12 filled shells on a flat work surface. In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, egg white, parsley and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the cooked shells, open side up, on the wax paper. Spoon ricotta mixture evenly among them, about 2 heaping tablespoons in each scoop. Evenly spread about 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a 10-inch round or an 11×7-inch ovenproof glass baking dish or a casserole dish large enough to hold the stuffed shells in a single layer. Lay the shells side-by-side, open side up, in the dish, and spoon remaining sauce over the top. Then, sprinkle remaining Parmesan evenly over the marinara sauce. Cover with foil and bake the shells for 20-25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Courtesy of Devin Alexander, celebrity chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”

4Fall Harvest Chicken with Creamy Polenta

Serves 6-8 people

Part 1: Fall Harvest Chicken

16 pieces of chicken, legs, thighs, breasts and wings
1-2 teaspoons salt
Fresh black pepper
6-8 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 generous tablespoon fresh chopped sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1 generous cup sliced dried apricots
1/2 cup capers with juice
3 bay leaves
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup brown sugar

Season chicken with salt and pepper and combine it with garlic, sage, thyme, olive oil, apricots, capers and bay leaves. Mix well, and let marinate overnight. When ready, preheat oven to 350 F. Arrange chicken with marinade in one layer in one or two baking dishes. Add wine and chicken broth and sprinkle each piece with brown sugar. Bake chicken, covered loosely in foil, for 50+ minutes until meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 and juices run clear. Transfer chicken to a platter, and use the sauce from the pan to serve with the dish (you can add more chicken broth to the sauce if it is too thick).

Courtesy of Julia Deane, Owner and Instructor at Culinary Works in New Canaan, Conn.

5Fall Harvest Chicken with Creamy Polenta

Part 2: Polenta

Always refer to specific cooking instructions on your polenta, as all brands differ.

2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal

Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until smooth and thick, stirring almost constantly, about 20 minutes.

Courtesy of Julia Deane, Owner and Instructor at Culinary Works in New Canaan, Conn.

6Devin Alexander’s Hearty Chipotle Chili

Makes 4 servings (about 1½ cups each)

Olive oil spray
20 ounces extra lean (99%) ground turkey breast
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper (found in spice aisle)
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon hot sauce or more, to taste (optional)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a large, nonstick soup pot to medium-high heat. Lightly mist it with cooking spray. Add turkey and cook it, breaking into bite-sized chunks. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender, turkey is no longer pink throughout, and there is no excess water in the pan. Stir in crushed and diced tomatoes, chili powder, sugar, cocoa powder, chili pepper and bay leaf. Cover pot with a lid, and cook over low heat for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Courtesy of Devin Alexander, celebrity chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”

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