THE RULES AND RECIPE IDEAS FOR A FUN POTLUCK PARTY
Today I want to talk about potluck do’s and don’ts and how you can have a frugal party without extra expenses. Accepting an invitation to a potluck party means that you will put some thought into the dish you plan to make. This doesn’t always happen which ends up in potluck nightmare.
What is a potluck party?
A potluck is a party where a host offers their home or backyard and guests bring planned dishes. Some friends host parties once a month to balance the costs of food during the summer and winter months for each other. The host typically makes the main dish but this is not a rule.
The worst thing you could do for a potluck is drop by the local grocery store on your way to the party to purchase something pre-made. That’s a no-no in my books unless you have a legit emergency where you were unable to make something. Ideally planning your potluck dish ahead of the party would make things easier.
Potluck Host Etiquette
The perfect potluck would have a variety of dishes but to achieve this the host must plan ahead to make sure all the guests are on board. Hosting a potluck means you are offering a venue for the party and participate by making a dish or two.
Hosting a potluck party is a great way to save money but also to enjoy a variety of dishes from your friends kitchen to your table. We’ve attended a few potlucks over the years bringing dishes based on our grocery budget allowance. As a host always prepare for the worst just in case more than one of your guests have had an emergency pop up where they were unable to make their planned dish.
By this I mean stock the freezer with hotdogs and hamburgers as back-up and have vegetables ready in the crisper. As a host you can make the main dish or see if any of your other guests would like this task. Generally the host will be in charge of the main dish though. This might be the proteins such as fish, pork, beef and vegetarian options.
A host would send out the invitations at least 2 weeks in advance or more to give guests time to respond. Make sure the address, date and time of the party is included along with an RSVP. Remind guests to contact you with any questions or concerns so that you may address them ahead of time and not on the day of.
Creating a potluck menu is valuable for food success. What I suggest is to create a theme and categories such as drinks, appetizers, main dishes, side-dishes, salads, desserts etc. If you require your guests to dress up or bring something other than food, let them know. Keep in mind that as a host you are responsible for entertainment especially if the potluck theme is birthday or wedding based.
In the invitations offer guests a minimum of 2 category options and have them reply with a dish they will make from one or the other. When the host divides up the categories among the guests it makes it easier to control the amount of food coming in and the types of dishes. Always provide an estimate of attendees so potluck dishes can be made accordingly.
A wonderful suggestion to pass along to your guests is to ask them to bring a recipe card with the name of their dish and the ingredients they used to make it. This will help anyone with allergies or food aversions to avoid the dish. You might even inspire others to ask for your recipe too! Stock extra cards for those guests that forget.
Also offer information in the potluck party invitation about what extras you will be providing as a host.
- Alcoholic drinks
- Cutlery, dishes, glasses, ice
- Types of condiments
- Snacks- Chips, cookies, nuts.
Finally as the host of the party you should always be ready when the guests arrive so you can get the party started.
What else can you think of?
Potluck Guest Etiquette
- Don’t show up empty-handed
- Avoid store-bought dishes
- Bring what you are supposed to bring
- Be on time for the party
- Save some for the rest of the guests
- Bring your own booze unless the host is providing it which should be communicated in the potluck invitation
- Do help to clean up your mess and others
- Do not wander through the host/hostess’ home
- Do take your shoes off at the door
- Do wash your hands
- Do not openly turn your nose up at a dish or even worse say anything rude about it
- Do not ask to take food home unless it is offered
- Do take your dishes home so the host isn’t stuck washing them.
- Bring your own special condiments but this is not considered a dish or ask the host. The host could also list condiments he/she will be providing in the invitation.
- Do bring enough food to feed the amount of people at the potluck which should be communicated by the host to the guest ahead of time.
- No double-dipping… please just no dipping anything after you’ve taken a bite.
- Stand in line to get food from the potluck table instead of just cutting in front of people
- If you have special dietary needs let the host/hostess know in advance or provide for your own.
What else can you think of?
Host and Hostess Gifts
Since you are bringing food you are helping cut costs for the host/hostess so that should be more than enough. Keep in mind though that the host/hostess must prepare their home inside and out depending on the season for receiving guests.
If you would like to bring a gift a bottle of wine, flowers, coffee beans, special cheese, cutting board are just a few ideas. Anything kitchen based that the host might enjoy. If you pop into Winners they have a wonderful variety of unique food products that would make a great host/hostess gift.
Potluck party themes
Depending on the occasion the theme may already be chosen unless it’s a birthday party. You could easily have your guests dress up in superhero costumes or ask them to wear something silly. Halloween is a great time to host a potluck because dressing up is a must.
Potluck party themes also revolve around the foods you ask your guests to prepare. An example would be an Italian potluck party theme where all dishes must be Italian. Your party theme may be strictly desserts. A dessert potluck would be an after dinner gathering where friends meet up and all bring something for dessert. The host may provide the beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water etc.
Hosting a BBQ potluck party may mean the hosts will offer the BBQ goodies and the guests bring the salads. The theme for the potluck would be a salad theme.
Potluck invitation ideas
Unless you are hosting a posh potluck such as a wedding or other special occasion you may consider ordering invitations, printing invitations, buying invitations or simply sending an e-invitation via email. Alternatively you could make phone calls but it may put people on the spot which is something you should avoid.
What to make for a potluck?
This is the most widely asked question when it comes to a potluck party.
I’ve just cracked the surface below with potluck list ideas for special occasions where a potluck would be ideal for some people. The recipes I chose are outside of the typical veggie tray, cheese tray type dishes that you will find at just about every potluck. Why be boring when you can go the extra mile and create a fantastic potluck recipe.
A potluck is a way to bring variety to the table with less stress for the host so he/she can mingle. Although it does lower hosting costs it’s a great way to host without shelling out too much money.
BBQ potluck ideas
Cold potluck ideas
- Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce
- Funeral Potatoes
- Baked beans with smoked sausages
- Slow-cooker Cheddar Corn
Potluck Drink Ideas
Potluck lunch ideas
Quick appetizers for a potluck
Easy potluck desserts
Stress-free potluck hosting
Stop worrying about all the prep when hosting a party at your house and focus on how to have your guests participate in the process. A potluck is a wonderful way to bring friends and family together and feel as if they were part of the planning process by showcasing something delicious they made.
If you aren’t interesting in attending a potluck simply reply no. You don’t have to explain unless you feel you must. When you do participate in a potluck party, have fun and enjoy the food and company.
Discussion Question: What other potluck party themes can you think of? What are some of your go-to recipes for Potlucks? Can you share any potluck mishaps that you can look back on and laugh, or cry?
Please share your comments below.
Facebook Fan Feedback- Potluck Etiquette
The first rule of Potluck Etiquette is to co-ordinate with the host about who is bringing what. I went to a Potluck wedding reception once where no one coordinated and eight people brought sweet and sour meat balls and not much else. It was amazing the different ways you can make them!- Thad
Our usual potlucks are family affairs and I tend to be asked to bring desserts like squares, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls or some such. The person holding the potluck will make the main course and the rest of us bring salads, buns or desserts. – Christine W
My biggest potluck etiquette complaint is parents who allow their children to fill their own plates. The kids don’t eat 50% of what they take and there’s little left on the potluck table for others.– Bailey O.
Potluck etiquette. Always bring something, nice to know ahead of there are people with food allergies and make food to include them, be on time, help clean up. However as the mother of a child with an anaphylactic allergy, pot lucks are a nightmare. We always bring food for our son.– Angela M.
July Grocery Game Challenge
Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.
Post your shop and you can be next.
Please Note: I will announce the June and July winners together first shop for August.
New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules
July 2017 Blog Posts:
- Budget Gardening Tips From A Homestead Expert-Last shop for June.
- How to dehydrate vegetables to cut grocery costs
- How I turned grocery shopping into a daddy vacation
Free Money Saving Tools 2017
Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!
This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.
Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.
Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.
CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.
Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017
The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.
Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.
Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.
The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
2017 Grocery Shop Results
Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/mth (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)
- Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
- Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
- Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
- Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
- Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
- PC Points Plus Earned to date: 577,000
- Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
- Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points (I will update this twice a year) $1500 worth of free stuff.
Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)
- Zweet to cash out : $18.25
- Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50
Our Grocery Shop This Week
- 2 x Natrel Whipping Cream 35 % 1L $4.99 each
- 4 x Natrel 10% Cream 1L $2.09 each
- Renee’s Caesar dressing $5.49
- Cherry Tomatoes Angel Sweets $5.99
- 4 pack Romaine lettuce hearts $4.59
- Mozzarella block 2.2kg Salerno (the best) $20.99
- Nescafe Coffee $13.49
- Almonds $16.99 (stockpile)
- Sunflower seeds $8.99 (stockpile)
- Pumpkin seeds $8.49
- Calabrese Salami $15.99
- Ricotta $4.49
- Strawberries $5
Total Out-of-pocket $81.87 + $25 stockpile
- Grace Coconut Milk 4/$5
- Dare cookies chocolate chip and oatmeal $0.99 each
- 6 x Apple juice Allen’s Not From Concentrate Sugar-free $1.69 each $10.14
- Lupini Beans in a jar $2.99
- Mortadella $1.99
- Selection Cottage Cheese $2.79
- 3 x cucumbers $1.27 each
- Blueberries $2.88 pint
- Sweet Red Peppers $3.00
- Radishes $1.67
- 2 x Avocado packs reduced $1.49 each with 6 in each
- 2 x limes and lemon reduced $1.49
- Broccoli $0.97
Total Out-of-pocket $41.69
All totals below already have tax factored into them.
- Total to spend this month : $265
- Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
- Stockpile budget used this month: $25.00
- Total coupons used this week: $0
- Total coupons used to date: $1
- Total in-store discounts this week: $7.00
- Total in-store discounts to date: $602.77
- Total spent this week: $123.56
- Total spent so far this month: $226.84
- Total over/Under spend this shop: under
- Total over/Under spend for the month: under
- Total left to spend for the month: $38.16
- Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43 July $226.84
Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)
Under budget 2 months in a row!!
We made a pit stop to Food Basics and Costco to pick up a few bits that we needed this week. It was nice to score the reduced limes, lemons and avocados. It has been a while since we made chocolate avocado pudding. I’m also going to make another batch of strawberry ice-cream with sugar-free strawberry sauce with the berries we bought.
Coupons and Coupon Apps
Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?
If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.
Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!
Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!
If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.
- Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
- Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
- Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
- Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
- MySavings.com Printable Smart Source Coupons
- Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
- Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
- Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from Save.ca, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.
Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal. Please see GGC rules.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
- Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
- Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
- Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site Save.ca that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile Save.ca app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
- What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?: If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.
If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;
- Where you are spending money
- How much money you are spending
- How much money you are saving every month
If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!
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Potluck table Image courtesy -FreeDigitalPhotos.net