I belong to the young adult group in our church. Our group meets twice a month, once for bible study and once for fellowship. We eat at both these meetings…because we at the Baptist church, believe in eating. A lot.
Since we eat at both these meetings, simply having a mash up of food each time or BBQ food would get to be boring. We’ve taken to doing a theme for each dinner and that’s led me to finding a few awesome theme ideas for any and every potluck with a group of people. I’m sharing today my favorite ten we’ve done so far, along with some clarification in each and ways to meet the needs of others who have food allergies, aversions and restrictions.
1. Taco/Mexican Night. I’m not talking authentic Mexican y’all, unless you have some authentic ties to the community or heritage. I mean the foods you find at a Mexican restaurant. We have previously done this and brought the fixings for tacos, toppers, and rice for the sides. Corn tortillas and rice are gluten free, I always make a meatless stuffer for the tacos, and it’s pretty simple to avoid other foods when it’s a “build your own” bar, which is the easiest way to do tacos in a huge group. Must haves? Something to put in the taco, wraps, lettuce, tomato, and cheese to top them!
2. Pasta Night. Designate someone to make the noodles and then everyone else can bring their own sauce to put on top! Someone isn’t great at cooking? What is a pasta night without some bread or a salad? Gluten free pasta is in almost every store nowadays and it’s super easy to make a sauce meatless or filled with meat. Must haves? Alfredo, red sauce, cheese for the top, and pastas!
3. Soup and Salad Night. This one is amazing if you have something to talk about that night or a Bible study happening, it’s fast and easy to eat. Soups can be made gluten free, meat free, dairy free. And nothing goes better than a soup and salad! Must haves? A variety of soups, dressings for your salad, and bread!
4. Make Your Own Pizza. I have a weakness for make your own pizzas. I love the toppings, I love pizza in general…and making them is always fun. Must haves? Toppings! Pepperoni, veggies, any other meats you may like. Pro tip? Buy a few tins of the Grands Homestyle Biscuits and use those as your pizza crust. They cook quickly and are easy to spread out for the crust.
5. Heritage Night. This is my favorite meal to have, hands down. It’s such a gift to be able to explore each other’s histories…and each dish comes with a special meaning and conversation you can have with the people you’re meeting at the table with. It’s magical to hear what meals people grew up eating and who in their family taught them the recipe. We made golumpkis for this, other people brought corned beef and cabbage, someone had beer bread! It’s definitely a mix of foods that can be so much fun to share with each other. Must haves? A sense of adventure! You never know what someone may bring
6. Breakfast for Dinner. When we decided to do this one, it was brought up as a “pancake” night…but the fearless leader(aka me!) doesn’t actually like pancakes! (gasp, shock, despair, I know. I just am not a big fan of them). We had it as a huge breakfast for dinner kind of thing and it was a blast. We made bacon, eggs, and pancakes! Must haves? Eggs, sides for the eggs, and some good old OJ!
7. Appetizer’s All Night We met on the Super Bowl, because not many of us cared about the super bowl, and we had an appetizers night. Everyone brought their personal favorite appetizer and we enjoyed the (not) game(for most of us), while eating what you usually start your meals off with!
8. Nacho Bar. Nacho bar night was a fun one, that I personally loved to do-and may do on my own for a kids party someday. Everyone brings something to eat on top of the nachos and you enjoy it all together. Everyone can put their own nachos together there, so the worries of food restrictions can be taken care of by each individual person! Must haves? Don’t forget the chips- the corn ones are gluten free friendly!
9. Waffle Night This was not my idea, but it turned out great! We had a few waffle makers, as well as waffle stick maker! The little fingers we have at every party loved the sticks and being able to eat those on their own. The adults also enjoyed a meal that was mostly sweet and indulgent.
10. Grilled Cheese and Soup. This has been done twice by us and I LOVE it. One or two people make a soup and then people bring things that go onto a grilled cheese. For example, we’ve had bacon, caramelized onions, and tomatoes for some of the toppings at our last one. It’s such a home-y feeling when you share a grilled cheese and soup. Plus side? You get to cook the grilled cheese together. Must haves? Don’t forget your breads and cheeses!!
Bonus?! Do a Sundae Bar! Oh my gosh, y’all, this one is so much fun. I would do it every time we get together, if not for the fact we have a group of people who think maybe that isn’t the healthiest way to live.
Potlucks don’t always have to be those boring “hot dogs, hamburgers, chips” kind of deal! You can make it so much more fun with themed nights.