We tracked down the most crowd-friendly recipes from women who know a thing or two about feeding the masses.
The Casserole That Could Start A Serious Debate
Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook, who are known as The Casserole Queens, know one surefire way to get people to try a potluck dish: claim that it's the "world's greatest" -- mac 'n' cheese, potato salad, baked beans or, in this case, chicken pot pie. These ladies don't just speak from personal experience, either. The two started a food-delivery business in Austin seven years ago that has since fed thousands, and they just published their second book, The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook.
Gluten-Free Goddess blogger Karina Allrich has a back-pocket enchiladas recipe that she can throw together at a moment's notice -- whether it's a family get-together, a Sunday brunch or a girls' night in. Allrich cooks these little parcels of black beans, sweet potatoes, chilis and spices all together on a baking platter (you can double the recipe depending on how many other dishes will be served). They're hearty enough to satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians, and if you leave a bottle of hot sauce next to the dish, guests can make their portion as spicy as they like.
The Stuffed Tomatoes That Will Have Everyone Ooohing
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TV personalities and twin sisters Judy Vig and Joy Paoletti, who used to run their own dessert business, know their way around a potluck -- they come from a big family that they say was pretty much always celebrating something when they were growing up. Among their most reliable, impressive-looking and easy-to-make-ahead dishes are tomatoes stuffed with a surprising ingredient: spaghetti. They're a lot faster to prepare than you'd think; just scoop out the inside of the tomatoes, roast until they're softened but not collapsing, stuff with pasta and top with grated Parmesan or a dollop of ricotta cheese.
Lucy Gibney, M.D., has a child with severe food allergies -- but she doesn't let that stop her family from going to potlucks. Dr. Gibney, who founded a line of cookies and cakes that are gluten-free and made without milk, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts, says this green-bean salad is great any time of year, and works equally well with beef tenderloin, Thanksgiving turkey or tailgate party fare. Even better: It's quick to make, and it's no big deal if one or two ingredients are missing.
The Dessert That Will Survive The Drive To The Party (No Matter How Crazy)
Sweets stylist and party planner Amy Atlas designs and creates dessert tables for all kinds of high-end parties, so she has quite a few tricks for getting cakes to stay looking gorgeous and cupcakes to not lose their frosting in transport. Her lemon bars are a particular triumph: They seem fragile but can actually handle a bumpy car ride better than you'd think, she says. Another plus: You can make these tangy treats up to a week ahead of time (store them in the fridge).