Quick-and-Easy Potluck Parties

Party it up Weight Watchers style with these super, minimal-effort meals.
Pot luck party

Just because you want to play host, doesn’t mean you have to shell out the big bucks – or spend hours in the kitchen.

Here are three potluck parties for cooks of all types: a no-cook, gourmet salad bar, a stuffed baked potato soiree and a chili gathering with all the fixings.

You provide one or two main items and ask your guests to bring the rest. Read below for some smart planning tips as well as lots of low PointsPlus™ value food options.

Potluck Pointers
Either tell your guests what your theme is and have them bring what they think is appropriate, or create a list of the food items you would like to have and have each guest volunteer for one.

Circulate a sign-up sheet amongst your guests via email. Have each person share what they are bringing so there are no repeats.

Don’t forget to buy beverages – or ask someone else to get them.

Buy inexpensive reusable plastic plates, bowls and serving dishes. You’ll use them over and over, and they’re much better for the environment than disposable paper products.

Invest in serving utensils. Metal tongs are simple to use – especially for toppings. Provide measuring cups for guests who are watching their portions.

Ask a few guests to be in charge of organizing the dishes as they arrive, and arranging them in the serving area. (Or heating/refrigerating as necessary.)

Ask a few others to stick around and help with clean up. Send them home with leftovers as a thank you.

The no-cook potluck: A salad bar
You provide:
  • A huge bowl of mixed greens
  • Oil, vinegar and salad dressings
Ask each guest to bring:
  • One (or two) toppings

To set it up:

Spread everything out a counter or table so guests can toss their own salad in over-size bowls. Leave the lettuce at the front of the line and set up a dressing station at the end.

Suggested toppings:

Item PointsPlus values Suggested portion size
Grape tomatoes 0 1/4 cup
Cubed cucumber 0 1/4 cup
Chopped mixed peppers 0 1/4 cup
Shredded carrots 0 1/4 cup
Chopped jarred roasted red peppers (in water) 1 1/4 cup
Sliced water chestnuts 0 1/4 cup
Reduced-fat feta cheese 1 2 Tbsp
Shredded low-fat cheddar cheese 1 2 Tbsp
Hard-boiled eggs 2 1 medium egg
Shelled edamame 1 1/4 cup
Canned chickpeas 2 1/4 cup
Cubed skinless chicken breast 1 1/4 cup
Chopped shrimp 1 1/4 cup
Cubed avocado 1 2 Tbsp
Chopped apples (sprinkled with lemon juice) 0 2 Tbsp
Raisins 2 2 Tbsp
Croutons 1 2 Tbsp

The barely cook potluck: A spud bash
You provide:

  • Baked potatoes, cut partially (but not all the way), though
  • Crudite and dip platter
Ask your guests to bring:
  • One (or two) toppings

To set it up:

Spread everything out on a counter or table so everyone can assemble their own stuffed potatoes. Keep the potatoes in a slow cooker on low power to keep them warm – or leave them in your oven at 200°F. Invite guests to heat their stuffed potatoes in the oven on already-prepped, foil-lined baking sheets.

Suggested fillings and toppings:

Item PointsPlus values Suggested portion size
Salsa 0 2 Tbsp
Tomato sauce 0 2 Tbsp
Mustard 0 1 Tbsp
Chopped broccoli 0 1/4 cup
Chopped onion 0 1/4 cup
Chopped cilantro 0 2 Tbsp
Chopped olives 1 6 large
Part-skim shredded mozzarella 1 2 Tbsp
Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese 1 2 Tbsp
Crumbled Feta cheese 1 2 Tbsp
Reduced-fat sour cream 1 2 Tbsp
Plain nonfat Greek yogurt 0 2 Tbsp
Turkey bacon 1 2 slices crumbled
Reduced-fat bacon 2 2 slices crumbled
Imitation bacon bits 2 2 Tbsp
Vegetarian chili (low-fat or fat-free) 2 1/3 cup
Beef chili 2 1/3 cup
Turkey chili 2 1/3 cup
Baked Beans 3 1/3 cup

The toss-it-all-in-a-slow-cooker potluck: Chili to the rescue
You provide:

  • One or two types of chili – perhaps a vegetarian and a meat option depending on your crowd
  • Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and other seasonings like hot sauce
Ask your guests to bring:
  • One (or two) toppings
  • Rice or pasta
  • Corn bread or chips

To set it up:

Leave the chili in a slow cooker on low power – or in a pot on low on the stove. Spread all the toppings and sides on a long counter to be layered in deep bowls.

Suggested toppings and sides:

Item PointsPlus values Suggested portion size
Hot Sauce 0 A few dashes
Chopped onion 0 2 Tbsp
Chopped tomatoes 0 2 Tbsp
Chopped olives 0 3 large
Chopped cilantro 0 1 Tbsp
Sliced jalapenos 0 1 Tbsp
Reduced-fat sour cream 1 2 Tbsp
Part-skim shredded mozzarella 1 2 Tbsp
Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese 1 2 Tbsp
Whole wheat macaroni 2 1/2 cup
White rice 3 1/2 cup
Brown rice 3 1/2 cup
Corn bread 4 2 oz piece
Baked tortilla chips 3 12 chips

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