By Marsha Fottler –
Ideally, these dishes should be ones that can be enjoyed at room temperature and have enough structure to stand up to being displayed on a buffet table for a length of time. No wilting salads. You want a recipe that feeds 10-12 and it’s always practical if you can bring your dish in the same pan you cooked, baked or assembled the recipe in.
Over the years, I’ve found that a reliable potato, rice or macaroni casserole works just fine. A pan of seasonal roasted vegetables is usually a winner. Find the right chili recipe and you’re golden. Of course, a platter of fried chicken legs arranged attractively on a platter will disappear in no time. For dessert a tried-and-true sheet cake is a good idea along with either bar cookies or brownies. But, they must be the best brownies you’ve ever tasted. The idea is to come up with five things that become your signature dishes – foods you are comfortable being identified with. Practice on your family and close friends.
My sister-in-law Marilyn introduced a potluck favorite to our family about 30 years ago. Now, as our family is spread out all over the globe second generations of family cooks make it and confidently bring this dish to church suppers, book club dinners, dine-around neighborhood nights, brunch, and other places where Auntie Marilyn’s Delmonico Potatoes are always welcome. What I particularly prize about this dish is that its equally popular with men, women and children. If you add this recipe to your potluck all-stars, you can serve it with pride and the knowledge that there will be no leftovers. Although, on the occasions that I’ve made this potato dish for a holiday meal at home, my husband cheerfully eats leftover Delmonico Potatoes straight from the refrigerator the morning after.
Aunt Marilyn’s Delmonico Potatoes
6 tablespoons of butter
6 tablespoons of flour
2 cups milk
3/4 package of Cracker Barrel Vermont Cheddar Cheese, cut up or shredded
1 jar of Kraft Old English Cheese
Dash salt, pepper and dry mustard
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
Extra pats of butter for topping
Grease (with Pam or butter) an oblong baking pan. Boil or microwave potatoes until soft, not mushy. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Blend butter and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Add milk slowly. Add cheeses and blend until melted. Pour over potatoes and add seasonings. Turn the mixture into the greased baking pan and top with cracker crumbs and pats of butter. Bake uncovered at 350-degrees for about 40 minutes until brown and bubbly.