Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Got an Instant Pot pressure cooker for Christmas and this is one of my new favorite potluck go-to recipes!  Six ingredients and it’s ridiculously quick and easy.  I still need to try doubling the recipe and will post the results, and any variations to the recipe, once I do.


16 oz. elbow macaroni

4 cups water

1 tsp. kosher salt

3 cups shredded cheddar

3 T. Butter

12 oz. can of evaporated milk

Combine the macaroni, water, and salt.  Cook on high pressure according to your pressure cooker’s directions.  For pasta, my pressure cookers says to cook for half the time minus one minute.  The package on my pasta says six minutes, so I cook on high for two minutes.

Then, do a quick release.  When it’s safe to open, stir the pasta.  Switch to the low saute’ setting, add the cheese, butter, and milk.  Stir until the cheese is nice and melted.

Then, you’re ready for potluck time!

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes


There is so much cooking to do on Thanksgiving Day which is why I like to do as much prep as possible the day before.  This way, I can enjoy the day and just pop things into the oven.  Peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes, while trying to time all of the other dishes, is one of the most frustrating parts of preparing the Thanksgiving feast.  So, a few years ago, I started making these mashed potatoes and I haven’t looked back.

They are just as creamy and luscious as any potatoes I’ve ever made on the day and the cheesy parmesan crust makes these Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes even better than the standard version of mashed potatoes!

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes Recipe.


Approximately 8 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

Milk, to taste

1 bar cream cheese

1 stick of butter

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Grated parmesan cheese

Boil the potatoes in a large pot until soft all the way through.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and remove all of excess water.  Immediately put the potatoes back into the pot, add the cube of butter and bar of cream cheese.  Put the lid back on the pot and let sit for five to ten minutes, so the butter can melt and the cream cheese can soften.

Using a hand mixer, blend the potatoes until they are broken apart and well blended with the butter and cream cheese.  Add the milk in small parts and continue mixing until they are smooth and have very few lumps.  Make sure the potatoes are a little runnier than you like, as they will lose some moisture in the fridge overnight.  This way, they will be the perfect consistency when you serve them.  Also, the cream cheese helps prevent the potatoes from drying out.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Put the potatoes in a buttered 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Let cool completely, cover, and store in the refrigerator.  Take the casserole out of the fridge approximately one hour before baking time so they are at room temperature when you put them in the oven.

Sprinkle them generously with the parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the cheese is browned on top and the potatoes are heated through.  A good way to test this is to insert a knife in the center.  If a good amount of steam comes out, then they’re ready!

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, pine nuts, cilantro and a light teriyaki dressing.  It’s a truly unique combination of ingredients that absolutely works to make a healthy and light, yet filling pasta salad.  It’s quick and easy and the only chopping required is for the cilantro.

Thank you, Carolyn M., for sharing this recipe!

Salad Ingredients:

8 ozs bow tie pasta

4 cups spinach leaves

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 small can mandarin oranges, drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 cup teriyaki sauce (use the thinner version that resembles the consistency of soy sauce)

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 T. sugar

1/2 cup canola or olive oil

Cook pasta according to package instructions, rinse, and let cool completely.

Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a jar.  Cover and shake well.  Chill in the refrigerator.

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large, covered bowl and store in the refrigerator.

When it’s potluck time, toss the salad with the dressing and serve!




Greek Orzo Salad

Greek Orzo Salad is a fresh and healthy, yet filling, potluck dish that really goes a long way!  The oil from the olives and artichoke hearts combine with the lemon juice to make a nice, light dressing that complements the orzo and veggies without being too overbearing.


6 to 8 ozs. of orzo, cooked according to directions

1 jar of pitted kalamata or black olives, drained and chopped

1 jar of artichoke hearts in oil, drained and chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 english cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 red onion, chopped

8 ozs. firm feta, drained and cubed

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Olive oil, to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.  You may not need to use the olive oil as the oil from the olives and artichokes, combined with lemon juice, are usually enough.

Cover and store in the fridge until potluck time!  Can be made a day ahead of time.

Cream of Celery Soup


When your neighbor gives you several bunches of celery, what do you do?  Make Cream of Celery Soup, of course!  The celery, celery seed, and onion make this soup a healthy choice, while the potatoes and milk give it a heartiness that balances it all out.

With the New Year upon us and everyone focusing on health goals, this soup is a good choice for your next potluck, especially during the winter months.  And, it’s gluten-free!

This recipe comes from the Moosewood Cookbook, which is still one of my favorite go-to’s, especially for vegetarian recipes.


2 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups chopped celery (in 1 inch chunks)

1 cup minced celery

3 cups water

1 1/4 tsp. salt + more to taste later

2 T. butter

1 cup packed finely minced onion

1 cup packed finely minced celery

1 tsp. celery seed

1 cup milk (regular or low fat)

White pepper, to taste

5 T. heavy cream or half and half

Minced chives

Bring the potatoes, 4 cups chopped celery, water, and salt to a boil in a large stock pot.  Turn the heat on low or medium low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until everything is soft.  Take off heat and let cool.

Next, melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the onions, 1 cup minced celery, and celery seed until the vegetables are tender.  Add to the stock pot and puree until smooth, using either a hand blender, regular blender, or food processor.

Reheat the soup on low until warm.  Add in the milk, white pepper, half and half or cream, and salt, to taste.

Serve warm.  Top with minced chives for garnish.


Creamed Corn


I was never a fan of creamed corn until I had Sharon’s Creamed Corn!  She made it for the annual family campout potluck and it was delicious.  This recipe is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make.  It calls for flour in the white sauce.  However, she only had Bisquick and that worked just a well (if not better because it added some extra sweetness!).

Thank you, Sharon, for sharing this recipe!


2 – 16 oz. bags frozen corn (fresh or canned will work too)

4 T. butter

4 T. flour

2 cups heavy cream

2 T. sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Black pepper, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste (optional)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and let it simmer for one minute.  Gradually whisk in the heavy cream.  Add the sugar and cayenne pepper.  Continue whisking until the white sauce is thick.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir in the corn with a wooden spoon until heated through.  If using frozen corn it will take awhile for the corn to thaw and the creamed corn to be warm, but it’ll be worth the wait.

Add optional salt and pepper, to taste.  Reheat right before serving or keep in a crockpot on the warm setting.  You’re ready for potluck time!

Layer Bean Dip


I love this dip because it’s so easy to make, it’s yummy, and I typically have all of the ingredients on hand anyway!  Made it for a potluck last Friday night.  Ran by the store on the way home to grab tortilla chips and whipped it up in five minutes.


2 cans of refried beans

Taco seasoning or taco sauce

16 ozs. sour cream

Guacamole (optional)

1 jar of salsa

Shredded mexican blend cheese

1 jar of sliced black olives

Four green onions, sliced

Tortilla chips

Heat the beans in a pan and add taco seasoning or taco sauce (I had some leftover Del Taco sauce packets which worked great).  Let cool and spread in a square pan.  Add a layer of sour cream, a layer of guacamole (optional), and a layer of salsa.  Top with cheese, then black olives and green onions.

You can make ahead.  Store in the refrigerator until potluck time.  Serve with tortilla chips!

Cilantro Corn Salad


Cilantro Corn Salad combines corn, cilantro, onions, and peppers with a rice vinegar and lime juice dressing to make an especially fresh, crunchy salad with a little kick!

Stacy brought this salad to a potluck at my house a few months back and it’s been on my list ever since!


5 ears of corn

Bunch of cilantro, chopped

Bunch of green onions, sliced

1/2 Anaheim green chili pepper, diced

Lime juice, to taste

Drizzle of olive oil

2 T. , or to taste, rice vinegar

Dash of sea salt

Chipotle chili powder, to taste

Boil the ears of corn for about 6 to 7 minutes.  Let cool and then cut off the cob.  Combine the corn, cilantro, green onions, and Anaheim pepper in a large bowl.  Add the lime juice, olive oil, rice vinegar, salt, and chili powder.

Store in the fridge until potluck time!  Can be made a day ahead of time.

Watermelon Cilantro Salad

Watermelon Salad with Cilantro

Watermelon, red onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro are combined with a squeeze of lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil to make this the perfect sweet and savory, yet healthy, summertime salad!  It’s a very easy and affordable potluck dish to make.  And did I mention that it’s also gluten-free?!?!

Stacy made it for a beach bonfire recently (she had it at a 4th of July party) and I fell in love it.  Thank you, Stacy, for sharing this recipe!


1 seedless watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Squeeze of lime

Drizzle of olive oil

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.  Cover tightly and keep chilled in the fridge until potluck time!


Beet Salad

Beet Salad2

Crumbled cheese, crunchy walnuts, sweet vinaigrette, and soft beets.  This Beet Salad has become a very popular menu item in healthier cafe’-type restaurants.  Easy to make, healthy, and delicious, it is a perfect potluck salad recipe. There is no measuring here.  All of the ingredients are to taste.


Steamed and peeled baby beets (I buy them already steamed and peeled.  Way easier!!)

Crumbled blue, feta, or goat cheese

Walnut pieces or sliced almonds

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Chop the beets into bite-sized pieces.  Store in the fridge until potluck time.  Toss with vinaigrette, cheese, and walnuts right before serving!