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Picture this: you’re going about your day, minding your own business, when DING—you get a text. You open it up and your worst fears are confirmed. You’ve been invited to a potluck, and it’s tomorrow. The pressure’s on. What do you bring? Will it ‘wow’ the crowd? Is it easy to transport? This, dear reader, is what they call potluck panic, and we’re here to help make sure you never have to experience it again.

Author of the cookbook Yum or Yummer Greta Podleski has some life-saving tips so that your next potluck can be stress-free, and you’ll never have to dread cooking for a crowd again!

The ‘just bring a salad’ nightmare

Getting told by the host to ‘just bring a salad’ can be panic-inducing all by itself. Even though it’s supposed to make things easier, it raises a host of questions. What kind of salad?  What if I bring the same salad as someone else? What if people don’t like it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some unique options everyone is guaranteed to love. Check out this strawberry salad, this kaleslaw salad, a tex-mex option, or a lentil salad. They’re all gluten-free and two are vegan, so they’re great for any dietary restrictions that might throw a wrench in things.

Make your own dressing

It’s so easy to make your own dressings. If you want to have “the best dressed” salads, always make your dressings from scratch. It’s not complicated and store bought dressings have so many ingredients that we don’t even know what they are.

Buying pre-made: yes or no?

Buying something pre-made could be a faux pas—it really depends on what you’re bringing. For example, if it’s your job to bring a dessert, don’t stop at the convenience store and pick up a box of chocolates. That’s a little lame. However, if the bakery down the street makes the best Chocolate Cheesecake ever, we’re sure the party-goers would be thrilled with your contribution.

If you’re bringing a store-bought item, jazz it up to “seem” more homemade. So, let’s say you’re bringing roasted red pepper hummus and don’t feel like making it from scratch, transfer it to a pretty bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil on top and a dash of paprika and top it with a few pine nuts. Voila! Semi-homemade contribution to the potluck! No one will know if you don’t tell.

Watch the video above for more of Greta’s tips!