What To Bring?

Be prepared to impress your hosts and have a great time this summer with these helpful hints.
Your hostess will love the
delicious new taste of this greek
chicken salad.

It's the potluck dilemma. You could go with your usual -- beer and a bag of chips. But that's so lame. Next time, surprise your pals by bringing one of these foolproof crowd-pleasers. Your simple secret: premade ingredients -- packaged salads, rotisserie chicken, bottled dressings, white wine and sparkling water -- that you toss together with your own fresh fixings.

Sparkling Sangria Blanco Quench your thirst. Get your vitamins. We've taken the official summer drink of Spain and made it even more refreshing (if not nutritious) by substituting white wine for red, adding orange juice and orange liqueur, pouring on sparkling water just before serving, and packing in sliced summer fruits. Tote the wine mixture to the party in colorful plastic jugs, and make sure everyone gets a paper umbrella, or two or three.

Rosemary Roasted-Potato Salad Hot sun and cold mayonnaise: a potentially bad combination. Instead of the usual mayo-based potato salad, try one made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Oven roasted potatoes, fresh rosemary, and toasted pine nuts also hold their own in the summer heat. In fact, this dish tastes best served a tad on the warm side.

Island Slaw Chopped jalapenos make this one hot coleslaw. But don?t call the fire department just yet, because mango slices and a splash of bottled citrus vinaigrette cool things right down. Chop cabbage? Why bother when you can buy packaged coleslaw mix in your produce section?

Grilled Steak Wraps with Triple Dipping Sauces Indulge our inner caveman and eat grilled meat right off the stick. Or, if you prefer things a tad more civilized, wrap it in a lettuce leaf and top it off with one of our three dipping sauces: Salsa-Sour Cream, Honey Mustard-Yogurt, or Horseradish-Mayonnaise. Marinating the meat in bottled Italian dressing makes it tender and flavorful.

Greek Chicken Salad Too hot to turn on the oven? Keep your cool and pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket or deli. Mix chicken chunks with bottled Greek dressing, then pile them onto romaine lettuce, mint leaves, kalamata olives, and feta cheese for a savory summer salad.

Rum-Berry Shortcake Big, chewy store-bought cookies are the shortcut to this simple shortcake. Pick the freshest berries you can find from the grocery store or farmstand, then drizzle them with dark rum, honey, and lime. A sprinkling of toasted coconut and a squirt of cool whipped cream make scrumptious toppings. Gather all the fixings on a single serving tray and let guests assemble their own.

Continued on page 2:  Hot and Cold Food Safety Tips