Potluck Pointers

Headed for a potluck? Here are some clever hints from fellow readers...

• When making a taco salad, add the dressing, meat, cheese and tortilla chips just before serving. This will keep the salad from wilting, and the chips will stay crunchy. —Lisa Homer Avon, New York

• I always like to precut cheesecake by dipping the knife into hot water and wiping it on a paper towel before making another cut. —Rick Peters, Manson, Iowa

• Stuffed peppers are my specialty for fall potlucks. So, in the summer, when peppers are abundant, I freeze them. To prepare the peppers for freezing, wash well; remove seeds and stem. Blanch for 3 minutes; drain well and freeze on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Once frozen, place them in plastic freezer bags and enjoy them all fall and winter long. —Ruth Johnson Albuquerque, New Mexico

• I like to use chopsticks as an alternative to sharp-pointed wooden skewers. —Shannon Abdollmohammadi, Woodinville, Washington

• When I transport hot dishes, I use a gym bag or a bag large enough to hold a 13- by 9-inch dish. I wrap the dish in newspaper, then line the bag with a large bath towel and wrap the towel around the dish. Everything stays warm, and it is easy to transport. —Virginia Lytle, Salem, Wisconsin

• Whenever you're bringing a stew, soup or chili to a potluck, you'll find it can be easily transported in a 5-quart slow cooker. —Charlene Spelock, Apollo, Pennsylvania

• Whenever I'm asked to bring a punch to a potluck, I pack all of the ingredients I need in a cooler and assemble the drink there. —Susan Freebury, Wilton, North Dakota

• It's easy to cut canned potatoes in perfect sizes for a breakfast casserole. I use my egg slicer! —Valerie Giebeig, Tallahassee, Florida