35 Recipes to Bring to a Wake

Providing food in times of need is always appreciated. These potluck-style salads, sandwiches and casseroles will help nourish loved ones when food is the last thing on their mind.

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Creamy Hash Brown Casserole

This versatile side dish is so good with grilled steak, and is delicious with other meats as well. A creamy cheese sauce and crunchy topping make this potato casserole popular for family dinners and potlucks. —Teresa Stutzman, Adair, Oklahoma

Editor’s tip: Consider organizing a meal train to feed the grieving family. Bringing this recipe or one of these other meal train ideas can help take dinner off their minds.

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Chicken Salad Party Sandwiches

My famous chicken salad arrives at the party chilled in a plastic container. When it’s time to set out the food, I stir in the pecans and assemble the sandwiches. They’re a hit at buffet-style potlucks. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Sparkling Fruit Salad

Pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges, strawberries and grapes are treated to a dressing of wine and sparkling club soda in this delightful salad. Serve in dessert dishes or set the whole bowl on the table for a fetching presentation. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chicken Divan

This tasty chicken divan recipe was given to me by a friend years ago, and it's been a family favorite ever since. My daughters enjoy making this dish in their own homes and get the same enthusiastic compliments I always do! —Mary Pat Lucia, North East, Pennsylvania
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Pizza Lover's Casserole

When you're looking for a surefire crowd-pleaser for a kids' party, it's hard to go wrong with pizza. This dish delivers the taste of pizza in a convenient and delicious casserole. Pair it with a salad and bread, and you have a great meal for a table full of kids without the pizzeria tab! —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
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Quinoa Tabbouleh

When my mom and sister developed several food allergies, we had to modify many recipes. I substituted quinoa for couscous in this tabbouleh. Now we make quinoa tabbouleh all the time! —Jennifer Klann, Corbett, Oregon
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Baked Nectarine Chicken Salad

Folks love the crunchy chow mein noodles on top. I love that I can make it a day in advance and refrigerate until it's time to serve. Serve with hot bread or rolls. —Faye Robinson, Pensacola, Florida
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Chickpea Cucumber Salad

This recipe is a crowd pleaser! My new husband and I bring it to parties, barbecues and other gatherings. It's a light but flavorful side dish that brings a little bit of Greek flavor to any meal. —Kristi Smith, Greenwood, Indiana
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Melon-Berry Salad

The best way to cool down on a warm day is with a chilled fruit salad. Serve this one for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Yogurt and coconut milk make the creamy dressing even more decadent. Wait until just before serving to garnish the salad. Otherwise the toasted coconut will get soggy. —Carrie Hirsch, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
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Chicken Parmesan Slider Bake

Sliders are the perfect finger food for any get-together, and this flavorful chicken Parmesan version won’t disappoint. —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado
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Balsamic Three-Bean Salad

Here's my little girl's favorite salad. She devours it just about as fast as I can make it. I suggest preparing it ahead of time so the flavors can get to know each other. —Stacey Feather, Jay, Oklahoma
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Ham & Cheese Potato Casserole

This recipe makes two cheesy, delicious casseroles. Have one tonight and put the other on ice for a future busy weeknight. It's like having money in the bank when things get hectic! —Kari Adams, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Beef Noodle Casserole

This beef noodle casserole is perfect when there's a busy day coming up, because you can prepare it ahead of time. It's ideal for a potluck, too. The flavors blend together to create a delicious combination. —Grace Lema, Winton, California
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Meatball Hash Brown Bake

For a seniors potluck at church, I wanted to create a recipe that would incorporate a meat dish and side dish in one. This casserole proved to be a crowd-pleaser, and many people asked for the recipe. —Joann Fritzler, Belen, New Mexico
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Pepperoni Pizza Loaf

This savory stromboli starts with frozen bread dough, so it comes together in practically no time. The golden loaf is stuffed with cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers and olives. I often add a few slices of ham too. It's tasty served with warm pizza sauce for dipping. —Jenny Brown, West Lafayette, Indiana
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Vegetable Barley Bake

Forget the potatoes and rice, and consider this change-of-pace dinner accompaniment. Wholesome barley makes for a heart-smart dish that complements just about any main course and other sides, too. —Shirley Doyle, Mount Prospect, Illinois
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Dilly Potato & Egg Salad

Everyone has a favorite potato salad, and this is mine. As a young bride, I was eager to learn how to cook and make things that my husband would love. I combined my mom's and his mom's recipes, and this potato and egg salad the delicious result. —Angela Leinenbach, Mechanicsville, Virginia
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Honey-Lime Berry Salad

I picked up this dish a couple of years ago, and really like the mint and fruit combo. Cilantro is one of my summer favorites so sometimes I use it instead. Turns out, this recipe's really two in one! —Kayla Spence, Wilber, Nebraska
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Wheely-Good Pasta Salad

Red pepper pieces accent this yummy side dish, and the pasta wheels really drive the theme home. —Amber Kimmich, Powhatan, Virginia
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Hash Brown Broccoli Bake

Here's a perfect dish for a potluck or holiday buffet. It goes well with fish, poultry, pork or beef. Cheddar cheese can be substituted for Swiss. Often, I double the recipe to serve a crowd. —Jeanette Volker, Walton, Nebraska
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Kale Salad

I love making meals that wow everyone. The flavor and nutrition in this kale salad set it apart from other 30-minute creations. —Gina Myers, Spokane, Washington
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Cranberry Ambrosia Salad

My paternal grandmother used to make this for Christmas dinner. I'm not sure how many batches she made since there were nearly 50 aunts, uncles and cousins in our family. I still make the recipe in memory of her, and it's still as good as I remember. —Janet Hurley, Shell Rock, Iowa
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Jicama Citrus Salad

Never tried jicama? It is a crunchy Mexican turnip, and I love to use it in this super easy salad. The jicama is ideal alongside the vibrant flavors of the tangerines and shallots. Between the sweet and sour flavors in this salad and its crunchy texture, it's all delish if you ask me. —Crystal Jo Bruns, Iliff, Colorado
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Yummy Corn Chip Salad

Corn chips give a special crunch and an unexpected flavor to this potluck favorite. Bacon adds a hint of smokiness, while the cranberries bring a touch of sweetness. It's the perfect picnic companion! —Nora Friesen, Aberdeen, Mississippi
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Cuban Sliders

These wonderful little rolls are baked until lightly toasted and the cheese melts. The leftover King's Hawaiian ham sliders keep really well in the fridge, and they make a lovely cold snack. Followers of my blog, houseofyumm.com, go nuts for these! —Serene Herrera, Dallas, Texas
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Favorite Cheesy Potatoes

My family loves these potatoes. I make a large batch in disposable pans and serve them at all our get-togethers. The holidays aren't the same without them. It's also a wonderful recipe for Christmas morning brunch. —Brenda Smith, Curran, Michigan
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Citrus Fruit Salad

Fresh pineapple with yogurt and pecans is a merry update of the classic ambrosia salad. We stir it up for breakfast, a snack or as a bright side. —Heather Rivers, Boise, ID
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Cornbread Chicken Bake

To make the most of leftover cornbread, try this hearty main dish casserole. It's moist, delicious and good on any occasion. —Madge Britton, Afton, Tennessee
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Fiesta Chicken

Chili powder and picante sauce add just the right dash to this hearty main dish. It's a snap to assemble since it uses convenience foods. —Teresa Peterson, Kasson, Minnesota
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Quick & Easy au Gratin Potatoes

On holidays, a friend serves these creamy, cheesy potatoes when we gather together to celebrate with lifelong friends and grown children. —Carol Blue, Barnesville, Pennsylvania
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Tri-Color Pasta Salad

Tackle gatherings with a bright side dish. This tri-color pasta salad with broccoli, tomatoes, olives and a hardworking dressing is one of the easiest cold pasta salad recipes you could take. —Amanda Cable, Boxford, Massachusetts
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Bacon Avocado Salad

Everyone in my family loves this bacon and avocado salad—even the younger kids! I serve it at pretty much every get-together I've hosted, and at this point, the recipe's been shared too many times to count. —Noreen McCormick Danek, Cromwell, Connecticut

Emily Racette Parulski
Emily has spent the last decade writing and editing food and lifestyle content. As a senior editor at Taste of Home, she leads the newsletter team sharing delicious recipes and helpful cooking tips to more than 2 million loyal email subscribers. Since joining TMB seven years ago as an associate editor, she has worked on special interest publications, launched TMB’s first cross-branded newsletter, supported the launch of the brand's affiliate strategy, orchestrated holiday countdowns, participated in taste tests and was selected for a task force to enhance the Taste of Home community. Emily was first mentioned by name in Taste of Home magazine in 1994, when her mother won a contest. When she’s not editing, Emily can be found in her kitchen baking something sweet, taking a wine class with her husband, or making lasagnas for neighbors through Lasagna Love.