Easy Potluck Dishes to Fool Friends Into Thinking You Can Cook

Holiday season means potlucks, and potlucks mean your lack of cooking skill is about to be exposed. You can’t resort to the mac and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches you make for yourself. You need a solid dish that will both please and feed a lot of people.

And if you’re as bad a cook as I am, the easier, the better.

Try any one of these simple dishes. They’ll be a major hit and give people the illusion you actually know your way around a kitchen.

Baked Ziti

Everyone knows a potluck requires at least one baked ziti. It’s expected, it’s beloved and it’s caveman simple. In other words, it’s what you’re making.

Boil pasta, mix it together with sauce and cheese, lay it in a pan, bake it and you’re done. Throw a little ground beef in if you want. Used canned sauce. Mix up the cheeses and say arrivederci to your reputation as someone who can’t cook.

Mango Salsa

Mangos are the only real distinctive quality about mango salsa, but they’re just unique enough to make you look like a fancy culinary connoisseur. And it’s really effective. A little sweetness in a spicy salsa makes people go buck wild. Bring a bag of dipping chips and watch this disappear, ideally while standing awkwardly close to the dish and asking people how they like it.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everyone loves buffalo chicken and everyone loves dip. This dish is only complicated if you decide to cook your own chicken, so don’t. Just grab some cans of chunk chicken, cream cheese, blue cheese (for the love of god, don’t be a ranch person) and buffalo hot sauce. Pretty sure you can find all that crap in the same grocery aisle. Mix that mess in a pan, bake it and prepare for universal adoration.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Sounds like we’re getting a little fancy here. Don’t worry. We’re not! Just wrap each date in a piece of bacon, secure it with a toothpick, and bake those suckers for about 20 minutes (turning about halfway through). It’s a sweet and savory treat that everyone loves. Plus it’s finger food, so even if you char the bacon and ruin everything, it’ll be easy to toss in the trash.

Flank Steak

Cooking steak is treated like some mystic dark art that only the alpha-est of males can master. But guess what? It’s really easy. Get a decent cut of meat, season it with salt, pepper and garlic and grill or pan fry it until it’s charred on the outside and just a little pink in the middle. Marinades and other seasonings can’t hurt, unless you’re as bad at figuring those out as you are at cooking in general. But a well cooked steak is a well cooked steak and will score you easy compliments.