Who doesn’t love a potluck for the food, the fun, the fellowship – and did we mention the really, really good food. Whether it’s the annual office meal, a gathering of friends and neighbors, a club meeting or any other occasion, people love coming together for an old-fashioned potluck.

Chef Chris Meyers at Hy-Vee’s Ansborough Avenue location has come up with some simple -- and simply delicious – recipes that are easy to make and will be the hit of your next potluck. The bonus? All of these dishes are easy to transport.

Mozzarella Caprese Appetizer

  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 5 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 bunches fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Cracked black pepper

Place vinegar and sugar in saucepan over medium-low heat and reduce the volume by half. The resulting liquid should be fairly thick, but will become more syrup-like when cooled.

Slice cheese and tomatoes. Remove basil leaves from stems. Shingle the sliced mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves, alternating each item, on a tray or arrange in a pleasing pattern. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and olive oil and cracked black pepper to taste, just before serving.

You can also chiffonade the basil (roll leaves and slice) to dress the cheese and tomatoes.

BLT Pasta Salad

  • 1 package pasta shells or bow ties
  • 1 pound bacon, browned and chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream or ranch dressing
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ bunch green onions
  • Shredded cheese, optional
  • ½ head leaf lettuce

Brown bacon and chop; set aside. Cook and cool pasta according to package directions. Mix together cooled pasta, bacon bits, chopped tomatoes and red onions with mayonnaise and sour cream or ranch dressing. Toss lightly to distribute evenly. Spread leaf lettuce over top as garnish or mix it in, if you prefer. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, if desired.

Baked Ziti

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound Italian sausage
  • 2 cups cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Italian seasoning
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 28-30 ounces jarred spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook and cool pasta. Brown ground beef and sausage with onions, peppers and ½ of Italian seasoning. Drain off excess grease. In a food processor, combine cottage or ricotta cheese, garlic, egg, Parmesan and remaining Italian seasoning. Combine noodles, browned meat, cheese and sauce in large bowl. Lightly spray casserole dish with olive oil. Place mixture into casserole dish and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 to 30 minutes.

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