Frugal potluck choices: Italian Cheese Bread

Italian Cheese Bread, served with Easy Lasagna

When we first moved here and started attending a church which has a potluck every week (which I love!!) I experimented with making a variety of different foods to take. We ended up deciding to take this cheesy bread every week since:

It's easy.
It's affordable.
Everyone loves it!
It tastes great cold (can be made ahead).

Price breakdown for the Italian Cheese Bread:

2-1/2 cups bread flour = $0.28*
1 teaspoon salt = $0.01
1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
1 tablespoon active dry yeast = $0.12*
1 cup filtered water = $0.01
1 tablespoon vegetable oil = $0.03*

1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing = $0.25
1/8 tsp salt = 0
1/4 tsp garlic powder = $0.01
1/4 tsp ground oregano = $0.01
1/4 tsp dried thyme = $0.01
Dash pepper = $0.01
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese = $0.09
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese  = $0.40*

Total price for one 16-inch pan of cheesy bread, minus energy for baking: $1.24

*Denotes items purchased in bulk from Costco. Other items are also purchased in bulk or on sale.

Now, add that price to the fact that every week I take two 16-inch pans of this bread to church and it's usually completely devoured, and you'll know why this has become our potluck food of choice! :)

What are your favorite potluck foods? Do you like to make/take the same thing every time, or do you go for variety?

Be sure to visit Jessica's blog for lots of frugal ideas and tips today! :)

P.S. If you like price break-downs, I wrote about our (staple) homemade wheat bread costs here! 


I tend to take a variety. It all depends on the weather and my mood and what's available This sounds like a great bread.

I usually make brownies. I made them for work a couple times and ever since, every potluck they were requested. I do mix it up and add different stir-ins sometimes.

Hi Tammy!

What a coincidence (or however you spell that;) I just did a cost breakdown on the pot of chili we just had last week.

Your cheesebread looks so yummy -- the lasagna too.

Take Care,


It's easy to make. Most people have never tried it (it's a Jewish food) and it's easy and yummy to make!

Michele in No. VA

If money is not a problem, for a dinner, I take my 4-cheese mac/cheese. There's never any left over and I've rarely seen it thrown away as leftovers on a plate! If money is tight I make bean enchiladas and, since vegetarian dishes aren't often remembered, they are usually all eaten. If not I take corn muffins [hot if possible] with honey butter. For potluck breakfasts [like our former Church's 5th Sunday Brunch] I usually take homemade biscuits with honey butter and ham butter link to ham butter recipe: . I put a cute handmade sign on the ham butter and honey butter. Once they know what it is the ham butter is devoured and I've often been asked how to make it. Turkey ham works fine if you are in doubt of your audience. I label it as such so all can try it without worry.

Ham butter, honey butter post was by
Lisa @

I tend to take different things, to me it doesn't seem fair to take something small every time. I mean someone is providing the main courses after all -- so I switch it around depending on how busy I am that week. Of course there are dishes that are requested and then I just make those.

For Potlucks, we always take a meal based on what we have at home that needs to be cooked. I always being a large main dish and a dessert. Sometimes bread. But not always the same thing, though I often take cinnamon rolls.

What kind of Italian dressing do you use? I made this bread last year with an oil and vinegar dressing I made myself and it was dry. I don't usually buy bottled Italian, but if it makes a big difference, I might try it again. It the stuff you use thick? Full fat?

I like to take a variety of things. We just had an egyptian food potluck. The pastor and his wife had went on a mini mission in Egypt. That was really fun. I took 2 salads (recipies supplied by pastor's wife). One salad was really enjoyed. The other was called "potent potato salad". LOL There are a lot of lemons used.
Marj, in a tiny town in Wyoming.

We eat potluck-style with our church fellowship each week also. I like to do a variety, depending on what I have on hand. We are encouraged to bring either a meat/main dish, 2 sides, a side and a dessert or 2 desserts so that there is a nice variety and not just some people are shouldering the weight of the main dishes. Singles can bring whatever they want and families who are struggling financially are encouraged to just bring a side dish like veggies or rolls.

About once a month, I'll do a main dish and other times brings side dishes/dessert. My favorites are crockpot dishes since they stay warm. Mashed potatoes and lasagna are frequent dishes that I take. Also homemade bread is always a hit. I'll have to try this cheese bread. It looks great and I know everyone would love it!

I doubled the recipe and hear it in my machine now... you said it would be okay to "fill it up" so I am trying. I am excited to hear the reviews from family!

I forgot, I love taking a fresh fruit display to potlucks... usually everyone brings "heavy" dishes. BUT, money it tight, and our church has fellowship every week too... we rotate serving groups, and I am on for this Sunday... so it is Macaroni and Cheese and cupcakes or Cinnamon Rolls. Bless you!

Usually something different each time... Just depends what I have on hand etc... I have wanted make that Italian Cheese Bread ever since we had it at your place! I should try to do that next week. It is yummy! That is an idea to bring to our home fellowship potlucks. :)~Tanya - mama to 5 :)

I take different foods to potluck. It all depends. Beans are pretty frugal so sometimes I take a bean-based dish. My latest creation for potluck was bean patties. I cooked a large pot of pinto beans in the crockpot and blended them up. Then I added various veggies - carrots, celery, onions, and a bunch of seasonings. To hold the patties together, I used a bit of gluten flour and oatmeal. They turned out pretty well (served with gravy) and people enjoyed them! I also take potato dishes from time to time, as potatoes are pretty economical here. Sometimes I take salad because not many people bring salads at our potluck.
- Joelle M.

I join the crowd and say, yup! It is Great! My children loved this bread... and they are picky teens! We also had pizzas made out of the same crust, I doubled the recipe in the abm twice... thanks! Shawn <><

We also have a fellowship meal each week after church. We take a main dish, salad, and dessert. For main dishes we usually rotate between lasagna, tator tot casserole, chicken and rice casserole, and mac & cheese w/ polish sausage. In the winter we'll sometimes take chili. For desserts I like to try new ones all the time. :)

That Italian Cheese Bread is YUMMY!! Our whole family loves it! I haven't made it for a while though, I'll have to make it again soon.

Thanks for the great recipes! :)

What a nice looking meal :)

We make your Italian Cheese Break a couple times a week.The kids just love it.My youngest likes his dipped in ranch dressing.I think I got that suggestion from you.

Opps I put a comment about the cheese bread here and then added a comment about your lovely meal in the post below here.

I'm wondering what "italian salad dressing" is - is it a dry ingredient or wet? I'm picturing dressing like you pour on salad (wet type) or dry like mixed herbs?


Sue, I like to use the fat-free Italian Salad Dressing. Regular will work as well, or you can substitute ranch dressing... I know it is not very healthy but my favorite way is with the store-bought fat-free Italian!

I always liked to take bread to potlucks too, but then about half or more of the church decided to go "gluten free" so I stick to at least one thing most people can eat. I take a main dish and either a side dish or dessert.
I do alot of potatoes as that is cheap....Shepherds pie is a big favorite and can be kept in the crockpot so it stays hot during the service.

You all have such good attitudes about cooking every week! We've been doing so for 2 years, and it is getting draining! There are about 5 of us that cook for 50-70 people; and I am the only one who brings a large main (2 6-qt. crockpots), a side, and a dessert. With three little ones under 4, it's tough! Not to mention a strain on our really tight budget. Thanks for all the helpful ideas!
I usually stick with easy things: chicken breasts (on sale) in a casserole, pizza casserole, lasagnas, potatoes and ham, etc. I will have to make the italian bread as a side when I don't want to make another salad!

It seems like I take green beans a lot.

I am going to have to try that Italian Cheese bread.
It looks & sounds great!

We also have potluck every Sunday between services. Every family is asked to bring a main dish, two sides (one can be bread), and a dessert. It works out well because we have a nice variety and plenty for our guests. We have a warmer so we can bring food in either a crock pot or pan and it stays warm and safe. I like to bring homemade pizza (cheese). My crockpot lasagna is also a big hit. We always end up having a nice mix of main-dish salads, veggies, carbs/starches and desserts--OH MY, THE DESSERTS :) I will admit that sometimes it is a bit much for me to cook every Saturday night or Sunday morning in addition to my regular responsibilities. In those cases, I either take a day to make something like lasagna to freeze and use on Sundays or my sweet hubby encourages me to buy something from the store and be done with it :)

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