Totally totable. Epically easy. 8 Perfectly Portable Holiday Dishes that travelers can take to Thanksgiving.
For the first time possibly ever, we’re staying at home for Thanksgiving. In our own house. Sleeping in our own beds. Cooking in our OWN kitchen. I am pumped. But I’m also sympathetic to all of you road warriors out there who will be traveling this year. For the parents staring down a 7-hour drive with kids in the car. The ones who’ve booked a three-day stay at the Hilton Garden. The cousins who will be couch surfing. The college grad running to catch that connecting flight in Boise. Been there. Done that.
What do you all have in common? You’re all staying with someone. And that someone would love it if you could bring something to dinner. Yes, even if you’re flying/driving/staying in a hotel. What’s a traveller to do? I’ve got some ideas. All of the recipes below travel well. They can be made in advance or put together at the last minute. A few can even be assembled from grocery store ingredients you purchase on your way to dinner. I won’t tell if you don’t.
No matter your dilemma, let me be your guide…
“I was asked to bring a side dish…”
If you’re asked to bring a side, always, always ALWAYS, offer to bring the cranberry sauce. This stuff travels so well. Its been my singular contribution every year we’ve made the 7 hour trek to my in-laws house. I usually make them on Monday and pour them into a pretty ball jar. Stick them in the fridge or a cooler until you arrive at your destination. Then just dump in a bowl. Plus, these have a shot of brandy…so there’s that.
“Somebody beat me to the cranberries. What else can I bring?”
Everyone loves jar salads for lunch because they travel well, right? This recipes takes the same concept and scales it up to feed a crowd. Layers of red quinoa, roasted butternut squash, pumpkins seeds and cranberries make this feel very autumnal. Prep it the day before and reserve the dressing until just before serving. Adorable.
“But I’m staying in a hotel. Now what???”
I love this recipe because it takes all the flavors of classic green bean casserole and breaks them down into separate parts. Elegant and easy to assemble at the last second. The recipe calls for a delicious homemade mushroom sauce that you can make in advance (store it in the hotel fridge or a cooler overnight). Then on your way to the party, stop at a grocery store for a few packages of steam-in-the bag green beans and a container of French fried onions. Heat everything in the microwave just before serving and assemble on a pretty serving platter.
“I’m supposed to bring pie but I can’t decide between pumpkin and pecan.”
Combine the two! These adorable little bite-size mini pies are a perfect combination of pumpkin and pecan pies. Put them back in the muffin tin and cover with foil for travel.
“I’m supposed to bring pie but I hate dealing with pie crust.”
This super simple tart features a flaky, buttery crust made quickly and easily using saltine crackers. Totally elegant yet completely foolproof.
“I’m supposed to bring dessert but I want to do something unexpected.”
This gooey, decadent dessert will be the darling of any dessert table. Chunks of refrigerated biscuit dough are bathed in a sticky cinnamon sugar syrup studded with apples and dried cranberries. Easy to make. Hard to resist.
“I’d like to bring dessert but we’re staying in a hotel and I have no time to make anything.”
These adorable parfaits are a great way to transform ready-made grocery store ingredients into something special. Pack (or purchase) some pretty jars– even clear plastic disposable cups could work in a pinch. On the way to dinner, stop at the supermarket for store-bought pies, a can of whipped cream and your favorite toppings. At dessert time, assemble as instructed in the recipe.
“The host said not to bring anything but I’d like to bring SOMETHING…”
This makes a great appetizer and/or edible hostess gift. Just whip up some easy cranberry butter (you can make it up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge) and pack it into a cute ramekin or dish. Then pair the butter with a couple varieties of store-bought artisan bread or crackers. Easy, elegant nibbles.
So, there you have it. 8 Perfectly Portable Holiday Dishes. No matter where you go or how you plan to celebrate, I hope your holidays are everything you hope they will be.