Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ask the Internet: Thanksgiving Recipes That Travel Well?

This week’s inquiry comes from reader Cam, who’s already gearing up for what my dad likes to call The Super Bowl of Eating.

Q: I've been asked to bring a veggie dish to Thanksgiving dinner. I have to travel about 3 hrs to get there. I was going to make the Ina Garten roasted brussels sprouts of CHG fame, but I just don't know how they'll reheat/travel.

I will have some access to an oven/microwave, but I would guess that I won't get more than about 20-25 min, while dodging the rest of the last-minute prep activities. Does anyone have any suggestions for a great veggie dish that will travel and reheat well?

A: Cam, I’m traveling for Thanksgiving for the first time ever, and I totally feel your pain. In regard to the Brussels sprouts, if you can prep them beforehand, it might work. They need a little longer than 25 minutes to roast, but other dishes can be cooking while they’re in there.

Beyond that, stuffing is tricky because the meat is laying out for so long, and mashed potatoes generally require a good chunk of cooking time. With that in mind, I might try these, always taking care to assemble the ingredients before you leave your house:
  • Chunky Applesauce. It’s my mom’s recipe, and can be made well ahead of time. Goes over well with the seniors and kids. Serve hot or cold.
  • Sweet Potatoes with Mini Marshmallows. This needs enough time to warm through and brown the marshmallows, but that’s about it. It is absolutely my favorite thing in the world.
  • Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots. Pretty much a roast-and-leave dish, though you would need a minute or two on the stovetop for the glaze.
  • Pioneer Woman’s Cranberry Sauce. I know cranberry sauce can be kind of lame sometimes, but Pioneer Woman’s will make you forget every abomination you ever slid out of a three-year-old aluminum can. It’s seriously THE BEST.
If your guests are amenable to a first-course soup, those always reheat well. This Roasted Butternut Squash Soup will knock their collective socks off.

And with that, sweet readers, I turn it over to you. What are your favorite travelin’ Thanksgiving recipes?

Want to ask the interweb a question? Post one in the comment section, or write to Cheaphealthygood@gmail.com. Then, tune in next Tuesday for an answer/several answers from the good people of the World Wide Net.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Elaine said...

I've made baked mac & cheese for Thanksgiving for years - it travels well and can be customized with any variety of cheese, vegetables, etc to make it more special than regular mac & cheese.

These Loaded Sweet Potato Skins (http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/10/19/savory-sweet-potato-skins/) sound great too (omit bacon, obviously).

Anonymous said...

Think about something that can be cooked/held in a crockpot. It's easy to plug one in an out of the way place to warm things up while the rest of the kitchen is busy with last minute prep.

MsLeading said...

I'm not sure whether by "veggie" she means vegetarian, or vegetable-based, but it sounds like we're assuming vegetarian (since, you know, applesauce and cranberries are not vegetables). So if that's the case, she should know that marshmallows are NOT vegetarian (gelatin), so don't do the sweet potato & marshmallow dish. Wouldn't want her to bring a veggie dish unsuitable for vegetarians.

My favorite Thanksgiving vegetable-based dish is, by far, green bean casserole. Bring along extra crunchy onions and pop it in the oven to reheat, and it tastes just like fresh.

Anonymous said...

My travel veggie friendly side:

Fiery Hot Cream of Corn -
Two Cans of Corn
One package of Cream cheese
1 hot pepper (your choice -jalpeno, serrano, habanero).
Splash of milk

Bring items and can opener to location. Dice pepper to very small. Dump all in pot, heat on stove until warmed through (cream cheese will melt into lovely sauce).

or you can make ahead and reheat in microwave.

Alanna Kellogg said...

My entire collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes has make-ahead tips included in each recipe.

wosnes said...

The Brussels sprouts are good warm or at room temperature, too.

Ina also has a recipe for roasted apple and pear sauce (and just roasted applesauce) that can be made ahead and taken. It's great as a side dish for the big meal, a simple dessert or even at breakfast.

wosnes said...

Oh, cranberry sauce. I've been making it for a few years -- either smooth or chunky -- with orange juice and a dash of orange liqueur. It's divine.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this will help you, but, do you have a roaster oven? If you ask the host and they have a place that you can plug it in you can bake a prepared oven dish in there. They can be placed on covered porches etc. Don't count on it browning though. If you have a roaster oven it might be a good idea to offer it to the host regardless in case they could use a little extra oven space anyways!

M Family said...

Crockpot Ratatouille would travel well, I don't have a specific recipe, I just tend to google and then make it the way I want lol.

Kate said...

Do you have a rice cooker?

We travelled WAY out of town this summer, and met up with a Korean family who were having a picnic. they had their rice cooker with them, and were serving straight out of that. I was very curious, so asked them what the deal was. Apparently they cooked their meal in the rice cooker at home, then just put it in the backseat of the car when they travelled. It kept its heat all that time!

So if you do, I suggest sort of an Autumnal Jeweled rice or a Wild Rice dish of some kind. You could also do barley in the rice cooker.

Anonymous said...

I vote something in the slow cooker, since it can be kept warm easily. Otherwise, perhaps a nice green salad. I find thanksgiving is so heavy that light and crunchy are very crave-able. Something with texture, since I'm pretty sure I could feed and infant well at my MIL's for Thanksgiving. Seriously, the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and stuffing/dressing all have the same consistency. Ish.

audreygeddes said...

These are wonderful ideas - thanks for sharing :}. I always make a three layer pea salad with of course peas, shredded cheddar, diced celery, Spike seasoning, lettuce and sour cream and it travels just fine. This year I confess I am too lazy to travel and so I am having everyone come here :}. But I did recently purchase a great cookbook called, Let's Cook Tonight, by Gigi Centaro. I've been trying out the recipes and so far it is kid tested and husband approved. Everything is delicious and easy, which is what I need these days. To make life easier Gigi also has free menus on her website, which is perfect for planning the big day next month.

emily said...

Cauliflower gratin would travel really well. Steam the cauliflour, make a cheese sauce, and take some extra grated cheese (or crumbled blue cheese) to top it with. All you need to do it place the cauliflour florets in a baking dish, pour over the cheese sauce and sprinkle over the extra cheese, then bake until golden and bubbling (around 15 minutes).

CJ said...

A simple vegetable medley of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli is beautiful and fits the easy category.

Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and cook each until almost done, but still retaining some crunch. Peel carrots and cut into 1/2 inch coins. Cook as above. Drain each of these and let cool. Combine them in a buttered casserol that will fit into a microwave, cover and refrigerate until transport time.

Prepare butter toasted, well seasoned bread crumbs and let cool.

Brown the butter that will be poured over the vegetables. Cool and store.

Finely chop parsley and grate some lemon zest. Place in a small zip bag and store in refrigerator.

Day of- microwave the vegetables to heat through and complete cooking. Melt the brown butter and pour over the vegetables. Combine the toasted bread crumbs with the parsely and zest. Sprinkle over the top of the vegetables and serve.

Susan Hagen said...

Blanch and chill green beans. They can either be quickly reheated in a skillet or the microwave or served cold with a vinaigrette. If you heat them they're attractive mixed with slivers of roasted red pepper out of the jar. Dress with a little olive oil.

Jessie said...

Roasted fall veggies - cube the following (or similar), mix them all together, toss in a little olive oil, salt & pepper, put in a baking dish and roast at 400 degrees for 30 min or until tender. Then reheat at 400 for 10 minutes when you get there. Squash, carrots, beets, sweet potato, parsnip, etc.

MaryKate said...

I second the corn casserole idea. It's delicious, easy to make, good reheated, and best of all, very filling. We bring it every holiday.

Anonymous said...

I usually travel for Thanksgiving & struggle with this same issue each year. Usually I bring cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, or coleslaw. My cranberry sauce is as simple as can be & has gotten rave reviews. It's #77921 from www.food.com. Two ingredients but it sure tastes like you fussed. For the coleslaw I shred it at home the night before & prep the dressing in a separate container, then add after I arrive so it's nice & fresh.

Anonymous said...

I am often asked to bring buttered noodles as a side dish. The recipe is always on the side of the bag of noodles (I use more butter) and they travel and reheat well.

Anonymous said...

I did a red cabbage, apple, and pecan salad with a red wine vinegar dressing (I think) two years ago that kept well over time. Gets all marinated and doesn't necessarily have to be refrigerated the whole time either. Nice and light too.

sell timeshare said...

My favorite Thanksgiving vegetable-based dish is, by far, green bean casserole. Bring along extra crunchy onions and pop it in the oven to reheat, and it tastes just like fresh.

Anonymous said...


Val said...

I don't do Weight Watchers, but this looks like a great recipe that I'll be making for Thanksgiving. Also a chipotle cranberry chutney for another gathering...

Southwestern Corn and Cranberry Salad
Makes 6 servings POINTS® value | 2 per serving

3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
One 4-oz can chopped green chiles (mild, medium or hot)
2 medium celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 cup no-sugar-added dried cranberries
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
(I'll probably add black beans and possibly chopped red pepper)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Anonymous said...

Spinach salad with feta cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts with a raspberry vinegarette dressing.