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Easy but tasty make ahead food that travels well for a group

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A group of 10 - 12 friends are getting together for a reunion and we are renting a place a couple hours away. We are trying to be a little frugal so wanted to make some things ahead of time that we could take with us that will travel well in a cooler for a couple hours. We probably won't have a lot of time to cook while we are there so food we can reheat easily. There are a couple vegetarians in the group as well. I was thinking so far about pasta sauce and maybe some veggie chili but could use some help on some other ideas and recipes. The easier and tastier the better and something that won't turn to mush on the car ride.
Thanks for your help on this unique request!

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  1. Make stuff shell or lasgna and freeze them ,then two hours to the cabin will give it time to thaw. Or put it in the cooler to unfreeze later.Make enough for leftovers so people will have something to eat on. A salad and bread and your good to go.

    1. We camp pretty frequently during the summer so we try to look for make ahead ideas. We have camp stoves and grills (typically) and here are a few of our standards:

      Marinated meats (I know you have a vegetarian) - but we cube up chicken, beef or shrimp dump in marinade then freeze the whole bowl or zipper bag and pack it frozen in the cooler. Meats already prepped - just have to skewer and quickly grill.

      Chicken or shredded beef taco meat. Good for taco's, burro's or quesadillas. With pre shredded cheese and lettuce, super quick and easy.

      Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Fruit Salad.

      Hearty soups/stews.


      1. Fried chicken, any soup or salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Demented

          and to go with the soups, yeast breads (whole wheat, etc.) or quick breads (corn bread, irish soda bread) that can be frozen ahead of time.

          Frittata will keep in a cooler, along with quiches (which can be served cold).

          Bread pudding for breakfast, just bring some maple syrup along.

        2. My go-to dish in these circumstances is what I call Greek Potato Salad. It has no mayo, is simple to make, and extremely delicious and flavorful. And vegetarian.


          1. Twice baked potatoes travel well
            fixings for tacos that everyone can assemble their own according to taste are good for a crowd

            Happy travels!

            1. Pasta dishes that are almost but not completly cooked. IE make the sauce ahead and just cook the pasta at the last minute. Something that would be just a good cold for lunch the next day (like a pesto type sauce) works well for these kinds of weekends. I like the make yourself taco ideas. Even make your own pizza's might work. Make the dough just before you leave. Let it rise on the drive, refrigerate when you arrive and if there's a grill cook them on that. The bread pudding idea works but so would a baked french toast (really the same thing but a better breakfast name) Another meal that I've done for this kind of group is seasame noodles (again make lots of extra for lunch) and terriyaki chicken. Bring it already in the marinade and grill or broil there. If it has to be made ahead go the casserole or lasange route or make chilli with lots of toppings which can be made into a Mexican Salad the next day.

              1. Thanks everyone for your great suggestions. Can always count on CHers for their help!