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Nov 23, 2010 08:05 PM

Tips on transporting food to potlucks?

Since it's the holiday season, I'm of course going to be trying to impress the family and friends with my best dishes ... but a problem I've had in the past, is food I'm bringing to another locale other than my home, always gets ruined . It's usually a matter of the food getting soggy. My bacon-stuffed mushrooms, soggy. My sweet potato streusel, soggy, and the marshmallows melted into a runny marshmallow water. Any tips on how to wrap food up for transport? Reheating techniques?

This year, for thanksgiving, I'm making a spicy baked mac n cheese and mashed potatoes. I'm worried about the baked mac n cheese, I don't want to bake before I leave because I'm afraid the breadcrumb topping will get soggy. I was considering just baking it at my parent's house, but I'm wondering if the creaminess of the cheese sauce will dry out from my house to theirs. Should I reserve the cheese sauce, mix it together and bake the dish on location? Is that necessary? The mashed potatoes I'm figuring will do okay, and was going to just wrap it in saran wrap in a bowl and reheat it in the microwave with forked holes in the plastic. I'm also planning on making lasagna for Christmas, but I think that's fine to refrigerate and bake later.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. If you do want to prebake the mac and cheese but are worried about the breadcrumb topping, you could leave that off until almost ready to serve, and then cover with topping and just pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. I think that would keep it crispy. That's assuming that you have reheated the mac and cheese though - is it sitting a long time?

    1. How far are you traveling? If it's local, I fold a few sheets of paper towel below the plastic wrap/lid and that absorbs some of the moisture. It's not perfect but it works.. I have this pyrex container/gel

      As long as it's hot, you can always pop it under the broiler to crisp up the top, if needed. The hardest part of hosting is when people need oven space and there isn't any--on the other end--so I try not to use the oven for long.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        To be absolutely certain, you could follow your own advice and do the final mixing/baking on-site. But If you add a little extra sauce and follow chowser's advice re: paper towels to minimize condensation factor, it should be just fine. Top it when you get there and give it a quick turn under the broiler or in the oven while the bird rests.

        1. re: mamachef

          Exactly--I think asking for 5 minutes under the broiler is much better than asking for 45 minutes of oven time when the hosts probably have multiple things that have to go in the oven.

          1. re: chowser

            Agreed completely, chowser. I've had dinner-timing totally wrecked by well-meaning guests who only need the oven for an hour - while there's a big-ass turkey biding it's time and taking up all the available room in the oven..."Oh, Ok!! (said in a gracious tone...)