Mac n cheese at a picnic?
My friend is having a goodbye potluck/picnic outdoors this Saturday. She'll probably grill up burgers and sausages, and we're all bringing sides. I was thinking about bringing mac n cheese, as it's such a crowd pleaser, but I'm nervous about it congealing up at room temperature. Has anyone attempted to bring mac n cheese to an outdoors party? are there particular recipes that would make the dish better suited to room temperature?
Otherwise, I was thinking of making the Cook's Country barbeque macaroni salad or maybe a red cabbage slaw. Open to other ideas of easy sides for a crowd!
Last 4th of July, I attended a family BBQ outdoors on a warm, sunny day. When Grandma Lil showed up with a large pan of a baked version of mac and cheese, it was one of the sides that got devoured immediately. Put on the buffet table while it's still hot, insulated if you can, and it should get plenty of action. It helps if the food table is shaded.
I've done it for summer block parties.
I normally make as usual, but do toss in some extra velveta to keep the curdling at bay.
9x13 glass Pyrex and then cover and throw into the insulated zip pack right out of the oven.
Mac and cheese does not usually 'cook and hold" well, so bring it hot and during dinner service and it will be gone in no time.
Heat is on your side, but it is no pasta salad.
If it's gotta sit, then go with your Plan B.
I brought a pan of mac and cheese to the beach last week to go with burgers, hot dogs, etc. heated it on the grill and served hot and bubbly. There were no leftovers to congeal!
Ideally, make it just before and keep it hot. If it is going to be made, refrigerated, then reheated,
make the cheese sauce looser than you ordinarily would so it does not dry out during reheating.
Since you are grilling up burgers, you might consider premade mac n cheese slabs to top the burgers. In this case congealed and firm (reheating while grilling the meat) resting atop the burger patty is an awesome and unexpected topper.
Everyone's advice above sounds good. Try to keep the dish covered with foil and a kitchen towel on top to help keep it warm. Just lift at one end to serve, then cover again.
Thanks for the ideas all! I decided that I'm too lazy to make sure it stays liquid, despite now knowing it's possible. My feeling is that all the guests will be arriving at different times, and food will be served late, so it's easier not to deal with it. The grill space will likely be precious. I'm just bringing a tres leches cake and a cabbage salad instead!
After failing once to keep mac&cheese warm on way to a picnic, I decided that cold macaroni salad was almost as good.