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Fall/Halloween entree that is good at room temp?

So I signed up to bring an entree to my office's Halloween potluck, which will be at lunch time. I do not have a big crock pot, so whatever I make would need to be good at room temp. I also think it can still be appetizer-esque, as long as it's substantial. 4 other people are also bringing entrees, and about 7 bringing appetizers. I will have to prepare the night before.

I was thinking maybe some kind of wings? Or a more hearty pasta salad? That doesn't scream fall to me though.

So, what say you CHers? Any suggestions?

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  1. You could do a hearty pasta salad that uses, say, roasted butternut squash and pancetta... I'm getting excited thinking about such a thing! Let me know if you need a recipe.

    You could also make crostini using roasted pumpkin (or butternut squash)... roast them, blend them up with a little spice and perhaps a touch of cream. Toast your crostini. Then when you serve it, you spread on the puree and top with crumbled goat cheese.

    Roasted Root Veggies also do really well at room temp. Roast a couple of big trays of them the night before (I also could give you a recipe), let them cool in the fridge overnight. Then bring them the next day but let them come to room temp.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Tom P

      I would love a recipe for that first item. Doing roasted squash or veggies would be especially easy because I could do it well ahead of time.

      1. re: juliejulez

        Instead of pasta salad, I'd do a lentil salad - heartier, goes well with roasted squashes/root vegetables, and can be a truly substantial entree if you add meat. Google Saucisson aux lentilles for lots of ideas. I've posted my own version on Chowhound several times as well - I use roasted butternut squash, fennel and onions with kielbasa and plenty of fresh herbs, dressed with tangy vinagrette.

        1. re: biondanonima

          Agreed, lentil salad is wonderful! You could also do barley or farro, both wonderful as well. I love goat cheese with all of them.

        2. re: juliejulez

          Here is what I would do - although I agree Blondanonima that lentils (or farro or barley) would be even better.

          1) Roast your butternut squash, cubed into bite sized pieces, at 400. Toss it before hand in olive oil, salt, pepper and either sage or thyme or rosemary. About 25 to 30 minutes. Make sure you don't go too far, you want it to stay looking like a cube in the salad.

          2) Dice up some pancetta (if you have a Trader Joe's in your area, they sell it in a carton already diced, it is genius) and fry it over medium head until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

          3) Prepare your base: pasta, lentils, farro or barley. If you do any of the last three, use chicken broth, rather than water, to give it more flavor.

          4) Make your dressing (see below)

          5) Toss it all together (your base, the squash, the pancetta) with some diced red onion (adds a nice bite and a beautiful color) and, if you like, toasted pine nuts. I love crumbled goat cheese in this. I would bring the goat cheese on the side to work and re-toss one more time, with the goat cheese, before serving.

          DRESSING

          4 parts olive oil to one part sherry wine vinegar. (red wine will do if need be)... add the juice of a lemon, some thyme, salt and pepper, a few cloves of garlic minced, and a really healthy dollop of a good mustard. I like it with a grain but whatever is fine. Just no French's ;) I love French's mustard for certain things but not here. Shake it all up and use. Taste to see how much mustard you want in the dressing.

          1. re: Tom P

            Great thank you, this sounds very easy. I'm not a huge fan of lentils (legumes in general really) but the barley idea sounds good and seems more autumn-like than pasta for some reason.

          2. re: juliejulez

            This salad would also be great (I know the title says "warm" but it's lovely at room temp): http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/0...

        3. if it can be vegetarian, an orzo salad with roasted butternut squash might be nice. Maybe something like this: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/roa... ? I'd crumble some feta on top before serving.

          Another option might be something like a chili that you put in small enough containers that you can microwave them at work, then put into a larger container for serving. Maybe some cornbread on the side.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ninrn

            Chili was another item was considering but didn't think it would work since I didn't have a crockpot... didn't even occur to me to have it in smaller containers that I could reheat in the microwave... DUH!

          2. pasta salad isn't an "entree".

            sausage and peppers do fine room temp. some bread as a side.

            bastilla or spanakopita would work nicely too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I think pasta salad could be an entree if it was substantial enough. Since I'm one of 4 entrees for maybe 30 people, it doesn't need to be a full size entree :)

              1. re: juliejulez

                I've done pasta salad as an entree, it had different kinds of meats in it, salami, pepperoni, charsiu. It all disappeared no complaints

            2. I made these for a potluck recently. I add shredded kale too. They were wonderful and were fine at room temp.

              http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-buttern...

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodieX2

                I saved these to my Pinterest, even if I don't make them for this I want to make them for myself, thanks!

              2. A hearty salad I love for fall is a combo of blue potatoes, sweet potatoes and ham with dried cranberries and a chutney viniagrette; the colors are beautiful, and the addition of ham makes it substantial enough to offer as an entree as part of a pot luck buffet. I have also stirred in a chiffonade of spinach at the last minute for even more texture and color contrast.

                Here is a good jumping off point, but I do like a combo of not sweet potatoes along with the sweets, and then add a ham steak cut in slivers to bring it into the realm of 'entree'.

                http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                1 Reply