HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Recipe Request: Morning Snack for 30+/- ppl; must be made ahead + portable

I'm taking a course this semester that meets on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 am (nursing school). My group will be together for the next two years, and I thought there is no better way to get friendly and relaxed than bring a snack to share. The instructor gave permission for this class only (obviously in lab class and when dealing with patients, no snacks are permitted). Anyhow, I brought pumpkin spice bread this week (3rd wk of class) and was a big hit. It was a really great ice-breaker, everyone seemed to loosen up . . . I made a small chart showing the nutritional benefits of pumpkin (which are many) to keep it relevant.

Now I need more ideas. The problem is that I have to make it the day before due to my schedule and I have to transport the snack as well as any serving items needed (approx 1 hour drive) to school. Also, the class is from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, so it needs to be an item that will be okay sitting at room temperature for a long time. If there are nuts, or wheat, or whatever possible allergens, that's no problem as I can simply include that information in the description.

For next week, I was planning to make chocolate chip banana bread from Southern Living (tried and true favorite), but that seems kind of ordinary. OTH, apparently many of these students have never had anything homemade as the majority appeared incredulous when advised that the pumpkin bread was made from scratch. Anyhow, please share your ideas. I know that CH'ers will come up with ideas that I'd have missed. Thank you all, in advance!! PS Bonus points for healthy recipes, but not required. "Everything in moderation" LOL

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You're really sweet to do this for your class. Since it's morning/breakfast time, why not make an egg bake casserole and either cut it into squares that can be handheld, or even better, bake the mixture as muffins.

    I always add shredded cheese, diced ham or sausage and peppers or western omelet ingredients... or you could make it all vegetarian, just in case.

    This is the idea... http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sc...

    6 Replies
    1. re: mcf

      hi mcf, I was actually having this same thought! Thank you for the link. I was concerned about texture/enjoyment for an eggy casserole (strata-type thing) that would likely sit out from 8:30 am - 1:30 pm.

      For example, when I brought the pumpkin bread, about 60% was consumed during the first hour of class but the rest was eaten during the 10 minute breaks each hour through 1:30 pm. The very last piece was eaten by a student as I was attempting to clean up the serving platter around 1:45 pm! Haha. Isn't it funny in the USA that oftentimes people are extremely reluctant to eat the last piece? Yet in other cultures, it's considered good luck to finish off a dish.

      1. re: mcf

        Absolutely with mcf--it's delish. Or a frittata (same idea, a little denser in texture and more flat), which in my family we eat out of hand at room temp as an appetizer at parties. My favorite was my aunt's--very simple recipe with asparagus, eggs, romano cheese

        1. re: pinehurst

          You can make mini-frittata in muffin tins.

          1. re: Ruthie789

            how about popovers? kind of eggy without being messy, good vehicles for jams, cheeses,etc.?

            1. re: betsydiver

              Popovers don't travel well and they are not great unless right out of the oven.

        2. re: mcf

          This was my first idea as well, egg casserole. I like the little muffin shapes, nice few bite food.

        3. Spanikopita is terrific for breakfast & healthy to boot. In Greece nobody eats it hot.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JoeBabbitt

            This is a very good idea, indeed. I have made spanikopita in the past with success, although if you saw the amount of butter that I used, I'm not sure you would say that it's healthy. :-) Nonetheless, I will add it to the rotation, for sure. Thank you for the suggestion JoeBabbitt!!

              1. re: MrsPatmore

                My family is Greek and my mom uses less than a stick of butter for an entire batch of spanakopita (a whole box worth of phyllo). We just did them over Christmas and probably half the butter was left in the bowl.

                She just paints quick "stripes" down the phyllo with a pastry brush. Probably less than a teaspoon of butter per pastry.

                When baking, she sprays lightly with Pam or olive oil to get them to brown nicely.

                I've also seen Greeks make their spanakopita and tiropita with an olive oil mister or brushing olive oil only.

                I grew up never EVER eating butter. It was olive oil on everything.

                1. re: MrsPatmore

                  I use half butter & half olive oil. FWIW

                  How's the 'new' refrigerator?

              2. Can you do mini muffins? Good for breakfast. You can use the choc chip banana bread recipe in mini form.

                Or borekas (puff pastry triangles filled with cheese, potato, or spinach)

                2 Replies
                1. re: cheesecake17

                  This is ironic but I gave my mini muffin tins away last year, assuming that since my children are grown, they would not be needed. Of course, since I donated them to the local VNA thrift shop, I've wanted them back at least 3 times. And bokekas --- totally forgot about those!!! I think that there was a recipe in the Moosewood cookbooks that I made many years ago. It was a show-stopper back then, and probably would be to these students as well. Great idea! Thank you.

                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                    I usually use disposable mini muffin tins. That way when I'm out and about, nothing gets crushed.

                    Hope the borekas work for you!

                2. Scones hold great, are portable and have endless variations.
                  Cheddar and Bacon or Scallion
                  Buttermilk Blueberry
                  Rosemary-Apricot topped with course Salt...................

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chefj

                    Hi chefj: MrsPatmore has a confession. She doesn't like scones! (For this crime, I think they will take away my *imaginary* citizenship.)

                    That being said, the other students will probably love them! Another great idea. +1 Thanks!

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        <but can you use an electric mixer?>

                        Not yet . . . but Daisy is helping me in the kitchen. LOL :-)

                        1. re: MrsPatmore

                          I have to confess to hearing your posts in my head in Lesley Nicol's voice. LOL

                    1. re: chefj

                      But have you tried this Orange Yogurt "scone" recipe? Not at all dry or uninteresting - call a it a triangular flat muffin.


                    2. I was at a conference that set up a "gorp"-type snack mix bar with small bags. It had nuts, dried fruits, m&ms, Chex, pretzels, and other stuff. Was really fun to go through the line and interact with others.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jillbcooks

                        My mom makes something similar and it disappear in minutes. I think it's technically called "white trash chex mix" but basically a chex mix with cereal, pretzels, M&Ms all tossed in white chocolate.

                      2. I'm of the group that does not enjoy egg dishes that are not warm unless it's a deviled egg; cold or room temperature quiche or egg casseroles are something I wouldn't touch, but that's just me. I'm sure others might enjoy it.

                        I suggest a savory bread...perhaps something savory like a pepperoni/cheese or sausage bread. I like to alter the following recipe and use it for a savory roll with anything from mixed veggies to meats to herbs. "Frost" with an herbed cream cheese or just sprinkle with your favorite cheese before baking. (use one teaspoon sugar instead of tablespoon and no pudding mix in the dough) http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cinnamon...

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          Thank you for the link, Cherlyptw. I share your concern about the temperature of an egg dish (although as I mentioned above to mcf, a baked egg dish was one of my initial thoughts). Sitting out from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, in my mind that is not a pretty sight. I might be able to bring something in a crockpot, but I don't want to make any mess in the classroom. That would be a big problem.

                          In addition to your savory bread suggestion, I have a really good pecan roll recipe that I wanted to make but couldn't figure out how to make/transport 30+ rolls. I think that using the same recipe but creating 2-3 loaves of bread would be perfect! Thank you

                          1. re: MrsPatmore

                            To transport the 30 pecan rolls get a throwaway turkey roasting pan or catering tray.

                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              Or cut down a large box leaving 3-4 inches from the bottom then line with parchment, baking paper even foil.

                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                <cut down a large box leaving 3-4 inches from the bottom then line with parchment, baking paper even foil.>

                                That's exactly how I transported the pumpkin bread! :-) Love this idea, and it's a form of recycling, too.

                                1. re: Cherylptw

                                  Great idea.
                                  I saw something similar, using strips of a cardboard box as dividers for frosted cupcakes. No smashing during travel

                              2. re: MrsPatmore

                                Make the cinnmon rolls in muffin pans. Works like a charm. Just watch them, they bake faster.

                            2. How about a 'bite/ball'? I have some that are really tasty and healthy. If you'd like a recipe, let me know.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: AMrunnergirl

                                Yes, what is a "bite ball"? Sounds intriguing!

                                1. re: MrsPatmore

                                  The ones I make are sweet. This is my favorite: 2 cups nuts (I use 1 cup each walnuts & pecans) 1 tsp salt (I use fine grain sea salt) 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, 2 cups pitted medjool dates.

                                  In food processor grind nuts, coconut & salt. Add vanilla & dates & process until a 'dough' forms that can be formed into balls. If mixture doesn't stick together you can add a tablespoon of coconut oil. I use a small cookie scoop for uniform size & roll into balls. You can roll balls in additional coconut.

                                  1. re: AMrunnergirl

                                    Oh, I have some recipes somewhere like that from the seventies - those are really good!

                                    Dates are underappreciated these days; they're due for a comeback.

                                    1. re: AMrunnergirl

                                      I made this chow recipe that is a similar idea/ ingredients, really delicious!

                                  2. Biscuits (similar to scones) with a variety of jellies, honey, butter, peanut butter, etc.
                                    Coffee Cake of various types
                                    Mini cornish pasties
                                    Corn Bread or Corn muffins
                                    Jelly Roll
                                    Pianamo Rolls
                                    Cha siu bao (steamed or baked)
                                    Pizza Bites
                                    Fry Bread
                                    Soft Pretzels
                                    Hot Cross Buns

                                    1. These bacon, cheddar and mushroom squares are fantastic. They are quiche-like, but with a shortbread crust and a much smaller ratio of egg to filling and crust. They are meant to be served room temperature. I have added or subbed other veggies and meats many times.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                        I love this idea, and I'm sure that I could change up the ingredients to use what I have on hand, e.g. chopped sundried tomatoes, spinach, etc.

                                        1. re: MrsPatmore

                                          Definitely, it's a very flexible dish, and I find that the smaller amount of egg custard is more appealing at room temperature than a quiche. By the way, one thing I always do is up the amount of shallots or add some onion.

                                      2. Granola - To serve my recipe you'd need plastic cups & spoons since it's got a tendency to crumble. Happy to provide it if you don't have a go-to one of your own.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                          if you have a cooler, yogurt and granola makes a great breakfast, and opens the door to discussions about grains and fibre and protein from seeds and probiotics, etc., etc., etc.

                                          Add blueberries for a heavy-duty nutritional punch for breakfast *and* the discussion.

                                        2. Peanut butter & honey spread on graham crackers

                                          1. The bisquik style "quiche" is always good......especially if served with a salsa (hot or not) on the side

                                            or banana-blueberry bread with chopped pecans and/or macadamia nuts

                                            1. any sort of muffins is always nice - apple, blueberry, peach. What about a french toast casserole or some other form of bread pudding? cinnamon rolls? babka? how about an apple crisp or peach cobbler?

                                              1. A savory quickbread could be good, add scallions, cheddar, spinach etc...

                                                Blondies are always popular, and don't underestimate the appeal of a legit blueberry muffin- homemade ones are hard go come by now.

                                                1. Chocolate chip banana bread sounds good to me - not ordinary at all!

                                                  1. Muffins of any sort, with cheese as a side perhaps? A coffee cake is usually well received. Yogurt with a cinnamon oat topping and a side plate of sliced oranges.

                                                    1. I love these minis. Very high in fiber too.

                                                      I love your chow handle too. :)

                                                        1. I love that you are feeding your nursing school peers:) When I was in nursing school all of us were always hungry. My BFF lived off organic bananas and carrot juice she smuggled into lectures:)

                                                          1. Fruit Salad and Yogurt parfaits, garnish with granola

                                                            Pita bread, hummus and baba ganoush

                                                            Breakfast Cookies

                                                            Mixed Nuts with raisins, dates, dried apricots

                                                            Grapes, Apple slices, Orange slices & Cheese

                                                            Deviled Eggs - place two halves together to form one whole egg with filling inside

                                                            Potato Salad in Lettuce cups

                                                            3-bean salad and crackers

                                                            Guacamole or mashed avocado on pre-made Toast; sprinkle with sunflower seeds

                                                            1. The schedule was changed so our non-lab/long lecture day was today. I brought a version of the Cook's Illustrated Big Beautiful Muffin recipe. I'd forgotten just how great and reliable this CI muffin recipe is - and as I happened to have blueberries in the fridge, I added 1.5 cups fresh blueberries and 1 tbs grated lemon zest. I've paraphrased the recipe, below. The muffins were another big hit with my fellow students. The professor said that can be served on a napkin is fine - but nothing wet or messy. I'll be spending the next two years with these people, so I've got plenty of time to try many of the great suggestions that have already been posted here. Thanks to everyone who has replied!

                                                              3 cups all-purpose flour
                                                              1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                              1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                              1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                              1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
                                                              3/4 cup of sugar
                                                              2 large eggs
                                                              1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

                                                              Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately. Fold together just until mixed. Bake for 25-30 min @ 375F. Makes 12 big, beautiful muffins

                                                              ETA: I forgot to mention that I always use the Bakewell Cream brand of baking powder. It makes a big difference IMHO. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

                                                              8 Replies
                                                                1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                  The big beautiful muffin recipe has never failed me. It is very adaptable. To add any single ingredient (like berries), add 1.5 cups. To add two ingredients (e.g., dried cherries + choc chips), add up to 1 cup of each. I think the yogurt is the key to these muffins. The original recipe called for low-fat yogurt. Last night, I only had Greek yogurt in my fridge, and the muffins still came out just fine.

                                                                  Happy Cooking! :-)

                                                                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                    Thanks! Will try it soon. Like the idea of dried cherries and chocolate chips (and I have both!)

                                                                    1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                      Just wanted to let you know, this recipe turned out great. I halved it and used fat free Greek yogurt. My 3yo inhaled them, husband thought they were store bought

                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                        LOL -- don't you HATE that? You make something homemade, and they think it's storebought because it tastes good?

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          To be fair though, my mom makes these muffins and brings them over often. It's basically whole wheat flour, skim milk, and baking powder, with banana for flavor. So....he's right to be wary of muffins!

                                                                        2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                          I'm pleased that the recipe worked for you, cheesecake17! It's a keeper IMHO. Fast, flexible and reliable. I recently made the BB muffin recipe and added lemon zest and fresh raspberries - also I sprinkled a little Demerara sugar on top for crunch. That was a good combination! :-)

                                                                    2. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                      Yummm!! Perfect you had the berries on hand

                                                                    3. Great suggestions here already. I'd only add that you might find it helpful / fun to keep a running list of what you've done. I was the official bringer-of-afternoon-snack to a set of committee meetings over several years - I'm a little sorry I didn't do better documentation. I made a lot of (unfrosted) cakes baked in loaf pans; two would feed the whole committee, and getting them there was easy.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: THewat

                                                                        oh, that's a great idea! I meant to take a picture of the muffins (as they truly were "big and beautiful") but somehow, they were eaten before I remembered to get my phone out for a photo. I will definitely keep a log, thank you for this excellent suggestion.

                                                                      2. stromboli and focaccia both are good at room temperature

                                                                        1. So, the schedule got changed up again this week, and I had to come up with a snack for tomorrow based on what I had on hand. I decided to make cranberry-orange-walnut quick bread. I used a somewhat generic recipe (link here: http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-...) but added extra cranberries, fiori di sicilia flavoring in lieu of vanilla extract, and a generous tsp of nielsen-massey orange extract. Also, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk, but I used orange juice. The result is a nice tangy cranberry bread with bright citrus and floral notes (sounds like a wine description, LOL). The fiori di sicilia flavoring is really special! Here's a link for anyone that hasn't tried it: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...

                                                                          Next week, I'm hoping to have time to make this yeasted coffee cake that Roxlet, nothingswrong and a few others have been raving about: http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...

                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                              Very nice! Would a bar of sorts fit in, date square or the like?

                                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                Yes, that's a great idea! and I do have some dried figs that I need to use up. Maybe I will make fig bars next week

                                                                            2. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                              Lovely! And in a pinch, just a lot of nice diced fruit would do....just put them in individual cups if necessary

                                                                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                I was thinking of diced fruit, like a fruit salad. But the teacher specifically said nothing could be wet. Or in cups. She said I must be able to serve it on a napkin. So that is somewhat limiting on what I can bring

                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                    Oh, I shouldn't have made it sound that way - my bad! It's just that we're in an auditorium, and technically not really supposed to be having food in there, at all. But she thinks as long as it's not too messy, no one will complain. OTH, if the janitors see 30 cups and spoons in the trash after class, that'd be a dead giveaway! LOL

                                                                                  2. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                    woops, I just posted and now saw your additional requirements here -

                                                                                    that makes it go back to cookies pretty much!

                                                                                    parmesan crisps

                                                                                    ants on a log?

                                                                                1. this is a great question - with helpful responses -

                                                                                  i hope in nursing class especially, nothing is handheld or shared - (not because of who you all are but general healthcare protocol)

                                                                                  so if we have a serve-yourself display of chips and hummus or mixed nuts (if you are allowed) - or cut up slice (like a large quiche) - or veggies - we always put them in either parchment muffin cups ... or the parchment sandwich bags etc

                                                                                  i think you likely get the picture of what i'm trying to describe above

                                                                                  ps - we have luxury of a full-size fridge, microwaves, dishwasher and hot / cold running water sink at our healthcare setting - so some of the ideas below may not meet your "no fridge" requirement ---

                                                                                  cut up long english cucumber (you can peel or score with fork before cutting in to approx 2 inch long "rounds" - you can cut on diagonal at one end if you want to make it look fancy

                                                                                  scoop out with melon baller or small coffee spoon - just to make a hollow in ONE end

                                                                                  set upright

                                                                                  then pipe some homemade hummos in to each cucumber cup

                                                                                  you could make fruit kebabs (melon, berry (some people are critically allergic to strawberry or mango etc))

                                                                                  small snack size fruit or savory smoothies? garnish with a berry (use small paper cups - the espresso size - they are at Costco or dollar store)

                                                                                  small snack size yogurt and granola parfaits - small clear cups avail at dollar store or costco - you can easily make your own granola at home - or easily avail at the store

                                                                                  summer you could make a batch of fresh tomato gazpacho - serve chilled in small clear cups with a daub of plain greek yogurt for garnish (and a mint leaf or basil or whatever from your garden - you could add a bread stick for garnish

                                                                                  some sort of cous cous, chick pea salad (add tomato, parsley, etc - served in small cups

                                                                                  black bean, sweet yellow corn kernals, brown rice, cilantro (or flat parsley), lime juice, olive oil - another salad idea

                                                                                  if you bake or make a grain salad, the brand called Bob's Red Mill from Portland, OR has lots of excellent quality "more wholesome" grain products that can help reduce the glycemic load factor - they even make a whole wheat pastry flour that I cannot live without - I use it to make brownies a little more justifiable! ; )

                                                                                  1. Update - I made a cinnabon copy-cat recipe this week (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/clone-of...) but I substituted fiori di sicilia for vanilla in the cream cheese frosting. I brought the frosting in a ziplock bag and applied on-site. I made the dough and shaped the rolls the day before, stuck the buns in the fridge overnight to rise, and baked off in the morning before school. After baking, I put the (warm) pan in a large cardboard box lined with beach towels to keep them warm during the commute to school . . . worked great!!!

                                                                                    Last week, I made chocolate chip banana bread using Moosewood's coffee-spiked banana bread recipe (my favorite recipe for banana bread) and adding chocolate chips: http://www.domenicacooks.com/2011/10/...

                                                                                    I'm attaching photos even though they aren't the greatest. The situation is pretty hectic in the morning and getting any photo is a feat! Please forgive the poor quality of the photos and thanks again for all the great suggestions. I'm planning to make the yeasted coffee cake suggested by "nothingswrong" for class next week! (http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...)

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                      I've been wanting to try that Cinnabon recipe. Was it good?

                                                                                      Yay about my coffee cake; do report back and let us know how you like it!

                                                                                      P.S. Your photos are fine!

                                                                                      1. re: nothingswrong

                                                                                        I actually never got the chance to taste the cinnabon recipe - the buns were inhaled by the students within minutes! :-) I used Penzey's cinnamon - which is a blend of four types of cinnamon - and I think the cinnamon makes a big difference. My car smelled great driving to school, btw! Also if you don't have fiori di sicilia, I'd add a pinch of orange zest to the cream cheese frosting, as it's a bit too sugary IMHO. A hint of citrus seems to balance it. Also if you make them, remove from oven at 180°F internal temp - I followed directions on King Arthur website to bake until 190°F internal temp and I thought they were a tad overdone.

                                                                                        Also I just remembered that I used the KA cinnabon-copycat recipe, not the one from allrecipes.com: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

                                                                                      2. re: MrsPatmore

                                                                                        Great Stuff.and fantastic photos....glad everything worked out

                                                                                      3. I have to agree on all the egg and other protein based dishes from a nutritional standpoint. The protein and fats are going to be better brain food vs a high carb bread product which will cause a huge insulin spike and crash causing brain fog and fat storage.