If you are driving more than an hour away for Thanksgiving, bringing a dish or two to your host’s house requires some planning. You want to bring something that is portable, doesn’t need to be frozen and a dish in which ingredients don’t spoil or get soggy. Just as important as the taste of your dish, is bringing something that requires little preparation before serving so you can avoid getting in the way of the busy host.
Below are a six recipes that can be prepared the night before Thanksgiving and only require heating, combining ingredients, or no work at all before serving. Each recipe includes the ingredients, how to prepare it for traveling and the exact things you will need to bring in the car. Most of the recipes do require some refrigeration and there are several coolers that can be bought that are large enough to fit a 9”x13” pan and will keep the food cold enough with ice. Enjoy!
Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts
What you will bring in the car: One dish for the salad, a cooler to store in if traveling for more than one hour and the container of walnuts.
1¼ c. pearled barley
1 c. walnut halves
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
⅓ c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 oz. Ricotta salata
Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the barley over high heat until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the barley and rinse under cold water to cool thoroughly. Drain again, shaking out the excess water.
Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Coarsely chop the nuts and then put into a ziplock bag or container.
In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Add the barley, parsley, and ricotta salata and toss gently.
Before serving: All you have to do is mix in the walnuts.
– Recipe from delish.com
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette
What you will bring in the car: Covered salad bowl with the arugula and walnuts, parmesan cheese, a container the butternut squash mixture, dressing container and a cooler to store in if traveling for more than one hour.
1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp dried cranberries
3/4 c. apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. minced shallots
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 oz. baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 c. walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. Put into oven safe container.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Put into dressing container and store in refrigerator.
Before Serving: Heat up the roasted squash mixture in a microwave or oven until warm. Once warmed, combine the arugula and walnuts, parmesan, and roasted butternut squash mixture. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
– Recipe from the 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
Fennel and Apricot Stuffing
What you will bring in the car: One baking dish with the prepared stuffing and a cooler to store in if traveling for more than two hours.
2 tbsp. olive oil or unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp. salt and ¾ tsp. pepper
¾ c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 day-old baguette, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
½ c. dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add salt, pepper, the parsley, and thyme and cook for 1 minute.
Add the apricots to the chicken broth and warm.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a cooler for the drive.
Before serving: You will need to bake at 400° F until heated through, 30 to 45 minutes.
– Recipe from realsimple.com
What you will bring in the car: One baking dish with prepared vegetables and a cooler to store in if traveling for more than one hour.
1 ½ lb. beets (1 bunch), peeled and cut into wedges
1 ½ lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 ½ lb. baby carrots, peeled (or 1 1/2 pounds carrots cut into 2-inch chunks)
4 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 lb. shiitake or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
Heat oven to 450° F. Place the vegetables in two small roasting pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, and vinegar. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat well.
Cook until tender, about 1 hour, stirring halfway. Add the mushrooms during the last 10 minutes, toss to coat well, and finish roasting. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Put in a covered baking dish and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a cooler for the drive.
Before Serving: Reheat from room temperature at 350° F to 400°F.
– Recipe from realsimple.com
Many pies, especially pumpkin pie, are very easy to travel with, just be sure to cover and that it doesn’t get crushed or moves too much.
What you will bring in the car: Just the prepared dish and a cooler.
2 c. flour
½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 sticks (1 c.) salted butter, cut into small cubes
1½ c. sugar
4 whole large eggs
Zest and juice of 4 medium-sized lemons
Powdered sugar, for sifting
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter. Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter to the bowl and use a pastry cutter to cut it all together until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press into the prepared pan and bake until golden around the edges, about 20 minutes.
For the filling: Stir together the sugar and flour. Crack in the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix until combined. Pour over the crust and bake about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, then sift powdered sugar over the top before cutting into squares.
– Recipe from The Pioneer Woman