If you have a Christmas or New Years gathering on your radar, there’s a likelihood you’re in charge of bringing something to share with the crowd. And to make sure it arrives in good shape, packing it properly is essential!
I’m guilty of it… the “it’s only been out for a few hours. And it still smells fine!” But not everything is safe to eat after being left out for an extended period of time. According to the USDA, here are a few basic guidelines you can follow to avoid any issues:
- Never leave food out of refrigeration for over 2 hours.
- If the temperature is above 90 degrees, food shouldn’t be left out for over an hour.
- If perishable food (like meat or poultry) is left at room temperature for over 2 hours, it should be discarded.
- Cold should be kept cold (at or below 40 degrees), and hot food should be kept hot (at or above 140 degrees).
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The Best Way to Pack a Salad
If you’re in charge of bringing a salad to your next holiday party, you need to make sure it stays fresh and crisp.
You can always make it right before you head out the door, making things ahead of time is always a good way to avoid some stress! To prep a fresh salad, start by completely drying your greens after washing them.
You can use a salad spinner like this Cuisinart one, or you can simply pat down the leaves with a paper towel.
If you chop the leaves ahead of time, wait until the day of to add toppings like fruits and veggies.
Some will stay good for a while (like onions, peppers, cucumbers, and carrots). Other toppings (like tomatoes, avocados, and apples) don’t have a long life. It’s best to wait as close to the party as you can before mixing them in!
Lastly, don’t pre-dress the salad. You’re welcome to mix the dressing when you arrive at the gathering. But if you add it to the mix ahead of time, all of those crisp ingredients will get soggy pretty quickly.
When you’re ready to pack your salad, putting it in a large piece of Tupperware should work just fine.
This nifty Crystal Clear Store and Serve Container is another good option because it includes a lid, compartments for toppings, and a place to hold dressing!
How To Bring Along an Appetizer
If you’re bringing an appetizer, you first need to make not of the type of food you’re bringing.
Chopping up some veggies to serve with dip? I recommend this helpful veggie tray that keeps everything separate.
It also comes with a sealed lid that will keep everything fresh, and a handle that makes carrying your tray simple.
Another one of my favorite appetizers to eat during the holiday season is deviled eggs. And lucky for me, they’re a crowd favorite so they’re always a top request!
I like to bring mine in a tray that keeps them in one place so they don’t roll around. The last thing you want is a smashed app… That’s why this deviled egg carrier is on my radar.
It holds up to 24 eggs and the handles make it super easy to tote.
No matter what you’re bringing to the party, it’s always good to have a good set of sealable dishes of different sizes.
Growing up, my family always used plastic containers—whether we were storing things in our refrigerator or packing food for lunch. Nowadays, I try to use glass when possible because it keeps moisture out of the container.
If your current collection is looking a bit dated, I recommend this 8-piece container set by OXO. I use the OXO brand in my kitchen because they always seem to make high-quality products. And this set is no different!
I also love that they come in multiple sizes—great for dips, chopped salads, pasta dishes and more.
Tips For Transporting Casseroles and Hot Dishes
So, you’re assigned the main dish? That means it’s even MORE essential that it arrives in one piece!
One of the most popular dishes during the holidays is a casserole. Ham casserole, green bean casserole, cheese casserole… you name it! But if you’re bringing it on the go, you’ll want to make sure you transport it correctly.
Instead of trying to remove it from the original dish (the one it’s cooked in), it’s best to keep it in the same container and wrap it in aluminum foil or cling wrap.
If you’re looking for a good casserole dish, these ones from Staub are a good choice. With three different sizes included, there’s something for each of your tasty recipes!
In a best-case scenario, it’s best to make your casserole (or another baked recipe) ahead of time and reheat it at the host’s house. Transporting hot containers can be dangerous and if you top it with a lid or foil, the condensation can drip down making your dish soggy.
But if you have to carry it while hot (or you don’t want to have to reheat it), there’s another option.
You can always use an insulated carrier to keep your casserole warm and toasty until it arrives at the party. This case (with an included dish) prevents your food from sliding around, it has a sealed zip closure, and the handles in the center provide stability.
But let’s say you aren’t making your meal in the oven, and instead, it’s one of those super simple slow cooker recipes.
In that case, I recommend investing in one of these Cook and Carry Crockpots.
Unlike most slow cookers that are pretty heavy and bulky, this one includes two side handles and a lid that securely locks into place. That way, you don’t have to worry about occasional spills!
And when you finally walk into the party with your crowd-pleasing dish, you can plug it in and have it ready to serve almost immediately.
How To Bring Along Cookies and Sweets
Let’s be honest… dessert is EVERYONE’S favorite part of a potluck or party. Especially around the holidays… Christmas cookies anyone?
Let’s start with cake.
When I make a cake for a party, I usually bake it in a tray and let people cut out individual squares. But if you’re making a frosted cake that stands a few layers tall, you’ll want to be extra careful while transporting it.
Take a look at this Wilton cake and cupcake carrier I found at Walmart. Pretty nifty, don’t you think?
It features a solid base and a plastic protective cover that keeps your cake safe and secure. The latches on the side are another helpful feature that will ensure your cake doesn’t move around.
If you’re making pie, it’s best to cover the pie with a metal pie plate secured with aluminum foil. If you’re worried about the delicate crust crumbling, you can take some extra precautions by covering it with a bowl taped to a baking sheet (to keep it from sliding). For other desserts like cookies and brownies, it’s best to transport them in cardboard boxes.
I like these cute dessert boxes from Amazon because they have little windows on the top so everyone can see what’s inside! And since they aren’t Christmas-themed, you can use any that you have left over for other parties throughout the year. food transport tricks
I’m sure you have a whole list of delicious treats to bring to your next holiday party and I hope these food transport tricks are useful!
The last thing you’d want is a crumbled cake or a crushed casserole… so take care on your food-moving journey!
From my holiday home to yours,
Jill food trans
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