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So, it looks like the family is getting together this year for Thanksgiving. DH and I will be driving ~12 hours to get there.

What's a good side dish that travels well? We will have a cooler and ice packs. I don't know what is available once we get there for storage and heating, but I assume at least a microwave.

The only thing I can think of is pie. Any other ideas?
 

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Gosh - if you don't know what heating elements are available, that might be difficult. I'd go w/ cranberry sauce, rolls, mini cheesecakes or cupcakes, cheese and crackers, olives or Pioneer Woman has a really obnoxious bacon wrapped around crackers and baked recipe that ALWAYS gets rave reviews. I've served it at room temp 24 hours later. One guest told me, after tasting one that he'd 'found God'. Later I found out that he'd absconded at least one tray for himself.

12 hours? That is indeed a long travel. I don't think a pie would hold up that well - the crust might get soggy, etc.
 

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I would probably go with the bread/rolls or dessert route, even chips and dip (premade jar type). I am pretty sure the hostess would understand. You also could bring some type of beverage, apple cider, soda, juice, wine, beer, etc.
 

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I've always thought it was understood that the guests who travel bring generic food items. Chips, rolls, soda, wine, something they can pcik up when they get to their destination. I would never expect someone traveling 12 hours to bring a side dish! Even when I go to my folks, (5 hours) I usually just bring home made cookies. But my mom travels with a ham in her trunk! (family joke)
 

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What about a pasta, slaw or veggie dish that you add the dressing too once there? And who can you call to find out the status of cooking/warming up availability?
 

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I agree that bread or pie is the safest bet - no spilling and maintaining temperature (cold or hot) isn't an issue. I also think the drinks idea is a great idea if you can bring sealed soda, cider, etc. And there's always asking if you can just provide the napkins, cups, etc.!

On a sidenote, JerryG had wondered if the crust on a pie might get soggy. I think it would depend on the pie. Something like pecan pie would probably do well.
 

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Hmm...vinaigrette based salads - veggies/beans/rice/pasta. Pickled items for a pickle tray?

Lastly, for some reason I keep thinking of a tater tot casserole. Assemble. Freeze. Transport on ice. Bake when you get there to cook OR precook before freezing so you can just nuke when you arrive.

Are you able to call ahead to ask if you can reserve oven time or stove top space in advance? This may be helpful for you once you've decided on a dish.
 

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roasted beets, skinned, cubed, toss with olive oil and add toasted walnuts and blue cheese - deeelish, can be made ahead and great served at room temp.
 

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Can you make a partial dish.........say the 'less messy' part of
a salad and finish it when you get there? Or have all the ingredients ready to go but in separate containers if it will be semi-liquid or a potential spill?

My past experience: the '5 cup fruit salad' travels great....and you could always add the sour cream when you get there.
Also, easily doubled, if need be. And it goes well with ANY meat.

1 cup marshmallows
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup sour cream..............drain fruit, dump in bowl, mix and serve.
 
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