7 Kitchen Hacks for Food on the Go
Heading on vacation or party? Starting a commute back into an office? Shuttling the kids around from one camp to another (with a swim practice thrown in for good measure)? Being away from home can be challenging, so I've compiled my top five tips for snacking healthily while on-the-go. You don't have to sacrifice nutrition when you're on the go. Try these tips to keep meals and snacks healthy when you're in a hurry.
1. Transporting fragile pastries and hors d’oeuvres
If you’ve ever tried to transport small, delicate tartlets, deviled eggs, or other bite-size treats for family parties or neighborhood potlucks, you know how difficult it can be to get them to their final destination safely. Here’s one idea for making the trip a little safer: pack the items in a cardboard egg carton lined with plastic wrap.
2. Stuffed mushroom caddy
For easier transport of stuffed mushroom caps, use mini muffin tins. Each mushroom perches neatly in a muffin cup, and not a single bread crumb is lost on the way to the party.
3. Deviled eggs on the go
Deviled eggs are all about presentation—bright yellow filling piped into the hollow of a cooked egg white—so safely packing them for a picnic or a party can be daunting. Here are two tricks to help.
A. Prevent overturned eggs by placing each one in a paper cupcake liner and then arranging them in a single layer in a plastic storage container.
B. To completely sidestep the problem of stabilizing already-filled deviled eggs, pack the prepared filling in a zipper-lock bag, then simply place the egg white halves and the bag of filling in a cooler for transport. Just before serving the eggs, snip the corner of the bag and pipe the filling into the whites.
4. Travel-ready frozen dinner
Skip the canned beans and franks on a stick and upgrade to skirt or flank steak on your next camping trip (works for tailgating, too).
1. At least one day in advance, combine the meat with a low-acid marinade (that won’t turn the exterior of the meat mushy) in a zipper-lock bag and place the bag in the freezer. You want about ¼ cup of marinade for every pound of beef.
2. About 3 hours before you’re ready to grill, remove the steak from the freezer and place in a cooler. It should stay cold but defrost in time for cooking.
5. Salad in a bag
Instead of carting a container with you when you bring salad to a party (and then inevitably leaving it behind), pack your salad with all of its extras in an extra-large zipper-lock bag. Just before serving, add the dressing, give the bag a quick shake, and empty the salad into one of your host’s serving bowls.
6. Have cupcakes, will travel
Beautifully frosted cupcakes make a great single-serving dessert for parties and picnics, but transporting them neatly can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help your treats survive their trip.
A. To easily transport cupcakes without having to buy a cupcake carrier, use a large shirt box (found at drugstores and other outlets). Cut evenly spaced xs in the top of the box and then nest the cupcakes inside them.
B. Rather than buying a carrier dedicated to transporting baked goods, try toting yours in a bamboo steamer basket. Cupcakes (and pie) fit snugly inside, the lid protects the contents, and a ribbon tied from bottom to top secures it en route.
C. Sometimes you may want to transport just one cupcake. To safely transport a cupcake or any other delicate pastry, lay the lid of a clean pint-size deli container upside down and place your cupcake on it. Invert the container, slip it over the cupcake and down onto the lid, and seal it shut, thus creating a safe shell around the cupcake.
D. If the aesthetics of the cupcake are less important to you, another way to preserve the frosting is to cut the cake of the cupcake in half horizontally and flip the top half upside down so that the icing is in the middle, making a cupcake sandwich. Wrap the cupcake in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and you’re good to go.
7. Trauma-free pie transport
Your freshly baked pie deserves better than to be squished in transit to a party. Turn to another type of pie for a clever container—pizza pie. Hit up your local pizzeria and request a clean pizza box (a small 10-inch-square one is just the right size) for keeping flat-topped pies, such as pecan and pumpkin, safe. (this tip won’t work with domed pies, like lemon meringue, but see below for one that will.)