Spruce up your holiday party dish repertoire with road-tested dishes that stay the course.
Credit: Randy Mayor

Sometimes it's best to stick to standbys-but if you're bringing the same recipe to half a dozen potlucks, it may be time to spruce up your holiday party dish repertoire. We've gathered our top recipes, guaranteed to make a hit. Better still, they can be made in advance and are easy to transport.

8 Road Tips

1. If you're only traveling a short distance, cook hot dishes right before you leave.

2. When your destination is just across town, place the hot dish in an insulated casserole (such as Pyrex Portables), or wrap it in a heavy towel. Place the wrapped dish in a box (to prevent it from sliding around), and set it on the floorboard or other flat area. When you arrive at the gathering, your dish will be piping hot.

3. If you're driving an hour or so, place the wrapped dish inside a Styrofoam ice chest or insulated cooler. Use a cooler just large enough to hold your dish to conserve its heat.

4. If you travel for more than an hour and a half, make and refrigerate the food the day before, keep it cold as you travel, then heat at your destination. For cold foods, pack in an insulated cooler with frozen gel packs or ice. A full cooler maintains cold temperatures longer than one with lots of empty space.

5. If possible, take your recipe in the dish you wish to serve it from. If you need to reheat the food, be sure the serving dish is oven- or microwave-safe.

6. Inform the host beforehand if you'll need to reheat your dish. Since Thanksgiving dinner is usually a highly choreographed event, the host will need to know how long you'll be using the oven or microwave space.

7. Take serving utensils.

8. Take garnishing options. Ideas: fresh herb sprigs, pearl onions, colorful chile peppers, whole garlic heads, lemon or lime wedges or slices, miniature squashes and pumpkins, lady apples, fresh cranberries.