ITStock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Creamy macaroni and cheese can be a delicious side dish at a barbecue, potluck or picnic. But to serve an appetizing meal and avoid illness, you need to keep the dish as hot as possible.

Cover your dish of macaroni and cheese immediately after removing it from the oven. Use a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pinch the edges tightly closed, using oven mitts to avoid burns.

Place the dish into a portable, insulated carrier. Most carriers are made for standard baking dishes and have a reflective inner lining to help retain heat. Carriers can be purchased at most general goods stores, or you can make your own if you're skilled at sewing.

Take the dish immediately to the picnic, allowing as little time as possible for the pasta to cool.

Serve the macaroni and cheese from a portable heating unit, often called chafing dishes or buffet servers. Place your food container on the server, then light the fuel holders and arrange them underneath the server.

Tip

If you don't have a portable insulator, wrap your hot dish in a large bath towel, then a layer of newspaper. Place the wrapped dish in a paper grocery bag for transport.

Warning

Keep an eye on young children around the chafing dish, as the fuel produces an open flame much like a candle.

All food should be taken outside as hot as possible, kept hot with a portable heating setup designed for non-commercial use, and eaten within two hours of delivery, according to the Navajo County Public Health Department.

About the Author

Nadia Nygaard

Nadia Nygaard has been writing and editing since 2005. She is published in "Farm and Ranch Living" and has edited projects as diverse as grant proposals, medical dissertations and tenant law handbooks. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies.