Saturday, July 23, 2011

Casserole Carrier for ANY Size Dish, Pan, Bowl or WHATEVER!


Covered Dish Dinner (mistyped that's Sinner, which might be more fitting!). Pot Luck Lunch. Pitch In. Carry In. 5th Sunday Lunch. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Funeral meals.

We've all had times we needed to take food to an event and we wanted an easy way to carry it without burning ourselves. Or we had a salad that we put in our Tupperware super jumbo bowl and it wouldn't fit in a cooler. Enter the Casserole Carrier!

I saw an idea last year & decided to try it out. I've tweaked it to make it "my own" but the idea is still the same. I've bought patterns for casserole carriers before, but they had a million pieces and once made, would only fit ONE size dish. As most my readers know, I am a former Pampered Chef consultant, so I have WAY more than one size dish! LOL! If PC makes it in a certain size, I very likely own something in that size!

I realized that just looking at one picture of this it might not make sense, so I decided to do a "tutorial" of how to use one of these casserole carriers. I'll also put the measurements at the end and a short "how to make" tutorial. I can't reprint the original design (and I've seen it more than one place) but I can give you my spin on it.

First, the coolest thing about this carrier is that it is a "multi-tasker." Yes, I did borrow that line from Alton Brown. I suspect he finds some PC items useless since they appear to be single-taskers, but I can find more than one use for almost any kitchen tool. : ) Besides toting your dish to those dinners, you can use the decorative side for a table quilt/runner. Also, because I line these with cotton batting or insulated batting, they are also hot pads for your dishes to protect your table. With this batting, it means they carry cold foods as well as hot. Another fun idea: load up your picnic items that don't need to go in the cooler into the middle, pull up the straps, carry the items to the park and you have a tablecloth AND all your goodies to go along with the food!

On to the tutorial! First, lay out your carrier with the strap side up. Lay your dish on that side UNDER the strap.
Next, pull up one of the corners with the loop or ring (I've done these with both metal loops and rings) and insert the strap through this.
Pull up the opposite loop/ring and put the strap through that.
Pull the strap and VOILA! You now have an easy to carry dish!
 I took pictures using 3 different size pans so you could see it works with different sizes.

Deep Covered Baker
Large Round Stone (AKA Pizza Stone)
Metal Sheet Pan

If you'd like to buy one of these, I have a couple on my Etsy site, but I also can make one in the colors and prints of your choice. Just send me a message and we'll get started!

For those who would like to make your own, here are my VERY basic directions. I use about a yard of two different fabrics to make 2 carriers, or if you want the front & back to be the same, just get 1 yard of one fabric. If you don't want to add a border, you can probably use just 3/4 of a yard. 2/3 might even work. Since most fabric is ABOUT 44" wide, half of this is 22" wide. I cut 2 squares 22" w & l. I use the extra bit of fabric to make a strap (I put batting in my strap, make a tube, sew & turn). If you want to make a border, cut the square smaller than 22" and add the border to make the finished piece about 22" on all sides. Cut a piece of cotton batting or Insul-Bright 22" also.

Make your strap the diagonal of the square: Measure from one corner diagonally to the opposite corner. Make your straps slightly longer than this. Just make a tube as mentioned above, about 2" wide finished, so you'll want the fabric to be about 4 1/4" wide to start and use 1/4" seam. Lay the finished strap diagonally on the square from corner to corner. You can baste this on or pin it on at this point.

Layer your fabrics: One fabric right side up, the other fabric right side down, then the batting. The straps should be sandwiched between the 2 right sides of fabric. Sew around the edges and turn. I quilt it after I've turned it. You could do this like a real quilt and just layer the fabric right sides out, quilt, then add a binding. Your choice. I just do the easiest way!

If I make loops I make them about 8" long, I think. I just sew them on by topstitching VERY well. If I add metal rings, I make a short strip tube about 4" long. I insert the loops and again topstitch these on. I add these to the quilted carrier so the stitches go through all layers. You could add these before you sew the layers together if you don't want stitches showing, but I think it adds stability to the carrier to do this through all layers.

Ta-Da! You're done! Enjoy!

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