need recipes for large groups

posts from 13 October 2004 to 14 March 2011
CAM
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need recipes for large groups

Post by CAM »

Hello fforum ffriends of llizard,

I have been foolish enough to agree to take food to a weekly dinner for 35 to 50 voracious young adult students who don't necessarily get a lot of good meals each week. I have been taking a humungous salad (thank goodness for those bags of ready-to-use salad greens). The first week I took a huge pot of vegetarian chili which was very popular. Last week a huge pot of mild chicken in tomato-based curry which was also very popular.

To prevent student boredom, I could use a few more recipes that are easy, with not too many steps, and that will feed lots of people buffet-style and are nutricious and delicious (no macaroni or pasta based stuff -- there are too many of these dishes brought. I don't really have time to cook all day. I don't mind chopping A Few ingredients, but don't have time for the likes of making a million pies or standing over a stove watching things, or cooking up a lot of short order items. Need more really good vegetarian dishes, and non-vegetarian dishes.

Any ideas :idea: ?
Barbara
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Re: need recipes for large groups

Post by Barbara »

CAM wrote:Hello fforum ffriends of llizard,

... dinner for 35 to 50 voracious young adult students ... Need more really good vegetarian dishes, and non-vegetarian dishes.

Any ideas :idea: ?
Falafel might be good. You could use falafel mix and bake them (they taste almost as good baked as deep fried, and you can do way more at a time in the oven - I make them fairly flat and bake them at 425 for about 10 minutes). The tahini sauce and tabbouleh can be made in a food processor, and you could use store-bought pita.

Here's my recipes for tahini sauce and tabbouleh. I think they could easily be multiplied by large amounts.

Tahini sauce

Blend
- 4 tbsp tahini (unsweetened peanut butter is an excellent alternative if you don't have tahini)
- 3 tbs lemon juice
Add
- 3 tbs yogurt (can also use water, for all or part)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 clove garlic
Blend until smooth

Tabbouleh

- 1 cup bulgur wheat soaked in water for 90 minutes
- 3-4 ripe tomatoes with the seeds removed * and chopped
- 1 cucumber peeled and chopped - remove the seed part if too wet
- 3-4 green onions chopped fine
- 2-3 cups flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup fresh mint (I've made it without the mint, and it's fine)

(The exact amounts don't really matter. I've sometimes had only 1 tomato, no cucumber, not enough parsley etc)

Dressing:
- 1/2 c lemon juice
- 1/4 c olive oil
- salt

(*) I've seen people discard the tomato seeds (!), but I love eating those parts separately as part of the tabbouleh preparation)


:jump: What? No meat?
Barbara
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cabbage and tortilla salad with peanut sauce

Post by Barbara »

We had this last Sunday at lunch. It wasn't the most beautiful dish, but it was really delicious, and really simple to make. It would expand to large quantities very easily.

Chop 1 head of cabbage fairly coarsely. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly and let dry.

Toast 2 tortillas (I do them folded over in the toaster) until just starting to get golden, but don't let them get hard. Slice them into 1/2 inch ribbons. Toss with the cabbage.

Make peanut sauce:

- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp chili flakes
- 2-4 tbsp chopped shallots or green onions or white onions would do in a pinch
- 1 tbsp Tom Yum paste (or Thai Red Curry Paste) :stomp:
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- juice of one lime :bravo:

Heat the oil to medium hot and fry the chili flakes for a few seconds, then add the shallots and Tom Yum paste and fry for about a minute. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter and sugar and bring to gentle boil then add the lime juice. If too thick, add more coconut milk or water.

Serve the peanut sauce over the cabbage/tortilla mixture. A garnish of sliced red bell peppers and green onion fronds makes it look a bit prettier. Serve extra peanut sauce on the side.

:stomp:
llizard (aka ejm)
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Post by llizard (aka ejm) »

CAM wrote:agree to take food to a weekly dinner for 35 to 50 voracious young adult students [...] Need more really good vegetarian dishes, and non-vegetarian dishes.
Wow. I'm impressed. :bravo: I have never cooked for large numbers so don't know for sure if the following will require too much chopping.

Refried beans casserole might work. You can use canned black beans for the bean part. And I suppose if you were really trying to save time on chopping, you could use a food processor to coarsely chop the vegetables required. But I think it is quite simple to make and very satisfying to eat.
Refried beans casserole recipe at:
http://etherwork.net/recipes/mexpotbeans.html#refried

Mexican pie is also very simple to make:
http://etherwork.net/recipes/mexicanpie.html

I would also think that this chicken and rice dish would work pretty well:
http://etherwork.net/recipes/chickenric ... ozconpollo

And middle eastern lentils and rice dish (mjdarrah) might also be good:
http://etherwork.net/recipes/lentilsrice.html

And finally, what about couscous? The stew that we make to go with couscous involves chicken but I'm sure it could be made with any kind of meat of even with (shudder) firm tofu.

http://etherwork.net/recipes/chickencouscous.html
MrsBrown
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food for large crowds

Post by MrsBrown »

MrBrown has been on a bean kick for the last few weeks. I discovered the easiest recipe for baked beans that's also delicious and very filling (and cheap). It's in :arrow: More Easy Beans by Trish Ross and Jacquie Trafford.

:bravo: Mexican Baked Beans :bravo:

1 tbsp oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 (I use more) clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (I use 2 cans black beans)
1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup red wine or water
freshly ground pepper

1. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized casserole.
3. Bake, covered, at 325 for 1 hour.

MrBrown also adds frozen corn to great success. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are found at Mexican markets. Sometimes you can find them at regular markets in the Mexican section or if you are lucky enough to have dried chipotle peppers, I'm sure you could reconstitute one of them and add that instead.

I think this could easily be expanded to fit the largest casserole you have. :bravo:

:jump: :jump: :stomp: :stomp:
CAM (oops didn't log in)

Post by CAM (oops didn't log in) »

Many thanks llizard and others. :bravo: Since I have taken a vegetarian chili before (quite popular), I think I will try the Mexican pie. It looks delicious, it's vegetarian, it will be a bit different from the usual lasagna that many people bring. It could be made in several very large pans. http://etherwork.net/recipes/mexicanpie.html

The students are really appreciating the meals. I think many students these days have very little money -- tuition has gone up dramatically the past several years, but certainly wages haven't.
llizard (aka ejm)
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Post by llizard (aka ejm) »

CAM wrote:I think I will try the Mexican pie.
The first time that I had Mexican pie was at a potluck dinner. It travels very well and even survives being microwaved for reheating. It's pretty fantastic and I suspect it will be a big hit. I hope so!!

MrsBrown's Mexican baked beans look really good too. You could probably make a pretty decent "Mexican pie" using that recipe for the sludge between the tortilla layers.
MrsBrown wrote:MrBrown has been on a bean kick for the last few weeks.
MrBrown might really like cranberry beans then:
recipe at: http://etherwork.net/recipes/beans.html#borlotti

We toss this sauce in pasta but I'm thinking it would be good on rice as well. We have made it using dried cranberry beans (aka romano) - cooked in advance and also with canned cranberry beans. There is little difference in the end result between the fresh and dried versions. There is a very tiny difference in the end result with the canned beans but that might just be that we got an inferior brand of canned cranberry beans. Canned, fresh, dried - all are really good.
Mats
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Post by Mats »

CAM, I am curious about your food program. I gather you are feeding university students. Can you tell us a bit more about the whole effort?
CAM
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Post by CAM »

llizard wrote:
CAM wrote:agree to take food to a weekly dinner for 35 to 50 voracious young adult students [...] Need more really good vegetarian dishes, and non-vegetarian dishes.
llizard, thanks for all the suggestions. I tried the lentils and rice dish -- delicious. Served with pita bread and yogurt with cucumber. It went over well. Several had seconds and one even took some home in a "doggie bag." Quite mild -- I might want to add a bit more spice next time -- probably not quite enough for the volume. I made quadruple the recipe.

Others brought dishes too -- it works like a "pot luck" dinner except that the students do not bring, they just eat and eat and eat. It's quite astonishing.

MEF asked what the dinner was about, so I'll reply here. It's a weekly dinner for students offered by a church near the university that became aware that many students need and want a decent meal "no strings attached" (i.e. no churchy stuff). Tuition is up, but wages are not. I have been contributing to the food because I know some of the kids that attend the dinner. It's really quite fun once you get used to making the quantities, but it does add to the grocery bill! Last week there were more then 61 students there, and I'm quite sure there were that many this week. You wouldn't believe how appreciative the students are -- there are students from Canada and ESL students from all over the world who come for food and conversation.

Next week I think I will make Mexican Pie -- a lot of people who bring food don't seem to understand that vegetarians need really nice food like us carnivores, and that green salad, macaroni salad, rice and buns just ain't dinner.
CAM
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Re: need recipes for large groups

Post by CAM »

blm wrote: What? No meat?
Yes, there's meat. I often take a chicken or beef dish as well as a vegetarian dish.
CAM
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Re: need recipes for large groups

Post by CAM »

Tested Mexican pie this evening with our family. We ate quite a lot. Really delicious and I love the texture, which is different from enchiladas. The only problem I anticipate with a large crowd is cutting up the pies quickly in a buffet line up. Needs a very sharp knife to cut through tortilla shells. Pizza cutter not effective. I think making in pie rounds the fastest. I have lots of pie plates, and the round tortilla shells lend themselves to pie shapes more easily than larger rectangle pans.
Guest

Post by Guest »

I would be very intimidated by the idea of having to cook for a large group. Fear of failure would be my main motivation for chosing a particular dish. It would have to be something almost idiot-proof. It would be a dish where the proportions of the ingedients aren't important, substitutions are easy and overcooking wasn't likely. It would be something where I could throw everything into one pot on top of the stove. It would be something that doesn't deteriorate when made a few hours in advance. It would be something I couldn't spoil. It would be a balti curry.
David
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Post by David »

Anonymous wrote:I would be very intimidated by the idea of having to cook for a large group. [snip] It would be a balti curry.
Sorry, this was me. I thought my name would be automatically entered after I logged in or perhaps the system is logging me out if I take too long to compose and post my message. Either way, not only can't I remember my name but I have also lost the ability to spell the word "lizard" without adding an extra "l" or sometimes an extra "z". We all know who is to blame.

------------------
editor's note:

:lalala:

It's not my fault (just wanted to establish that)

I was going to just silently exchange the "oops, I forgot my name" to "David, not logged in" but I changed what's left of my mind.

-lliizzaarrdd
llizard (aka ejm)
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Post by llizard (aka ejm) »

CAM, glad to hear the lentils and rice went over well. And isn't that Mexican pie fantastic? We make it in a round casserole dish and slice the pie into wedges when it's hot. Maybe whoever takes it out of the oven can quickly slice it into serving sizes?

We recently made the pie using Morita salsa (no tomatoes) It was fantastic! I thought that I would miss the taste of the tomatoes - but no. Also, we have started putting everything in all the layers. We slather corn tortillas with the bean sludge, then put some of the vegetable sludge on top of that, sprinkle cheese on top of that and then another layer of bean slathered tortilla. We also discovered the wonders of putting a little dish of cornchips on the table for those who like extra carbs.
CAM
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Post by CAM »

David: yes, when cooking for a large group, I use all the criteria that you do. Mexican pie fits. It went over very well with all age groups and all national groups. I didn't make a bean dip -- make refried beans instead, using the general outline of the recipe. Used a mixture of pre-grated jack and cheddar. Used commercial salsa (although my son pointed out that it would have been better if I had made the salsa myself.)

The result? Fantastic! I used pie plates -- this size was plentiful for a family dinner for three piggy adults including a salad. I really like this because when you put the tortilla on the bottom it does not stick. I tried one with oil, and it stuck. The dry one was best. So clean up is amazingly easy.

There were other things at the student buffet, including a huge shepherd's pie. So we cut each Mexican pie into 8. I made 6 pies -- layered with four tortillas. I brought one home, so at least 40 slices were eaten. There were about 50 people served in the buffet. I was asked for the recipe.

Some horrid things were there as is usual -- e.g. macaroni salads, marshmallow salads, etc. Why do well meaning people think these latter qualify as "food"?! Or that students will eat them!
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