I mentioned in an earlier blog posting that I would share about feeding a large group of people... Well at least a larger than normal group.. That is what I was doing when my son (an Army eating machine.. LOL..) and then a few days later my sil and niece were here (and a visit from other family for one night).. and I have fed larger groups in the past for a few days at a time
One of the most important things to do is
For this particular visit I first planned ahead on breakfast. Most all breakfast mornings were ‘continental’ meals. Meaning I had no cooking to do in the mornings. I was able to enjoy the visit time and not spend all my time in the kitchen.
Before they arrived I made a quadruple batch of my granola. That filled 4 one gallon jars. Then I made 3 dozen bagels (half cinnamon raisin, half plain) – recipe is below. I bought plenty of good quality yogurt and had fresh fruit available. I just laid all this out with cream cheese and homemade blackberry jam for everyone to help themselves. We did have one big pancake breakfast during their stay.
Lunches were either leftovers from the dinner the night before or sandwiches or wraps (made with organic whole wheat tortillas). I made lots of bread ahead of time and put that in the freezer to insure we would not run out.
Dinners were planned and I knew what I needed to do each evening to prepare for the next days meal, such as meat to pull out or beans to get ready for the next day, etc..
Here are a few of the meals I made:
Stuffed Shells (similar to lasagna, only I used whole wheat pasta shells)
Italian Beef (crockpot meal) served over brown rice
Homemade Pizza and Buffalo Wings, salad
Orange Chicken – Chinese noodles
Chili – homemade, tortilla chips and salsa
On the night that I had extra company I made shish-ka-bobs, potato salad (I made a HUGE bowl of potato salad that we ate on for the next couple of days), deviled eggs, chips and salsa, and a fruit salad made with cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon.
The second BBQ I served steak, bratwurst, macaroni salad, homemade baked beans, and watermelon.
The third was hamburgers with all the trimmings..
Each meal usually had a green salad along with it.
All in all, as with all meals, I think of what I can make that will stretch the farthest, be filling (with good quality foods.) and to try and be cost effective.
As for staying on a budget when feeding extra people, I budget in the extra $$’s needed. Really most of what I feed a large crowd is what I feed my own family.. just maybe a little more added to the meal or more quantity made. I basically already feed a crowd every day!! ~smile~
Here is my favorite bagel recipe (in fact I want to make more this week):
2 c warm water
1 T yeast
2 T honey
2 T molasses
1 t. coconut oil
2 t. salt
4 c whole wheat bread flour
1 to 1 ½ cups unbleached white flour
1 T Sucanat or cane juice crystals
I use my Bosch to make these in, but a Kitchen Aid will do the trick as well. In the bowl of your mixer combine water and yeast. Let sit a minute or two and add honey, molasses, coconut oil and salt. Stir this up a little. Now add 4 cups of the whole wheat bread flour and knead. It will be sticky and you will need to add the unbleached white flour a little at a time while the mixer is kneading. Knead and add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.
At this point, knead for another 4 to 7 minutes (the longer time with the Kitchen Aid). Cover the mixing bowl with a towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
Turn on the mixer and punch it down. Divide the dough into 16 small pieces. Form each piece into a bagel. The way I do this is as follows: Roll the dough into a small circle. Flatten it between my hands. Roll the outer edge of the dough under to make a nice round shape and at the same time use your thumbs to push through the center. It takes a little time and practice to get this down, but before you know it.. your dough will actually look like a bagel!
Lay each bagel on a cookie tray that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. I use two cookie trays. Cover with a towel and let rise until double in bulk. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400.
When the bagels have risen get a sauce pan and fill it about half way with water and add the 1T of Sucanat. Bring to a boil.
Carefully lift each bagel from the tray and set it in the boiling water. I use a spatula to do this. Cover the pan and let it boil for 20 seconds. Uncover and turn the bagel, cover with the lid and boil for another 20 seconds. Remove from pan and place back on cookie tray. Repeat this for all bagels.
After the first tray has been boiled, put them in the preheated oven and bake for about 23 to 25 minutes. You don’t want them too dark or they will be to crusty on the outside and that does not make for very enjoyable eating!
While those are baking, do the second tray of bagels and just let them sit on the counter until the first tray is done. Then bake the second tray.
Enjoy these delicious bagels with cream cheese and honey or fruit sweetened jam! Yum!!
NOTE: I have used half wheat and half kamut flour in place of the all whole wheat flour and found them equally delicious!