Saturday, January 28, 2012

On Cooking for the Masses

Saturday, I truly love thee. It's a great day to breeze through a to-do list.

And because I'm embarking upon the art of cooking for 8+ crowds I have time to prep. I really enjoy the big group cooking challenge because of the need to budget, plan, organize, and be flexible. But I'm not the expert and would welcome your helpful advice!

Last week for our small group I made this super healthy chili in the crock pot. The ole' crock by the way is a wonderfully magical invention. It's like an Easy-Bake Oven for adults!

So How To Cook For 8+:

-Plan ahead! Find a few easy recipes that can easily be double, tripled, quintupled (is that a word?). Good Recipe Examples: Crock Pot Recipes, Chili, Soup, Casserole etc... Bad Recipe Examples: Filet Mignon, Lobster, Anything with expensive cheese...

-Shop ahead with a list! Don't shop the day of--I've done this, many times and still have only recently learned my lesson. I bring the list, get in, get out, and reduce stress later.

-Kitchen Smarts (like street smarts, but ya know...less scary). In the prep/assembly of the dish put things away as you take them out. Literally this saves me 15 minutes of clean up time no matter when I'm cooking. I get out the salt, I use it, I put it back etc... So simple and keeps things my kitchen clear and clean for guest arrival.

-I have to be flexible and have grace that cooking for big groups means things probably will take longer to cook or the recipe may not easily double. Find someone (oooo Ryan Decker!) who will encourage you and taste test their lives away.

-Finally, I think I've realized that blessing people in your home a real ministry and way to love them. Thinking back to Martha & Mary (Luke 10:40-42) the most important thing isn't how perfect everything looks or tastes, but enjoying and blessing the people you get to be with.

So now this week on zee menu eez....

Slow Cooker Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
(meant to serve a group of 8... 4 of which are very hungry husbands)

What to Get:
  • 2 1/2 lbs beef round steak
  • 3 medium green peppers (or orange or yellow would be yummy!)
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 5.5 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • Salt & Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 large loafs French bread sliced into sandwich lengths
  • 12ish slices of provolone cheese

Directions to cook:

1) Lightly coat crock pot with olive oil

2)Cut meat into strips, place in crock pot

3) Add green peppers, onions, broth, and seasonings

4)Cover and cook on low 7ish hours, or high 3-ish hours

5) Toast the bread lightly at 400 F for 5 minutes with cheese on top to melt

6)Finally place beef/vegetables onto bread, top with cheese and allow to melt.

Serve alongside oven baked sweet potato fries, a big garden salad with toasted almonds, or homemade coleslaw.

My Journey to 1000 Gifts
68. Crock pots
69. Moon rises behind the mountains
70. Patient teachers
71. Ability to create

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42

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