Merlin has the right idea. Have everyone bring their favorite dish. A sign-up list by category will avoid ten potato salads and only one pie. Pot lucks are my favorite type get togethers. If you want to spring for the meat and beans and maybe some drinks(like a cooler of lemonade or iced tea or a keg of beer) that is more than enough expense to go alone, and most people would be happy to bring one or two side dishes.
Hunter, how about a pasta salad? It can be as simple or as fancy as you'd like. Start with;
5# tri-color rotini
Cook & drain no more than 2# at a time. Put it in a VERY large bowl. Add fat-free Italian dressing. You can get a 1/2 gal. bottle from Costco or Sam's for about $3.
Now you can have fun with it. Add any or all of the following;
Item.........................Suggested Amount ----------------------------------------------- shredded cheddar cheese......2 to 3 cups chopped boiled eggs..........12 to 18 sliced black olives..........4 large cans fresh broccoli florets.......5 to 6 small heads small cauliflower pieces.....1 to 2 large heads diced ham....................3 to 4 cups cooked shrimp................3 to 4# pre-cooked baby imitation crab...............1 1/2 to 2# shredded carrots.............1# diced cucumbers..............2 or 3 large diced celery.................1 large bunch finely minced onion..........1 large
Season with; garlic powder (NOT salt!) pepper celery salt & a few generous dashes of Tabasco Sauce.
Stir well and refrigerate. Can be made up to three days ahead and stored in plastic container with a lid. This should give you enough to feed a small Navy, if you use the maximum amount of ingredients. You'll need it once your guests taste it.
Be very generous with the dressing. The rotini will soak it up but hold the flavor. You don't want it too dry when you serve it. You can always add extra dressing just before serving.
Aside from potlaching it, here are a couple ideas:
Three Bean Salad Potato Salad Pea Salad (for the old codgers) Pasta Salad Pork Chops - sure you are in Maryland, but you'ld be buying corn-fed North Carolina pork there, which is almost as good as what we grow here. Ought to taste fine, and cheap when you buy a whole loin - .99 a pound here. Green bean cassorole - even better if you have fresh beans from the garden.
And heck, you are on the east coast. Can't you clam-bake something??? People come to Iowa, I feed them corn-fed ribeye and chops. I go to the east coast, I'm expecting softshells and oysters.
I'm in charge of the keg, an/one, budwiser, size: pony. If they want more they will have to bring it. I'll have lots of soda's there too.
IRT clams.... expensive here! So are crabs right now too! They get the regular feed, I don't want to go broke with this.
IRT side dishes, it is tradition that the retiree pays for the food of the party. I have a couple of people who have offered to bring something, and welcome it. But for the most part I have to supply it.
To date we are having (and I haven't looked at all of the recipes above yet) sides of:
Potatoe salad Mixed fruit salad Apple Sauce (spiced) Macaroni salad Potatoe Chips (various)
Taco salad-small taco shells or taco ships-lettuce-tomatoes-olives-cheese-taco seasoned meat or not-Put all in a bif bowl stir and pout the shells or chips around the edge or in a bowl right next to it with salsa or picante sauce
here are the large group recipes, I already had an ezboard account...
Sweet Potato Balls
12 lbs. cooked sweet potato 1 c. melted margarine 4 c. brown sugar ~ 1 1/2 c. melted margarine 50 pecan halves - 2 lbs. 4 tsp. salt 2 tsp. grated orange rind 16 c. corn flakes, crushed
Mash potatoes until light and fluffy. Add seasonings. Cool and shape into small balls around a marshmallow. Dip ball in melted oleo and roll in crushed corn flakes. Top with a pecan half and bake 7 to 8 minutes at 450 degrees.
Broccoli and Rice Casserole
10 lb. frozen broccoli, uncooked 2 (50 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup 10 c. raw rice, cooked partially 2 (50 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup 3 lb. sliced or shredded processed cheese
Sprinkle broccoli in roaster or steam table pans. Sprinkle rice over top. Spoon on mushroom soup, then chicken soup. Top with sliced or shredded processed cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Can make 6 smaller casseroles, feeds approx 65.
Crumb Topped Mushrooms
Side dish for 50-60
2 pkg. (12 ounces, each) butter-flavored crackers, crushed 'divided' 1 c. melted butter or margarine 4-1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced 3 c. whipping cream 1 tsp. paprika
Toss 3 cups of cracker crumb with butter; set aside. Divide half of the mushrooms between 3 greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in baking dishes. Sprinkle with remaining unbuttered cracker crumbs; top with remaining mushrooms. Pour cream over all. Sprinkle with buttered crumbs and paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350-F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Scalloped Potatoes for a Crowd
10 lb. potatoes 1 qt. (4 c.) whipping cream or half and half 4 cans chicken soup (cream soup)
Peel and slice potatoes into a large casserole or roaster. Mix cream and soup together and mix with potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees until done. This recipe can be cut down to 1/4.
Options: 4 sliced onions can be layered in with the potatoes.
Melon & Grape Salad
1 medium-large watermelon, cut into cubes or balls 3 honeydew melons, cut into cubes or balls 3 cantaloupe melons, cut into cubes or balls 1-1/2 pounds seedless green grapes 1-1/2 pounds red grapes 3 c. sugar 1 c. lemon juice 1/3 lime juice 1/3 orange juice
Combine melons and grapes. Combine sugar and juices; pour over fruit and toss to coat. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Serve with a slotted spoon. Serves: 50-54 (about 1 c. each)
9 packs raspberry Jell-O (3 oz.) 6 c. hot water 4 cans (No. 2) whole berry cranberries 4 cans (20 oz.) crushed pineapple
Dissolve Jell-O in hot water. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well and chill.
Nutty Cranberry Salad
2-3/4 lbs. red flavored gelatin (7 large pkg. jello) 1-3/4 tsp. salt 1 tsp. cinnamon (or less to taste) 1 tsp. cloves (or less to taste) 2 quarts plus 3 cups boiling water 7 lbs. canned whole berry cranberry sauce (7 -16 oz cans) 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. orange rind 4 lbs. Golden Delicious apples, chopped 4-2/3 cups chopped walnuts
Dissolve first 4 ingredients in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce and orange rind. Chill until it just begins to thicken. Fold in apple and nuts. Pour into molds or this will fill as many as seven 9 inch baking dishes or the equivalent. Chill at least 3 hours, or until firm. --- Serves approx. 55 servings or over 100+ if on a buffet table. When made and served at a wedding it was suggested to omitt the spicesand maybe even the apples the next time, you be the judge!
Low Fat Zucchini Bread
(no eggs, butter or milk)
5 lbs zucchini, seeded and grated 4 lbs 8 oz Maple syrup 1 1/4 oz Baking Powder Baking soda 3/4 oz baking soda Salt 3/4 oz salt 1 oz cinnamon 1/8 oz ground cloves 1/8 oz ground nutmeg 2 lbs unsweetened applesauce 3 lbs 8 oz all purpose flour 4 oz finely chopped pecans
Combine all ingredients with whip or other mixer for 5 minutes. Bake in greased, floured loaf pans at 350 degrees, about one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool, wrap and store overnight before slicing.
(Note: I think 5 min. would be over mixing.) YIELD: About 50 1-inch slices - 4 14-inch loaves PER SERVING: 245 calories, 2 grams fat
Baked Ziti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
6 eggs 4 lbs ricotta cheese 2 tablespoons fresh thyme 2 tablespoons fresh oregano 2 tablespoons fresh basil salt and pepper 3 lbs Italian sausage links 4 lbs ziti, cooked, refreshed and drained 8 oz Parmesan cheese, grated 3 quarts fresh tomato sauce (recipe follows) -Or use spaghetti sauce. 2 pounds Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well and reserve. Place the sausage links in a 2-inch-deep full-sized hotel pan. Cook in a 350 F oven for 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Drain the sausage. Slice the links into rounds and reserve. Place the ziti in the hotel pan that was used to cook the sausage. Top with an even coating of the cheese mixture, sausage slices and Parmesan cheese. Pour the tomato sauce over the top layer and stir slightly to distribute the sauce. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the pasta and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Serve.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
8 oz onion, small dice 4 oz carrot, small dice 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 2 oz olive oil 7 pounds tomato concasse (coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes) 1 tablespoon fresh oregano 2 tablespoon fresh thyme salt pepper 1/2 oz fresh basil, chopped
Sweat the onion, carrot and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the concasse and herbs. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the desired consistency is reached. Pass the sauce through a food mill if a smooth consistency is desired. Adjust seasonings and add the chopped basil.
I have a Cub Scout Den meeting that I'm hosting Sunday, 9 Cubs plus parents, siblings and friends. Except for the beer, we'll probably have several of the above dishes brought to the outing. I'll bring the hot dogs and hamburgers, everyone else will bring everything else. The Cubs will help cook and therefore earn their last achievement to be promoted to the Wolf Cub rank.
I'd like to reinforce what one poster said above (sorry don't recall the name, but you know who you are): Most people not only would like to bring something since they want to show off their special dish (look at how many recipes we have just with a ten or so posts) but may be offended if they're not asked.
Several nice recipes there, we'll try a few of them for the cookout.
And I have put out another memo to everyone that if they want to bring something they are more than welcome too.
I'm also going to have several veggies, yellow squash, egg plant, tomatoes, and fruits that I'm going to grill with the meat as well. The fruits in a butter sauce and the veggies in olive oil with a touch of Mrs. Dash (for the light hearted) and/or butter, peppers and garlic sautee. Their choice.