It's not just potluck anymore…

Archive for January, 2012

Cookie Recipes

Some of the 400 Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies we baked today.

Today we got a good start on baking 140 dozen cookies for our dinner tomorrow.  We will be serving 4 different kinds of cookies:  Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Oreo Cheesecake Cookies and Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies.  Here are the recipes we used.

The test batch at home of the Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened

3 ounces Cream Cheese

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (2 oz) mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup of oreo cookie sandwich crumbs

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted


Preheat oven to 350* convection or 375* in regular oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.   Cream together the butter and cream cheese with mixer until well combined.   Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well.   Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated.   Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into 1″ balls.  Roll in oreo cookie crumbs so cookie is covered. Place cookie balls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.  Once cool, drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate.

Adapted from a recipe on the website:


Oreo Cheesecake Cookies, 20 dozen (240) cookies 

This amount will fit easily in one batch in the commercial mixer.

5 cups (40 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

30 ounces Cream Cheese

10 cups of sugar

3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp of vanilla extract

10 cups all-purpose flour

24 oz of mini chocolate chips

12 cups of oreo cookie sandwich crumbs (about 4 1 lb 10oz boxes cookies)

5 cups of white chocolate chips, melted (optional)


Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 dozen (a double recipe, 20 dozen, will fit in Berkel mixer in one batch)

2 cups butter or margarine

2 cups Crisco (can use butter flavored or regular)

3 cups white sugar

3 cups brown sugar, packed

4 tsp vanilla

8 eggs

9 cups flour

4 tsp baking soda

4 tsp salt

8 cups chocolate chips (48 oz)

Cream butter, shortening, sugar and vanilla.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed.  Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350* convection for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool.


Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

9 dozen (108)

1 pound unsalted butter, softened

2 ½  cups firmly packed light brown sugar

1 ½  cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

8 cups rolled oats

4 cups raisins (or 4 cups chocolate chips)

Preheat over 325* convection. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment.

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs to butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each.  Add vanilla and beat well.   Combine dry ingredients except oatmeal, add to egg mixture, and stir to blend.  Do not overmix. Stir in oatmeal.   Add raisins and stir just until combined.

Scoop onto baking sheets and press lightly to flatten.  Bake 12 to 14 minutes for soft, chewy cookies; 15 to 18 for crunchy.  Cool 5-10 minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.


The test batch of Meyer Lemon Cookies.  These are meyer lemons, which are more orange colored than regular lemons and have a sweeter flavor.  You can find them in 1 pound bags at Wal-mart right now.

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Makes 50 cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (12 ounces, weighed measurement)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice, squeezed from about 2 Meyer lemons
1 lemon, zested (Meyer lemon if available)


1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar (measure first, then sift)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F in convection oven, or 375 degrees in regular oven.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. You can glaze cookies while still warm.

Adapted from the recipe on the website: Thanks for the recipe!

Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Two weeks ago we served French Dip Sandwiches and Italian Pasta Salad. Here is the requested recipe for the pasta salad, with both the 300 servings version, and for those with a smaller family, the 10 servings version. Bon Appetit!

Italian Pasta Salad, 10 servings

10 oz marinated artichokes, undrained

20 ounces fusilli pasta (corkscrew pasta), cooked

4 ounces pitted kalamata olives, halved

10 ounces Roasted red peppers, sliced

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

2 ounces hard salami, cut into ¼ inch strips

3 ounces shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

¼ cup finely chopped onion

½ cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

½ cups chopped fresh basil

4 ounces zesty Italian dressing, or more as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain artichokes, reserving liquid. Cut artichokes into fourths. Combine pasta, artichokes, and remaining ingredients. Toss gently. Add some of the artichoke liquid if needed if the salad seems too dry. It will soak up a lot of the dressing if left to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Italian Pasta Salad, 300+ servings

300 oz marinated artichokes, undrained

35# fusilli pasta (corkscrew pasta), cooked

4.4# pitted kalamata olives, halved

20# Roasted red peppers, sliced (about 3 #10 cans)

16# fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

2# hard salami, cut into ¼ inch strips

24 cups shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (or about 5#)

8 cups finely chopped onion

12 cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (about 1#)

12 cups chopped fresh basil (about 1#)

1 gallon zesty Italian dressing, use as much as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

Menu for Calvary Dinner 2-1-12

Wednesday Evening Meal

February 1, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

All members and visitors are welcome to join us for dinner.

  Suggested donation $4 per person


Baked Potato Bar

With the following toppings:

Chili, Diced Ham, Broccoli, Cheese Sauce, Chives, Sour Cream and Cheese

Tossed Garden Salad

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Camp night dinner

If you missed last night’s camp dinner, here’s a few photo highlights of the 500 who came for sloppy joes, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, fresh veggies, chips and ice cream:

The sign in table…we ask that everyone sign in so we can get a close count for planning.

We also have money jars here to collect donations…we suggest $4 per person, but we’ll take whatever you can or want to donate.

We made 5 roasters full of sloppy joes (using McCormick’s sloppy joe mix.  Last year I made Jamie Oliver’s recipe for sloppy joes with beans, but I got a lot of feedback saying “don’t bean the sloppy joes!”   I’d love to try a new recipe next time since the mix was a little too salty and tomatoey.  Feel free to email me at with your favorite recipe for sloppy joes, aka “taverns” or “steamburgers”  or “yum yums” or “slushburgers” and we’ll try something new next time.  We also served some BBQ pulled pork which we had leftover from a dinner in December.  The porkloins were roasted in the oven after marinating overnight with a spice rub mix of paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard and salt.  We added Cattleman’s BBQ sauce after pulling the pork.

  Here’s a fun fact:  The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented by a cook named Joe at a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa (from Wikipedia)

You ate 5# of snow peas, 15# baby carrots, 6 large bunches of celery, 10# broccoli florets, 12# cauliflower florets, 14# English cucumbers and 20# of ranch dip!

Build your own banana splits for dessert!  We sure love our ice cream… we used 30 gallons of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry), 30# of sliced strawberries, 40# of bananas, and lots of toppings: crushed M&M’s, Hot fudge, butterscotch, pineapple, whipped cream and cherries.

At 5:30 the room is filling up, plus there are 6 full tables out in the narthex

Can’t wait for dessert!

Dedicated ice cream scoopers…vanilla, chocolate or strawberry?

That’s why they’re called “sloppy joes”

Part of the fun is the creative process in banana split building


5:45…music class is over and the rush is on!

Sharing is what it’s all about.

A great time to visit with friends and family

Look what I made! Yum!

And a more simple approach…vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, topped with a tiny drizzle of butterscotch.

Being cool at all times…high school boys hanging out by the youth room

Even scraping dishes can be fun on Wednesday nights!

When is my grandma coming back from vacation to wash dishes?

Larry proves that he can do the job while Peg is gone!

Dirty dishes in, clean dishes out.  “Marilyn”, our American Dish Service dishmachine, can wash 2 racks of dishes every 90 seconds.  We’d couldn’t do this without her!

And then we went to church for a presentation on Lutheran Outdoors and sang camp songs along with the Praise Team…

Next week’s menu post coming soon!

Menu for Jan 25th

Wednesday Evening Meal

January 25, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

Camp Night at Calvary

All members and visitors welcome to join us for dinner

Suggested Donation $4 per person



Sloppy Joes or BBQ Pulled Pork

Fresh Veggie and Fruit Trays


Banana Splits

Staff from Lutherans Outdoors will be sharing
their music and messages about summer
camping in the Black Hills! Register for summer
camps, including VBS and Day Camp.
Don’t miss this special Wednesday event!

Wednesday Meal 4:45 – 6:15 pm Fellowship Hall

Classroom Visits 5 – 8 pm Various Classrooms

Worship Service 6:30 pm Sanctuary

Lutheran Outdoors Camp Video Following Worship Sanctuary

Info & Registration Ongoing Narthex


I love Wednesdays!

So here’s what happens at Calvary Lutheran on Wednesdays from September through the end of April:

  • 1:00  Volunteers start cooking and setting up for dinner
  • 4:45  Dinner service starts, continues until 6:15
  • 5:00  Session 1 of Wednesday School for 3 year olds through 5th graders. Classroom activities for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of music in the sanctuary
  • 5:30  Session 2 of Wednesday School for 3 year olds through 5th graders. Start with music in the sanctuary for 15 minutes followed by 30 minutes of classroom time upstairs
  • 6:20  Gathering music by the Praise Team band begins in the sanctuary
  • 6:30-7:00  Contemporary Worship service
  • 7:00-8:00  Pre-confirmation (6th and 7th graders), Confirmation (8th and 9th graders), High School (10th-12th graders), Adult Education, and Alleluia Choir practice (7:15-8:15).  And lots of volunteers in the dining room and kitchen doing clean-up!

It’s just a beehive of activity. The parking lots are full, with overflow into the strip mall and office parking across the street. Many people like to come early for dinner to get a good parking spot. Our double buffet tables with 4 serving lines keeps the wait time to a minimum, and there is rarely much of a line except at 5:45 when music class ends.  Then there’s a little rush, the kitchen crew starts to sweat a little, hoping that the food won’t run out. Sometimes we pray a little, thinking of the parable of Jesus sharing the loaves and fishes with the multitudes.  And somehow it works, every week, and no one is turned away hungry.  We don’t make special kids’ meals, which sometimes encourages our 160+ kids under 12 to try new foods (remember the couscous and hummus?).  We don’t serve any foods with nuts, making the meals safe for those with severe nut allergies. But unfortunately we can’t cater to all the dietary restrictions, like gluten-free, vegan or sugar-free options.  That would just be beyond our time and budget constraints.  Most people can find at least part of the meal that they can enjoy.  What we do offer is a well-balanced meal, mostly homemade right in our kitchen. Our goal is that our church families and visitors can sit around tables together, engage in caring conversation, get to know each other, and nourish body and faith. It’s a goal worthy of the efforts we put in each week. There’s a lot of love in our food, even if it’s not always seasoned or cooked to perfection. New volunteers are always welcome, no experience necessary! Email me @ if you’d like to get involved.


Faith, food and fellowship still top the menu after 2,000 years | Church Executive

Faith, food and fellowship still top the menu after 2,000 years | Church Executive.

Interesting story on food service in one of the largest food service ministries in the country.  To compare it to us, First Baptist of Orlando served 225,000 meals last year (including banquets and other events), while Calvary Lutheran served about 12,000 (Wednesday meals only).  They have a 4 walk-in coolers and 8 reach-in coolers…we have a 3 door refrigerator.  Kind of puts things in perspective.

I love a good “Theme Dinner”

Counting this week, we have made 115 Wednesday meals, ranging from burgers on the grill to turkey and dressing with mashed potatoes and gravy.  Sometimes we have theme dinners: Chinese, Moroccan, Hawaiian Luau, Greek, Italian, or my personal favorite…Retro Night (complete with Pigs in a Blanket, Deviled Eggs, Jello Salads, Pimento Cheese Stuffed Celery, Chicken Hot Dish, and Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce).  Add in the appropriate mood music in the background, decorate the tables as best you can on a shoestring budget, and you can create a little excitement on an otherwise ordinary Wednesday night.

Gotta love the Church Ladies on Retro Night!

We baked up 900 of these cute little Pigs in a Blanket that I purchased at Sam’s Club, and the kids where begging for more!

A Plethora of Jello!  Lemon-lime jello salad with crushed pineapple and cream cheese, Cranberry-apple jello salad, and Orange Parfait jello salad with mandarin oranges.

Here’s a recipe for

Hot Chicken and Chips Retro

27 servings per pan, 18 pans 12x20x2.  Total servings 486

 60# cooked chicken breast strips, diced (3 1/3# per pan)

18 cups chopped green onion  (1 cup)

18 cups chopped red bell pepper (1 cup)

9 cups chopped parsley (1/2 cup per pan)

648 oz water chestnuts (36 oz per pan), drained and chopped

36 cups mayo (2 cups per pan)

18 cups sour cream (1 cups per pan)

4 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice,  (4 oz per pan)

3 1/3 cups Dijon mustard (3 Tbsp per pan)

13 Tbsp black pepper (2 ¼ tsp pepper per pan)

18# shredded cheddar cheese (1# per pan)

9# potato chips, crushed (1/2# per pan)

Combine chicken through water chestnuts.  Whisk together mayo through pepper, and add to chicken mixture.  Stir well to combine.  Spoon into greased casserole dish.  Bake at 375 until warm.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Top cheese evenly with chips and bake until filling is bubbling and chips are golden. May serve with buttered egg noodles.

Buttered Egg Noodles: Make 30# of dried noodles = 375 4 oz servings

(4#/50 servings = 50 4 oz cooked noodles)

Cooking at Calvary

Update on 9-25-16: Calvary Lutheran Church has a full time food coordinator, Karla Roberts, who started at Calvary last year after many years in a high school cafeteria kitchen.  Karla manages the menus and a crew of volunteers to cook, serve and clean up after the Wednesday meals.  She is also responsible for all the other dining needs of the congregation, including funerals, potlucks, council meetings, new member meals, and much more. I continue to help Karla as a volunteer in the kitchen most weeks, and keep this blog updated with the weekly menus.  If anyone has any recipe requests, I can get them from Karla and post them here. Just send me a message to the blog or email me at  Thanks to the 138 followers my blog has gained over the years, and thanks those of you who contributed to the 85,520 all time views to the blog as of today since I started it in 2012.

Karen Schleusener


This was my original blog description from when we started up our Wednesday meal ministry at Calvary 9 years ago:

Cook a meal for 500+ people?  Feed them in the space of an hour and a half?  25 times a year? With no background in the culinary arts? With a crew of all volunteers in a church kitchen? Sure, count me in, I said.  From humble beginnings of potlucks or hurried trips to pick up fast food on Wednesday education nights, Calvary Lutheran Church of Rapid City, SD embarked on a journey to bring the congregation closer together as a church family, one Wednesday evening meal at a time.  Four years since it’s inception, the Wednesday Evening Meal has grown from an average attendance of 280 to 525. Wow, I say to myself every Thursday morning, when the frenzy of the cooking, dining and cleaning of the day before is done. What an experience, what a miracle, what a privilege it is to be involved in this ministry.  Many people have asked me, as the coordinator of the meals, to share recipes, insights, and stories of how we manage to serve this many people every week, and on a budget of a suggested donation of $4 per person collected at each meal. So here you go…stories, photos, recipes and more.  (The word might just get out now of how much fun we’re having in the kitchen, when everyone thinks we are just working so hard.)  Hopefully, I’ll hear back from readers with suggestions for menus, recipes, cooking tips, etc.

I hope you enjoy the blog,

Karen Schleusener

35 Cheesecakes…Check!

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