It's not just potluck anymore…

Archive for February, 2012

Leap Day Spaghetti Dinner Menu

Wednesday Evening Meal

February 29, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

All members and visitors are welcome to join us for dinner.  Suggested donation $4 per person

Spaghetti with Meatsauce

Italian Garden Salad

Garlic Toast

Artisan Breads

Fruit Pizza

Ash Wednesday Soup and Pie Supper/Recipes

With no education classes last night, our Ash Wednesday Soup and Pie Supper was a little smaller, quieter and less frantic than the usual Wednesday meal.  We served 345 last night with 36 gallons of soup, 33 loaves of artisan bread, 330 grilled cheese sandwiches, 25 chocolate cream pies and 25 lemon meringue pies.

The first soup was a homemade vegetable soup that I adapted from a Weight Watchers cookbook recipe.  Here’s the recipe for 100 servings:

Pistou:  A Hearty French Vegetable Soup 

100 servings

 25 cups diced onions

25 cups sliced carrots

25 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 TBSP salt, add more before serving if needed

2 TBSP pepper

9 ½ gallons water

25 medium zucchini, sliced

25 cups chopped, trimmed green beans

25 cups corn

1 #10 can beans, kidney, navy or black

3 cups grated Parmesan cheese

6 cups minced basil, fresh

1 ½ cups tomato paste

25 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups olive oil

Divide among large pots, the onions, carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes.

Stir in zucchini, green beans, corn and beans.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.

In separate bowl, whisk the cheese, basil, tomato paste and garlic.  Whisk in the oil.  Stir about 12 cups of the hot broth into the mixture, then gradually add the basil mixture into the soup. Continue to simmer until ready to serve.

The second soup selection was a Creamy Tomato Bisque that I ordered from Sysco, made by Block and Barrel Classic.  Whole milk is added to the concentrated frozen soup and we warmed it slowly in roasters.  The grilled cheese sandwiches were assembled in advance with sandwich bread, American cheese, and a little margarine on the outsides of the bread.  We used the griddle on the stove and 2 extra portable griddles in order to keep up with the demand.

Who doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup!

The third kind of soup was a Block and Barrel Classic from Sysco, Wild Rice with Chicken.  It was also a frozen concentrate to which we added 2% milk and warmed up in the roasters.  Great flavor!

The three varieties of breads we served were a Focaccia Bread made by Rotella, Asiago Cheese Batard and Olive Rosemary Batard made by BKRSIMP (I don’t know what that stands for).  All the breads were ordered from Sysco.  We warmed them up and sliced them to serve.

And now for the PIES!  We made 25 chocolate pies on Tuesday and refrigerated them overnight.  On Wednesday we added a coolwhip layer on top and shaved on some milk chocolate.

Here’s the recipe for 5 pies:

Chocolate Cream Pies   Recipe for 5 pies:  Use 1 large pot

Mix together in large bowl, whisk until blended, and set aside:

4 cups sugar

2 cups unsweetened cocoa

1 cup plus 2 TBSP cornstarch

¾ tsp salt

6 eggs

3 cups skim milk

In heavy pot, heat 9 cups skim milk, until tiny bubbles form around edges, to 180* but not to boiling.  Remove from heat.

Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return milk mixture to pot.  Add 12 oz semisweet chocolate.  Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add 2 TBSP Vanilla.  Pour into 5 prepared crusts. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Chill completely, at least 3 hours.  Top each pie with 8 oz coolwhip and shaved chocolate.

For each pie crust:

4 ½ oz graham cracker crumbs (about 1 cups)

2 oz sugar

3 oz melted butter

Combine all ingredients, pat into pie pan. Bake at 375* for 5 minutes.

(Filling for 25 pies:  Total milk is 3 ¾ gallon, cocoa 10 cups, 30 eggs, 20 cups sugar)

(Crusts for 25 pies, use 7 pounds graham cracker crumbs, 4 2/3# butter, 3# sugar)

I Love Pie!

We also made 25 lemon pies on Tuesday and added the meringue on Wednesday.  The meringue is better on the day you serve it.

Meringue Madness!

And into the oven it goes…

Here’s the recipe for one pie:


□   1 baked 10 inch pie shell
□   1 1/2 c. sugar
□   1 1/2 c. water
□   1/2 tsp. salt
□   1/2 c. cornstarch
□   1/3 c. water
□   4 eggs, separated
□   1/2 c. lemon juice
□   3 tbsp. butter
□   1 tsp. grated lemon peel
□   1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and water with salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Mix cornstarch with 1/3 cup water to make a paste; add to the boiling mixture slowly, stirring constantly; cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks, add lemon juice and stir into thickened mixture. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat and add lemon peel, butter and vanilla. Cool.



Combine and cook in saucepan until thick, stirring constantly:

½ cup water

2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp cornstarch

Beat 4 egg whites at high speed, gradually adding 6 Tbsp sugar until stiff peaks form.  Add the cooled, cooked mixture and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Pour filling into baked pie shell and top with meringue, making sure it goes to edges. Bake in a slow oven, 350 degrees F. about 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown on top.

Spaghetti Dinner next week, details coming soon!

Menu for Ash Wednesday Meal, 2-22-12

Soup and Pie Supper

February 22, 2012

4:45 pm to 6:15 pm


Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Tomato Bisque

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Chocolate Cream Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

No Education Classes before or after worship

Ash Wednesday Service begins at 6:30 pm

Thanksgiving in February

Last night’s church service included a celebration of Communion for the 5th Grade class.  Our sign in table for dinner honors our 5th graders and their families for their “Milestone” celebration. Ten tables of 10 were reserved for these families to eat together at dinner.

Everyone eats a lot of turkey during the holidays, so at Calvary we like to have our turkey dinner in the middle of winter.   The kitchen crew sliced and warmed up 228 pounds of smoked turkey breast, and made 18 pans of  mashed potatoes and 8 gallons of turkey gravy.

As an alternative to the mashed potatoes, we also baked up 300 sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until soft.  Some were so huge we had to cut them into thirds to serve.  The leftover sweet potatoes were peeled, mashed and frozen for future use in a sweet potato casserole.

For a green vegetable side dish, we served 55 pounds of asparagus, which was rinsed, had the ends snapped off, and then steamed for 5 minutes.  On the side we served a ready-to-eat lemony Hollandaise sauce made by Knorr.  The sauce comes frozen and just requires warming before serving.  Towards the end of our serving time, we ran out of asparagus and then cooked up some green beans that we had on hand from the freezer.  We’ll make more asparagus next time!

For dinner rolls, we used Sister Shubert’s yeast rolls which are available at Sam’s Club.  These are very popular rolls:  we went through 24 bags of 30 rolls/bag!  They come parbaked, so you just have to put them in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, and they come out warm, golden brown and have that delicious yeasty bread smell.

On Tuesday morning, we made 17 pumpkin spice cakes with cream cheese frosting, baked in half size sheet pans. We also defrosted the extra cookies from the freezer that we made 2 weeks ago.

470 people signed in at dinner last night!  Thanks for coming and we’ll see you next week.  Visitors are always welcome, so bring your friends along.

Next week is Ash Wednesday, so there will be no education classes, just dinner at the usual time, 4:45-6:15 pm, followed by a special Ash Wednesday service in the sanctuary.

Turkey Dinner Menu for February 15th

Wednesday Evening Meal

February 15, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

All members and visitors welcome to join us for dinner.

  Suggested Donation $4 per person



Smoked Turkey Breast

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise

Spiced Pumpkin Cake



Meatloaf Dinner Recap

In my last post I shared the recipe for the meatloaf we make at Calvary.  Here’s a look at the work it took today to turn 140 pounds of lean ground beef into 700 slices of meatloaf deliciousness:

Fourteen batches mixed by hand

Making meatloaf can also be great for therapeutic stress relief!

70 loaves, hand sculpted and ready for the oven…350 for an hour, then add the secret sauce on top, then another 30 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes, slice into 10 pieces per loaf and then it’s time to eat…

For a side dish we made 80 pounds of fresh sliced carrots, tossed in a glaze of honey, lemon juice, melted butter, salt and pepper, then roasted in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Even cooked carrot haters like myself have to admit these are delicious.  We were careful not to overcook them and left them a little crunchy.

Our other side dishes were cheesy potato casserole and steamed green beans with a red wine vinegar/dijon mustard vinegrette and sauted red onions.

Cheesy Church Potatoes with a crunchy crushed cornflake topping… Not a single serving leftover.

One diner told the kitchen crew tonight that these were “the best green beans I have ever had.”  Thanks for the encouraging words!

And now for dessert:  We call these cakes “Decadent Devil’s Food” and “Heavenly Angels”

This is super easy:  Bake a white cake from a mix according to the directions on the box.  While still hot, use a knife or the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake.  Mix together 1/2 of a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk with 8 oz cream of coconut and spread over the hot cake.  Top with 20 oz of crushed pineapple, drained.  Chill cake overnight (if you can stand not to eat it right away), then top with 8 oz cool whip and toasted coconut.

Use the same method with the devil’s food cake, except substitute 6 oz of either butterscotch or caramel ice cream topping for the cream of coconut.  And substitute 6 oz of chocolate ice cream topping for the pineapple.  No chocolate cake left tonight!

Tom tries to get the cake servers to look up so he can take another helping.  It’s not working Tom!

430 diners signed in and ate with us tonight and that means a lot of dirty dishes.  Lucky for us we have some super cheerful workers:

Welcome back from vacation Peg!

Thanks for reading the blog.  Share it with your friends.  Please feel free to post any comments or suggestions you have.  If there is a particular recipe you’d like to see posted, let me know and I’ll get it on here for you.

See you at Calvary Lutheran Church next Wednesday for turkey, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, dinner rolls, and pumpkin spice cake.  Any day is a good day for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Menu for 2-8-12 and Meatloaf Recipe

Wednesday Evening Meal

February 8, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

All members and visitors welcome. 

Suggested Donation $4 per person



Cheesy Church Potatoes

Dijon Green Beans

Honey Carrot Coins

Decadent Devil’s Food Cake

Heavenly Angels Coconut Pineapple Cake

I’ve been using the “Mean and Lean Meat Loaf” recipe from the Disney’s Family Cookbook since my kids were little.  They always wanted more of the “secret sauce” that is baked on the top of the meatloaf, so I made the loaves smaller and wider so I could increase the surface area to put the “secret sauce” on.  When we make the meatloaf for the Wednesday night meal, we make 70 loaves, each sliced into 10 pieces.  We use 140 pounds of 90% lean ground beef, 11 1/2 dozen eggs, 60 cups of rolled oats, 16 pounds of diced onions, 9 pounds of chopped green peppers, 9 cups steak sauce and 6 #10 cans ketchup.

Here’s the recipe for 4 to 6 servings:

2# lean ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cups chopped onions

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

2 Tbsp steak sauce

1/2 cups catsup

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

½ tsp basil

½ tsp garlic powder

Whisk together for Sauce:

1/2 cups catsup

3 Tbsp packed brown sugar

1 tsp ground mustard

Mix ingredients well, form into 1 loaf in a 8 1/2 inch loaf pan, or into smaller loaves on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325* convection, or 350* in regular oven, for 1 hour, covered with foil.  Top with sauce and bake an additional 15-30 minutes uncovered, until internal temp reaches 160*.  Let sit for 10 min. before slicing.

Baked Potato Bar Dinner

The cookie buffet was a big hit at dinner last night.  We went through most of the 42 dozen Oreo Cheesecake cookies, 40 dozen chocolate chippers, 26 dozen Oatmeal Raisin, and 34 dozen Lemon cookies. About 22 dozen are now in the freezer… you may see these at dinner again in the near future.

476 diners were signed in to eat last night for the baked potato supper.  A crew of 10 hard working women spent 5 1/2 hours in the kitchen baking cookies, prepping the potatoes to bake, chopping salad ingredients, and getting all the potato toppings ready to go (chili, cheddar cheese sauce, diced ham, broccoli, sour cream, shredded cheese).

We scrubbed the 600 russet potatoes on Tuesday morning, running them twice through the dishwasher (with the soap and sanitizer turned off).   On Wednesday we rubbed the potatoes with olive oil and salt, cut off the bad spots, and baked them at 375 degrees in the convection oven for about 1 1/4 hours.  We then held them in the warming oven at 175 degrees until time to eat.

48 large heads of romaine lettuce were chopped, washed and spun dry in the giant salad spinner.  The extra lettuce not used last night will be shared with the Cornerstone Mission today.  The tossed salad for 500 servings also included 30 sliced cucumbers, 20 pints of grape tomatoes, 5 pounds of shredded carrots, 1/2 gallon banana peppers, and 3 large bags of croutons.  On the side we served the salad dressings:  1 gallon Dorothy Lynch french, 1 1/2 gallons Ranch, 1 gallon Blue Cheese, 1 gallon Golden Italian.

Meatloaf next week…the menu will be posted here soon.

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