It's not just potluck anymore…

Archive for March, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole and Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipes

Here are a couple of requested recipes from dinner a few weeks ago.  If anyone wants the 400 servings versions, I can post those too.  Just post a comment at the bottom of this entry.

Broccoli Rice Casserole:  6-8 servings

¼ cup onion, chopped

1/3 cup celery, chopped

3 Tbsp margarine or butter

2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen broccoli (cooked and drained)

1 can (10 ¾ oz) cream of mushroom soup

1 can (10 ¾ oz) cream of chicken soup

1 small jar cheese whiz (or 5 oz Velveeta, melted)

2 cups cooked rice


Saute onion and celery in margarine.  Add remaining ingredients except rice and cook until thick and blended.  Add cooked rice and stir well.  Spoon into 2 quart casserole dish.  Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes, or until hot and lightly browned on top.


Sweet Potato Casserole:  6 servings

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (1 ½#)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup melted butter



1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Combine first 6 ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 2 qt. casserole dish.  Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until hot and browned.

Menu for March 28th

March 28, 2012
4:45 – 6:15 pm
All members and visitors are welcome to join us for dinner.

Chicken Tetrazzini
(cheesy chicken spaghetti)
Fresh Steamed Broccoli
Tuscan Artisan Bread
Apple Cobbler
Vanilla Ice Cream

Suggested Donation $4 per person

Menu for March 21st

Wednesday Evening Meal
March 21, 2012
4:45 – 6:15 pm
All members and visitors welcome to join us for dinner.
 Suggested Donation $4 per person

Tatertot Casserole
Mandarin Orange Jello Salad
Tossed Garden Salad
Dinner Rolls
Boston Cream Pie

Pork Roast and Cheesecake Recipes

It wasn’t a traditional Irish dinner, but in the spirit of the season, we decked out the dining room in green.  We served 470 for dinner with 200 pounds of boneless pork loin roasts, broccoli rice casserole, sweet potato casserole, and dinner rolls.  For dessert we made 30 cheesecakes with fresh strawberries and a strawberry glaze on top and 5 gallons of chocolate pudding.  Here are a couple of requested recipes from our dinner:

Roasted Pork Loin

5 pound boneless pork loin, rubbed with a mixture of 1 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 1 clove crushed garlic.  Marinate in refrigerator overnight with the rub, or go ahead and cook right away.  Roast uncovered at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

Mix glaze ingredients in saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and thickened.

1/2 cup sugar

1 TBSP cornstarch

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 TBSP soy sauce

Brush roast with glaze and return to oven for an additional half hour.  Rest the roast for 10 minutes before slicing.

Basic Cheesecake adapted from The Foster’s Market Cookbook









1 ½ pounds cream cheese, softened

¾ cup sugar

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

½ cup heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325*.  Cut cream cheese into small pieces and blend with electric mixer until soft and creamy.  Add sugar and flour slowly until completely incorporated.  Add eggs and yolk one at a time, beating after each addition.  Combine the cream and vanilla in another bowl and slowly add to the cream cheese mixture, blending thoroughly.

Pour filling into prepared pan (see below).  Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan or baking dish.  Add enough water to come 1 inch up the sides to make a water bath.  Place the roasting pan with the cheesecake in the oven to bake for 1-1 ¼ hours, until the cheesecake sets and is firm about ¾’s of the way into the center, the center will be slightly loose.

Remove cheesecake from oven and remove from water bath.  Place on a baking rack to cool completely.  Leave in the springform pan and place in the refrigerator to chill several hours or overnight.  Add topping.


1 ½ cups graham crackers, crushed

3 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Combine and press into bottom of greased springform pan, pressing about 1 inch up the inside of the pan.  Place in refrigerator and chill until ready to use.  Before adding filling, wrap the bottom of the pan with a large sheet of foil, going up the sides about 2 inches to prevent any water to seep in from the water bath.

Strawberry Glaze:  from Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook

1 cup strawberry jelly

½ cup apricot preserves

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp cold water

½ cup pureed fresh strawberries

Mix jelly, preserves and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted.  Blend in strawberry puree.  In a small cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the water, then whisk into the glaze mixture.  Bring to a simmer and cook until it boils, thickens and turns clear.  Strain the glaze and drizzle over berries on top of the cheesecake.  Refrigerate until cold and glaze has set, about 2 hours.

NOTE:  Since we made 30 cheesecakes, we did not use a water bath.  The tops of the cheesecakes crack a bit, but when you cover them up with strawberries who can tell?  Also, in making the glaze, we opted not to strain it in the interest of time and it still looks and tastes great.

“Thanks for making my birthday dinner!”  Happy 9th Birthday Ellie!

Mitch and EJ are regulars on Wednesdays. Thanks for joining us guys!

“Don’t come any closer and don’t touch my food…I’m just getting started and it’s delicious!”   (at least I think that’s what he said)

Menu for March 14th

Wednesday Evening Meal

March 14, 2012

4:45 – 6:15 pm

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

Herb Roasted Pork Loin

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Dinner Rolls

Strawberry Cheesecake or Chocolate Pudding

Greek Dinner Recipes

Here are all the recipes from our Greek menu last night.  We made 576 baked lemon chicken breasts (bone-in, skin on), 165 pounds of roasted yukon gold potatoes, and 350 servings of Greek Salad.  On the side we had pita bread with 24 pounds of prepared Hummus and 2 gallons of Kronos Tzatziki sauce that were ordered from Sysco.


Here’s the original recipe from Ina Garten, “The Barefoot Contessa”, from her newest cookbook How Easy Is That?

Lemon Chicken Breast


» 1/4 cup good olive oil
» 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
» 1/3 cup dry white wine
» 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
» 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
» 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
» 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
» Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
» 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
» 1 lemon

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just one minute — but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt, and pour into a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in eight wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for two minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.


GREEK SALAD:  350 servings

50# case Cucumbers, seeded, peeled, cubed (about 50 lg or 80 smaller cucumbers)

25# case Roma tomatoes, diced (about 100-120)

2 large red onions, about 2#, thinly sliced lengthwise

12# feta cheese, either crumbled or cubed

12 cups kalamata olives, pitted  ( 4.4# jar from Sysco)

Dressing:  Whisk to combine

2 cups lemon juice

1 cup red wine vinegar

7 ½ cups olive oil

2 cups dried oregano

2 TBSP Salt

1 TBSP pepper

If you don’t have 350 to feed for dinner, here’s the smaller version of the recipe:


3 1/2# Cucumbers, seeded, peeled, cubed (about 5)

1 3/4#  Roma tomatoes, diced (about 7)

1/4 of a large red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

12 oz feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

¾ cup kalamata olives, pitted

Dressing:  Whisk to combine

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

½ cups olive oil

2 TBSP dried oregano

½ tsp Salt

½ tsp pepper



Greek Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano

Serves 10
3 pounds pre-cooked Yukon Gold potatoes, use either whole small potatoes, or larger ones cut into wedges

¼ cup olive oil
½  tsp garlic powder

¾  tsp dried oregano, crumbled
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup chicken stock
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F convection. Combine all ingredients except potatoes in large bowl.  Toss potatoes in marinade to coat.  Put on sheet pans covered with Silicone mats or foil in a single layer.  Drizzle extra marinade over potatoes.
Baking time will depend on whether or not potatoes were pre-cooked.  The pre-cooked, frozen potatoes will take about 35 minutes to roast until golden brown. Uncooked potatoes will take additional time.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking for a Crowd:

Greek Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Oregano

Serves 525  5 oz servings

165 pounds pre-cooked Yukon Gold potatoes (Eleven 15# cases Baby Bakers frozen potatoes from Sysco) or use fresh uncooked Yukon Gold Potatoes cut into wedges

10 ½  cups olive oil
12 TBSP garlic powder

13 TBSP dried oregano, crumbled
4 TBSP salt
1 TBSP ground black pepper
130 oz chicken stock
6 ½  cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F convection. Combine all ingredients except potatoes in large bowl.  Toss potatoes in marinade to coat.  Put on sheet pans covered with Silicone mats or foil in a single layer.  Drizzle extra marinade over potatoes.
Baking time will depend on whether or not potatoes were pre-cooked.  The pre-cooked, frozen potatoes will take about 35 minutes to roast until golden brown. Uncooked potatoes will take additional time.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.


For dessert we served Blue Bunny Mango Tango Sorbet and Wholesome Farms Raspberry Sherbet.

καλή όρεξη   kali orexi

 Enjoy your dinner!

Bon Appetit!

Greek Dinner Menu for March 7th

Wednesday Evening Meal

March 7, 2012

4:45-6:15 pm

Cuisine of Greece

Baked Lemon Chicken

Greek Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber, Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives

Greek Roasted Potatoes

Pita Bread

Hummus  and  Tzatziki

Assorted flavors of Sorbet

Fruit Pizza and Italian Garden Salad Recipes

The sun was shining and the snow was melting yesterday as we spent the afternoon in the kitchen preparing for our Italian dinner.  80 pounds of spaghetti noodles were precooked, rinsed, then drizzled with a little olive oil. Just before serving, the noodles required only a 1-2 minute dunk in boiling water to heat up again.  This is the best way to feed a huge crowd in a short amount of time.  The spaghetti sauce started with 20 pounds of 90% lean ground beef that we browned on the griddle, then added to 60 pounds of leftover meatloaf that was in the freezer from dinner a few weeks ago.  To the meat mixture we added 24 #10 cans of Contadina Deluxe Spaghetti Sauce, and used seven 22 quart roasters to warm it up in.  We planned for 500 servings, but only served 450 last night, so leftovers will be shared with the WAVI women’s shelter today.

The recipe for the Italian Garden Salad we served was one that I adapted from a recipe I found online for a copycat version of the Italian salad at Olive Garden.  Here’s the recipe if you have a big crowd to feed:

Italian Garden Salad:  400 servings

40# American Salad Blend (Iceberg, Romaine, Radish, Red cabbage, carrots)

5 red onions, thinly sliced

1 gallon banana peppers

10# small vine ripened tomatoes, cut in quarters

1 #10 can sliced black olives

50 cups large croutons

6 cups grated parmesan cheese



16 cups olive oil

6 cups white vinegar

1 1/2  cups Miracle Whip

3 ¾  cups lemon juice

8 cups grated parmesan cheese

5 TBSP garlic salt

¾ cup dried Italian Seasoning

3 ¾  cups water

Puree ingredients in blender until smooth.

Add croutons and dressing to salad just before serving.


We served 2 kinds of bread that was ordered through Sysco:  Baker Boy Garlic Toast and Tuscan Loaf from La Brea Bakery.  The garlic toast comes frozen with 125 pieces per case.  Last night we used 4 1/2 cases.  It requires about 3 minutes on a hot griddle to get it warm and toasty.  The Tuscan Loaves come frozen with twelve 28 oz loaves per case.  These are thawed, heated and sliced and have a really great homemade flavor. We used 10 loaves for dinner as an alternative for those who don’t care for the strong garlic flavor in the toast.

For dessert we made fruit pizza that I adapted from a recipe given to me by my friend Deb Fredrich.  Thanks for sharing Deb!  We used kiwis, strawberries, blueberries and bananas as our toppings, but any fruits will do (unless they are too juicy.)

24 pounds of fresh strawberries, 4 1/2 pounds fresh blueberries, and 50 kiwi were chopped and mixed together.  15 pounds of bananas were sliced and layered on the pizza crust separately.

Fruit Pizza:  Makes 48 squares, when cut 4 x 6.  Use 2 half size sheet pans (13″ x 18″ x 1″)

3 cups butter (softened not melted)

2 cups powdered sugar

6 cups flour

Mix and pat into 2 half size pans.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper first.  Bake 20 minutes @ 300 degrees in convection oven.  Cool.

24 oz. White chocolate chips

4 1/2 ounces whipping cream

Melt chips and cream together in microwave and add:

16 ounces softened cream cheese

Beat all together and spread on cooled crust.  Make sure the cream cheese mixture seals against the sides of the pan, otherwise the fruit will seep to the crust and make it soggy.  It is not a good idea to cut the pizza ahead of time, it will also make the crust soggy.

Refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight for the cream cheese mixture to harden.

Add your favorite fruit: Cut fruit in small pieces and spread on cream cheese topping. Don’t use frozen fruit because it will be too juicy.

 To make the glaze to go on top of the fruit, mix together in a saucepan:

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp corn starch

1 cup pineapple juice

1 tsp lemon juice

Cook on stovetop until thick, stirring constantly.  Cool, spoon over fruit.

Coming next week…Cuisine of Greece.  Menu will be posted soon!

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