It's not just potluck anymore…

About

This is a blog for sharing photos, recipes and stories about the Wednesday Evening Meal ministry at Calvary Lutheran Church, coordinated by Karen Schleusener. After searching the internet for countless hours over the last four years, I have not found many other sources who share information about the highs and lows of church supper cooking for such large crowds.  My hope is to show you some things we have learned along the way, and maybe find other churches out there who have nuggets of knowledge to share with us.  I also want our own congregation to see some of the details that make these dinners come together, and hopefully inspire the volunteer spirit in them to come and join us in the kitchen.

Comments on: "About" (30)

  1. Kathy Evans said:

    Karen, Wonderful idea! I’m sure many people will enjoy learning about the back round, of our Wednesday dinners.** I’m not sure want to many people how much fun is to work behind the scenes. ** It will be standing room only in the kitchen, wouldn’t that be wonderful

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  2. Hi Karen
    Just wanted to let you know you had a great idea here and you did a good job with all the information. When do you sleep?

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  3. Dear Karen!
    So happy to connect with you. I can see that we share the same heart and spirit for food and for God’s people! Looking forward to getting to know you better. 🙂

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  4. Lisa Strasser said:

    This is a fun blog! I’m the coordinator for the Wednesday night meals at our church in Omaha. I love finding new ideas and recipes for large groups! Blessings to you and your kitchen crew!

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    • Lisa, I’m glad you like my blog! It’s always fun to hear from someone out there who is doing the same thing. How many people to do serve for dinner and what are some of your favorite meals? I’d love to know. You can reply here on the blog, or send me an email to kschleusener@gmail.com

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  5. Kim Shoumaker said:

    So glad to find this blog! I’ve been working alongside our Wednesday Night Cook for awhile now, but just recently took her place as the head cook. It’s great to find these ideas, pics, and recipes! I live in Baton Rouge, LA.

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  6. Pam Penrose said:

    Hello Karen! I assist a wonderful cook at our church, Emmanuel Episcopal in Webster Groves, MO. We are on our third year of Wednesday night dinners and they have become quite popular with our congregation. Last Wednesday, we served 143 diners–a record for us–but I am amazed at the amount of people that you serve! I’m looking over your recipes for more ideas! Peace, Pam

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    • Welcome to the blog, Pam. At Calvary Lutheran in Rapid City, we’re going on our 8th year of Wednesday meals and still going strong. Our first year we averaged 287 per week and we’ve almost doubled that average now. Our largest crowd so far was 640 for the dinner the week before Christmas last year. This is a wonderful ministry that brings people of the congregation together, although it’s a lot of work and takes some careful planning. I hope you can find some helpful hints and recipes here that you can use. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Happy Cooking! Karen

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      • Arthur R. Tice Jr. said:

        do you have a recipe book for large volume church meals that can be purchased or downloaded? it is the one item that I can not find– to get just feeding our own church for a meal. I am a professionally trained chef and have many cook books but I am faced with a lot of untrained older cooks who would like to start feeding our own —-but do not have big recipes to do this with as all my mass recipes are for high end dining and are not within our budget requirements to feed our members much less for community service meals. ?????
        arthur Tice @ juno.com

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      • I’ve used 2 cookbooks for some of my recipes, Food for Fifty by Mary Molt, and Large Quantity Recipes by Terrell and Headlund. Most of the time I just adapt regular recipes that I’ve tried and liked. Maybe someday we’ll publish a Calvary Lutheran Church Cookbook with recipes for feeding 500.

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  7. Nyeer said:

    I just found your blog and love everything about your food ministry!
    I am also a volunteer church cook and work with a group of volunteers (25 of them!) that help me prep and serve the food on Wednesday nights.
    Thank you so much for all of the information you share so willingly.
    God bless you! Nyeer

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  8. Pat Wick said:

    Karen,

    I have a question. I love your pot roast for a big crowd. I have been asked to do that for our fire hall. We don’t have convection ovens yet in our kitchen. That will come with the remodel but not for 2-5 years. I do have two very large ovens that fit a total of 8 large steamer pans. What would you suggest I do to get the meat to come out as nice as yours.

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    • Just turn the temperature up 25 degrees. You might need to rotate your pans every few hours so the ones on bottom don’t burn. The convection just keeps the heat more even in the whole oven. Good luck.

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  9. Hi Karen,

    Question for you. I have been asked to do pot roast for a crowd. I have not done it in many many years. We don’t have convection ovens yet at our hall. What would be your suggestion to accomplish this without them. I do have two huge ovens that between them hold 8 large steamer pans.

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  10. Karen,

    Thank you for such a quick reply. I think we are going to try this 🙂 I am going to follow you. I love your posts.

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  11. Brenda Berry said:

    I attended tonight’s dinner and the chicken Alfredo lasagna was delicious! I’d love the recipe. Thank you!

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  12. Our congregation in South Carolina just started having Wednesday night suppers . I am so glad I found you! Your menus and ideas have been very helpful as I plan out our next few weeks meals.
    Peace and Blessings!
    Kim

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  13. Angel Kiefer said:

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your website. All of your recipes look delicious! Its amazing to see all of the volunteers working together to produce such wonderful meals for your church. I recently began work in kitchen and was looking for large quantity desserts. I would love to try out some of your recipes. When making your cakes in a 12x20x2 pan do you use any special techniques to make sure the cake cooks evenly? A heating core or baking strips?
    Thank you for such great inspiration!
    Angel K.

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    • Thank you for your comments, Angel. I also had trouble finding large quantity recipes, so that’s why I decided to share what I had tried. Cakes are a little tricky when you load up the convection oven with them. Sometimes we have to rotate them during baking so they cook more evenly. A good frosting always helps!

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      • Angel Kiefer said:

        Thank you so much for your quick reply! I will definitely rotate the cakes and use your frosting recipe 🙂

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  14. Pat Wick said:

    This is my favorite go to place for large quantities and for ideas. I get so much help when I ask questions too!! I used the Taco idea for one of our raffles. HUGE hit!! Going to do it again this fall.

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  15. Jay Merritt said:

    Thanks for the great source of information.I’m cooking for 150 next week for all our ministry volunteers and plan to use the sweet potatoes casserole. Substituting yams, any changes you think?

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  16. Martha Lewis said:

    Love this blog and can’t wait to peruse it. But first, I have to get ready for a church luncheon tomorrow! We’re only cooking for 100 though. Sounds like that would be breeze for you. Thanks!!!!

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  17. Martha Lewis said:

    I do have a question…Do you have salad bar every time? Do you ever do a simple fruit salad?

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    • We do have the salad bar every week. We started a few years ago after many requests. Occasionally we have fruit salad, or just slices of a single fruit.

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