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Celebrate Community – Recipes When Serving a Large Crowd (#CCEID)

CELEBRATE COMMUNITY

Today is about sharing my favorite recipe. Well gee, that is one heck of a stretch for the Cabin Goddess huh? Well it actually was pretty hard I have a lot of favorite recipes for gatherings. There is a specific thing I cook for each group. I tend to season, adjust and reinvent as I go. But I think that if I were going to get together with my new community of bloggers I would have to make sure the food I make would be able to tried by everyone! So I choose two of my grandmothers recipes from her recipe box ala Cabin Goddess.

As a child my parents were constantly having community get-togethers. Every weekend when we gathered at the Mountain for our ski race training. There was a minimum of six families. We all owned houses, cabins or condos. Heck many of us started off renting Winnebagos! But this was my community growing up. Every family  took turns having the Saturday night feast at their condo/cabin/house and it was always a gathering of food, drink and merriment. I watched Alien for the first time, learned to make the perfect Martini and Bloody Mary and how not to burn Oyster Stew (good one Dad!) My mother was not a fancy cook, but she was a solid one. She was the queen of cooking for a crowd, even if she screeched and complained and ended up opening up an extra bottle of red while doing it. She had the ultimate philosophy for it too! She wanted to cook a good dinner but have time to socialize and not be stuck in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove or re-heating or cooking more. 

K.I.S.S.

WHEN COOKING FOR A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE… “Keep It Simple Stupid” …and make sure you cook DOUBLE what you think they will eat. 

For those of us here in America, we all have heard of the big old Spaghetti Feasts at our churches or community centers. My mom approached a gathering of 12-6o the same way, make a shit load of spaghetti sauce, a bunch of garlic bread and enough salad to make an even the most evil and ravenous army of bunnies happy, fat and of no threat. In fact to this day, my mom still chokes everyone with an ungodly huge amount of greens. It is the one thing she does that is always elaborate! Now as much as I would love  to tell you I make my spaghetti sauce straight up from fresh tomatoes, that would be a lie, not when I am going to make enough to feed a crowd. I have to follow mom’s K.I.S.S. but I cannot resist to add a bit of my flair! A long time ago, at a gathering far, far away, when Bush Jr. was still the governor of TX and imposing his evilness to that great Republic, I constantly was serving either my Chili or my Lasagna for huge crowds of soldiers and families. One day I made all the sauce ahead of time and the event was canceled due to a tornado warning. So my lasagna dish was small, and the sauce left over was large … this how this dish came to be.

This is American Lasagna, there is no fancy Ricotta cheese, or fancy fresh herbs. This is buy your cheapest sauce at the store, a large tub of small curd cottage cheese and spice it up! Yep, I said jarred, cheap, tub. Bear with me, I swear this will become one of your favorite bastardized stellar sauces in your meal battle plan!

Now take it one more step, what happens if you are in charge of bringing one of the three main dishes and you know for sure there are vegetarians in the group and the other two people bringing food are haters of the greens? (yes there are some in every group). You trick them! Yep! Oh you make sure you place the secret vegetarian safe mark on the placard with the dishes name so they all know it is meat free, but I guarantee no one who is a meat eater will know the difference, if you follow my secret vegetarian ninja directions! On my Bacon Whisperer’s Honor! (I maybe a meat eater but I have tons of favorite vegetarian dishes I love to make and eat!)

 

INGREDIENTS:

This is my base recipe and is for 12-15 servings which can easily be divided, multiplied and monster-sized for the masses!

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) mix - I can't believe it's not MEAT!

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) mix – I can’t believe it’s not MEAT!

  • Chopping Onion

    Chop Course – Chopped with an Alaskan Inupiat Ulu in a cutting bowl.

    1 2/4 cup of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)

  • 2 Jars Spaghetti Sauce (NOT Ragu but a simple plain store brand or a simple cheesy marinara. You are going to spice it up.)
  • 2 yellow onions chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Italian Seasoning (It really depends on the seasoning, I make my own from fresh herbs each summer so I use a lot)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of minced garlic (from a jar with all that wonderful juice)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of Cottage Cheese
  • 1 1/2 lbs of spaghetti (yes they are large and in charge with… remember what my mom said, always make double what you think they will eat)
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Salt & Pepper
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Noodles and Sauce

    Noodles and Sauce

    Start your kettle going with some fresh water and put the TVP (TRUST ME they will NEVER know!), your Italian Seasoning & the onion powder, in a metal bowl (this is important), mix well. When the water whistles loudly (more like screams and causes cat to run upstairs so quick she can possibly trip and end up stuck in the winter sweaters hanging up about 8 feet up), add 2 cups o water and mix with a wooden spoon.

    Spaghetti with Vegetarian Lasagna Sauce

    Spaghetti with Vegetarian Lasagna Sauce – SEE, looks just like meat!

  2. While stirring add 1 tbsp of the minced garlic into the TVP, cover with a plate to let it re-hydrate and steep in that lovely mix of savory goodies!
  3. Pour both jars of sauce into a large saucepan. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into each jar, put the top back on and shake, pour into sauce.
  4. Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat, add the onions and saute till just starting to become translucent, then  bump up the heat to medium high and get them just a TOUCH of crispy on the edges. This also will allow for the sound of sizzling and people may actually think you are cooking meat! *wink* (about 2 minutes max)Add to sauce.
  5. With a fork, crush up the cottage cheese a bit more and add to the sauce mixing well.
  6. Uncover the TVP mix and stir up one more time before adding it to the sauce. I add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes it needs more and sometimes it doesn’t need much. Let your spoon do the walking!
  7. Heat over medium heat till bubbling and move to a back burner set on simmer to low, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom while you make the cookies.

NOTES: When I am cooking this much pasta if I do not want to deal with going to the storage shed and digging out the lobster pot, I do it in two – three batches. After each round of pasta is done (time it for about 15 minutes for each round of pasta) I add it to a huge foil serving pan (I nest two together so the walls of containment are shored on that lovely mess of happy goodness.. in other words, prepare for the possibility of a disaster and protect the carpet. When having celebrations Chaos Reigns! So always prepare well for disasters… shore up the serving dishes. Keep covered in the oven while you finish everything else.

DSC_8126-001

A great heavy meal needs delicate deserts. Amidst the messy sheet cakes, and gooey brownies these cookies will shine!

I was reorganizing my pantry  looking for inspiration this last January when surrounded by light, a glorious box of lemon pudding called to me! What? You don’t like lemon pudding? For shame! (Seriously, neither do I but I had inherited this when a friend moved out-of-state. One of the great things about living in Alaska, when people leave, you gain ownership of boots, coats, left over fish and game, tang, pilot bread…you get the picture!) I recalled seeing something about pudding in a cookie recipe I had… somewhere! So I went on a great recipe hunt, which after digging through my grandmother’s and my recipe boxes and books, I started shaking out my cookbook collection and low and behold out of my Joy of Cooking fell out a recipe from a 1968 newspaper clipping. Grandma Morton strikes again!

 Ingredients:

 

  • Lemon Pudding Cookies - It will be in pea sized crumbles, this is just right

    It will be in pea sized crumbles, this is just right

    4 cups baking mix (I used my buttermilk baking mix recipe, similar to the Hillbilly Housewife’s)
  • 4 (3 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp of  Pure Vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar for decoration

 

 

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F .
    Lemon Pudding Cookies - Pressed and ready for Baking

    The bottom of a Double Bloody Mary glass is perfect for this!

  2. Mix baking mix, pudding, egg, vanilla and oil in a large bowl. (It will look crumbly.)
  3. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on parchment covered cookie sheets.
  4. Dip flat bottom glass or cookie press into sugar. Press onto dough ball and flatten into 1/4 inch thick cookie.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes and cool on a rack
  6. Take a teaspoon full of the buttercream glaze and pool into the middle, spreading it out till almost to the edge.

Buttercream Glaze:
LEMON PUDDING COOKIES: glazing the cookies

Glaze cookies on parchment or wax paper to make stacking & transportation easier!

This is really a zen thing, I never measure. Depending on what I am needing it for, bundt cake or cookies, I just mix til I have the right consistency.

Mix with the whisk attachment on your handheld and use a teaspoon to spread onto each cooled cookie. They turned out to be almost like a lemon shortbread, so as I show, you can do frost just half of them, or all your choice. BUT this is also a good thing if you start running out of time. The best thing is because you are serving the spaghetti out of a foil container you can keep that warm and covered while glazing these. make sure you leave them out in the open so the frosting dries. I stack them carefully in baking pans to serve.

The greatest thing about these cookies is if you do not have the light shine down upon a loan box of lemon pudding, or you just do not do lemon pudding try it with any other kind! I plan on trying this with chocolate, vanilla, double it with a cheesecake pudding … just think of the possibilities! This would be perfect for a project to involve the  kids in so they feel part of getting ready for the celebration. It will also let you finish getting everything else read, it really is an easy cookie recipe and because of all the pressing, sugar, and glazing the kids will eat it up, well.. hopefully not literally!

When you have to feed a crowd, what do you make?

Tomorrow (August 17) I will be talking about what Community Togetherness means to me. Heck let’s face it, I probably will be all over the place about community each and every day, well because it is all about how to celebrate community this week! I may spend a lot of time alone physically now, but I am all about my community!

PARTICIPANTS in the FESTIVITIES!

Please visit as many as you can and do not forget to TWEET out your favorite pages with #EIDCC

HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE COMMUNITY!

6 Comments

  1. Amazing, Kriss, as always! Not only the recipes themselves, but the STORIES that go with them, I just love it…it’s like getting a glimpse into your family, and I love the image of your mom cooking for everyone and opening an extra bottle of red in the process. My mom is also an amazing cook for large groups…always making enough to feed an army and keeping everyone fed and happy and socializing no matter what the occasion, so it really made me think of home. Can’t wait to get to a continent where I can try both of these out!! Unfortunately most of the ingredients wouldn’t be available where I am now, lol…

  2. First of all I LOVE the banner you made for the top of your site! how awesome! And those recipes are amazing. I love the cookie one, am going to have to steal that and see if I can manage to not set my kitchen on fire 😛
    Show me some love!

    • HAH that cookie one is scary simple. I let the the kids make it and it comes out looking professional. SO YUMMY! I have made it with cheesecake and cherry jello too with a triple batch. 2 parts cheesecake one part cherry jello… 10 parts #NOMNOM

  3. I love the K.I.S.S. idea!!!
    This hop and event is amazing, because I have received so many good ideas and also learned a lot. What surprised me, is that people is US have so many different types of canned food they can easily use while cooking. For me it seems, that it makes cooking so much easier compared to preparing everything from the scratch! Keep it simple, right?! 🙂
    Thanks for sharing, loved the post and will probably try the cookies!
    Show me some love!

    • I hate cooking with canned and prepared food. Honestly I can my own tomatoes and make my own marinara sauce (ya I will be gone for a few days while I do that next week) BUT this is just the “HEY we are at the mountain cabin use a jar from the store” or my mom never canned. LOL I think sometimes using one thing that takes the steps out can sometimes save you time for FUN, which is what these events are about! AND I AGREE this has been a BLAST! OR STILL IS!

  4. These are great recipes that are quick and easy to cook large portions of. I think it’s great because there also aren’t any ingredients that would make the recipes run into the expensive range, even if feeding many.

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  1. What does community togetherness mean to you? « Happy Honkers - [...] Kriss Morton – Spaghetti with vegetarian lasagna sauce [...]
  2. Celebrating Community Blog Hop – How do you share happiness? #EIDCC - [...] Celebrate Community – Recipes When Serving a Large Crowd (#EIDCC) [...]

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