Tag Archives: food for a crowd

Festive First Week of February

Today, I realized that this first week of February is completely full of holidays!  And I love it. 

First it was Groundhog Day.  Then it was Chinese New Year.  Next on Sunday is will be the Super Bowl.

Sure, it’s not technically a holiday.  There are no days off for work (I’ll actually be working part of the day), and no large travel hang-ups across the country caused by too many travellers.  But, I know many many people do consider it an annual holiday, and with good reason.  Super Bowl gamedays are usually filled with friends, food, and festivities.  Plus, the mail is never delivered on the day of the game, so technically it’s just as legit as the real holidays each year.

My plans for Sunday are still a bit up in the air, but for those of you hosting a party or heading to a potluck, here are a couple new recipes that are great for a crowd.  One is perfect for the meat-eaters, the other is vegetarian (but carnivores also love it).  Both are extremely easy to make, which ensures that most of your time will be spent watching funny commercials rather than watching the stove. 

Mama B.’s Meatballs
Makes a whole lotta meatballs

3 – 5 LB. bags of frozen beef cocktail meatballs (Walmart and Sam’s Club usually have them)
1 – 32 oz. jar of grape jelly
1 – 32 oz. jar Heinz chili sauce
Toothpicks to serve

1. Empty meatballs into a large crockpot.
2.  Pour jelly and chili sauce on top, stir to combine, and set crockpot to low for 4 hours. 
3.  Stir very occassionally.  Make sure the meatballs are completely heated through when done.

 

Curried Chickpea Salad

 

Curried Chickpea Salad — a dish from my birthday pizza party!
Serves 10 to 12 as a side dish

2 to 3 Tbsp. curry powder (use more for a stronger curry taste)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 – 14 oz. cans garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 – 15oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt addded variety, half-drained

1. In a clean and dry sauce pan, heat the spices (curry through cayenne pepper) over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.  This intensifies the flavor!
2.  In a small bowl, pour spices into olive oil and whisk to combine.
3.  In a large bowl, combine garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and can of half-drained tomatoes.
4.  Add olive oil mixture to the beans, and well until everything is combined.
5.  Salt to taste. 

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Here’s another thing to celebrate:  Joie de Meg was featured on FoodPress.com today with my recipe for Fried Egg and Tomato!  Very cool.  Thanks, FoodPress!

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Pizza Party 101

Thanks again for the birthday wishes!  I had a great day and night celebrating with friends.  There was much pizza, wine, cake, and board games involved, so it was a very fun night.  I think I ate my weight in food last night and am still stuffed today, but it was delicious.   

Up until Thursday night, I had no idea what I was going to make for the crowd of 15 or so friends.  But while enjoying the sights and tastes of Logan airport, I finally had  a few moments to think about what to prepare that would suit a variety of tastes and dietary needs and also follow the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  I tried to think of things that I could buy from the store but then jazz up to make them look and taste more homemade.  Here’s the menu I came up with:

Appetizers:

– Cheese Log and Crackers
– Hummus Boat with Crudites
– Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Blue Cheese Flat Bread
– Classic Red Sangria

 

  

  

  

  

 

 

Pizzas and Sides:

– Zucchini White Pizza
– Chicken Sausage and Mushroom Pizza
– Italian Roasted Tomatoes and Mushroom Pizza
– Vegan Pesto and Sundried Tomato Pizza
– Curried Chickpea Salad
– Garden Salad with Carrots, Clementines and a Cranberry/Balsamic Vinaigrette

  

 

 

 

Secrets to Pizza Party Success:

Buy storebought doughTrader Joe’s and Whole Foods make great dough and sell it in balls for really cheap!  You just roll it out, add your own toppings and bake. 

– Think of your guests’ likes and needs  – I decided what pizzas to make based on the following realizations:

  • Some of my friends eat meat, some don’t.  Some of them like tomatoes and some don’t.  Having just tomato-sauce based pizzas was not a good option.
  • Guys tend to need meat to feel full, so I couldn’t have all vegetarian pizzas.  Girls also like meat, but at least in my friends, they prefer to go vegetarian more often.
  • The vegetarian pizzas needed to be filling and substantial so it didn’t feel like you were just eating bread and cheese.

With sides, few ingredients + flavor + pretty presentation = success 
The salads I made literally took me minutes, but looked and tasted like I spent a lot more time on them than I did because of the fruit and curry flavors I added.  Also, I took storebought classic hummus and made it look fancy in a really simple way:  I cut a square from the middle of a loaf of French bread, filled it with hummus, and then decorated the outside with vegetables to use as dippers.

Let me know what recipes you’d like me to post!  Anyone can make them, I promise.  Here’s one to start out with….most people were surprised that they liked this so much last night! 

 

Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Flatbread Pizza

1 storebought pizza doughball
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium red pear, sliced
3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

1.  Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook for 30 minutes stirring occassionally.  The onions should turn a deep golden color, shrink up, and taste sweet when finished.
2.  Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Heat oven to 450 deg. F.
3.  Roll out dough on a floured surface (make sure to let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before doing so).  Place dough on cookie sheet and press into corners to fill the pan.
4.  Brush remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the dough until lightly coated.
5.  Spread onions over dough and top with pear slices.  Cover with blue cheese crumbles. 
6.  Place in oven and lower temperature to 425 deg. F.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until crust is golden and blue cheese looks slightly melted.
7.  Cut into 2″ x 2″ squares and serve.

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