Feeding a Crowd

I cook for my family so I am used to preparing meals for 6, occasionally for 10 to 12 when the extended family is around. I can also feed a group of 20 to 25 people without much difficulty (the first time when I was in my 20s and I prepared paella for 20 at a friend’s house) but this is the first time I will be cooking for 50! And I don’t mean a single meal…

For Love and Affection… as well as to help hubby out when the meal provider did not materialize… I had to fix the menu and prepare the food for the staff and cast of 30 to 50, breakfast, lunch, AND dinner! On short notice at that!

At first it was only dinner, and I had that covered already since I already knew about it a good week before. But barely a day before, I was told breakfast and lunch were needed as well!

Talk about a mad rush!

Of course I didn’t have enough ingredients on hand! And to make things worse, breakfast had to be ready for ship out by 8am, and lunch by 10!!!!

I woke up wayyyyy to early and started preparations – thank goodness for an easy way to make breakfast for a crowd – the tray bake!!!

For once I was glad to have a collection of baking pans (thanks to my mom who passed to me all her baking stuff). I was also happy that I had traded in my tiny, tiny electric oven and got a decently-sized one that could fit a 14×10 pan! (Although I could always use the big gas-fired baby oven if needed!)

I was also grateful for the food processor… and a wonderful assistant, A-te J, and one of hubby’s helpers, Tita A., who was in charge of cooking the rice and packing the food into the food boxes.

For the first breakfast… Spiced Ham and Egg Bake!

30 eggs
2 cups low fat milk
700 grams spiced ham, chopped coarsely
24 slices of melty sandwich cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Grease, line and grease again a 14x10x2-inch baking pan.

Mix the eggs and milk but don’t beat to avoid bubbles. Stir in the coarsely chopped spiced ham. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan. Place 12 slices of cheese over the egg mixture. Pour the remaining half of the egg-ham mixture over the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes then rotate the pan. Bake another 20 minutes (or until done) then place the remaining 12 slices of cheese on the top. Return to the oven and use the grill function (to melt and brown the cheese) for about 5 minutes.

Cool slightly then cut into 30 rectangles. Pack into food boxes with rice.

Meanwhile, as breakfast was cooking in the oven, I started slicing the meat into strips for the lunch meal…

Baked Eggs in Peppers

I have often made baked eggs, but always in a muffin tin.  Then someone suggested I try baking the eggs in bell pepper halves.

So I did.

It wasn’t that hard to do – Halve a large bell pepper and clean out the seeds.  Brush the pepper halves in a little oil and crack an egg into each pepper half.  Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper (or as much as you desire, add herbs if you prefer…)

Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the eggs are done to your liking…


B’s Sandwich…

The kid has always been a picky eater!  When she was a toddler, she ate everything!  But one day, poof!  She suddenly refused to eat her favorite foods.  She only wanted plain white rice and nothing else!


We had such a difficult time trying to figure out how to coax her into eating again.  But her pediatrician said not to force her to eat because she could be traumatized so we let her set the pace even as we tried to convince her to eat more.

The good news is things got better.  Years passed and little by little she ate more and more.  Still, the kid is not adventurous at all.  But at least she will try new foods and decide if she is okay with it – it used to be she decided first that she didn’t like it!

Anyway, one of the foods that she absolutely did not like is the EGG!  It didn’t matter what kind or how it was cooked, she refused to eat eggs.

That is, until I made a savory “french toast”…

First, beat an egg with a pinch of salt and pepper in a wide bowl.  Heat a non-stick frying pan (with a little butter).

Then butter a piece of bread and place 2 thin slices of farmers meatloaf, and pile on a piece of toast cheese.  Top with another slice of bread.  Flatten slightly.  Dip the sandwich in the beaten egg; make sure both sides have been dipped in the egg mixture.

Place the sandwich in the pan and cook about a minute on one side and another minute on the other side, until both sides are lightly browned.  (while the sandwich is in the pan, I use the spatula to flatten the sandwich a bit more).

Slice the sandwich into 2 triangles.  Enjoy while the sandwich is hot!


Honey-Vanilla Yogurt

I wasn’t a fan of yogurt.  I’ve always felt that they were too sweet or too tart…

But I became a convert when I started making my own.  At first I started with plain yogurt, then I began straining it to make Greek-style… then I began experimenting culturing yogurt with fruits in it (as opposed to adding fruits after the yogurt cultured).  Mostly though (assuming I have the time) I make plain, Greek-style.

Lately I have not made yogurt, that is, until the other day.  I was inspired by the Creamiest Vanilla Bean Yogurt by Food52.

I loooooooooove it!!!!

I just love it!

So much so that I am trying an alternative breakfast menu – yogurt on alternate days.  Let’s see where this gets me!

And, to add crunch, I made some granola, stove-top style.  But I prefer my granola to be nutty, not fruity… so I used about 50 grams mixed roasted nuts and sunflower seeds, and just some diced dried apricots just for a bit of sweetness!

Love, love, love it!

(will try using real maple syrup instead of honey next time!)


Stovetop Granola

My problem with making granola is that it is always a large batch, aside from the fact that it takes quite a bit of time.  Then, because a batch is always big, we have problems finishing it!  A batch takes us almost a month to finish and towards the end, it deteriorates even just a little bit no matter how well it is stored.

The good news is that there is a easier, faster way to make granola, even if it is only for a single serving!  And no preheating the oven too!  This is granola cooked on the stove top!

Toast 1/3 cup rolled oats and 30 grams sunflower seeds tablespoons (chopped nuts if you prefer) in a wide, flat (nonstick) pan.  Add 1/2 tablespoon each of canola oil and organic honey and toss until everything is coated.  Stir occasionally until light brown, over low to medium heat (take care not to burn the mixture).  Add 1 teaspoon wheat germ.  Stir to mix completely.  Remove from heat, transfer to a plate to cool.  Add about 50 to 75 grams of your preferred mix of dried fruit (mine was a mix of raisins, diced apricots, dried apple, cranberries) and toss to combine.

I based my stovetop granola on the recipe found at http://food52.com/recipes/38602-stovetop-granola.