Apple Turnovers – $1.33 each

Tube of refrigerated crescent rolls

Can of apple pie filling

Icing sugar

Milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Unroll dough and separate into four squares. Press the seams of the triangles together. Place on a greased baking sheet.
  3. Spoon 1/4 can of apple pie filling in one corner of each square. Fold in half corner to corner (diagonally) to make triangles. Pinch to seal. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk. Drizzle over turnovers. Best served warm.

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Cooking for Large Groups

Craft services for a film set cast and crew.

Total budget: $300

I bought most things in bulk at Costco. There are a TON of leftovers, but if I wouldn’t have bought in such large portions then I would have paid the same amount if not more for half the ingredients so it seemed worth it.

 

Salad: (Lunch Day 1&2)

I’ve posted this recipe before so here is the link: https://theshortchef.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/orange-pecan-salad/

I bought a box of mandarin orange cups – like the kind you put in kids’ lunches. I put 12 aside for salads and then put the rest out for the crew to eat. Instead of pecans, I tossed in toasted whole almonds, pistachios, and a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The mix is called Salad Topper, which I got from Costco. I also bought a box of individual yogurt cups, put aside the peach/mango flavors for salad dressings, and put the rest out for eating.

Creamy Italian Noodles: (Lunch Day 1)

Cook 2 pkgs of wide egg noodles according to pkg directions. Drain and place in a bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of butter. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and 4 1/2 tsp of Italian seasonings. I used a mix of Italian salad dressing mix, Country Herb salad dressing mix, and Italian spice blend. Mix well. Serve immediately. Doesn’t make great leftovers.

Cheesy Squash: (Lunch Day 2)

Cut 7 small zucchinis and 2 eggplants into 1/4 inch slices. I usually use yellow summer squash instead of eggplant, but they must be out of season because I couldn’t find any. Place in two greased shallow baking dishes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with 4 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately. Doesn’t make great leftovers.

Nutty Chocolate Marshmallow Puffs: (Lunch Day 1&2)

Coarsely chop 1 lb or 4 cups of pecans. In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 cups of milk chocolate chips, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme just until melted. Stir until smooth. Be prepared for the mixture to be quite thick.

You’ll have to act relatively quickly and stir often to prevent mixture from burning, so immediately dip marshmallows, one at a time, in chocolate mixture. I used a fork because i don’t have tongs, but those would probably be easier. Shake off excess chocolate. Quickly roll in pecans. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. I didn’t actually have wax paper so I used aluminum foil and sprayed it generously with vegetable spray and it worked fine. I kept the pot on the stove with it on low heat to keep it warm and easier to work with, but if it’s too hot to handle this way, you may have to throw it in bowl and then reheat it every once in a while. When all the puffs are on the tray, refrigerate until chocolate is firm. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Banana Dessert: (Lunch Day 1)

Slice up 8 bananas. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and a handful of pecans. Garnish with Cool Whip.

Bacon Cheese Biscuit Wreath: (Breakfast Day 1)

In a small saucepan, melt 5 oz of Cheez Whiz and 3 Tbsp Golden Crisco. Stir until blended. Pour into a well-greased bundt pan. Cut each biscuit into quarters and place over cheese mixture.

Bake at 400° for 12-14 minutes. Immediately invert pan onto a serving platter and remove. Normally I sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of minced fresh parsley but I went to 2 stores and neither had any so I settle for the fresh parsley paste they sell in the produce section. So I brushed the hot bread with 2 Tbsp of parsley paste and then with 4 strips of cooked and crumbled bacon. Serve bread warm.

Cheese Biscuits: (Breakfast Day 2)

Stir 2 cups of Bisquik, 2/3 cup of milk, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Mix 2 Tbsp melted butter and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Brush over biscuits. Bake at 475° for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Go Bananas – $3.22/loaf

2 pkgs of banana muffin mix

Bananas

Walnuts

Milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop 1 1/2 cups of walnuts.
  3. Peel and mash 3 bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
  4. Add walnuts, 3 cups of milk and the 2 pkgs of muffin mix to mashed bananas. Combine until just blended. Spoon into three or four greased loaf pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 3-4 loaves.

It seems like a lot. We’re 2 people and we easily eat 2 loaves in a week. You can freeze one or two loaves or give them away to neighbors or as gifts or bring to the next function you go to. Everyone loves banana bread! Just make sure to warn people that it contains nuts!

Strawberry Glaze Doughnuts

WIN_20140807_153134Sugar

Cinnamon

Tube of refrigerated biscuits

Butter

Strawberry jam

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Melt 1/4 cup of butter.
  3. Separate biscuits
  4. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon in a small bowl. Dip top and sides of biscuits in butter and then cinnamon-sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet. With the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a deep and wide indentation in the centre of each biscuit and fill with 1 tsp of strawberry jam.
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Jam will be very hot!

Cherry Cream Crescents – 50¢ each!

Package of cream cheese (8 oz)

Icing/confectioners sugar

Egg

2 tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls

Can of cherry pie filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Take cream cheese out of fridge to soften.
  3. Separate egg – yolk in one bowl, whites in another.
  4. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup of icing sugar, and egg yolk in a mixing bowl. Separate dough into 16 triangles Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Spread 1 Tbsp of cream cheese mixture near the edge of the short side of each triangle. Top with 1 Tbsp of cherry pie filling.
  5. Fold long piece of triangle over filling. and tuck under dough. Lightly beat egg whites. Brush over rolls. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Orange Pull-Apart Bread

Tube of refrigerated crescent rolls

Butter

Honey

Orange

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Take butter out of the fridge to soften.
  3. Grate the orange peel. Set aside 1 tsp of zest.
  4. Open tube of crescent rolls. Do not unroll. Place on a greased baking sheet, forming one long roll. Cut into 12 slices to within 1/8″ of bottom, being careful not to cut all the way through. Fold down alternating slices from left to right to form a loaf. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Combine 2 Tbsp of butter, 2 Tbsp of honey, and 1 tsp of grated orange peel. Brush over the loaf. Serve warm.

Cinnamon Nut Twists

2 tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls (like the Pilsbury Doughboy ones found next to the dairy section in the grocery store – get reduced-fat ones if you can)

Stick margarine (preferably reduced-fat as well)

Brown sugar

Cinnamon

Walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Finely chop walnuts
  3. Unroll both tubes of dough. Press perforations and seams together to form two rectangles. Spread with 2 Tbsp of stick margarine. Combine 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 Tbsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of walnuts.
  4. Fold each rectangle in half, starting from a short side. Cut into 8 strips. Twist each strip. Tie into a knot. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Serve warm.

Excellent served with a hot cup of coffee or cold cup of milk!

3 Fruit Salad

2 bananas

Pineapple – canned chunks or fresh, depending on price, availability, and time restraints

Grapes

Honey mustard salad dressing

 

Slice the bananas. Halve 1 cup of grapes.

Combine bananas, 1 cup of pineapple chunks, and grapes in a bowl. Add 3 Tbsp of honey mustard salad dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Potato Sloppy Joe Bake (Dinner for Two Week 28)

Breakfast: Super Duper Healthy Breakfast Cookies, Potato Sloppy Joe Bake
Lunch: Bean Burritos, Herbed Cheese and Tomato Sandwich, banana, dark chocolate, and mangoes, nectarines, oranges
Dinner: Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash and asparagus, avocado, broccoflower, broccoli
Dessert: Peach Crisp
Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Butternut Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 Tbsp pf minced garlic, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1/2 tsp of dried rubbed sage in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place rack in broiler pan.
  3. Cut 12 oz of red potatoes into wedges. Cube and peel 8 oz of butternut squash – should end up with 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Combine potatoes, squash, butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange vegetable mixture around chicken. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin.
Herbed Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
Spread 1 Tbsp of spicy brown mustard on an English muffin. Add 1/4 cup of cottage cheese on one half. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of chopped chives and garlic powder to taste. On the other half, add 2 slices of tomatoes, 1/4 of a sliced avocado, and a leaf of butter lettuce.
Potato Sloppy Joe Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cook 1 lb of ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Drain. Add a can of sloppy joe sauce and a can of cream of potato soup. Place a package of frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes in a greased baking dish. Top with beef mixture.
  3. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover. Bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bean Burritos
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook enough long grain rice to equal 1 cup. Combine a can of refried beans, 1 cup of salsa, rice, and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in a bowl. Spoon about 1/3 cup off-center of each of the 12 flour tortillas. Fold the sides and ends over filling and roll up.
Arrange burritos in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Peach Crisp
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and roughly chop peaches directly into baking dish. You can use a vegetable peeler and a paring knife, but you can also blanch stone fruits to get the skin off.
In a food processor, blend 1/2 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and 6 Tbsp of chilled cubed butter or Earth Balance with several on-off pulses or only until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add 1 cup of quick or rolled oats and pulse a few more times to break them up.
Spread topping over fruit. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Depending on the juiciness of the fruit and how full you filled your dish, you may want to put some foil below the pan in the oven to catch any overflow.

Super Duper Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/4 cup of almond meal, 2 Tbsp of chia seeds, 1 cup of coconut flakes, 1/2 cup of chopped mixed nuts, 1 cup of mixed dried fruit, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp of allspice.  In a separate bowl, mash 3 bananas with a fork until it’s all gooey.  Add 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 tsp of vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and mix until is well incorporated.  If the mixture seems too dry, just add more applesauce.  Place heaping tablespoon-fulls onto a cookie sheet, mold into rounds, and press down slightly.  Bake for 20 minutes.

 

SHOPPING LIST:

Butter or Earth Balance

Low-fat cottage cheese

12 flour tortillas (6-7″)

English muffins

Lemon

3 mangoes

2 bunches of bananas

8 peaches

6 nectarines

6 oranges

Tomato

Chives

Asparagus

4 avocados

Broccoflower

Broccoli

Butter lettuce

Butternut squash

12 oz red potatoes

1 lb ground beef

3.5 lb roasting chicken

Pkg of frozen cubed hashbrown potatoes (32 oz)

Can of sloppy joe sauce (15.5 oz)

Can of condensed cream of potato soup (11 oz)

Unsweetened applesauce

Spicy brown mustard

Dried rubbed sage

Dark chocolate

[Also needed: cheddar cheese, rolled oats, almond meal, chia seeds, coconut flakes, mixed nuts (pecans), mixed dried fruit (raisins/blueberries), salt, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract, flour, brown sugar, garlic, pepper, cooking spray, butter]

Pizza, Burger, and Fries (Dinner for Two Week 23)

Breakfast: Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bar, Fruit and Nut Bars

Lunch: Leftovers + cranberries, guava, papaya, grapefruit

Dinner: BBQ Chicken/Veggie Pizza, Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole, tomatoes, butternut squash, carrots, persimmons

Dessert: Crepes with strawberries

Fruit and Nut Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Coarsely chop 3 cups of dried fruit and 1 1/2 cups of dry roasted nuts until most pieces are relatively uniform in size. Set aside.
  3. Whisk 1/3 cup of flour, 1/8 tsp of baking soda, and 1/8 tsp of baking powder together in a large bowl until evenly combined. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar, fruit, and nuts, and mix to coat all fruit and nuts with the flour mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat an egg with 1/2 tsp of vanilla about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir egg into flour mixture until evenly mixed.
  6. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Crepes (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

  1. Whisk 3 eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of soy milk, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 3 Tbsp of melted butter (or nondairy butter alternative). Whisk in 3/4 cup of cornstarch, a pinch of salt, and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Stir in 1 tsp of lemon zest and 1 Tbsp of poppy seeds. Let batter rest for half an hour.
  2. Four minutes before cooking, heat wide pan (at least 6-7″) to medium high heat. When hot, add a little bit of butter (or alternative) and spread across the pan evenly. Remove pan from heat to prevent smoking.
  3. Stir the batter and pour ⅛ of a cup into the pan. Quickly spread the batter with a tilt and rotate motion or by using a thin spatula to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Return the pan to the heat.
  4. Cook the crepe for one minute, loosening the edges with a spatula as it cooks. When the top of the crepe should looks almost dry, flip it over. Cook the other side for a minute and transfer the crepe to a plate.
  5. Repeat the process until you’ve made as many crepes as you want. Add a little butter to the pan periodically to keep the crepes from sticking.
  6. Serve with sliced strawberries. Mmm!

Chewy Coconut Almond Raisin Granola Bars

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil so that some foil hangs over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup of wheat germ, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 Tbsp of ground flaxseed, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger, 1 cup of shredded coconut, 1 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of honey, 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick) and 1 Tbsp of fresh orange juice. Pour over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. The mixture will be dry but sticky. Blend together until all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the honey mixture.

Dump oat mixture into the prepared baking dish. With clean, slightly oiled fingers (or a fork), firmly press the oat mixture into the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The baked granola will still be soft even after it’s baked, but will harden as it cools.

Remove baked granola from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing. Don’t skip this step or it will crumble.

Use the overhang foil flaps to remove the baked granola. Use a large, sharp knife to cut block into 12 bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container. Will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and cube one chicken breast. Place a prebaked Italian bread shell crust on a pizza pan. Spread with 2/3 cup of honey garlic BBQ sauce. Sprinkle with a small chopped red onion, cubed chicken, and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes.

Unexpected guests? Cut one of these pizzas up into strips and serve as an appetizer when friends pop by unexpectedly. They are fast to whip up which will give you extra stalling time while you think of what to serve for the main course. Suggestion? Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casserole. See below. 

Game night? Make one or two of these babies with chicken and then one more with no chicken, but load on the interesting veggies instead. I recommend cubed rutabaga, corn, and cubed sweet potato. Kids coming? Make a happy face out of the veggies to make them seem fun. Or lay out the ingredients and let them decorate their own. You’ll be the most happening place in town. 

Cheeseburger ‘n’ Fries Casser0le

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 2 lbs of lean ground beef in a skillet over medium heat and drain. Stir in a can of golden mushroom soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup. Pour into a greased baking dish. Arrange a package of frozen crinkle-cut French fries on top. Bake, uncovered, for 50-55 minutes.

SHOPPING LIST: 

24 oz of mozzarella cheese

Eggs

Soy milk (or other nondairy milk)

Non dairy butter alternative

3 prebaked Italian bread shell crust (14 oz)

3 red onions

3 tomatoes

Butternut squash

6 carrots

3-18 persimmons (depending on size)

Rutabaga

Corn

Sweet potato

Cranberries

Strawberries

Guava

Papaya (1 large or 3 small)

3-6 grapefruits

Lemon

Orange

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 2 cups of leftover cooked chicken)

2 lbs lean ground beef

Pkg of frozen crinkle-cut fries (20 oz)

Can of golden mushroom soup (11 oz)

Can of cheddar cheese soup (11 oz)

Honey garlic BBQ sauce

Old-fashioned oats

Unsalted peanuts

Dried fruit – I recommend apricots, dates, and cherries

Dry roasted nuts – I recommend pecans and almonds

[Also needed: wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, ground ginger, shredded coconut, raisins, sliced almonds, honey, unsalted butter, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, poppy seeds, flour, baking soda, baking powder]