The following request came from a reader who is
unaccustomed to entertaining, but needed to host a dinner meeting, and couldn't
afford to buy deli platters. I hope it will be useful for those of you who may
also need to cook up some smiles, whilst managing a budget.
I need to have a gathering of 15 people at my home for dinner. Nothing fancy,
I'll probably use disposables to serve. Can you give me a simple, inexpensive
menu, using as many ready-made foods as possible?
Relax, this dairy menu will handle all your needs. For your situation, the best
route would be to remake a ready made frozen casserole. the formula I'm about to
give you is one which has been successful for others, won't stain clothing, and
is easy to eat: because everything is already bite-sized. You will not need to
do any cooking beyond baking it, and can even mix it in the baking pan. Do make
sure to have everything thawed, so it will blend easily. I'm going to suggest a
large quantity, because the meal is for 15, but those of you who want to do this
for fewer people need only reduce the amounts.
2 large (8 serving size) packages frozen macaroni and cheese, thawed
1 1-pound bag frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 1-pound bag frozen chopped peppers, thawed
1 large bag chopped walnuts
1 6-ounce container French fried onions
1 8-ounce container grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Line a half-sheet sized baking pan with non-stick coated aluminium foil. Place
the first four ingredients in the pan, mix thoroughly, and smooth in an even
layer. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, then the onions. Place in an
oven which has been preheated to 350 degrees, and bake for 45 minutes, or until
browned and bubbly. Serve.
You can accompany the casserole with a mixed salad using pre-washed and chopped
greens. I suggest adding drained Mandarin oranges and grape
tomatoes to the salad mix for color, and tossing it with a light oil and vinegar
type dressing beforehand. I know many folk would rather do their own dressing,
but they tend to dribble it all over the place, so tossing it yourself will save
you a mess later.
If you have the time and inclination, make a relish tray of radishes, cucumbers,
celery, and baby carrots. The textural contrast with the soft casserole will be
Resist the temptation to serve garlic bread. Fifteen people with garlic breath
will not make for a pleasant experience.
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 bananas, sliced
2 ready made pound cakes, sliced
Blend the first four ingredients. Add in the sliced bananas, and mix thoroughly.
Serve the banana mixture spooned over a slice of cake.
Copyright 2010 Eddy Robey