Monday, November 15, 2010
My Weekend: Feeding a Crowd on a Budget without Spending All Your Time in the Kitchen
Fajitas- About a month ago there was a sale on petite sirloin. I bought 5 lbs, cut it into cubes, put it into plastic bags with marinade and dried onions and froze it. Mid morning I threw the contents in the crock pot and cooked it on low for 8 hours. Half an hour before they arrived I chopped one large red onion, 2 green, one red, one yellow and one orange bell peppers and stir-fried them. The red onion and tortillas came from my Bountiful Basket. I also learned that you can get a 3 color bell pepper pack at my local Walmart for $3.50, whereas to buy the colored peppers individually costs about $1.70 each.
Cafe Rio Style Cilantro Lime Rice & Black Beans - I made these in my crock pot ahead of time and froze them. The night before I transferred them from the freezer to the fridge and microwaved them while I cooked the veggies.
Fruit Salad- I used 3 persimmons, 1 lime (juiced), 1/2 banana, 3/4ths of a pomegranate, 1 cup of black grapes, 1 pear, 3 kiwis, 1 mango and a few strawberries. All but the last 3 ingredients came from my Bountiful Basket. I chopped this up the night before.
Birthday Cake- Pink cake with chocolate pudding frosting. All ingredients came from my freezer or food storage.
Fruit and cold cereal for breakfast
Lunch @ Five Guys to celebrate after the tri (paid for by my in-laws)
Saturday afternoon we climbed all over Pioneer Park. When we came home everyone was tired. So as soon as we got home I popped a couple of these in the oven for 20 minutes: Buffalo Chicken Calzones- One weekend when I was filling ambitious I made a few of these and froze them. When I made them I used cauliflower puree and spinach from my BB. 2 of these babies was enough for 9 people with a small amount of leftovers. (Neither of my kids would consider eating anything so spicy, they had sandwiches, and those 9 people had all had a very big lunch.)
I served them with Pink (because it is my little sister-in-law's favorite) and leftover birthday cake. (There was a lot of leftover birthday cake because everyone was so full from the fajitas, rice and beans.)
Saturday night I prepared a Blackberry French Toast Bake and set it in the fridge overnight. The recipe needs some tweaks, so I'll share it later, but I used one loaf of 9 Grain bread from my BB, one cup of frozen blackberries, one package of Kraft neufchatel (that I recently got for free using coupons), powdered eggs, powdered milk and spices from my pantry. Sunday morning when I was only semi-conscious I put it in the oven and went back to bed. I served it with a 3 packages of sausage that I had gotten a ridiculous deal on. In retrospect it would have been nice to have a few more servings of this because there were no leftover french toast stuff, but people filled in the difference with fruit and more leftover birthday cake.
I estimate that all of these meals cost me about $44 (with about $29 being for Friday night's meal). I consider this a victory. I love my extended family, however several of them are somewhat averse to what they call "healthy food", which sometimes makes meal planning a challenge. I managed to plan meals that everyone enjoyed, incorporated lots of fruits and vegetables and feed 11 people for a reasonable sum of money while still spending lots of time with them instead of in the kitchen. It was a good weekend. :) (Yes, perhaps I should have taken pictures of some of these meals, but they never lasted enough for such actions. Sorry.)