Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cooking for A Crowd: 16th Birthday Party

This weekend we are having a 16th birthday party for my middle kid. My in laws came over and brought two nephews, so for two nights we have 4 extra people, plus Saturday evening is the party which we're guessing will have between 15-20 teenagers. All week I got ready for the party but I also realized I had to cook for the four extra people starting Friday night. Today I'm sharing our menu for the weekend, and the party.

Friday evening dinner:
Grilled Brats and hotdogs
Skillet Fried Potatoes
Lemonade and Soda

Recipe: Skillet Fried Potatoes

1/2 Vidalia Onion, sliced thinly
10-12 fairly small red potatoes
salt and pepper

Wash and scrub potatoes, prick with a fork. Place them in the microwave so they don't touch. Set it on the setting for one potato. Check with a fork to see if any are done. Remove the ones that are, and continue to cook the ones left on the setting for one potato. Remove and cut in half to cool slightly. While cooling start to saute the onion in the skillet. Cut the potatoes into chunks and add to the pan. Stir them quite often til all are browned. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Saturday Breakfast:

Saturday Lunch:
Deli Meat
Bread: White & Rye
Mustard and Mayonnaise
2 bags of chips
Soda Pop

Party (Starts at 6 p.m.)
Nacho Cheese- large 6 pound, 11 ounce can
Taco Meat
Tortilla Chips
Refried Beans (16 ounces)
Salsa and Hot Sauces
Sour Cream
Hot Pork Rinds
Grilled Hotdogs with buns
Baked Beans w/Sausage
Half Sheet Cake

Notes: I've had three evening parties/bonfires for teens now, and they all have went really well. They love nachos, and they love sweets. I always have two bags of marshmallows for them to roast over the fire if they wish, and plenty of canned pop on ice.

Taco Meat: I used about 4 pounds of ground chuck, browned and drained, then mixed in two packets of Taco Bell Seasoning and 1 1/2 cups of water. I cooked it for about ten minutes more after browning earlier. I cooled it and stored it in the refrigerator until the party. I will warm up a bowl of it at a time since I'm not sure how much they will use.

Refried Beans: Remove from can, add a little hot sauce and heat up in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Stir and serve.

Nacho Cheese: I put this in a crock pot for about 2 hours, then turn it off and put in a ladle for guests to serve themselves.

Cake: I ordered a half sheet cake, then found out afterwards that one of the moms decorates cakes and made him 1/4 sheet cake. She sent it over the day of the party. Lesson: Teens never tell you everything when it comes to plans or messages from parents, so prepare for it.

Recipe: Baked Beans with Sausage

2 28 ounce cans homestyle baked beans, any variety
1 pound hot sausage
1/2 Vidalia onion

Brown the sausage til no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon to a casserole dish or baking pan. Saute the onion til soft in the same pan with the sausage grease. Remove again with slotted spoon. Add to the casserole, then add the two cans of beans. Stir gently til mixed. Cover and either bake for a half hour or so on 350 degrees F. or microwave for 8 minutes, stir and cook 5 more. I did this because it was hot and so much was going on. You could also cook in a crockpot on low for a few hours.

Tomorrow I will blog about the party, the decorations and what it was like entertaining that many teens.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Garden Tips for May

The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day. When the sun is out and the wind is still,
you're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, a cloud come over the sunlit arch, and wind comes off a frozen peak, and you're two months back in the middle of March.
~Robert Frost

May is a great month for planting Dahlias, Gladiolas, Begonias, Lilies and Cannas. Many perennials can be set out in May too. Plant daylilies, delphiniums, phlox, carnations, candytuft, basket of gold, primroses, coral bells or saxifraga this year.

If you've received potted tulips or bought some yourself you should care for them after the bloom fades. Remove the flower head at the top of the stem to stop seeds from forming, and keep watering it as usual until the stems die back by themselves. This helps them gather energy and prepare for next year. They should be in a sunny spot during this time. You can plant them when the foliage has browned, or just keep them in the pots and plants in the fall. Make sure the bulbs feel firm, and don't have soft spots. If they do, throw them.

If anyone likes to dry flowers just cut some peonies and put a rubber band around the stems and turn upside down and hang to dry. They dry so nicely and look just like a rose. They look so nice in any dry flower arrangement. I try to dry just a couple of all my flower to see what dries the nicest. You would be surprised to see what all you really can dry. ~Linda

On OFL we have tips on growing Sunflowers, which can be sown in May.