Cooking for 20+

Rarely do I ever have to cook for that many people, but when it comes to graduate school, we certainly make the most of some good cooking.  This most recent class, the statistics class, was larger than usual, complete with 3 visitors from other bases in Europe (2 from England and I think 1 from Germany).  Normally 2 people take a night/weekend day, but this time some groups had 3 people, so you can imagine how much food that resulted in.

On the night I was signed up, there was only 1 other person.  I thought some kind of vegetarian type pasta would be good, so the other person decided on spaghetti and meatballs.

Here is what I created to bring along as my contribution to the class dinner:

Yes, I most certainly made sure that broccoli was included.  I love broccoli and will add it just about anywhere I can.
I also thought red pepper would give a nice color and crunch to the past dish.
I thought about a cold pasta salad, but the cold windy weather made me think a hot dish was better.  Even though it was going to be a hot dish, I wanted to make shells still.
I started by sautéing some garlic in olive oil.  Then I tossed in the red pepper.  When it was all done, I tossed in the broccoli, which I steamed in the rice cooker/steamer.  After cooking for about another minute I added this to the cooked pasta, to which I added a little more olive oil just to coat the pasta.  I made 2 boxes, so I didn’t want it to be too dry.
The next step was to heat up some black olives and tuna fish (from a foil package, not canned because this is easier to work with in my opinion).
When this was warmed up I layered it in a big pan.  I just made this up at the last minute and I was impressed it went over so well.  I think this would be a good cold pasta salad too.
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But I couldn’t just stop there.  I was having a craving for something chocolate and I was feeling like a little homemade dessert was called for.  I found this recipe for chocolate cherry brownies online and I was good to go.
Oh boy did this call for a lot of butter.  Actually, it seems like more than it is because I doubled the recipe.  I was, after all, cooking for around 23 people.  The butter was heated with water and cherry preserves to create the liquid for this recipe.
I mixed all my dry ingredients.
The fun part was adding the liquid and smelling this delicious concoction.
Those lumpy bits are chocolate chips!  Oh what a heavenly recipe!
I filled my 2 pans and I was ready for the oven, with time closing in.  I wanted to literally pull these out of the oven and head to class so that they were still warm towards the end of the meal.
YUM!!!  These were so good.  I had to cook longer than the recipe called for because I doubled it, and I do think I cooked it a few minutes to long, but they were really good regardless.  I am most definitely making these again.
QUESTIONS:  What is the largest crowd you have prepared food for?  What is your favorite kind of brownie?


Biz said...

Your dish looks delicious! I wouldn't miss the meatballs at all. :D

Probably 15 is the most I've cooked for and that was for a Thanksgiving pre-blog - not sure I could have taken pictures and cooked for that one!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

The pasta and the brownies sound and look great! Food makes school so much better, especially night and/or weekend classes! :-)

I've cooked for about 20 people before. I made a big pasta dish, several salads, lots of veggies and dips, and we barbecued veggies, fish, and some meat.

chow and chatter said...

looks great I have never cooked for that many would freak out your omelet sounds amazing

Astra Libris said...

Wow, your pasta is brilliant!! Such a gorgeous dish! And oooh, your brownies... *dreamy sigh* Your classmates are very, very lucky! :-)

The biggest group I've ever cooked for is 100 people, when I catered an event for an entire chorus! It's such a dramatic shift of scale, using such huge bowls and stirring such large quantities of everything! :-)

Beth said...

I've done several holiday meals for 20-25. They're tough!

Jessie said...

Oh boy, I wish I was in your class, Melinda! Your pasta dish looks so versatile, and the brownies look perfect (my favorite kind of brownie is chocolate ship, of course :) ). Well done!

I'm going to go check out what you've written about your statistics class - thanks for bringing my attention to it!

Mari said...

WOW can I be in your class????? I think I am going to try that pasta dish and don't even get me started on the brownies...I would enjoy it with some vanilla ice cream =)

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Impressive! I've never cooked for more than 4 people. But, I would love to try a larger crowd one day. I think pasta would be my dish of choice, because it's like a blank can make tons of pasta and do so much with it!

I loved your G.I.N.A suggestion for a name for my bar. I posted it today, along with the others, I need to decide on a name!!

Unknown said...

I think, other then just random party snacks, the most we have cooked for has been like 8 and we usually just do Chili in the crock pot :)
I like all brownies!! mmmm!

Emily said...

Cooking for a huge group always intimidates me. I always worry about having enough food and that everyone will like it!

Looks like you did a great job, though!

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