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One Dish Meal for a Crowd

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Any ideas for a one dish meal to feed a crowd this holiday season? Perhaps something that can be made ahead. Any advice would be appreciated.

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      1. re: fitzhammer

        An old favorite of mine is tamale pie. That and a big green salad would work well. Maybe some Ambrosia for dessert with a crisp cookie?

    1. Depends on the crowd and the meal... lasagna, chili, or stew can be good group foods if you pair them with some bread and salad. Paella is a good one dish meal but it takes preparation.

      1. Technically a two dish meal, but I used to have a tradition (which I may revive this year) of making a huge helping of Prudomme's (sp?) recipe on Red Beans and rice for New Years Day. Making the Red Beans part of it a couple of days in advance, and then having rice available to cook up within a few minutes.

        A more elegant dish would be a good paella. Many recipes are easily found.

        To jump ahead to a similarish idea I'll do for the next big sporting event (super bowl, NCAA champ, etc) is pulled pork, but then to only have the small rolls available for buns. My wife makes great slaw and we figured this would be a fun "snack" type meal, where people can have a few, try variations of "toppings" and not neccesarily overeat.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          Dennis....Sorry, I did not see your post before I suggested almost the same thing...Not trying to seal your thunder.

          Did you happen to see that Bobby Flay show with his girlfriend? He cooks for her. I enjoy the guy...Lots of people are jealous of his success.

          1. re: Chuck

            Chuck, no problem.

            I've caught many of his shows, but probably not the one you're referencing. What did he cook? Paella?

            I like him - I am also wondering about his success (I was given one of his rubs which is really not impressive), but he seems like an alright guy, and puts together good shows.

            As far as the Red Beans/Rice and the mini pulled pork sandwiches, I'm overly eager for those events to roll around and pull them out for the crowd.

            When I was in college and the first year or so after, I'd make the Red Beans days in advance, and open my doors on New Years Day and invite people for 20 minutes to all day. Whenever someone wanted something to eat they could fix the rice and have at it. Let me enjoy company and my couch, with all the work having been done days before.

            1. re: Dennis S

              Dennis:

              Bobby Flay actually made his girlfriend pulled pork, maytag blue cheese slaw and some other stuff for their lunch. It was a great show. His girlfriend? A beautiful model. Life is very good for Bobby.

              Hey, it really is amazing when you think about it...When I was growing up and wanted to be a chef, my Mom would have none of it; I had to go to college! So, I went to a Hotel and Restaurant University....A chef was not considered a nobel profession in the late 60's.

              Today, these guys are stars...Getting the most beautiful girls...hanging with the "A" list..They are the "A" list ...I say...Good for them! But, those old Eurpoean chefs (Europe always respected their chefs;held them in the highest esteem) must be wondering where they went wrong!

              1. re: Chuck

                Wow, the blue cheese slaw sounds awesome. I need to look for that. My wife makes EXCELLENT slaw, but I might have to try to get her to make that or make it myself.

                That's funny about you and thinking about chefdom - I had similar thoughts as well, and Missouri had a good program for both, but likewise, it was more geared towards hotel/resto mngmt than cooking (at that time). An ex of mine, while I was still there, was among the first of an expanded program into the cooking side as well. I'd still like to get back to it sometime - maybe a third career.

                In the same vein but sounding a tad more ludicrous, when I was 14 or so I thought the same about skateboarding - at the time the cops were liable to take your board from you. Now they do alright, too.

                Chase your dreams, I guess.

        2. Spagetti with red gravy and meatballs and good Italian sausage. Have a big bowl of salad and some garlic bread on the side. A hunk of good parm-reg for grating. Mass quantities can be made and spagetti just seems to make everyone happy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Ellen

            Ellen's got the best idea...When in doubt, everyone loves Italian and you can adapt it to non-meat eaters, too.

            1. re: Ellen

              Or a hunk of pecorino Romano, perhaps--more in tune with your classic Italian-American red gravy, IMHO.

            2. Generally, rice and pasta dishes are less than ideal when made ahead (because the starches keep on absorbing moisture and get distorted), with the exception of lasagne, the dried and preboiled versions of which are pretty resistent to abuse (as opposed to delicate fresh lasagne).

              Another idea: egg-cheese stratas. Sometimes thought of as the poor person's souffle or crustless quiche. Must be prepared and refrigerated ahead, for the bread to soak up the custard base, and then baked just before serving (be careful not to put a cold Pyrex pan directly in a hot oven, however). Can make different pans with different ingredients: veggies, meats, et cet., to cater to all tastes.

              While this seems like breakfast food, I will assure that people gobble stratas up and love this kind of food in the evening just as much -- even more.

              With a salad or fruit, and some bread, it's a complete meal.

              Eggs rock. Eat them for supper. You'll be glad.