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Old 11-19-2007, 10:02 PM   #11
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You gotta have desserts as there will always be someone who doesn't like the mains and they will look to dessert. Doesn't have to be fancy though - things like apple slice and custard/icecream/cream are easy to make, cheap as well and go well after a heavy meal, while appealing to most tastes. Over here, pavlovas, apple pies and tiramisu are the usual suspects with a huge bowl of fruit salad.

Too many restaurants, not enough time...
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:38 PM   #12
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Dina - you've got two things going on! And, assuming you're in a Texas state of mind ...

BBQ Chicken with possibly:
potato, macaroni or pea salad
Cole slaw
BBQ/Ranch/baked beans
cornbread or Texas toast

Skirt steak (literally screams fajitas) with:
sautéed bell peppers and onions
flour tortillas
sour cream

refried beans
Spanish rice

Dessert possibly:
HOT Peach cobbler with a dollop of vanilla ice cream/frozen yogurt

chicken wings as an app seems a little redundant with BBQ chicken on the menu ... you could possibly do something like (served with an assortment of chips and crackers):

hot spinach dip
clam and cream cheese dip
dry French onion soup and sour cream dip

You could also make a chili/refried bean/cheese dip (I can think of about 6 different variations off the top of my head) and serve with corn chips.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:53 PM   #13
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Hi Dina. I think you will find that a few dishes in "quantity" will be much easier to control than many dishes of smaller quantity.

Here are a couple suggestions that make a lot to begin with and doubling shouldn't be a problem. I'm just posting some of my favorites and not saying they all go together.

This first dish serves 10 - 15 people easy. If you double it and have other things you'll be fine.


8 oz. uncooked rotini
1 can black beans
1 can great Northern beans
1 can kidney beans
1 11-oz. can whole kernel corn
1 2-oz. jar pimiento, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Cook and cool rotini. Mix all beans, corn and pimiento in bowl with juice from cans as the flavors seem to mix in the end product better.. While pasta is cooking and beans are soaking mix the mayo, Italian dressing, pepper, and mustard.

Pour bean mixture into colander, rinse and drain. Toss everything together. This mixture HAS to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. If you taste it right away you will note the Italian dressing has a VERY sharp taste. After 2 hours this taste calms down and the dish is very smooth.


If you multiply this recipe times 4 and use two 9 x 13 casserole dishes it will be fine.

Cheesy Spoon Bread

Part #1
1 4-oz. can green chilies, chopped
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

Part #2 Ingredients:
1 can cream style corn
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup cooking oil

Part #3 Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt


Take out seeds and veins from green chilies if using whole ones and chop. Otherwise, just use chopped ones.

Mix together all ingredients in Part #2. - set aside.

Mix together all ingredients in Part #3. - set aside.

Butter a 9 x 9 baking pan. Mix #2 and #3 together. Pour 1/2 of the batter into pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese and all of chilies on top of this layer. Pour rest of batter on top of this and then top with remaining cheese.

Bake in 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool a bit and serve.

For spicier cornbread add jalapeno peppers, Tabasco or cayenne for a bite.


Spanish Rice

Basically you just make the amount of regular white rice that you need and let it cool. Make day ahead and it stays separated and doesn't get gummy.

Saute onions and green or red peppers until caramelized. Toss in rice and then mix in some Rotel (canned tomatoes with lime, cilantro, onion flavoring). I add more cilantro and more diced tomatoes (drained) along with, of course, salt, pepper, cumin, and a bit of chili powder (not much). Some spring onions and sour cream are good toppers.


This is a bean salsa that is also good on top of the rice:

3 16oz cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 small jar chopped pimentos, juice included
1 bunch scallions, chopped, green part only
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 fresh jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped
1 firm, ripe tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups vinaigrette

In a large bowl stir all ingredients very well. Chill for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight in a sealed container. The longer it sits the better it gets.

Serve with old-fashioned crackers or tortilla chips.

Vinaigrette recipe - 1 part vinegar, 3 parts oil, chopped garlic
Add crushed garlic, vinegar, and oil. Close and shake well. Let stand and shake again well. Use less than tempted to use.


For veggies you can grill some asparagus and other vegetables i.e., zucchini or yellow squash cut in wedges like pickles, salted, peppered, coated with olive oil.

You can do these first and keep in a warm oven.


I know there's more I can think of but I'm getting sleepy.......will visit this thread again tomorrow.

I don't know if I would do wings if you are already having grilled chicken.

What about:

cheese ball - I have a recipe for the regular and then a pineapple cheese ball that's really good.

Hot spinach/artichoke dip in a chafing dish?

"Count yourself...you ain't so many" - quote from Buck's Daddy
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:08 AM   #14
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How about a really big apple crisp and vanilla ice cream for dessert?
Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:49 AM   #15
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Dina, does your Graduate have a favorite dessert? That is what I would serve, making two or three of whatever so there is enough to go around. I'd also have a couple of big buckets of ice cream and a stack of cones for those folks who want a little treat but don't necessarily want cake or pie or whatever.

I love the menu you have planned. I think you will have a lovely day. Good luck!
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:56 AM   #16
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Baked potatoes are easy--wrap them and put them in a big electric roaster with a little water..

Corn casserole/pudding. Easy to make and you can make it in large throw away aluminum pans.

Augrotten potatoes you can do the same way(if you don't want baked).

You can also rent chafing pans to keep things warm or if you have a GFS(or other food service supply place) they sell disposable food warmers!!
If you have these you can hold almost any vegetable....

Big bowl of regular salad..
Potato chips---It's a BBQ!!!
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:07 PM   #17
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For dessert for a graduation how about ordering a cake? Or, if you are a member or Sam's or Costco, they have some great little dessert bites in the bakery. You could serve them on a platter placing the desserts in those mini muffin cups. Or, you could buy their cookies and make a cookie platter, sometimes they have mini cheesecakes in the freezer section.

For quantites check out the website Ellenskitchen.com
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:11 PM   #18
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last one I did was baked potatoes in foil (they keep warn in the oven on low) a pot of Hot-Dog sausages just add a chopped onion and some liquid smoke to the liquid and keep that warm on the hob, and huge pot of Chili.

maybe some of these might be useful to you?
So long and Thanks for all the Fish ;)

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Old 11-20-2007, 12:41 PM   #19
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Texas Caviar (actully it's Mississippi's)
A Cold Pasta Salad...
Peach Cobbler/Ice cream
There is only one Quality worse than Hardness of Heart, and that is Softness of Head.

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Old 11-20-2007, 02:28 PM   #20
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Oh, dessert.

When I cook for a club I belong to I keep it simple. I buy 3 different box cakes and icing. Bake them up in throw away pans(club doesn't have cake pans)..

They always eat the cakes!!!

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