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Need suggestions for easy, inexpensive, teen-friendly potluck-picnic main dish

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by pjrose, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Sunday we need to bring a main dish to a potluck picnic with about 20 families, all with teenagers. (Lots of people are assigned to bring main dishes, so it doesn't have to be huge.)

    DH's imagination runs to either Mac'n'Cheese or Baked Beans, in each case with some ham or hot dogs cut up in it.

    I'd like to do something a bit more original than that....but I don't want to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen. I can use the crockpot.

    I know TUGgers will have some Quick'n'easy teen-friendly ideas :cheer:
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  2. stmartinfan

    stmartinfan TUG Member

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    The pulled pork or shredded chicken in bbq sauce is always popular with teens here. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "main dish" but you could take a crock pot plus buns for people to fill their own. Even a pot of sloppy joe would appeal to many. Lot of kids seem to really prefer the idea of simpler dishes they recognize, where they don't have to worry about what could be "hiding" in a casserole type dish.

    Otherwise a taco flavored casserole could be an idea. I don't have a specific recipe in mind, but something where you layer seasoned ground beef, soft corn tortilla shells, cheese, salsa, etc. plus top with sour cream and chopped tomatoes. You could probably find a dish like this on allrecipes.com
     
  3. Jestjoan

    Jestjoan TUG Member

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  4. ScoopLV

    ScoopLV Guest

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    Quick and easy for me means frying, not slow cookers.

    My first go-to would be fried chicken. It tastes good at any temperature, and is easy to make (although best done outside to mitigate mess and smell). I buy drumsticks in quantity -- I can routinely find them for 80 cents a pound (assume five drumsticks per pound). Add five dollars worth of oil and a buck's worth of coating, and 40 drumsticks ends up costing a whopping $12.50. It will be the first "main course" gone, without a doubt. Everyone loves fried chicken.

    My next go-to would be eggrolls. LOML is Chinese, and I've learned to whip these up in a big hurry. I can do 50 of them in a few hours, and the cost is negligible. (Cabbage, a little meat and rice noodles cost diddly. The skins don't cost much, either.) This too, will go quick. You can even do them totally vegan -- I'm sure there are a few vegetarian kids who would appreciate something other than beanie-weenies.

    The potluck is going to be rife with casseroles. If you'd like recipes for either dish, let me know and I'll post one.
     
  5. MuranoJo

    MuranoJo TUG Member

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    I, for one, would love your eggroll recipe. Not for a large crowd, but for a dinner party of 6-8.

    P.S. I can do fried chicken pretty well, but haven't done that in a while, though it's absolutely one of my favorites with good potato salad.
     
  6. ScoopLV

    ScoopLV Guest

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    Eggrolls -- the really quick way.


    Ingredients:

    Cabbage -- cheap green cabbage. One head for every 20 eggrolls.

    Rice noodles -- Your Asian market has them. Two fist-sized clumps for every 20 eggrolls. They're thin. They look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Carrots -- Two carrots for every 20 eggrolls

    Chinese sausage (completely optional) - Three for every 20 eggrolls -- chopped fine and rendered down. They're sold at room temperature at the Asian market and look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Bean sprouts are traditional, but too much damned work. I never use them.

    Eggroll skins -- every megamart in North America has them.

    Soy Sauce to taste

    Salt

    Five spice (basically star anise, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and fennel).

    Vegetable oil -- Enough to fill 1 inch in your widest, tallest fry pot.




    Preparation:

    Break out your food processor. Break out a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot.

    Slice the sausage lengthwise, and then again to quarter lengthwise. Small dice it, and into the pot. Turn on the heat to medium-low and begin rendering the sausage. Render until you have a lot of oil. (If omitting sausage, just heat two tablespoons of olive oil).

    Give the uncooked rice noodles a few pulses in the processor to break them into 1/2" pieces. Toss them into the pot.

    Cook the noodles in oil for a little while, as if you were doing a sautee on vermicelli, which is exactly what you're doing.

    Cut the cabbage in half and remove the stem. Quarter the pieces and chuck into the food processor with the slicing disc. Place them into the pot.

    This is the disc I mean:

    [​IMG]

    Peel the carrots and shred with a medium shredding disc in the processor. Into the pot it goes.

    This is what I mean by a shredding disc:

    [​IMG]

    Salt to taste. I use roughly a teaspoon. I also add half a teaspoon of white pepper, and a little Chinese Five Spice. Just a little goes a long way, a pinch is enough. Stir the pot often. You don't want anything to burn. When everything has become soft, and the moisture starts steaming away, add a couple tablespoons of soy. Continue cooking until almost no liquid is at the bottom of the pot, but you're in no danger of scorching. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

    Break out the eggroll skins. They're floured individually so they won't stick, but must be kept cool and they cannot dry out -- otherwise they're a pain to work with. I take out four at a time from the fridge, leaving the rest in a ziplock bag so they don't dry out.

    Place the skin in front of you on a dry surface diagonally. (I'll use compass points to explain from here, because that's how I was taught. You have North South East and West corners.)

    Put a heaping spoonful of filling (I use a big wooden spoon) at the southern third of the skin, running east-west,

    Take the south point of the skin and roll it north, over the filling. and over again once. (EDIT -- Everything should be nice and tight. But not too tight, or the skin will split. This is the learning curve. Once you've got it down pat, you can whip these up with machine-like efficiency.)

    Fold the east and west corners toward the center, covering what you've just created. Roll everything north. Wet your finger with water and moisten the north corner before completing the wrap. The completed wrap should be about two inches in diameter.

    Do about four rolls at a time. Fry in 360f oil for one minute, flip, and then another minute. (Should be golden brown -- adjust time a bit or adjust oil temp if not golden brown after one minute). Place the completed rolls vertically into a paper-lined pot to drain.

    Serve hot, with soy sauce and apricot sauce (aka duck sauce) for dipping.

     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  7. davhu1

    davhu1 Guest

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    ScoopLV why is bean sprout too much work? all you need is risen and drain, then add to the rest of the ingredients? Alternative suggestion is to add shredded bamboo shoot. they come in cans.
     
  8. jlwquilter

    jlwquilter Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Pinto Bean Casserole

    This is in the taco flavored meat category.

    1# ground beef, cooked and drained
    1 can corn, half drained
    1 can tomato sauce (I sub in seasoned tomatoes if that's what I have on hand or even stewed tomatoes for a chunkier look)
    1 pkg. taco seasoning
    1 can drained and rinsed pinto beans (a bland tasting bean)
    1 medium fine chopped onion if desired

    After the meat is cooked and drained, throw it all in the pan and stir and heat through. You can size it up easily - just multiply. Thow it in the crock pot and keep on warm for serving. Sprinkle on a mexican cheese blend if desired or have a bowl of shredded cheese neaby for self serve. Add rolls if desired.
     
  9. Darlene

    Darlene TUG Member

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    I liked the thought of doing the Pinto Bean Casserole and leaving out the meat for my vegetarian daughter.
    thanks, Darlene
     
  10. swift

    swift TUG Lifetime Member

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    Nachos, Quesadillas, Pizza made on English Muffins, Quiche, Lasagna

    Really teens are not that hard.
     
  11. nightnurse613

    nightnurse613 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    My husband's favorite: Tater tot casserole. Hamburger, tater tots, cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheese. Fry the ground beef with some garlic (keeps the kissing down), add the soup with some milk or water, pour over taters, sprinkle cheese over the tots, cover and bake. Bring ketchup. :eek:
     
  12. Twinkstarr

    Twinkstarr TUG Member

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    I have a baked ziti with Italian sausage recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Only need a pasta pot, skillet and a 9x13 pan. It's a big hit with my guys(DH, 13 & 8 yr old boys).


    This is from their Cover and Bake cookbook, it seems like they made an effort to craft recipes in this book that don't use every bowl, pot and pan in your kitchen. :rofl:
     
  13. rwpeterson

    rwpeterson Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Maybe Sloppy Joes?

    This is a weight watcher recipe - but you'd never know. Someone always asks me for the recipe everytime I make this:

    Brown in a skillet:
    1 lb hamburger
    1 finely chopped onion (I skip this as my teens don't like onion)

    Add:
    1 can Corn Beef
    8 oz ketchup
    1/4 C brown sugar
    3 T vinegar
    1 tsp dry or prepared mustard

    Simmer for 1 hour on the stove or brown hambuger and onion, add remaining ingredients and cook in crock pot for up to 8 hours.

    Using an OLD Weight Watchers program:
    3 Protein
    1/4 Vegetable
    75 optional calories
     
  14. Glynda

    Glynda TUG Member

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    Grater Tater

    1 bag frozen Ore Ida Southern Style Hash Browns
    1 can Cream of Potato soup
    1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
    1 onion, chopped
    1 can sliced mushrooms
    1 12 –16 ounce package luncheon meat ham, cut into cubes
    12-ounce package grated sharp cheddar cheese, save some for top
    16-ounce sour cream

    Thaw potatoes completely. Combine all in large bowl, top with some cheese. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350º. Freezes well.
     
  15. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Scoop's Egg Rolls

    Scoop, your illustrated egg-roll recipe is just another example of how much I enjoy your writing.

    Don't wait for Conde-Nast. Start your own Blog and put on some Pay Per Click ads!
     
  16. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Great Ideas - Keep 'em Coming!

    So far it looks like "chili glop" (e.g. hamburger, beans, cheese, some kind of mexican seasoning/sauce), "Italian glop" (hamburger, pasta, tomato sauce, cheese), or "American glop" (meat, cream of something soup, potatoes).

    My supermarket has Hillshire Farms sausage (kielbasa, smoked turkey sausage, etc) at 2 for 1, so I'm leaning toward a variation of "Italian glop" with sliced sausage, pasta, spaghetti sauce, and cheese.

    Or ??? Maybe Kielbasa, potatoes, and ??? Kind of like a Potato and Sausage Soup but not as liquidy? Or, how about kind of a scalloped or au gratin potatoes with sausage?

    I'm more of a "method" than "recipe" cook, so I don't need actual recipes, but maybe someone could give me some tips along those lines?

    Any other ideas are also appreciated. We've gotten in to the Exchange Student network, so I seem to have teens around pretty often!
     
  17. jlr10

    jlr10 TUG Member

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    Rice Krispie Chicken.

    Ingrediants: Chicken, butter, Rice Krispies

    Crush Rice Krispies with a rolling pin and put in a shallow dish. Melt butter. Dip chicken in melted butter, and roll in crushed Rice Krispies. Place in a foil lined pan (my idea makes clean up much easier!) Bake at 350 until chicken is cooked (I use boneless skinless chicken breasts which takes about 45 minutes. It will take longer with the bone in, and shorter if you are using chicken tenders.) This sounds like a strange dish but I have never made it for anyone who did not come back for seconds, teenagers included!

    -Sometimes I cheat and just put the Rice Krispies in a blender it is much faster than rolling with a rolling pen.
     
  18. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    That sounds absolutely delicious, not strange at all, and I'm going to make it for dinner next week! It sounds like a great way to get the crunch of fried chicken without all the fat, trouble, and mess. :cheer:
     
  19. ScoopLV

    ScoopLV Guest

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    Need to snap off the little end thingies. I don't want to take the time.
     
  20. MuranoJo

    MuranoJo TUG Member

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    Thanks for all the great detail, Scoop! I've gotta try this.
     
  21. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    end thingies? You mean the strings? Wouldn't canned bean sprouts be too mushy to snap....and why not just use the whole thing?
     
  22. Stricky

    Stricky TUG Member

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    Sloppy Joes
     
  23. ScoopLV

    ScoopLV Guest

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    CANNED Bean sprouts? No thanks. Fresh (and snap 'em) or omit. The texture is completely ruined by canning.

    The only food in my house that requires a can opener is San Marzano tomatoes. LOML just yelled "Hearts of Palm!" but I don't like those very much.

    OK, Two foods in cans. That's it. Plenty in jars though -- capers, sardines, pickles, etc.
     
  24. pjrose

    pjrose Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Tunafish?

    I agree that canned bean sprouts are a different animal than fresh. But when you snap the fresh, which part are you discarding? The "shell" or the "tail"?
     
  25. ScoopLV

    ScoopLV Guest

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    Canned tuna? Abomination. I'm a Key West boy. Tuna is caught fresh, eaten fresh, and preferably raw. A quick sear of sesame-crusted tuna is also OK, as long as the middle is raw.

    As for sprouts, I discard the tail, and often the "leaf" at the other end. Both get slimy in a hurry.
     

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