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Chicken Marbella Questions for dinner on Sunday 8/29...

Hi guys: Thanks for suggesting the chicken marabella; I will be making it this sunday for about 18 people( yup, I've got loads of friends). I've made quite a reputation with the roast chicken and pastitsio meals and I hope that the trend continues. So I need your help in continuing to make me feel like a culinary genius, even though, honestly, I have a passion for food but has never taken the next step of actually cooking. Now, I've totally jumped the shark!

Anyway, here's the recipe and my questions:

RECIPE
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/mem...

QUESTIONS:

1) The whitewine. I am not able to use this. Can you please recommend an acceptable subsitute? One liquid or a combo? appke juice/water/stock/lemon juice/ prune juice/other? I am not able to use white wine or other alcohol.

2) Many of the epicurious reviewers suggestd that I increase the marinade by 50 - 100 percent. How would you do that?

3) Please recommend prep times. What can I do the day before?

4) I will be serving rice as the starch because that is what was provided. I would have preferred couscous because I've never ever cooked rice in my entire life(redundant much?). How would I cook it? Technique? How much for 18 people? Ratio of water to rice? Spices? Visible queues to look for as I cook the rice, etc?

5) I will be serving ftozen green beans(yuck!) or green salad? How would I jazz these up? Vinaigrette? If you think about it, the watermelon/feta salad from 8/22 will be a hard act to follow?

6) Dessert ideas, please.

7) Is there anything else that comes to mind that will be very helpful? Like, is that amount of chicken ok?

Thanks again, guys!

Aug 28, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking

Chicken Marbella dinner on Sunday 8/29...

Hi guys: Thanks for suggesting the chicken marabella; I will be making it this sunday for about 18 people( yup, I've got loads of friends). I've made quite a reputation with the roast chicken and pastitsio meals and I hope that the trend continues. So I need your help in continuing to make me feel like a culinary genius, even though, honestly, I have a passion for food but has never taken the next step of actually cooking. Now, I've totally jumped the shark!

Anyway, here's the recipe; my questions will follow:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

QUESTIONS:

1) The whitewine. I am not able to use this. Can you please recommend an acceptable subsitute? One liquid or a combo? appke juice/water/stock/lemon juice/ prune juice/other? I am not able to use white wine or other alcohol.

2) Many of the epicurious reviewers suggestd that I increase the marinade by 50 - 100 percent. How would you do that?

3) Please recommend prep times. What can I do the day before?

4) I will be serving rice as the starch because that is what was provided. I would have preferred couscous because I've never ever cooked rice in my entire life(redundant much?). How would I cook it? Technique? How much for 18 people? Ratio of water to rice? Spices? Visible queues to look for as I cook the rice, etc?

5) I will be serving ftozen green beans(yuck!) or green salad? How would I jazz these up? Vinaigrette? If you think about it, the watermelon/feta salad from 8/22 will be a hard act to follow?

6) Dessert ideas, please.

7) Is there anything else that comes to mind that will be very helpful? Like, is that amount of chicken ok?

Thanks again, guys!

Aug 27, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking

I need ideas, plz....cooking for 18 next Sunday!

Hi guys:

Thanks so much to all of you who've helped me with my previous 2 sunday dinners. Today's menu of Pastitsio, Arugula/Watermelon/Feta sald w/ citrus vinaigrette was a hit! My 18 companions inhaled all of the food. I was literally in shock. OMG! I even baked anise/lemon zest biscotti. Just too unreal.

Anyway, I will be cooking for the next two Sundays and I need ideas. Please remember that my budget is tight and include links to recipes, if possible. Also, give me some ideas on prep times, substitutions, make ahead advice etc.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

Aug 22, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking

Help w/ dinner menu for 18 on Sunday 8/22!

Thanks guys! I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. I'm starting the meat sauce today. I will definitely be using all turkey and I was only given jarred Parm. as for the butter, I have whipped unsalted so I hope that will be ok for the bechamel sauce. I'm scared but excited for the outcome.

Aug 21, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking

Help w/ dinner menu for 18 on Sunday 8/22!

Thanks to all those respondents who contributed to my Sunday dinner post previously. My roast chickens, spaghetti w/ lemon sauce and spinach w/ almonds and raisins was a huge hit! Nobody could believe that I am a beginner. Chowhound is my secret weapon! Ha!

So I have taken on a new challenge: I have decided to cook Pastitsio, a Greek-inspired lasagna, for roughly 18 people on Sunday 8/22(that's next week), and I need your help in calculating ingredient proportions, determining prep times and work, and basically any ideas on how to make this easier on me.

The recipe that I will be using comes from Ina Garten...it serves 8 people..Here it is(the questions that I have follows the recipe):

TOMATO MEAT SAUCE
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup red wine

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1-1/2 teaspoon strong ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 can crushed tomatoes in their juice (28 ounces)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

BECHAMEL
1-1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan, divided in half
2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt
2 eggs
3/4 pound pasta (macaroni-style, not spaghetti-style)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat; add onion and saute for 5 minutes; reduce heat to medium, add meat, and cook for 10 minutes; add wine, cook for 2 minutes; add garlic, cinnamon, oregano, and thyme, cooking for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper; bring just to simmer; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes; set aside.

2. Heat milk and cream over medium-low heat until just simmering.

3. In separate pan, melt butter, then whisk in flour; cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly; add hot milk and cream; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, whisking frequently, until smooth and thick; remove from heat and add nutmeg, salt, pepper, half the Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of meat sauce; let cool for 5-10 minutes, then whisk in yogurt and eggs

4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions

5. Combine drained pasta with meat sauce, add to large casserole dish; pour cheese sauce evenly over top; sprinkle with remaining half of Parmesan.

6. Bake for 1 hour, then let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

QUESTIONS:
1) I will need to double the recipe. Will I have to double each and every ingredient, including those in the bechamel sauce?

2) The original recipe calls for ground lamb and grond beef, is it ok to use only ground turkey(ps. that's what will be provided)?

3) I only have pre-packaged grated Parmesan from the supermarket; it's labeled "real Parmesan". Is that satisfactory?

4) I don't have red wine, what can I substitute for it to maintain the flavor?

5) Ina used shells on her show, I only have elbow macaroni? Is that OK and how many #'s?

6) What can I make ahead, even the previous day?

7) Any tips for the bechamel sauce? How not to make the eggs scramble?

8) Ina served a watermelon, feta and arugula salad, citrus vinaigrette with this. I can get watermelon and romaine lettuce, no arugula or feta? How can I modify or re-create something similar?

9) Any ideas for a quick and easy dessert?

Thanks again for all your help!

Aug 15, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking

Please help me w/dinner menu for 18 tomorrow.

Hi guys:

I am a new cook and I need your help with finetuning my menu and prep work and times for dinner tomorrow(Sunday). This will be for 18 people and I am on a strict budget. Dinner is to be served at 6p. The proposed menu is roast chicken, pasta al limone(spaghetti in lemon sauce), and sauteed spinach w/ raisins and almonds.

For roast chicken?
Are 3 chickens enough for 18? (They are about 7 lbs each)

I have rosemary, garlic, evoo, lemons, onions? What is the best way to get the most from these seasonings? Make a paste and put it inside the cavity, under the skin, outside the skin? Do I apply salt and pepper before or after applying the paste? Can I do this overnight?

At what temperature do I cook the chicken and for how long?

I have only one electric stove. When do I start and how many chickens do I roast together in order to finish by 5.30p

For spaghetti:

The recipe will be similar to this: http://www.oprah.com/food/Spaghetti-a...

How many pounds of spaghetti would be sufficient for 18 persons as a side dish?
Would I increase the quantities for the sauce in direct proportion to the number of pounds of pasta?

I only have the jarred parmesan cheese, is that good enough?

I do not have a microplane grater, what side of the 4-box grater can I use to get the most lemon zest or is there another way to get to the zest?

For the spinach:

I have 6 10 oz boxes of frozen chopped spinach. Is that enough for 18 people?

I'll be using garlic, raisins and almonds; how much garli and should it be minced or sliced? How much raisins? And for cost reasons, I'll be using almonds instead of pine nuts but I only have access to skin on dry roasted almonds; will these almonds work and how? chopped?

Finally, thanks in adavance for your responses. Any comment will be greatly appreciated. Despite my limited cooking experience and the budgetary and equipment constraints, I really, reaaly want this to work out well.

Yeah, and pray for me too!

Cheers.

Aug 07, 2010
dinneronsundays in Home Cooking