Clapping On The Down Beat

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Meal Plan: Cooking for a crowd + thinking ahead August 17, 2011

Filed under: Meal Planning,Saving Money — clappingonthedownbeat @ 2:27 PM

I know we are nearing the end of summer and preparing for school (I just love the smell of school supplies), but it is never to early to plan ahead.  I am sharing meal plans that are easy to make a large batch of and share with a crowd (holidays are around the corner) and I am going to suggest that you start looking for deals for the holidays.  I usually try to shop a little  all year long.  I don’t like to get hit with a big bill all at once.  Of course, Black Friday and cyber Monday are the best days to shop and stock up so you might want to start putting away a little now in a holiday fund.  I am not just talking about gifts either.  Are you in need of something new?  An appliance?  TV?  Electronics?  Housewares?  This would be a good time to buy it.

Amy’s Throw Down Pot Roast 

easy to double for a large crowd

3lb Chuck Roast

McCormick Steak Grilling seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic…)

1 can beef consume (you can find it in the Campbells soup section)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

In a large crock pot place the roast and sprinkle about a palm full (1-2 TBS) of seasoning all over.  Pour in teh beef consume and cream of mushroom soup, cover and set on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours till roast is down and falls apart.  Serve with Au Ju from the crock pot with crusty bread.


2 Tbs olive oil

1 onion thinly sliced

3 medium tomatoes sliced 1/4″ thick

3 medium gold potatoes sliced 1/4″ thick


1 Tbs thyme

2-3 Tbs grated parmesan cheese


1-2 medium summer squash sliced 1/4″ thick

1 eggplant sliced 1/4″ thick

Heat oven to 375.  Heat oil in a skillet and cook onion till golden brown about 6-8 minutes.  Place onion on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Overlap and alternate slices of tomato and potato on top of onion (can add and alternate with eggplant and squash too).  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with thyme and parmesan, drizzle with a little more oil and bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for an additional 30 minutes more till golden.


3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ cups strong brewed coffee

½ cup whiskey

1½ sticks  butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup mini chocolate chips

2 cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs plus one egg white

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°. Spray (2) 8″ cake pan rounds and place on a baking sheet. In a saucepan, whisk together the coffee, whiskey, butter and 3/4 cup cocoa powder over low heat. Whisk in the granulated and brown sugars. Let cool. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. Whisk the eggs, egg white and vanilla into the cooled coffee-chocolate mixture. Whisk in the flour mixture. Fold the cocoa-dusted chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out just slightly moist, about 1 hour. Let cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

Muffuletta Bread Bowl

* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 10 large pitted green olives, chopped
* 1/3 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
* 1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (1-pound) round bread loaf (about 7 inches in diameter and 3 inches high)
* 4 ounces thinly sliced ham
* 4 ounces thinly sliced mortadella (or sub turkey, you can use your favorite sandwish meats)
* 4 ounces thinly sliced salami
* 4 ounces sliced provolone
* 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 1/2 ounces arugula leaves- has a peppery bite or choose a different small leaf lettuce

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Gradually blend in the oil. Stir in the olives and roasted peppers. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Cut the top 1-inch of the bread loaf. Set the top aside. Hollow out the bottom and top halves of the bread. Spread some of the olive and roasted pepper mix over the bread bottom and cut side of the bread top. Layer the meats and cheeses in the bread bottom. Top with the onions, then the arugula. Spread the remaining olive and roasted pepper mix on top of the sandwich and carefully cover with the bread top. You can serve the sandwich immediately or you can wrap the entire sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator a day before serving.  Cut the sandwich into wedges and serve.


  •  loaf French bread or loaf of sliced bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.


Chicken and Potato Pancakes

  • 2 cups instant pancake mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded colby-Jack cheese blend
  • 1 cup refrigerated shredded hash browns
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1. Whisk together pancake mix and milk in a large bowl, whisking just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients, stirring just until blended.
  • 2. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each cake onto a hot (350°), lightly greased griddle or large nonstick skillet. Cook pancakes 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked; turn and cook other side 5 to 6 minutes or until done. Serve with Quick Cream Gravy, if desired.
  • Chicken-and-Rice Cakes: Substitute shredded Italian six-cheese blend for colby-Jack cheese blend and 1 cup cooked rice for hash browns. Proceed with recipe as directed.
  • Quick Cream Gravy: Bring 1/4 cup dry white wine to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 1 minute. Add 1 cup water; whisk in 1 (1.2-oz.) package roasted chicken gravy mix and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Increase heat to medium, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 3 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. heavy cream.

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