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Meatball and pasta dinner for 25

Use the quantities below and add 6 to 8 quarts of your favorite sauce to complete your meal. You might go Italian with a tomato sauce, or the Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe that makes 2 quarts of sauce is quick and great with the Swedish-seasoned meatballs. Heat the sauce thoroughly (allow 30 minutes), then add the cooked meatballs and simmer until they are hot through. If the meatballs have been frozen, they should be thawed 24 hours in the refrigerator, don't add frozen meatballs to your sauce.

Meatballs for 25

About 1 hour for the meatball preparation, 30 minutes baking time for the meatballs, then 40 minutes simmering time in the sauce.

Mix together:
7-7 lbs. ground chuck
OR 4 lb. hamburger plus other ground meats to make the weight
4 eggs
3 grated onions with juice, you can substitute grated celery
4 cloves crushed garlic (optional)

Soak in water or milk, squeeze dry, shred and add:
6 slices bread

You may substitute 1 C dry bread crumbs or wheat germ, soaked in milk to moisten, or 1 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal.

For Italian seasoning, use:
4 T mixed Italian herbs
1/2-1 T cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fennel seed

For stroganoff or Swedish meatballs use:
3 T dill weed
1 T nutmeg

Mix it all together, take out scoops no larger than C, and roll each so it is firm but not tight. You might add a little extra soaked bread or wheat germ to get this to workable consistency.

Arrange them on broiler pans and broil, turning every few minutes, until browned on all sides. Or bake at 350o for 30 minutes, draining fat as needed. Set aside to drain.

Use immediately, or freeze flat on cookie sheets and tranfer to ziploc freezer bags. I keep several bags in the freezer for busy group cooking days.

Vegetarian option: This recipe can be prepared using ground wheat meat or unbeef seitan, soyburger in similar amounts, or reconstituted TVP made up as follows:
7 C dry TVP burger
9 C boiling water

Cool, add:
12 eggs

You may add extra soaked bread or wheat germ to get this to workable consistency.

Tossed Salad for 25

Allow 15-20 minutes prep. Wash and spin dry the lettuce. For this size salad, use
3 large heads of lettuce
accent vegetables: 1 pint cherry tomatoes and 1 pint assorted sliced and shredded or marinated vegetables such as carrot, corn, sprouts, radish, cucumber, cauliflower, cabbage

For each 3 heads of lettuce, you'll need about
a pint of oil and vinegar dressing, or
3 cups of a creamy one.

If you are NOT serving a cooked vegetable, increase the greens in the salad to about 5 heads of lettuce.

Garlic bread for 25 with Cajun variation

If you use sliced loaves, allow 5-7 minutes per loaf prep time. If you split the loaves long ways, it only takes about 2 minutes per loaf. Melt together
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter or mixed butter and olive oil
3 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of basil

Spread on
two or three loaves of French bread

Optionally, for a spicy Cajun effect, you can sprinkle on these four additions:
heavy coating of paprika
light coating of grated Parmesan cheese
sprinkle of Italian herb or basil
light sprinkle of cayenne powder or crushed red pepper

Bake in foil in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until hot through. Open foil the last five to ten minutes for a crisp crust.

Steamed/Cooked Vegetables for 25

By adding 2 or three extra vegetable dishes, and one more pound of pasta, you can increase this meal to serve 10 extra people without more meat.

About 4 to 5 pounds of wholly edible such as green beans, carrots, or cauliflower; proportionately more of other vegetables.

1 pound of fresh greens makes only about 1 cup of cooked, so you need 8-9 pounds of greens for this meal.

Preheat the large pan or wok for steaming. Takes about 25 minutes to step.

Special note for corn on the cob. This is not an easy vegetable for a large group, it heats up the kitchen and takes a LONG time to boil the water, but if you decide to try it, have the shucked corn at room temperature. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil (allow 20 minutes per gallon you have to heat), add the ears of corn, bring back to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Drain at once and serve.

Cooking large amounts of pasta

It takes 20 minutes to heat each gallon of water. Be sure to allow heating time for the water.

1 pound of pasta makes about 8 cups of cooked noodles or spaghetti. One pound of pasta makes 8 moderate servings or about 10 side servings.
Lasagna noodles are a special case, allow 1 per person. Get the noboil kind if you can, they are thinner and more like fresh, then for the best flavor, parboil for 3-5 minutes before making the casserole.

For each pound you will be cooking, bring 1 gallon of water to a full, rolling boil. Add the pasta about lb. at a time, or in a slow steady stream if it is pourable. If the water stops boiling when you add the pasta, stir the noodles until it comes back to the boil, then count 8-12 minutes for the first pound, plus about 5 minutes for each additional pound. Drain. Serve at once, or use sauce or butter to prevent it from sticking to itself. Avoid rinsing in cold water unless you are going to use it for pasta salad.

The water in which whole-grain pasta has been cooked can be boiled down for use in stocks or sauces.