When you are thinking of keeping party expenses down, a little shopping research is a good way to start.
For your carbohydrate you can buy potatoes, rice, sandwich bread/wraps, pasta. Make a list and write down the different kinds you find in your local supermarket. In my area , for potatoes, I would find russets, Yukon golds, Reds. Under rice, I can find arborio which is used to make risotto, jasmine, brown, white, wild. For sandwiches, aside from ordinary sliced bread, there is French or Italian bread, mini baguettes, tortillas, tacos and so on.
After you rate the carbohydrate per portion, the least expensive on the bottom, the most expensive on top, do the same with protein.
You have poultry, beef, pork, lamb, fish which are sold as fresh, prepackaged, deli counter, or chilled. For fish, there is fresh, canned, frozen, or chilled.
Now, we want to base our menus on the least expensive. In New England, where I live, I would find the least expensive to be ordinary sliced bread or a variety of potato, with home prepared chicken, or ground beef, or pork. Obviously, it all changes from week to week as supermarkets and grocery stores have sales.
One important point is to be careful about the spices you choose. Some are very expensive. They will be rarely used in your kitchen and will eventually be thrown out, having cost you $50.00 or more per pound. Some spices are more than $100.00 per pound.
For sandwiches, sliced bread with home prepared protein fillings would be the choice. But let's start with the filled potato. It's very simple and takes about an hour to prepare.
You can only ruin it if you don't pay attention and you burn the ingredients in the saucepan, so no talking on your cell phone or practicing your reggae.
If you cook the onion/meat mixture in the morning, you can cover and refrigerate. Then you can bake the potatoes and fill them with reheated meat mixture. The best way to reheat is to bring 1/4 cup broth, chicken or vegetable to a boil. Turn the heat down and add the meat, stirring. Do not boil. Stir until heated through. Add the potato and mix lightly. Fill the shells as directed below.
For eight people:
- Eight medium sized baking potatoes
- Two chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
- Two hot dogs, sliced thinly
- one pound of ground beef
- one red pepper, 1/2 of it diced, the other 1/2 cut into eight equal strips and then halved, cut on the diagonal
- Three onions, diced
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 cup of red wine, or broth, vegetable or chicken
- 1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
- 4 ounces of frozen peas, defrosted
- 2 sticks of butter, each cut into 8 pieces for a total of 16 pieces
- Salt and pepper
Saute the onion in the oil. Remove. Add the ground beef and cook until it loses its color. Remove and set aside. Cook the chicken quickly until the pieces are medium firm to the touch. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the onion, the peas, and the meats. Toss lightly and keep warm, covered tightly, adding broth if the mixture starts to dry out.
When the potatoes are done, about one hour, allow to cool so you can handle them. Cut each one in half carefully so as not to damage the shell. You now have 16 halves. Cut the potato in small chunks and mix lightly with the meat mixture. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells and then arrange the potato halves on two large platters. Covered lightly with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven for up to 15 minutes or they will dry out. When ready to serve, put a piece of butter on each filled potato and add a strip of red pepper. Optional: a blue cheese sauce you make yourself with to ounces of blue cheese crumbled into a cup of mayonnaise.
Pass a plate with sliced cucumbers, pickles, olives. Then all you need is something to drink.
Another idea for your Teen Party Menu Challenge is to have a Cafe party where the cooking is done as everyone watches. You have all the ingredients prepared ahead and then just put the sandwiches together. Maybe you can find a chef's hat for the cook. Have a buffet table or a counter set with glasses, soft drinks and juice so they can help themselves.
- Grilled ham and cheese sandwich
- Toasted turkey club sandwich
- Tuna melt
Or Cold sandwiches:
- On Fire Egg
- Salt Mountain Cheese
- Tennessee Smokies
Find recipes for the sandwiches on the Recipe page below.
More "Must Have" recipes for the sandwiches plus starters, entrees, cakes, and entertaining tips on http://americanmadeyes.com/recipes/sandwichesandwraps.html These are carefully chosen, tested and affordable. Photographs and presentation ideas are included, and our famous "Depression Sandwich" is there as well.
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