Cooking for a Crowd of College Students

Our daughter came home for Spring Break with five friends who are in and out of our house this week. How to provide food for this kind of crowd? Beyond the advice to “cook early and cook often,” I offer the following:
–College students crave homey meals; forget pizza and think meatloaf.
–Stay flexible – their plans change moment by moment, so prepare meals that can wait a bit or be changed to include more or fewer diners.
–Don’t break the bank – they eat a lot, so consider the budget when planning menus.
–Oh, and do PLAN MENUS – organization is the key to prevent burnout for the cook. The night when a particular meal is served may shift as activities change, but the groceries are in place and maybe some prep work is already done.
–Last, do ahead if you can. I worked on some of the food last week and am staying ahead of the game as much as I can this week. It keeps me smiling.

So, what am I feeding all these wonderful young people?

“Gyro” burgers w/
Tzasiki, olives, feta, lettuce, onion, tomato in pitas
Chocolate poundcake (Thanks, Mom!)

French beef stew w/ carrots
Apple cake w/ caramel frosting (Thanks again, Mom!)

Roast chicken
Sweet potatoes

Shoofly Pie

Mashed potatoes
Lima beans (a request!)
Green beans

For breakfasts, we’re having waffles, pancakes, pounds of bacon and sausage, and these. I had something very like them every morning for a week at a little bakery in Paris. The components can be prepared ahead of time and assembled quickly for breakfast. They were a pretty big hit with the adolescents the other day:

Croissants aux Amandes (Almond-filled Croissants)
8 servings

Sugar Syrup:
1/3 c. water
½ c. sugar
2 T. Kirsch (cherry-flavored brandy)

Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; stir in Kirsch. When cool, pour into a jar, cover, and keep at room temperature for up to two weeks.

Almond Cream:

¾ c. whole almonds
2/3 c. granulated sugar
8 T. butter
2 lg. eggs
2 T. Kirsch

In a food processor, grind the almonds finely. Add the sugar and butter and pulse to blend thoroughly. W/ the machine running, drop in the eggs and add the Kirsch. Process until blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to a couple of days.

8 croissants, stale ones are fine
2/3 c. sliced almonds
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Split croissants horizontally and place on a baking sheet. Brush cut sides generously with the syrup. Spread almond cream on bottom half of each croissant, reserving a little cream for the tops. Sprinkle with some sliced almonds, also reserving some for the tops. Replace croissant tops. Spread a little of remaining almond cream over the tops of the rolls; sprinkle with remaining almonds.

Bake for 10 minutes, til topping turns deep golden brown. Cool slightly on baking sheet. Sift some confectioner’s sugar over the tops. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now, get up and go cook something good.

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One Comment

  1. LissySue
    Posted March 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes!! Blessing upon you!! Eating has been *goooood* this week!
    And thanks so much for putting up with our every-changing schedule!

    Love you!

  • Your comment is the best part of this blog! Share what’s on your mind here.

  • In My Kitchen, In My Life is a place where women (and the odd male) can be encouraged, nudged, and occasionally kicked in the pants toward living their lives on a higher plane. Oh, and readers get plenty of chances to laugh at the author's foibles, which is always worth a click.

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