Here's my situation - I need an early autumn luncheon menu for 12 ladies. It will be served at noon, between 2 meetings (each meeting lasts 2 hours.) Hot entree would be my preference.
Well, the meetings' speaker happened to mention to our entire conference that in the course of conducting her work she's been served chicken 200 different ways in casserole or salad.
Originally my menu was to be a hot chicken casserole that has always been highly complimented when served in the past. I can't count on all my fingers & toes how many copies of the recipe I've given to those who ask. Served with a leafy green, vinaigrette dressed salad, garlic toast or breadstick and for dessert I wanted to have strawberry Jell-O pretzel crusted, cheesecake layer dessert.
Now I'm rethinking the whole menu. And as you recall, menu selection is my passion. This really has me stymied!
Main problem is that meeting will be in-home and I will be part of meeting attendees. A hot casserole I could pop in the oven during a break and a ready to plate dessert without any fuss would be ideal.
Please offer up your suggestions, keeping these parameters in mind if you would.
The dining table will be preset, the luncheon plates stacked in the kitchen, etc.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
Lurah, I simply have to laugh (and say that I'm glad that the meeting's speaker mentioned the 200 ways she has been served chicken) which caused you to second guess your menu!
I am sure that YOUR chicken casserole is absolutely delicious but, let's face it, chicken is chicken and it is so over-used at events like these ~ probably because of its versatility and relative low cost.
Okay, only 5 other options come to mind - vegetarian (not my cup of tea), fish, beef, seafood or pork. If the meal is only to be served to 12 ladies, find out their preferences first before designing your menu.
Myself? Think I would go for a hot entree for an early autumn luncheon as well and keep the salad and dessert you planned as well as the breads...
For the entree, I would make and serve Roasted Pork in Red Wine Sauce with mashed potatoes - you can bake the pork the day before; reserve the liquids for sauce ~ same with the mashed potatoes although the plating might require a little more effort.
Plating: Mashed potatoes topped with pork roast and decorated with drizzles of sauce (put the rest in gravy bowls to be passed), your salad, bread and dessert complete the menu. Good luck!
Lasagna with your own homemade meat sauce is a possibility. It can be assembled and baked the day before and then put in a low oven during the first meeting to warm.
What about soup and salad and keep your dessert? Yesterday, I had company for lunch and served a goat cheese and roasted beet salad with vinaigrette as a first course followed by vegetable soup pistou with homemade rolls. Unfortunately, planned the menu when it was a coolish upper 60s and yesterday turned out to be a hot 90s but we were inside and cool and it was a great luncheon (dessert was local cherry German cherry pie with Kirch flavored whipped cream).
There is always quiche and the classic quiche lorraine is quite delicious as well as quiche with ham and vegetables but if the speaker's had chicken 200 times she's probably had quiche almost as much!
I think a pasta casserole is a nice option -- and as good as lasagna is, I often find it "heavy and masculine" for a ladies luncheon but there are other lasagna options with vegetables and a lighter sauce that will get the ladies to oooh and aaah over your entree choice. (Ina, I think, has a butternut squash lasagna which is very good and how perfect for fall) I've served it for my monthly Lunch Bunch and it went over well.
Speaking of butternut squash I was served a butternut squash quiche at a restaurant last fall that was absolutely fantastic.
And there is nothing more "ladylike" than that hot chicken casserole -- my mother served it to her ladies when they came for lunch -- it is a winner and so easy to prepare and serve.
I think Martha has a great idea - a vegetable lasagna with a béchamel sauce rather than red sauce. A nice crusty bread to finish it off.
Um-hum. Delia Smith's roasted vegetable lasagna is the B omb ... Nothing like a typical broccoli lasagna with flavorless white sauce. I have the recipe if you want it.
But if it were me... That meeting lady would be getting chicken in a 201st way. I think she was rude to mention it, even if she may have done it inadvertently.
the other day I attended a fund raiser, game playing event that featured lunch.
This was the menu: small glasses of cold avocado soup, an egg salad (this was a first for me as I have never seen just chopped egg with additions served) a really delicious salmon mousse (molded) a salad of slivered carrots and another ingredient that I did not recognize but the other ladies did.
tiny, tiny tarts of cream cheese and fruit. Plates of grapes and cherries and wrapped chocolates. Tea, coffee, lemonade and another cold drink.
Fanny Farmer cookbook has a yummy strawberry almond tart (small) that I used to bake a lot.
I'll do more thinking.
I like the idea of a soup and salad. Otherwise I would go with a butternut squash/sage lasagna with a bechamel sauce. I serve it as a vegetarian dish for Thanksgiving and it's always eaten by everyone.
What about a pot pie with either beef or ham - both are delicious! Mixed green salad with vinaigrette. No bread really needed because of the pie crust.
A dessert with one of the best fall fruit ever! Apples or pears. I would hate to say pie since I mentioned pot pie above. So how about what I called "stewed" apples or pears with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?
Does this hat make my butt look big?
Keep your suggestions coming ladies.
Here are some points to further clarify:
The speaker made the comment as a light-hearted mention. She was absolutely correct to say so, I'm sure she's been served chicken at every turn! So this did NOT offend me, in fact I'm happily pleased and challenged to make my menu OUT OF THE BOX different!
Here in the Heartland where pork is king, there seems to be alot of folks who "just don't eat any pork." Not because of religious beliefs. Evidently it gives them indigestion - I've never had trouble, PTL cause I love pork anything. It also provided me a wholesome, wealthy childhood upbringing!
You'd think that because here in middle America we have overeaten pork to health ruin, that seafood would be a welcome change and embraced. This is even the moreso avoided menu option for "cultural" events because many folks are allergic to shellfish.
And thirdly, with so many of a religious persausion in the Midwest who are encouraged to eat fish, that too is politely a no-no on event menus because many folks don't like fish!
Haha, they are all probably one and the same folks who can't tolerate pork that are allergic to seafood and incidently don't like fish either.
So this brings us to vegetarian offerings and the general mainstream out here still haven't embraced and appreciated this movement and laugh at vegans.
We're pretty much limited to beef, chicken & eggs to stay on a safe side.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
Lurah -- I'm Midwest as well and for a ladies luncheon I WOULD serve a butternut squash lasagna because of the time of the year not because it is vegetarian. It's a great fall dish -- either as an entree for a luncheon or a sidedish to that piece of pork (or even the Thanksgiving turkey).
And I live in Kansas which is about as "beefy" as one can get but ladies don't seem to be as locked into having a meat dish as men might be -- especially for a luncheon. However, you know your guests better than we do and if no meat is an issue with them -- then meat it should be!
And I agree with no shellfish because it is hard to come by and often expensive in the midwest -- not a lot of ocean (LOL) -- and because there are people allergic to it.
So if it's beef or chicken and the speaker doesn't want chicken, then I would opt for the beef.
Your salad, bread and dessert sound good (although, that strawberry, pretzel, cream cheese dish has always been served as a salad here -- never as a dessert == but it has all the aspects of a dessert (fruit, cream cheese, sweet) so it surely could be used as one.
I would then suggest lasagna with meat, a beef stroganoff casserole, a beef pot pie (could be made individually), Shepherd's pie, a Mexican casserole with hamburger.
Have you also visited foodgawker.com. Lots of recipes and if you would search for beef casserole you may find something truly unique that none of us here have thought of.
Since it will be fall and since you wouldn't be doing the butternut squash lasagna, roasted butternut squash is really good on salad greens -- again making the dish more seasonal.
BTW, it wasn't Ina's butternut squash lasagna that we make but rather one from a JL cookbook and it is really really good.
Hope these ideas help.
Facebook never disappoints. I checked my fb page out after I had finished here and lo and behold, look what was posted!
2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 12-ounce Cool Whip
1 6-ounce package Strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water 1 -10 ounce bag frozen sliced strawberries
Whipped cream or Cool Whip for garnishing
Topping: Add 2 cups boiling water to Jello; mix well. Add strawberries to jello. Cool Jello mixture in fridge until thick.
Crust: Melt butter; add sugar. Crush pretzels with rolling pin and add to butter mixture. Press into bottom of greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees; cool well. Filling: Combine cream cheese and 1 cup sugar; beat well. Add Cool Whip; spread over cooled crust. Pour or spoon thickened jello mixture over cream cheese mixture and set until firm. Spread additional Cool Whip over the top, cover with foil & refrigerate for at least 2 hours. PLEASE SHARE T
Canneloni - stuffed with cheese & spinach - or veal - sauced with a white or red sauce - with salad and desert. Would be lighter fare than lasagna - but elegant.
Seabourne has a good suggestion also and I like to do a baked ravioli with onions and peppers in the sauce.
I'm coastal and southern, but would never do fish for something I have to prep and cook ahead of time. Plus so many people don't like fish.
Beef is harder unless you do something with ground beef. Or a stroganoff type of casserole would be good or Mexican flavored casserole.
When I think of serving for lunch - I tend to go lighter, but these sound like hearty eaters.
Would you consider a rueben casserole?
For one fall luncheon I made little individual
cheese balls shaped like pumpkins, served with fancy crackers. IMHO.....quite cute!
Thanks ladies for all your inspiration. Keep ideas coming.
Annon - yes, Reuben casserole would be a welcome change! Would you mind posting recipe?
So far I have come up with 10 menu or entree ideas from your suggestions and research from my recipe & cookbook library.
I'm asking responders to my post(and new readers to discussion) to comment on this list with your choices &/or recomendations:
Chicken & Butternut Squash Lasagne with Rosemary Bechamel
leafy greens vinaigrette
apple crisp in individual ramekins
Vegetable Beef Soup (bowl)
French bread Crutes
Leafy greens vinaigrette
pear almond tart
Tomato Topped Rich Egg Casserole
leafy greens vinaigrette
Apple Pie served with caramel sauce & cinnamon ice cream
tuna, potatoes, tomatoes, HC eggs, green beans, black olives au vinaigrette
Cran-Strawberry salads - gelatin molds
Apple Tarte Tatin
Individual Homemade Beef Pot Pies
Leafy greens vinaigrette
Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
Tomato Bisque with topped w/ Cheese Crisp (cup)
Beef Thai Roll atop
Leafy greens with Asian, sesame, ginger dressing
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Graham-Pecan Crust & Bourbon Creme
Autumn Harvest Soup (cup)
Quiche Lorraine with Caramelized Onions & Shallots
Leafy greens vinaigrette - smaller portions
mini fruit muffin
Chocolate Espresso mini Pots de Crème
individual Cottage Pie
FUMI - Asian Slaw
Shells stuffed with four white cheeses in Italian baking sauce
Leafy greens vinaigrette
Beef Lasagne rolls with two sauces
Apple, Bacon & Romaine Salad
Zabaglione & berriesThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
I love the idea of the Salad Nicoise. Instead of tuna you could use a roasted salmon to make it a little more special. I just saw Ina do this the other day for a baby shower, it looked so good. She made it as a constructed salad on a big beautiful platter. I vote for menu D!
I'll be happy to share the recipe, but first I have to find it!
Does anyone else have stacks of recipes (chaos)?
The Reuben casserole is one of the dishes we serve yearly at our Church's Oktoberfest.
Everyone seems to like it.
I think A,C,D,G,I seem more suitable for a luncheon- not too heavy and palatable to most unlike pork or shellfish(allergies). I would only substitute wild-caught salmon for tuna as it does not have the bland but fishy taste of farm-raised. Your menus, as always, sound fabulous- I wish you were catering the luncheons I attend.
Then you have the odd ducks like me.
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