Supper for a Crowd
Smart cooks will notice how long the various parts of the meal take, and start by making the brownies first. (Yes, it is worthwhile, especially when cooking for a crowd, to read labels and avoid MSG. I get migraines from it, and I learned I'm not the only one this week.)
This fed a dozen hungry kids and about a fourth of their parents Wednesday night, with enough leftovers for two adults' lunches
the next day:
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, peeled & diced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups raw rice
1 can Mexican recipe stewed tomatoes (15 oz)
1 pk cheesy taco seasoning
Heat the oil in a heavy deep pan and cook the onion and garlic until they're soft (3 minutes or so). Add the rice and 'fry' it until it turns golden. Add the chicken broth; bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cover rice. Cook 15 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Return to simmer for five minutes, then add the seasoning, simmer another five minutes, turn off heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. This makes a 'creamy' or risotto-style rice dish with a very mild flavor.
You should get about 15 servings.
3 large cans (6-serving size) plain cooked black beans
1 large can (40 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with chilpotle peppers
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 large bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and chopped
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
In big heavy skillet heat oil; cook onion and garlic until clear; add pepper and heat through (about 2 minutes). Drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Pour beans into pan with veggies; add tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Bring to a simmer; hold on a low simmer for 20 minutes, then let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving. Stir well and serve warm. Makes about 15 servings.
(Optional: With 3 cups leftover beans fixed this way, add a drained 10-ounce can of whole kernel corn, 4 ounces of cheddar cheese cut in 1/2 inch cubes, 3 tbsp chopped cilantro, and 1/2 cup each sliced green pimiento-stuffed and ripe olives. Stir well and chill; serve as a salad.)
Prepare 24 tostada shells (bake 24 thin 4'' round corn tortillas, lightly brushed with oil, on two cookie sheets in a 400 degree oven 20 minutes or until crispy. If desired, season with a mixture of "Mexican spice" -- for each dozen tortillas, mix 1/4 teaspoon each ground comino, ground red chile powder, ground chilpotle chile powder, ground ginger, onion powder, celery salt, and 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder with 1/2 tsp each cilantro leaves, dried parsley flakes, and Mexican oregano. If you like you can add 1/8 tsp ground sage. Mix spices well and sprinkle over hot tostada shells.
Prepare filling (makes 24 servings):
Peel, seed and dice a big green bell pepper (about 2/3 cup to 1 1/3 cups)
peel and roughly chop a medium 1015 onion (about 1 1/2 cups to 1 2/3 cups)
peel and mince 2 big cloves of garlic (or more to taste; I was cooking for kids)
Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a heavy big skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring frequently, 10-15 minutes. Add bell pepper. When pepper begins to brown, remove vegetables. Do not drain pan.
Crumble in approximately 2 1/2 pounds of very lean ground meat (I use 93/7). Once meat is no longer pink add 1 pkg mild taco seasoning and 1 pkg regular taco seasoning and 1 pkg cheesy taco seasoning, plus 2/3 cup very hot water. Stir well and bring to boil; boil three minutes, reduce to simmer, return vegetables to pan. Add 1 15 ounce can Mexican recipe stewed tomatoes and 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, 20-30 minutes until most of liquid is absorbed.
Prepare and chill toppings:
Core and remove outer leaves from a head of lettuce and shred.
Wash and chop 3 to 4 medium-size tomatoes.
Open 8 oz packet "fancy shredded" (fine) Mexican 4-cheese blend; pour in bowl.
To serve: set tostada shell on a plate. Add about 1/4 cup beans, about 1/4 cup meat mixture, and top as desired with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.
Optional garnishes: pico de gallo, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa or picante sauce, chopped olives, sour cream, diced fresh avocado
Benjamin's Magic Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Dust an 11''x15'' glass baking pan with cocoa powder.
In a big bowl, beat together the following:
2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
1 cup ice water
3 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil *
1 4-serving box instant devils food pudding
1 4-serving box instant chocolate fudge pudding
1 cup toasted oat flour (grind 1 1/2 cups quick oats to powder in a blender; toast in a hot ungreased cast iron skillet, stirring occasionally, to a light brown)
6 level tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil **
5 tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 family-size pkgs fudge brownie mix
Beat the 24 oz of milk with the 8 oz of ice water and the pudding mix; beat in the eggs and the oat flour, then beat in the remaining dry ingredients -- baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar and brownie mix. Blend in the vegetable oil last. Batter may retain some lumps. Pour into the pan, spreading evenly, and bake for 30 minutes to 40 minutes. The "pick in the center" test won't work with these -- they'll burn around the edges before they set in the middle. Brownies will not be 'tall' but will be very fudgy. (Want them to be even more gooey and delightful? Melt a 12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tbsp good vanilla and add to the batter!) Don't overbake them; set them aside to cool at least 45 minutes before serving.
** this amount of oil is for the brownies themselves -- best not to use peanut or olive oil for this as it will affect flavor
* this amount of oil is to account for the missing cocoa butter in six ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate -- best not to use olive oil as it will affect flavor
I'm springing this on y'all 'cause I had parents and teachers from the kids' gathering ask me for the recipes.