Kitchen Challenge: Spaghetti for 100

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The goal: Feed 65 hungry high school football players a pre-game dinner completely by myself (since I procrastinated too long to ask someone to help me) with a budget of $130.

The menu (as per my fourteen-year-old's request): Spaghetti, meatballs, fruit salad, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and cookies

Gathering supplies: One giant trip to Costco for 12 lbs. meatballs, 12 lbs. fruit, 24 jars sauce, and paper products.
Two trips to Safeway--one to buy 16 lbs. noodles and order 14 loaves of garlic bread and the other to pick up the garlic bread and buy the makings for 8 Caesar salads. (Totaled well over $200, but paper supplies will last through several more meals)

The method: Me laboring for hours over a hot stove, while my sister baked cookies by the dozens.



The results: Sauce splattered floors and walls....


a completely trashed kitchen...


a full table...


and famished football players who were scolded by their coaches to only eat "a little" so they wouldn't get sick during the game...
which meant 10 lbs. of leftover spaghetti for me to take home.


What would you do with 10 lbs. of spaghetti and meatballs if you didn't have room in your fridge or freezer to store it?

Me? I thought about reenacting "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" for my kids, but didn't think I could afford the professional clean-up services I was going to need after dropping meatballs from my ceiling.

Sooooo, instead we ate as much of it as we could stomach...

and offered the rest out as a "free spaghetti dinner" to our church email group.

Two hours and 11 families later I'm still dreadfully over budget, but have now earned the bragging rights to say that I've singlehandedly fed over 100 people in one day. I'm pretty sure that's got to at least start to make up for the sad fact that my kids have eaten just as much cookie dough today as spaghetti.


PS Going light on dinner didn't seem to help Spence's football team too much who ended up being totally whomped by one of the local high schools that is known way more for their brains than their brawn!

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Since this is the RECIPE Shoebox, here's recipe for all this madness!

The ingredients:
24 large jars spaghetti sauce
16 lbs. thin spaghetti noodles
12 lbs. meatballs
14 loaves garlic bread

Find the four biggest saucepans in your house and start boiling water in all of them. Cook noodles as directed on package, taking care to keep track of all the different times they started boiling. Press button on smoke alarm to keep it from continuing to react to all the steam. When noodles are cooked to al dente perfection (or slightly mushy texture), drain and rinse them. Repeat this exact process exactly four more times. You may want to make sure you have a handkerchief nearby to keep your sweat from dripping into the food. Store noodles in covered containers.

For meatballs, place approximately 2 lbs. of meatballs in large glass bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Meanwhile rinse out your four largest saucepans and fill them half full with spaghetti sauce and place on medium high heat. When meatballs are heated through add to the sauce and stir occasionally. You could start wiping the splatters off your wall now, but why bother until you're done? Repeat process until sauce and meatballs are used.

When sauce is heated through and boiling, pour over warm noodles and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve warm with hot crusty garlic bread.

Enjoy--haha, as if you could enjoy it after all that!

10 comments:

Coleen's Recipes September 17, 2009 at 2:13 AM  

I am TOTALLY impressed that you were able to do this for $200 (it would have been absolutely impossisble to do it for any less). You must have been completely exhausted. Your son should be very proud of you. I can't imagine doing it without help. Way to go!!!! I'm guessing you won't want to look at spaghetti again for a while. Did the team help clean up your trashed kitchen?

Katy ~ September 17, 2009 at 5:06 AM  

Wow!! What an undertaking! On the one hand exhilarating and then exhausting.

You are just one awesome football mom!

Kim September 17, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

Oh my, bless your heart for taking on such a task! I can't imagine taking all that on by myself : O I love the pics. My kitchen would've looked MUCH worse. When I get frazzled I make a huge mess in the kitchen. I bet they'll be asking you to cook for them again!! Great post:D

Heidi September 17, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

I know your feeling girl! Last Christmas our community club sponsored a meal for Community Cafe' and I (by myself) make enough chicken and homemade noodles to feed 150. We also served green beans, homemade rolls (another woman made these... thank goodness) and made apple crisp (thankfully I had help with these). We spent under $150, but all our apples were picked from a neighbors tree, so we didn't have any expense for them. It was very stressful but turned out great! Sounds like yours did too... I only wish someone would have cleaned up the mess in my kitchen :)

SnoWhite September 17, 2009 at 11:48 AM  

wow - nice work!

I find it so hard to figure out just how much food to make for a large number of people.

hopefully you got help cleaning up that kitchen....!

Rachel September 17, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

That is VERY impressive!!!! I bet you put a lot of time and effort into putting together that meal, but I'm sure it was much appreciated by those who ate it :)

teresa September 17, 2009 at 7:22 PM  

WAY TO GO! what a task, feeding that many people is no easy job. i'm craving me some spaghetti now!

{kiss my spatula} September 18, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

WOW! you are my hero!! so so impressive.

MaRiN September 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM  

You are an amazing mom! That is quite the task to take on. I'm totally impressed that you accomplished this all on your own. You are a much better person than I, way to go!

Valerie September 21, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

I get stressed when I have 20 people for dinner. I can't even imagine doing that! Great job.

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My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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