Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cooking for Groups

Okay, to start out with, I must admit that my husband calls me the "Queen of Quantity Cooking". Anyone who knows me or reads this space regularly is not surprised. Usually I make a huge batch, divide it up, and then freeze meal sized portions. Today's cooking made me feel more like a caterer than a housewife though.
I know scale's hard here but that is my large crockpot and the blue tea kettle in the background holds 40 oz. Anyone else ever wondered what 4 lbs. of cooked spaghetti looks like? Now we know. I hated the idea of giving up so much of my remaining marinara, so the pasta sauce is actually 2 qts. diced tomatoes, 1 1/2 qts. marinara, lots of basil, oregano, and finely minced garlic, and 3 packages of soy "ground beef" crumbles.

My class is having their play performances tomorrow, at 11a and 7p and I wanted to give them a hot, protein packed lunch celebration after the first show. I figure if I get the crockpot going in my classroom in the morning, it will be hot by lunch and the diced tomatoes will have had a couple more hours to integrate into the marinara. The plan for the pasta is just to soak it in some hot water for a few minutes (okay, in a lot of hot water) and serve. I admit, I'm making them grate their own parmesan on an as needed basis though. I hope I didn't go overboard but my experience is that 7th graders eat a lot. I also have a habit of inviting people to eat when I cook so our lights person, her little daughter, and the kids previous teacher are all potential guests besides the 8 students and me.

Hopefully, I'll put together a play post in the near future so I can capture all the work we've done in the last couple of weeks. We all worked to create 2 backgrounds (one painted, one chalk). There was also a lot of sewing. This was in addition to the most important work - they memorized all their lines and cues for this one hour production. Having this under our belts makes me much more confident about tackling Shakespeare next year, an 8th grade tradition at our school. It will be abridged to about 1 1/2 hours, but still, that's a tall order. People often don't give fourteen year olds enough credit for how capable they are though. Wish us good fortune!

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