The Secret to Cooking for a
by: Debbie L Boynton
Having a large family growing up, I learned
to cook in a big way. With 5 brothers and 3
sisters plus Mom and Dad, I started out
cooking for eleven people by the time I was
twelve. Mom needed help and taught her
daughters to cook at an early age. Iíll never
forget the first time I fried chicken all by
myself. My brothers ridiculed my over-done
Iíll never forget the first meal I cooked
away from home. My sister and I moved out
together, just the two of us, and, after
settling in, prepared our first meal for just
us. We cooked like we were taught: 5 pounds of
potatoes for mashed potatoes, 2 whole chickens
for fried chicken, 2 quarts of green beans. To
this day, we still laugh about all that food
we had left over.
So needless to say, cooking for a large
gathering is no problem for me. I take on the
task of hosting my husbandís family for
Thanksgiving and while most people worry about
having a dry turkey, my biggest dread is
cleaning the house.
So what is the secret to cooking large?
Like cooking any size meal, the secret is in
the planning. You will need extra and larger
everything. Plan your menu, inventory your
serving dishes, pots and pans, plates, forks,
knives, spoons, drinking glasses at least a
week in advance. Buy everything you need ahead
of time, right down to butter for bread and
ice for drinks.
Once you have your menu and inventory
planned, jot down a time schedule. Have the
house cleaned and seating arrangements
completed the day before so you can focus on
the meal, otherwise youíll be pulling your
hair out trying to get everything done on
time. The easiest thing to cook is a one-dish
meal, like pot roast or lasagna with few side
∑ Main dish, Pot Roast w/carrots and
o cook in roaster, 3-hour oven time, serve
∑ Side vegetable, steamed broccoli
o cook in 3 qt. steamer, 20 min stove top
time, serve in blue bowl
∑ Bread, buy brown and serve rolls (or make
from scratch ahead of time)
o oven time 15 minutes, last thing to cook,
serve in basket, buy new towel
After detailing each dish, make a
timetable. Example, for a 6:00 dinner:
2:00 Start pot roast; have in oven by 2:30
4:00 Peel potatoes, slice carrots; add to
pot roast by 4:30
4:30 Set tables
5:15 prepare broccoli, start to cook by
5:35 Prepare rolls for cooking, in oven by
5:45 Transfer pot roast to platter
5:55 Transfer broccoli to bowl
6:00 Breadís done, transfer to basket and
cover with towel
Sit down to delicious meal and enjoy. And
for your test, I now present the worldís best
pot roast recipe. Itís my own, passed to me
from my Mom.
Pots you'll need:
oven going roasting pan
1 or 2 Chuck roasts (2-3 lbs ea.)
1 large or 2 med. onions, sliced
6 carrots (or more as needed)
6 potatoes (or more as needed)
1 can onion soup +1/2 can water*
Can mushroom soup (or golden mushroom)
1/4 tp.salt or Murray's Seasoning Salt
1-2 cup mushrooms (optional)
*2 cans for 2 roasts, or substitute
1-2 pkg. onion soup mix, per directions.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In large oven roasting pan, add onion
soup and water.
2. Slice onion and add 1/2 to bottom of
roaster. Set aside.
3. Heat skillet on high on top of stove.
When hot, sear roast on all sides until brown
on the outside.
4. Place seared roast(s) on top of
onion/onion soup in roaster.
5. Sprinkle with salt.
6. Cover with remaining onion slices and
can of mushroom soup, undiluted (optional)
7. Cover with alum foil, sealing tightly
and put in oven.
8. Set timer to cook for 1 hour for 1
roast, 2 hours for 2 roasts.
9. Peel potatoes and cut into quarters.
10. Slice carrots.
11. When timer goes off, add potatoes,
carrots, and mushrooms. Cover and cook for 1
Done when vegetables are tender. Time may
have to be adjusted depending on how many
vegetables there are. I have filled the pan to
the brim and had to cook an additional
You can eat this roast with a fork it is so
tender. You can substitute a sirloin roast,
but chuck works best in my opinion.
Ummm-Ummm Good Comfort food! And so pretty
on the plate. I hope you enjoy this as much as
PS. Use those leftovers: get some beef
stroganoff soup mix and dry egg noodles. Cook
the soup, cook the noodles and combine in
large skillet. Chop up left over pot roast,
vegetables and all, and add to skillet along
with left over juice. Heat thoroughly and
|About The Author
Debbie Boynton has been cooking and sharing recipes for many years. She
shares more information on this topic at:
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unchanged! Copyright © 2005 Debbie L