Memorial Day cookout inspiration

seagrass_gwMay 17, 2012

Who has one? My DH announced he wants to invite the neighborhood for a cookout next weekend. The invites are out. I'm totally uninspired. He's not a good cook on the grill ( or anywhere else for that matter). I'm tempted just to stand back and watch what he does, since the event was shoved down my throat "yes, I'm going to invite people and you're welcomed to attend if you want"

I'm having real problems with this. About 50 people, max...

I'm recovering from the flu and have the very first episode of very painful gout just diagnosed this afternoon.

How can he possibly think I'm going to pull something out of my hat to entertain next weekend??

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WOW!!!! Seagrass, I'm sorry your husband put you in this situation.

Since it sounds like you plan to make the best of this situation (Rather than kill him which would have been my first choice)(second choice would be to go away for the weekend and leave him too it) - I would suggest doing something easy. Hamburgers, Hot dogs or sausage on buns. With all the standard condiments. And a bunch of salads.

I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to make any fancy deserts either. Ice Cream and fruit for dessert. Or buy something from your local bakery.

Keep it as simple as possible.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:45PM
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You sound very sad/aching and not up to this challenge. He instigated this so if it were me I would just push back at him and tell him about some wonderful local restaurants or catering services that would be happy to prepare a feast for 50 so he could be star of the neighborhood. This is his big "do", not yours, so you have my express permission to NOT be involved and not even to attend.

With spouses and children sometimes it is more about letting them go do what they want to do and not about being sucked into their fantasy that you have to be the OZ to make it perfect for their ego. It is a really hard lesson they have to learn. "NO" is very very powerful and we all need to use it more often.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:55PM
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What Nancy said. Bring in catering, restaurants will put food in huge pans for you.

In-n-out Burger has burger trucks that will show up and cook on-site, and there are a plethora of 'taco guys' who will also do the same.

Good luck with the gout. Let me know what works, I'm curious.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:18PM
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I appreciate your responses. It was a cry for help (food related). Some of "my" friends are going to attend. I hate to look like a loser. I thought maybe a pork shoulder in the crock pot a day before would at least give us pulled pork sliders. And coleslaw isn't that difficult.

I'm a good cook, and a good hostess. I'm just not up for this.

Desserts aren't my forte - so anyone who asks what they can bring, that's going to be my request.

No matter what he decides to burn on the grill, I'm thinking a black bean/corn salad and a Greek orzo salad will go with a lot of things along with coleslaw. I can make them all ahead of time and they can be served room temp without having to worry about keeping them warm.

Any other suggestions (besides murder??)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:39PM
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I will be on the witness stand if you need me!!
Mastociolli salad....easy, makes a ton and everyone loves it.
Not exactly "gourmet"....but then neither is dumping a party for 50 on a hurtin' woman!!

1 lb mastoccioli cooked al dente with oil added to cooking water and yellow food coloring.
Pour sauce over and refrigerate over night
3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground pepper
1tsp MSG�it says ha! I omit!
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbls prepared mustard
1 1/2 onions sliced
1 cuke diced
Small jar chopped red pimento
Chopped parsley
Dry oregano.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 10:42PM
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OK, so murder is out, as is spending the weekend in the Bahamas sipping something cold on a beach with some tanned cabana boy. So....

The bean and corn salad sounds good, and pulled pork should be simple enough that your husband can be put to work pulling it. I do hope that he's at least doing the shopping for this shindig.

Chase's "cheater" baked beans would be good, I make mine the same way she does hers. Drain cans of baked beans (I use Bush's because that's what's readily available here). Add brown sugar, molasses, catsup and just a drop of mustard to taste. Bacon if you wish, but it's totally optional. Cook on low in a big roasting pan until thick as you like. The Nesco roaster works great for these, as does a crockpot, but I think you'll have the pork in there already.

We always have cole slaw with pulled pork, it goes right onto the sandwiches and deli coleslaw is fine if you aren't up to making it yourself.

I sure hope you feel better soon, you make me feel lucky that I'm just having a yard sale and not cooking at all.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 12:47AM
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The problem with murder is that he won't be around to burn stuff on the bbq.
Last time I did a bbq I got ice-cream in 3 flavours and cones and it went down incredibly well. I think it had been many years since many of the people had had an ice-cream cone. Everyone asked for another!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 2:49AM
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I'm seeing a doctor this morning about the gout in my foot (my oncologist told me that's what it was yesterday when I was in for a check-up with him). I'm hoping some medication will make the pain and swelling go away and I can find some way to manage not to have it return.

Lindac - I've never heard of mastoccioli. I'll look that up. Thanks for posting the recipe.

Annie - I've seen Chase's "cheater" baked beans recipe and have it copied and saved. I have a Nesco roaster - maybe I can do the pork in the roaster and the beans in the crockpot.

Islay corbel - love the ice cream idea. Merci!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:21AM
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For 3 of the last 5 years of our annual 4th of July party, I have been sick. Generally, I love to cook and have gone all out for this - but not those 3 years. One year was delivery pizza, one year was fried chicken/potatoes/slaw from the local grocery, and one year was a deli platter, buns, store bought potato salad and beans.

My husband is lousy at grilling. I have had the most success with grilling or roasting meat the day before (chicken &/or beef for fajitas, pork tenderloins thinly sliced the next day for sliders, marinated chicken, baked ham for sandwiches, etc.).

I know everyone always enjoys the traditional hamburgers and hotdogs, but I am a much better hostess when I am not trying to oversee the grilling along with everything else!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Oh, don't kill him!!! Go for torture. Invite a divorce attorney, be sure to introduce him/her to DH complete with occupation mentioned and let him stew.

Sorry to read about the gout. It can hurt like a b*tc*. Make sure yousend him on all the errands, like Costco for paper plates, liqour store for refreshments, etc.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:17PM
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If the usual vilification is over.... maybe this isn't quite the disaster everyone is telling you it has to be. Is this going to be a potluck? If so, has anyone asked them to say what they're bringing? Otherwise, have to assume all is going to be provided. How many shortcuts do you want to take? How many kids?

How many roasters/slow cookers can you round up? Pulled pork/beef is easy - just season & slow cook 'em in the roaster and put on the BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought), sloppy joes... Brats, polish, dogs can go on the grill and/or in a roaster. You could also do meatballs/cocktail franks for appetizers. Scalloped/Au Gratin potatoes usually send back a clean dish.

Bakery buns do well for sandwiches. A smoked turkey is very popular at our picnics and I made a ham one year which is always popular. Chicken salad can be sandwiches or a side. Could even do coldcuts and make your own sandwiches or a taco bar.

Sides? Beans seem traditional. As is potato salad and slaw. Pasta salads, green salad, strawberry salad, corn on the cob, wild rice salad, bean salad and take whatever shortcuts desired.

Desserts? Ice cream (sandwiches are easier), cookies/bars, apple pie if you want to go All-American, watermelon, grapes or any fruit...

Snacks? Chips, nuts, platter of crudités, dips, salsa...

Beverages? Water & lemonade are simple and popular. Cooler of pop & water is simple and a 5 gallon dispenser of lemonade is simple too. Alcohol of your choosing. Juice boxes for little kids?

Supplies? Paper plates, plastic SFK, I like to use paper towels rather than napkins since a roll won't blow away like a stack of napkins. Garbage cans with liners spread around. Charcoal/propane.

There's always the concern if people are going to demand special food because they have dietary issues, which I usually say is their issue at an affair like this. Also put out a call for tables, BYO chairs.

It really doesn't have to be a big thing. Or it can be elaborate with crystal wine glasses, Dom Perignon or Cristal? Caviar. Or could hire someone to roast a pig.

Does anyone have a volleyball net/ball? Basketball/hoop? Football? Horseshoes? Bat/softball?

I usually enjoy the "simpler is better" philosophy. Have fun.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Thanks again for your responses. I want to keep this simple. We are expecting mostly couples of retirement age. A wine and cheese crowd, more or less. I believe there are a number of vegetarians. We have asked for RSVP's, so that will help determine the final menu. As much as I'd just like to leave it to DH to plan, he's clueless and has no experience with this kind of thing. It is not going to be a potluck, although several of my friends have offered to bring something and I'm asking them for help with dessert.

I want to keep the menu cohesive and easy to eat (no knife and fork entrees). If 50 people actually do show up, many of them will eat standing up. We are planning this for outdoors in our garden, but I suspect it will spill inside the house.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Grilled burgers, grilled portobellos
Grilled Italian sausages (no good brats around here)
Pulled pork
Chicken salad
Condiments and various bakery rolls/buns for the above

Cole slaw
Baked beans
Potato salad
Black bean & corn salad
Greek orzo salad
Mac & cheese (do I really need this??)

I think some of those sandwiches and sides mixed on a plate would make just about anyone happy. Without doing BBQ chicken it will take a lot of time and work out of the grilling and be less messy to eat. Sturdy disposable plates, cutlery and cups.

A few dips with some chips, crackers and nuts for those who munch. We have a local deli that makes great food and DH mentioned ordering some of the stuff from them so I'm going to sign onto that plan.

More suggestions and comments are welcome. My foot is feeling better, I can wear shoes now and walk but driving is still a problem (working the clutch is painful).

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:09AM
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You don't need the mac and cheese unless it's something traditional where you live and everyone would expect it. Here it would be really superfluous.

Only thing I'd add would be fruit. Just a big bowl of whole strawberries would be nice, unless you can get someone to bring that as part of the desserts.

Sounds pretty good!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 12:47PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I never turn down good mac and cheese. And I would skip the potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans to have some mac and cheese.
Good menu!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Sorry to hear about the gout troubles, Seagrass. I understand from others that it's very painful.

Menu looks good. I'd be right behind Bumblebeez in line & skipping the potato salad, coleslaw & baked beans to havesome mac 'n cheese.

I also agree that a bowl of whole strawberries with the little leaves left on in a clear glass bowl would be beautiful & taste great.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 5:12PM
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I'll dissent, I'd get rid of the mac and cheese. It doesn't "hold" all that well and is more difficult to reheat. Then again, I don't care for white pasta and I love baked beans, so my preferences may show here, just maybe.

I'm glad you're feeling better, maybe you can actually enjoy yourself at this shindig. I also think getting salads and sides from the deli is a great idea.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:45PM
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I agree with Annie and Sushipup. Mac and cheese is not something I would serve. As much as I love pasta, I've never cared for mac and cheese. Maybe it is a regional or tradition thing, but it is not something I ever remember being served at a bbq/cookout or at a family picnic. I'd go with the salads and Sharon's baked beans.

Hope your gout continues to improve.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:11PM
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I assume the mac and cheese is for the vegetarians. I'd scoop some onto my plate. It's a rare treat for me.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:53AM
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