God help me, for I know not what I did.....

lindacNovember 4, 2012

I volunteered to organize our churches annual Thanksgiving dinner. Ai yi yi!!

For years it has been catered by some catering place....not always the same.

But in recent years it has been more and more expensive and this year it would be $12.50 per person. When you have a family with 2 kids, that pretty close to $50 for a church basement meal.

So "they" thought that perhaps a potluck meal would work.....but...really? For our yearly Thanksgiving celebration?

So I asked a couple of my faithful members of the kitchen crew, the caterer and the dietician, and we agreed it was doable.

We then went to the person, a man, who was in charge of making the Feast happen. He asked what would it cost, I dais that with donated pies, we could do it for $2.00 a person. He allowed as he didn't think so.....I said then let's call it $2.50....still didn't think so....so we did the math...turkey at $1.00 per person, potatoes at $3.00 for 10 pounds, cranberries at $1.99 for a 12 oz package, stuffing for 80 at about $15, rolls $3 a dozen about $25, veggies...?....salad? Came out to $2.29 each.

Anyhow, we decided to charge $5 per person and I am thinking of recommending a special kids price....maybe $1.00 for those under 7 and $3.00 for those 7 to 12...?

Suggestions were made for a jello and cranberry salad and call it cranberries AND a salad....not sure about that as I think kids and some adults still like the jellied cranberries. And we talked about the traditional green bean casserole (gak!!) and thought that maybe bags of frozen green beans in a large steam table pan, with a bit of chicken broth, in the oven during church and finally dressed with some crumbled bacon and fried onion rings, would be good.

And another thought was carrots, cut into chunks and cooked until just done and put into another steam table pan with some concentrated frozen OJ and a bit of butter and baked during church.

SOOOOO...waddya think? do we need 2 veggies? Do we need a salad AND cranberries? Is it worth the convenience to use instant potatoes with additional sour cream etc for convenience....or is it about as easy to boil 15 pounds of potatoes, mash, add sour cream butter etc and reheat?

What's your best cranberry salad....and easiest for a gang??

Any other easy mass veggie recipes? Planning on Pepperidge stuffing mix, stretched with some extra dry bread and celery and onions....any other suggestions??

As I said....God help me!!

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Linda, that's wonderful. I know you will make it happen and deliciously so. You saw a need and stepped up. I can't help as I know nothing about cooking for a big crowd like that, but it's right up your alley.

Of course instant potatoes are easier but I think they would put the kibosh on the rest of the tasty meal. Fresh real potatoes with a good scrubbing and mash with the skins on, good seasoning.

I make a delicious, easy and common cranberry relish. I chop cranberries, fresh whole oranges, and sugar in the processor, and stir in chopped nuts. Omitting nuts for budget's sake will still produce a great relish. You are right, lots of folks like jellied cran sauce.

Sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving. Will your family join you or will you join them at a separate party at a different time?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:20AM
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Wow, lucky them! $1 for under 7 seems low. Maybe $1 for under 4 and $3 for 12 and under? I know you don't want people to be excluded for not being able to pay. Will they let you do a suggested donation or have a discrete way for people in need to get free tickets (or sponsored tickets, if you can find a local business that will donate some ingredients or something)?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:27AM
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I am a little confused. Is this done as a charity thing for people who can't afford their own dinner? Or is it done to raise money for your church or do your church members really want to eat their Thanksgiving dinner in the church basement?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:17AM
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What were you thinking!!! :0

I was wondering the same thing, who is this for? Churches here will prepare dinner for the homeless, poor, etc, but it's offered free. I don't recall seeing churches providing TG dinner for members, at any cost.

Do you have your own family TG dinner, too? You are going to be a bit burned out on turkey, I think.

Why not have a TG social with maybe just appetizers and desserts - pot luck style. The parents socialize, the kids run around the church social hall.

Good luck

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:44AM
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We used to volunteer for our church's Turkey Dinners when our kids were school age. They weren't for Thanksgiving, but a fundraiser/social held every other month from Oct. through February.
People loved and looked for the basics - turkey, gravy,bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas, and canned cranberry jelly. It wasn't "gourmet" but basic comfort food that appealed to all ages.
People were asked to bake and donate their favorite homemade pie. There was always a wide variety - no-bake cheesecake to homemade pecan. Many times people, like me, who worked and couldn't make it to the dinner would often contribute by dropping off a pie.
DH was one of the turkey cooks at the church and my kids would go in to help put up tables and lay out place settings.
Good luck, Linda. My only suggestion is to "play to your audience" and keep things as simple as possible.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:09AM
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This is not a fund raiser and it's not to take the place of anyone's family thanksgiving. It's just become tradition to have a catered turkey dinner in "fellowship hall" on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The goal is fellowship and a meal together in celebration of Thanksgiving.

Thanks for the words to "play to the audience"...I too often forget that.

So....what's your best cranberry jello salad?..Will it work to make jello salad in a half sheet cake pan? It will be thinner, so how large a square should we cut?...How large a serving of dressing should I figure for each person? And how long will it take to re-warm several foil chafing dish size containers of mashed potatoes? Covered or not? How hot? or could that be done in an electric roaster?
Annie?? Any experience in serving this sort of meal to a bunch?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I'm a bit confused, too. If it's a church social, why not pot luck? If it's for the community, and to serve the poor, why charge? Is it a fundraiser?

I, too, vote for real potatoes, not instant.

I vote for green beans being made without a meat product, just in case there are vegetarians eating at the dinner. I also vote for salad, although I guess cranberries are required at Thanksgiving.

I also suggest and agree that if it's a fundraiser, put a basket or bucket out for donations for the meal, rather than setting a price. You'll probably end up with more money than having a set price. And, people that can't afford to pay won't be embarrassed, or have to be left out.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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This is a fantastic and easy recipe - great for a crowd.
I got it from my DH's eldery Aunt years ago.


2 small Cherry Jello
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 each Bananas - mashed
1/2 cup shopped Walnuts
1 20 oz can Crushed Pineapple -DO NOT DRAIN
2 cans Whole Cranberry Sauce

Mix jello w/hot water. Let cool.
Add bananas, nuts, pineapple, and cranberry sauce
Put in a dish or mold and refrigerate.

Note: This is easy to cut in half.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Now I understand...a dinner the week before Thanksgiving!! I vote for real potatoes too although it's easy for me to vote I won't have to peel and prepare the potatoes!!! I'm sure that no matter what you serve its the good fellowship that will be remembered!!! It was really nice of you to volunteer to organize it too.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:26PM
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In my part of the country, you would have to include sweetpotatoes in some form.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 4:58PM
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too low to make any money..

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:44PM
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I think your price is very cheap. And I wouldn't go less than half price for kids unless they're under maybe 2 yo. Doesn't sound like you're out to make a "profit" (term used loosely) but extra money in the pot can be used for other things or if you see you're going to come up way over, you can always have a special price. Are you comfortable that you are sure about numbers that will show up? If you plan $2.50 per plate expecting, say 500 and 100 show up, you know the problem. Something like $7/adult, $5/"student" (say 10-18?), and maybe seniors? with kids at 50â/year up to 10? could work too if it's not too complicated. Face it, they can't go out and get a meal remotely like this for those prices and it wouldn't kill a family budget. There's no tipping expected here either and I assume you're including coffee, milk, water and possibly other beverages so they're coming out even better. I'd even say to put out a donation jar or pledge envelopes and a drop box. No pressure, but an option for those so inclined. Certainly discount or complimentary meals for the budget strapped are an easy option, and nice to do too. But you'd need to factor that into the pricing if you do it.

Say what you want, my experience has been that kids, say 5 & up do not go through less food. Maybe not eat it, but it still is taken. And more often that not, there's higher cleanup efforts there too. Not sure if that's something you need to factor in or not. For a lot of them, put out some turkey corn dogs with some mac & cheese and they'll be much happier! And I always like seeing seniors get a break. Seniors general eat everything, but generally eat less with less cleanup.

A good "purchasing agent" this time of year can get the groceries pretty cheap. Don't forget to factor in things like butter, seasonings, cleanup costs, napkins, etc.

FWIW, instant potatoes done right can be very good and totally acceptable and even preferable to homemade done wrong. But if you go basic, I'd prefer "real" mashed potatoes with limited add-ins.

Sheet Jell-O, probably 2"-3" square. What kind of plates do you use? Are they the dividing serving tray type plate or traditional dinner plates or paper plates or ?? Size it according to the divider if you have one.

I think a traditional salad is different than cranberries so both could be served. How basic or extravagant do you want to go? And menu will be affected by locale. Some places as suggested would nearly require sweet potatoes. Here in corn country, there'd better be a big bowl of buttered (not margarined) whole kernel corn since sweet corn is out of season.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Surely 7 turkey sandwiches, 3 pouches of instant potatos and a can of cranberry suace would be plenty and provide baskets fulls of left overs for the needy.Our Elks lodge does a similar meal the Friday before TGD for about 100 people. Call for turkey and ham donations to be cooked and picked the day before. The Lodge makes the gravey stuffing and potatos (instant) . Call for the sides and desserts. Let the members particapate. Let them share.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Not interested in making any money....just covering expenses.
Just found a place that will sell and deliver the day before sliced turkey....and GIVE us the carcasses and skin so we can make our own gravy!...it's $6.99 a pound....and i am thinking to figure 3 people per pound of meat.
So maybe we better charge $6 a head and $3 for kids under 10 .....and $10 for boys 14 and over!! LOL! just kidding on that!
Now I need to sit down with the calculator and figure it out.... see just what we need....estimate on things like celery and onions and parsley, sour cream coffee cream, how much rolls will cost, will a pound of cooked bacon be enough to season the green beans, how about those crispy onion rings?...or should we just serve plain green beans and spend the bacon money on sweet potatoes?

Trying hard to remember my audience and the occasion...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Linda, even @ $6.99/lb, wouldn't it be far more in keeping with budgetary constraints to buy whole turkeys @ less than $2/lb, roasted even the day before. Yes, you can easily do traditional sides like fresh mashed -- even frozen pre-made like Pioneer Woman's recipe, veggies (I'd not add meat for those abstaining although a simple green beans with butter and tarragon might be nice), salad and cranberry sauce.

Alternatively, what would the congregation think if you offered a different twist: roasted turkey breast on croissants, a fab tossed salad with roasted corn kernels, a side of cranberry chutney and desserts of mini pumpkin or sweet potato pies +/or fruit cups with cranberries and nuts for dessert? Different, but a homage to Thanksgiving. Nearly everything can be done in advance of the weekend except for sandwich assembly.

If the cost is $XXs, I'd charge at least $1 more than cost for adults, 1/2 price for children and give a committee the option to offset the ticket price to anyone facing financial hardship. Put a basket for donations for a homeless shelter so that the brunch involves fellowship but extends beyond your congregation, and base your ticket price on enough food to donate several prepared meals to the shelter. A feel good celebration I would be honored to support.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:17PM
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LindaC, you know how I feel about jello, so a very small piece would be sufficient, LOL. Actually, though, if you're doing it in those half sheet type pans, I think a 2 or 3 inch square would be a good size, the smaller if it has a lot of "stuff" like berries, larger if not.

I've never had an instant potato that I liked, no matter who prepared it or how it was prepared. However, if you think your "audience" would be OK with it, they'd be a lot faster and probably they'd be nearly as good as the reheated ones anyway. I agree that they should have as few add ins as possible, since you're having gravy.

How long to reheat potatoes if you do real ones? That depends on the size of the pans, but it always takes longer than I think it will. Be sure to make them with more liquid than usual, when they sit they suck up the liquid. It might be easier to boil the potatoes the night before, then rewarm them in boiling water the day of and hold them in crockpots, depending on the size of your crowd.

No bacon in the green beans in this instance. Although everyone I know loves bacon, that might not be the case if you're cooking for a whole church full. i'd leave it out.

If you opt for carrots, you could cut out sweet potatoes, though. I do love sweet potatoes, but I'll try not to let that color my opinion on this. You don't need another vegetable and I abhor that marshmallow/sweet potato thing, but everyone else seems to love it. However, how many ovens do you have available to warm stuff in?

The turkey would be far cheaper if you roast them yourself, but how many and how long and how many ovens do you have. How long will it take to slice and serve or can you do that ahead of time and hold it?

Buy rolls, just this once and make lots of coffee. One pot for you, another for the rest of the people! donated pies, thank goodness.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:57PM
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That's what I am agonizing about....yes....much more budget friendly for us to cook our own turkeys. And when i thought we were talking about 75 to 8o people, I was all about that. But them I find we need to consider at least 20 to 25 more people....and we are 5 or 6 women in our late 60's and on to late 70's....and they say "oh! Linda! What did you dream up now!"...LOL!

This rural small-town Iowa Protestant church would not go for a turkey croissant sandwich!! All the men would walk out the back door and the women would follow saying"What's the matter, Honey?" LOL!

I love the idea of basing the price on donating shelter meals! Thinking of maybe setting a "cost" charge.....and then a mission charge...and saying if you are so inclined you will help provide a Thanksgiving meal for someone who can't afford it. Great idea! This wasn't designed to be a "help the hungry: event....but no reason why it shouldn't!

Gotta go look up poioneer womans recipe!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 8:16PM
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I have it on good authority that 8 pounds of potatoes, cooked, mashed, and refrigerated, will reheat in a 6-quart crockpot on low in 7.5 hours.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Thanks, Jessica. I usually just do the potatoes early the day of and keep them warm in the crockpot, I don't do them a day ahead. Oven space is always a consideration for me since I have one small oven.

LindaC, I also think making it a "donation for the hungry" kind of event is a great idea.

Can't you get a couple of the guys involved, just to carve up turkeys? Or do the turkeys a day ahead and warm the slices in broth in large roasting pans? Not as good as freshly roasted turkey, of course, but maybe more workable?


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 9:52PM
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We have 2 stoves....with 3 rack convection ovens and a "warming oven'....that goes to 400 and is not convection and works very well for 9 by 12 dishes.
I am having big troubles with the concept of jello salad....not only the "concept" but where to keep all those flat dishes of congealed faux fruit stuff mixed with real fruit...real fruit can be stored in 1 1/2 gallon ice cream containers and scooped out to serve.

Is it possible to reheat potatoes in an electric roaster?...We also have 2 of the extra large crock pots. Might be better to just do the potatoes in the morning...before the meal. Peel and cut up the night before....then cook and mash that morning.

Think that pretty sure we will buy already cooked meat....then to decide on a price that will include everything.
Aiyi!!how do you mash 25 pounds of potatoes?...With a very large masher!...in batches?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Mash the real spuds in batches. Recruit help for peeling and mashing. Mashed potatoes with the works will keep in a crock pot or roaster for a long while.

Skip the jello. Ick. Buy canned jelled cranberry. And make a simple green salad. Chances are you won't need a lot of salad. :) Offer two dressings. Ranch and Italian.

Green beans with butter and s&p and a sliced almonds will work nicely. Carrot ginger soup can sub for yams. Or make yams.

As long as you have gravy, turkey, and a traditional stuffing with croutons, sage, celery, onion, butter, and broth most people will be very happy. Okay, I'd be happy. :)


    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:15PM
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I use a hand mixer for potatoes. If you don't like them that homogenous, I'd definitely recruit some elbow grease. Maybe that's how the teenage boys can pay their extra cost :-)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:32PM
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No croissants! "What's the matter, honey?" Ha!!!

Rough guesstimate for 100 people (60 adults @ $7 + 40 children @ $3) + food for 20 donated meals.

Linda, don't give up on fresh turkey. If ovens are spare, consider buying whole turkeys, quarter and slow roast in your ovens at home or perhaps borrow toaster ovens and electric roasters to prepare at the church. Thighs take the longest, but should have no problem 3 hrs @ 300 degrees. Turns out juicy and quite delicious and makes carving easier. You can always roast one whole turkey for display and use that one to donate to the shelter.

10 turkeys -- could be grilled, rotisseried, fried and/or roasted or any combination of cooking methods, green beans, carrots, rolls + tea/ coffee & desserts in my area would be under $600. Doable, with money to donate in addition to cash basket from attendees.

I'm with barnmom: I'd be happy with crouton stuffing and would pass on serving jello. How about a nice salad, maybe with some apples or pears, nuts and raisins tossed in and serve simple jellied cran sauce. I don't like it, but it's traditional. Places like Big Lots have great prices on that type of product or sometimes local groceries will offer a discount for churches. You'll be fine. If you can handle 80, you won't blink at 120.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:49PM
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LindaC, I tend to agree with the "cranberry sauce is enough" contingent unless someone there has their heart set on jello. Don't ask me for a recipe, though, I learned to hate jello because Grandma always put sliced bananas in red jello and the bananas turned black and slimy.....I can't eat bananas or jello to this day, they feel so icky in my mouth!

I also use a hand mixer to make mashed potatoes in small increments, maybe 5 pounds at a time. It would be fun to make the boys do it, though.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:36AM
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LindaC- the Jello salad recipe I posted above is very easy to store & serve. It can be made in any mold or large dish and scooped out with a large spoon. No wiggly jiggly clear squares. I suggest making it in several bowls and let each server scoop it onto the plate of food if you decide to include it in your menu.

I get requests for this salad even in the summertime.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Mag....your jello salad sounds great to me...but I know we have at least 2 banana allergies and perhaps some nut allergies as well. I have no problem with nuts in cookies or on a cake, but never "hide" them in any dish. I have twice been at a party where someone got a bite of something hidden in a dish and a life threatening situation evolved. One time it was nuts in a cheese ball and another time it was crab dip.

There is another cranberry jello salad, with out bananas, but it has celery too....and I could omit the walnuts. But I don't have the recipe for that!
I decided the salad has to be something that can be made the day before and scooped rather than cut and served in a 9 by 12 dish. Or it could be just a green salad, with some dried cranberries....or perhaps halved red seedless grapes....with a balsamic vinaigrette....served in a glass punch bowl.

Getting a little worried about how to get all on a plate.....our plates are not large....and I hate to have people have to carry 2 plates, and juggle one while they fill another.
Maybe put a basket of rolls and a bowl of salad on each table. They can make another trip for their dessert.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I agree with the salad - finely shredded lettuce and some chopped veggies.

My DD makes a great chopped salad - tomatoes, cukes, peppers, red onions, with feta cheese and Briana's Blush Wine Vinaigrette. Easy to scoop, lots of chopping, very tasty. You can find local veggies and a tasty, inexpensive dressing that should appeal to a lot of people.

Jello - No. And no nuts hidden in anything.

Why not just make a HUGE pot of cranberry sauce, rather than jello. It's so easy and so tasty, and you can have a few cans of jellied cranberry sauce for the diehards who need the can marks on their sauce.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 10:37AM
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LOL on the can marks!...we have decided that we will toss some berries, sugar and water in a pot and have cranberry sauce!
But your remark about the marks of the can gave me a great idea! I have a friend who only wants cranberry jelly with the marks of the can....
So next time I get an empty can I will wash it out, remove the label ( or maybe not! be funny if it said tomatoes on it!) and make some cranberry jezebel, run it through a sieve and put it into that can!!! Hee hee hee!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:48PM
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The more you can put on the table, the better. Promotes fellowship to "break bread" together anyway and isn't what this is all about?

How about eliminating the hassle of the mashed potatoes and go with scalloped or au gratin? It's becoming a lot more popular with people I know. So many people have become sick and tired of people stuffing the mashed potatoes with garlic, cheese and other things when they want to taste potato. One or two commercial pans can be prepped and the labor is done before rather than after they're cooked. And you'll eliminate the possibility of whether people could tell the difference between instants and "real" mashed. Seems like a solution to me.

Every time I hear cranberries, I think of the episode of Roseanne where Jackie brings one dented can of cranberry sauce to feed something like 14 people.

As a kid, (back in about the late 20s) I used to like plain Jell-O (actually preferred Royal brand - it was "jigglier") but when people started putting shredded carrots and stuff in there, I drew the line. I can hardly look at it anymore.

For labor, is it possible for each person to recruit one reliable person? (Which means getting at least 17 people to commit to coming and helping in most cases! At least that's been my experience.) Otherwise, add into your budget to hire a couple reliable high school kids, preferably ones who could use the money anyway or even lower income adults would probably work cheaper to get a free meal and possibly some leftovers out of it too. Seems like these things are always way more work than people anticipate.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Nope....no scalloped potatoes....what would we put gravy on?

We do have an ancient 3 foot long potato masher....maybe we can find a good strong man to do the mashing thing.
I would love to find a couple of reliable teens to help, with the thought that they might find it fun and join us....with their parents! But I don't have time to do that in a week. At least not this week!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 5:28PM
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Cranberry jello with celery?? YUCK!!!!!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I agree with cynic, the more stuff you can actually put on the table, the better. As for the potatoes, well, my family puts gravy on the stuffing. And ;the potatoes. And the turkey. Sometimes on the dinner rolls.....they probably wouldn't miss the mashed potatoes. And I'm one of those people who don't want a lot of stuff in potatoes. Elery insists on adding cheese to darned near everything, or mixing ingredients. We can't just have mashed potatoes with milk and butter, it's got to be potatoes and rutabagas with parmesan cheese or something. Sigh. I don't mind lumps in the potatoes either, it's potatoes anyway, so that big masher with some strong arms should be a good idea.

I also think you've got a good idea with just making bowls of cranbery sauce. It's easy and fast. People who like it will eat it. You can keep a couple of cans for those people like my girls who must have it from a can, it's got to be Ocean Spray jellied, no whole berry stuff, LOL.

Now, for help. Doesn't your church have a youth group? Maybe you could recruit some of them. Here we have something called "Voice of Reason". Ashley had to do a certain number of hours of community service work, as did all the members. Maybe you could be "community service"!


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Our church youth group has diminished to maybe 6 or 7 rather disinterested kids....very sad....that's one of the reasons I want to make this a hand on thing...
They used to line up to help for the privilege of eating the "brownie edges"....but no more.
We are reaping the rewards of years of very poor "administration"....but don't quote me on that!!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:43PM
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Phew, I've seen that happen in a lot of churches. they don't seem to realize that when the current "elders" are gone there will be no church if they don't recruit the young people and keep them interested and involved.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:48PM
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And amazing news......just got a phone call from one of the "elders" saying they have met and don't want us to do this.....they will go with the original plan and do a potluck.
So....thanks for the ideas....but.....

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:34PM
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OK, so you're taking cranberry jezebel to the potluck?


    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:59PM
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Extra hot!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Linda! Too funny!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:07AM
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Lindac is taking generic instant mashed potatoes. Maybe some green bean gloperole.

And as Annie said, turkey, dressing, rolls and I'd put gravy on scalloped taters too. Course there's the crowd who only put a 2" layer of ketchup on their potatoes so... :D

Do I congratulate you on the news or extend my sympathies? Sending whichever you desire, or both.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:51AM
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"Do I congratulate you on the news or extend my sympathies? Sending whichever you desire, or both." HA. Me too.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:51AM
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And who is organizing the potluck - you?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:07AM
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"for I know not what I did....."

I'll tell you what you did. Word got out that you were considering using instant mashed potatoes. The rest is history! :-)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:13AM
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LOL!@...I'm a little angry that i organized a group of 6 women, planned out a meal to be cheap for all concerned, with a built in profit, and "They" decided to have a potluck thanksgiving meal.
And very relieved that I won't half the day Friday shopping, half of Saturday cooking and be at church at 7:30 to get it all in the oven....and cooked.

Thinking of green jello with a can of fruit cocktail....in a disposable dish, so I don't have to claim the leftovers!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:30AM
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I vote for feeling relieved, although you had already done a lot of planning.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 7:30AM
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These are men who made this decision? For how their womenfolk will spend their time?

Funny thing is, many people will spend more money making their potluck contribution than if they just paid you for their meal.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Yes, these were men who made the decision to do pot luck. and likely the one woman on the board who always buys something to take to a pot luck because she doesn't cook....at all! Last night another woman asked me why they didn't want us to cook....I told her that XXX just didn't want to....she said "you know I really don't think he's very smart"...LOL!

The only ones for whom pot luck will be cheaper is those with 2 or 3 kids.

So the way this will go is....people will bring a dish when they come to church. Church is at 10:30 but Sunday School is at 9:30 and we have 2 very active adult Sunday School classes and choir practise early.
So the kitchen help (not me!!!!) will strive to keep hot dishes hot and cold ones cold for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and then put it all out on the table at noon.....which means there won't be much that I will want to risk eating but rolls and jello salad....because I know if that has been kept cold, because it won't be melted!!
I exaggerate a little, but the will be several versions of corn pudding, which I won't eat when I don't know how it's been stored, greenbean casserole...yuk!...several chicken, canned soup and noodles things....which I won't eat unless I know it didn't sit out too long.
But I can always eat pie! Unless it's a custard pie....and cake!!...Oh and cookies! So I won't go hungry!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:00AM
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I agree with your assumption Linda; have a hearty breakfast that morning.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Well Lindac, ready to agree that homemade is NOT always better? ;) (Come to the dark side...)

How about going to the stores and buying up all the cream soup and canned rancid onions? uess that probably wouldn't work. They have pantries. They'll probably have plenty of nice store-brand margarine to go with those rolls too.

I agree, get yourself a hearty breakfast and practice up on the phrases like Gee, I haven't had anything like THIS in a LONG time! and Is this Wolfgang Puck's recipe? and Pass the whiskey please!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:01PM
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I hear today that 2 people will be bring turkey. The word was not "a" turkey, but bring "turkey"
One woman I know will roast a 15 lb turkey and do it well ( it's her recipe I use for the Carrot cake!!) but who knows what else.
I have had a few amusing emails.... from suggestions that we ought to organize some to be sure there are all the elements of a turkey dinner....to things like not bringing food and sponging off what others brought.

It'll be OK....we always come together....but it won't be as many people nor as nice a meal.....

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Linda, I think it should have been put to the congregation for a vote which was served.

After all the work you did planning it, and the change in plan, would you plan it all again another time? I don't think I would. It sounds like you do so much for the church and others. It would be very discouraging.

We had a priest who ran a lot of the old families out, and I mean families! Not just the older generation. Even then we worked hard to keep our church going. Unfortunately, it was one that the Cleveland Diocese closed. And not because we didn't have the $ coming in. Lost a LOT of the old Polish ways because of it. We were not even allowed to have Polish hymns sung by the chior at Christmas, Easter & Mother's Day. He wasn't Polish.

Enjoy you fellowship dinner no matter how it comes about. Just my two cents. And maybe crabby sounding, but that's the way I feel.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:27PM
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I about 99% of the time make everything fresh, BUT I do have one concession. Mashed potatoes. Most of the boxed varieties taste fake except for one: Hungry Jack brand. They taste just like fresh. I always always use them. Now that I am raising two grandkids, I need all the time breaks I can get. Just my two cents worth. It would cut down on work for you. I also vote for two vegetables: the traditional green bean casserole for those many die hard bean lovers who don't know there are much better alternatives, and the glazed carrots. For the cranberry, I grind cranberries and oranges and apples, then add a couple packs of frozen raspberries and some pecans and miss it all up in raspberry jello. Even though I hate jello, this combination does not taste like jello since it only serves to hold the fruit and nuts together. It is very, very tasty. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:19PM
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I have saved all my "figurings" for a turkey dinner for 100....if the occasion ever arises again, I have all the directions to hand to someone!! LOL!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:11PM
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