25 teen boys

aekekkNovember 12, 2012

My daughter has asked for help for Saturday night(she's a houseparent at a private high school--boarding school) to make dinner for 25 teen boys in her dorm. Any ideas for dinners that will also appeal to vegetarians? I'll make brownies and some sort of salad, I guess? Any suggestions appreciated. I'll have to shop after work Friday and cook Saturday morning. She will cook or re-heat whatever I drop off.

Thanks so much!

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From what I know of teen age boys, it's all about meat and potatoes!! Never yet met a teen age boy who professed to be vegitarian....but...?
I would, if you want to please them, go as heavy MEAT as your budget allows. Oven baked chicken legs, potroast with potatoes and gravy, the ulitmat would be steak or even grilled beef kabobs. Pulled pork would be popular.
And for the vegitarians, how about meatless chili?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:52PM
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I definitely agree on the meatless chili, or you could make bean burritos, all my girls' friends loved them, with or without meat.

In fact, you could make batches of the filling and let the boys make their own and your daughter could heat the meat and beans separately so everyone could serve themselves as they prefer.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Before opening this thread I double checked that it was the Gardenweb forum and not Penthouse forum, but anyway...

Meat of course, a sausage-palooza would be good, hot dogs, brats, kielbasa, etc. Pasta is usually quite popular and can be eaten by all. Big pot of spaghetti and marinara sauce with meatballs on the side, take 'em or leave 'em. Lasagna can be made in a meatless version and with meat. Burgers with veg-burgers. Baked ziti with and without meat.

About 10-12 6' subs would cover it. OK, maybe not, but subs or wraps can be meat or meatless. Could even do a sandwich bar and build your own but I think something hot would go over better.

To me the easiest would be pasta, garlic bread, salad, and brownies.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:55AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

my first thought was vegetarian lasagna, meatless ziti, or chili. Maybe do dogs on the side for those who want meat.... lots of garlic bread. Ymm.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:17AM
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I agree, something with pasta, boys can put away a lot of pasta and it's easy to make meatless, too. And she can go a little fancy with multiple sauces, give the boys a choice. Big bowl of shredded parmesan cheese. A big chopped salad, it's easy to eat, and lots of garlic bread.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:05AM
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I like the idea of a Tex-Mex dinner. Make your own taco bar. Chicken and beef quesadillas along with the meatless chili. Nachos, bowls of salsa or cheese sauce. Cookies and brownies for dessert. I'm sure 25 teen boys will be happy with anything you and your daughter choose to put together for them! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:36AM
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I never met a teen boy who didn't love pizza.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:26AM
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As a teenage boy, I was vegetarian and also did not eat dairy - therefore I also avoided pizza. Please make sure that when you offer something vegetarian that it can also be dairy free. Lactose intolerance is very common.

Jimmy and Maartje's teenage son is also vegetarian, and I think it is more common among teenage boys than some may imagine. Just don't expect all teenage boys to be carnivores and huge meat eaters.

Falafel is very easy to make - I'll post a recipe for you, if you like, and it is extremely popular among students at UCLA and Santa Monica College. There are a lot of other bean based recipes you can make, including hummus, bean dip, minestrone, pasta e fagioli, etc. One of my favorite appetizers is Eggplant Makdous, which you can buy already made at a Middle Eastern market.

For Tex-Mex, tamales are a good choice, and you can find vegetarian versions that do not have cheese. Empanadas are also good and easy to make and can be filled with potatoes and other vegetables. You could have several potato dishes.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

A taco bar with meat and fake meat as the stars and the lactose intolerant can skip the cheese and sour cream.
But have plenty of sides: Mexican rice, olives, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, green onions, salsa, and hot sauce.
Morning Star frozen "Beef" crumbles are really good. I have used them in spaghetti sauce before and none of us carnivores could tell the difference between that and hamburger.
Although I prefer the beef as it seems more natural. Who knows, I don't buy organic.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Young people are really into various forms of vegan around here. The strictest do not eat any animal products-- that means no Jello, milk, cheese, eggs, butter, meat broth, meat and poultry, whey. I would be challenged to come up with a filling menu. I struggle with food allergies in my family and that is challenge enough.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I wouldn't kill myself trying to develop a menu based on what people "might" be. I'd base it on what they ARE and go from there. It really bugs me that people are expected to provide for every contingency in potential allergies or tastes when they're cooking for others. Where's the personal responsibility? Ask if there's serious issues and go from there. This business that someone "might be" allergic to peanuts, "might be" Celiac, "might be' lactose intolerant, "might be" allergic to peanuts and on and on is another nauseating form of political correctness. What about the poor kids that only eat "cage free" apples or "free range" grapes or "organic" Oreos? Where does it end? Where's that screaming bald lady when you need her yelling STOP THE INSANITY!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 5:34PM
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I have no problem with people who are vegan or have other dietary restrictions. I am one of those people who only buys "cage free" eggs, and I do not buy Oreos at all. I like to be considerate and accommodating to others, and I especially appreciate it when others treat me that way as well. I do not judge people by their dietary restrictions or even by their choices - I am willing to look for creative ways to work within those restrictions. In fact, I find that I become even more creative when I am given restrictions, and I welcome the challenge. I think people are worth giving these considerations - it just depends on how motivated one is to please others.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Some of my relatives are paleo -- no grains (including wheat flour), no beans and no dairy. This requires some creativity for us non-paleos in menu planning, especially if vegans will be dining with us too.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:08PM
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I'm something along the lines with cynic, I thought this thread was for MILFs and cougars... :-)

I always have a simple chinese salad (iceberg, crunchy noodles, sesame dressing) on hand for large groups of kids. Or a simple Ceasar salad.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:10PM
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Thanks so much for all the ideas. I appreciate the offers of vegetarian recipes, too. I always include a veg/ vegan option as I am vegetarian myself for 15 years and can appreciate accommodating. Plus many teenagers, even the guys, are health conscious. Full disclosure-- husband is meat eater, one daughter vegetarian, another Jewish so our family has lots of dietary differences. Yet, we never make others feel uncomfortable when dining out.
Back to my planned dinner--I'm thinking the tex-mex ideas may be perfect to accommodate all. So, veggie enchiladas? Taco bar? Mexican rice sounds good too. What else?
Lars, can I get your recipes, too for the middle eastern food. Maybe that route for the January meal?
Best brownie recipe ?
Thanks to all..any other Mexican casserole type recipes would be appreciated

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:22PM
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As a parent of a teen boy, I'd suggest borrowing some crockpots, buying bags of frozen meat balls, adding your own version of tomato sauce and let them cook away. Offer good rolls, grated mozzarella, big bowls of caesar salad, and if you are inclined for the vegetarians, do a meatless red sauce and some cooked pasta like ziti or rigatoni, tossed w/ olive oil. They can make meatball subs, pasta w/ meatballs or red sauce with rolls on the side, salad for all, and end it with cookies or brownies. Your idea of a tex-mex taco bar, with meat and beans offered seperately, sounds good also but more labor-intensive for 25 boys. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Jessica, I knew I could count on you. (grin) I'm a bit surprised at Cynic....

Nope, never mind, I'm not, LOL.

Ann T's stacked enchiladas are good and they can be vegetarian or filled with chicken. They do have cheese, and lots of it.

I love them, and grew tomatillos just to make the sauce. I think they could be made in casserole for successfully, by layering ingredients, and Ann T mentions that too, in her notes.

Stacked Enchiladas -Ann T
Source: Southwest Cookbook
Here is the recipe Helene for the Stacked Enchiladas. I see no reason why you couldn't layer these over lapping in a lasagna pan and then slice to serve. You will have to double the ingredients for the sauce as well as the fillings.

Vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1 1/2 cups (12 fl ounces) green Chili Sauce (recipe on page 195)
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cups finely chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350�F. Pour vegetable oil into a medium , heavy skilled to depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 375�F, or until a strip of tortilla browns in 60 seconds. Soften the tortillas, one at a time, for about 5 seconds per side in the hot oil and drain on paper towels.

Heat the green chili sauce in a shallow pan and dip each softened tortilla into the sauce. Place 1 coated tortilla on an oven proof plate and top with 1 tablespoons green cili sauce, 2 tablespoons grated cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion; repeat twice so that 1 serving contains 3 layered tortillas. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 tortilla stacks. Bake the stacks for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

NOTE: Add cooked chicken and or pinto or black beans between layers.

Green Chili Sauce
1 Jalapeno chili seeded and diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tomatillos, husked and diced (or use canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 new Mexico green or Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded and diced.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, place the jalapeno , garlic, green onions, tomatillos and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat' reduce heat and simmer until theliquid is reduced to about 1 cup about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour the chicken stock misture into a blender or food processor.
Add the Anaheim chilies, cilantrol and lime juice; puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Add the cream and mix again. Serve warm. Keep 1 to 2 days refrigerated.

Servings: 4


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 10:51PM
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I just received this cookbook today, which is filled with vegan recipes that I can't wait to try. I like this book because it gathers recipes from all the cuisines that I love and gives their vegan recipes without any revisions because the recipes were vegan to begin with. A lot of them are very spicy, but that also gets me very interested. I think this cookbook is a great source for tasty vegan recipes that people will like whether they are vegan or not.

I'll post my own vegan Middle Eastern recipes later when I have access to the files - I'm on a new computer at the moment and have not transferred all my files yet.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:05AM
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I started reading recipes from the new vegan cookbook I just got, and the first recipe is for Smokin' Texas Caviar. The recipe is extremely similar to my recipe for Texas bean dip, and so I thought I would post that recipe here - I think my recipe is better than the one in the book:

Texas Bean Dip

1-1/3 cup dried pinto (or red) beans (about 3 cups cooked)
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp cumin
1 bunch of cilantro, large stems removed, about 2/3 cup chopped
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes (10 oz.) or similar tomatoes, diced with green chilies
3-4 Serrano chilies or 1-2 jalapeno chilies, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tbsp dried oregano)
1 tbsp vegetable soup base - I use Better Than Bouillon brand - use more if you need more salt

Place dried beans in large pot and cover with water to about 3-4 times original depth. Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes, cover, and remove from heat and allow to soak for one hour. Discard the soaking water and rinse and sort the beans. Cover with fresh water, with about two inches above the soaked beans, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour, or until done, and discard the cooking water. Lately I have been cooking the beans with epazote, mainly because it is growing wild in my yard now, and I discard the epazote with the cooking water. You can omit the cilantro if you cook the beans with epazote.

Place all of the ingredients except the beans in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the beans, and check for flavor - you may not want to add all of them. I remove some of the seeds from the chilies and save them, in case it comes out too bland. You can remove more seeds, if you like it mild.

Serve warm or cold with tortilla chips.

Falafel from Fava Beans

1 cup dried peeled fava beans*
1/4 cup medium bulgur, soaked & drained (optional)
1 yellow or white onion
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander**
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
garbanzo flour, as needed
Oil for deep frying
Pita bread

To prepare the fava beans, first wash them thoroughly, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for about two minutes, and then rinse them and wash them again. Return them to the pan, cover with water and bring to a boil again. After the second boil, allow them to sit for at least an hour off the heat to soak. Then drain all the water. Soak the bulgur wheat while the beans are soaking in a separate bowl.

Put the drained beans in a large food processor, and puree. Add the drained bulgur, onion, garlic, and fresh parsley to the food processor and process until the onion is minced (or you could mince these by hand). Remove to a large bowl and add the salt, cumin, coriander, baking powder, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Allow this mixture to stand for 1 hour. If the dough is too dry, you can add a few drops of water; if it is too wet, you can some garbanzo flour or dried couscous.

Form into balls the size of walnuts. Deep-fry in a wok or deep fryer at 350-375 degrees until toasty brown and crunchy on the outside, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels when done and store in a 200F oven if making a large batch.
NOTE: While the falafel batter is resting, prepare tahini-lemon sauce and slice a couple of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Tahini-Lemon Sauce

2/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup yogurt (There are vegan versions available)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, stems removed
dash of salt
1/8 tsp cayenne (or less, to taste)
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin

Put all ingredients in a small food processor and combine until onions and parsley are finely minced. Store in the refrigerator.

Serve falafel with Romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, pita bread, and the tahini-lemon sauce..

*Note: Make sure that you buy peeled fava beans, as peeling is rather time consuming - Goya is a good brand. Garbanzo beans can be substituted for fava beans, but they may have to soak longer. Do NOT use canned or cooked beans, as they will have too much liquid.

**For better flavor, use coriander seeds and grind them yourself in a coffee mill. One tablespoon of coriander seeds will yield 2 teaspoons ground.

Serves four to six.

Lars' Hummus


1/2 pound (1-1/3 c) dried garbanzo beans, (about 3 to 3-1/2 cups cooked)
1/3 cup lemon juice (or juice from two lemons)
3-4 medium cloves of garlic (more if small)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 cup tahini (toasted, if available)
2 tsp Kosher salt (or 1-1/2 tsp regular salt)
1/8 tsp cayenne
1-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
2-4 tbsp water, as needed


Cook beans according to package instructions. I generally boil them for two minutes in a large pan, with triple height of water. Then I turn off the heat and soak for 1 hour covered and then rinse them. Garbanzos will require about 1-1/2 hours to cook, after being soaked. After cooking, I rinse them twice with cold water to remove the cooking water. They will cook in about one hour if you add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water.

Put the drained beans in a large food processor with the peeled garlic cloves (coarsely chopped) and the rest of the ingredients. Process until smooth. If it is too thick, thin with water, a tablespoon at a time.

It is difficult to find tahini made from toasted sesame seeds, and this is why I add the toasted sesame seed oil.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:29PM
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Thanks Lars! I will definitely use those recipes. I always wanted to make my own falafel and hummus and I never had. Will use in january for the boarding school, but I think I'll make the falafel during the holidays. Perfect!
I am so appreciative for all the suggestions: after talking with my daughter today, she said she has lots of meat eaters, a few vegetarians, one lactose intolerant out of the 25. She said the teens aren't as big on sweet but always lots of savory. I guess LOTS of food is the answer!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I agree with Cynic too.... if the boys are responsible enough to be at boarding school, they should certainy be able to determine what they can eat (or not). That said, this salad is insanely popular at our swim team dinners with little ones up through teens, boys and girls. It doubles and triples well, I usually make a triple batch for about 40 kids.

Frito Salad

1 large or 2 small washed and cut Romaine lettuce heads
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey cheese blend
1 red onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 (16 ounce) package Fritos
1 (16 ounce) bottle Catalina salad dressing

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cheese, pinto beans, black beans, onion and tomatoes.
Add the corn chips and enough dressing to coat; toss and serve.

I also agree with meatless chili or veggie pizzas for the people that don't eat meat. And for the meat eaters, the meatballs in a crock pot is a great idea. I made a crock pot FULL this past Sunday and my 14 yo son and 3 friends ate almost the entire thing. It is so simple, I do not even use a recipe - but here is the method. Fill a crockpot 1/2 to 3/4 full of meatballs (frozen bags work well for teenage boys). Add 2 cans jellied cranberry sauce, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 cup ketchup and 1 tbsp Worcestershire. Cook on high for an hour, then drop to low for an additional 3 hours. Stir once or twice during the heating process.

They will devour them!

Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Thank you Lars for your falafel recipe made with fava beans. I love both! and never try one with fava beans, I only had the ones with garbanzo. They are now on my list to try.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 7:52AM
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