I have been cooking up a storm recently - honest! Not for my family, but for my friends and coworkers
Starting on March 1st, Gail, Debbie and I have been cooking lunch three days a week as part of a fundraiser for the March of Dimes. This will go on until the last week of April when we have a silent auction in store and then participate in the March of Dimes fundraising walk.
The rules for the fund raising lunches are this:
- The cost of lunch has to be kept at $3.00. We found this is cheaper than people can eat out, so they are more likely to partake.
- The meals have to make money. Of course.
- The meals have to be able to hold up to either sitting in some type of heating devise (like a crock pot or steam table) or can be served from the refrigerator with ease. Microwavable leftovers are also a plus.
We got a boost this year from a friend of Debbie's who is a caterer. Jen gave us a pan of pasta in tomato sauce and a big salad which helped us get some starting money to buy more supplies.
So what did we spend our starting cash on? Mostly meat. Protein sources are the most expensive thing for us to purchase - and meat is expected by our coworkers. We picked up a 5 pound "buffet" ham for $.79/pound at the restaurant supply warehouse, plus a big tube o' ground beef. The beef is now taco filling, meatballs and chili. The ham is going to become scalloped potatoes and ham casserole, "fried" rice, and what ever else we decide on.
The biggest lunch hit so far? A baked potato bar. Yup - a lowly potato ruled them all. I picked up a 50# box of 40 ct potatoes. What does that mean? That those potatoes weighed, on average, a little over a pound each. I got up early,wrapped them in foil, tossed them in the oven at 450 degrees for 90 mins and then transferred them to my Nesco roaster at work where they held up nicely for the rest of the afternoon. We provided chili, salsa, cheese, bacon, sour cream, butter and broccoli. True - that's a lot of starch, but hmmmmmmmm so good... There were about ten leftover potatoes, so Gail turned them into cheddar potato soup for the next day. Took next to no time and it was damn fine soup as well...
The biggest seller for us, though, has been the Debbie Crack Corn. Little bags of this fine treat have been selling like hotcakes. In fact, in the beginning Debbie was selling small bags for 50 cents each - just to get them hooked. Now she is selling $5 and $10 bags - known affectionately as nickle and dimes bags. My hubby has now spent $10 on this stuff and I am sure he will buy more. I have the recipe right here - for those of you who don't live close enough to get your own fix from Debbie. By the way, the recipe doesn't say it, but use air popped corn. It makes sure the product stays light and airy, not greasy.
If you really love this recipe - please make a donation to the March of Dimes. They provide money to fund research that helps premature babies grow healthy and strong...
CARAMEL CORN aka Debbie Crack Corn and we don't care!!!
8 cups popped popcorn
4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Put popcorn in a 17x12x2-inch baking pan. Remove any unpopped kernels.
- Measure brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt into a 11/2 -quart saucepan. Turn burner to medium heat. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon till butter melts and everything is mixed. When mixture boils, stop stirring. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off burner. Remove pan from burner.
- Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour mixture over popcorn using rubber scraper to scrape pan. Gently stir the popcorn and hot mixture so all popcorn is coated.
- Turn oven to 300 degrees. Put pan into oven. Bake 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir mixture with wooden spoon. Put pan back into oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven. Use a pancake turner to remove caramel corn from pan to large bowl; cool. Makes 8 cups.