Friday, June 9, 2017

Dinner After Church


Last Sunday we celebrated our pastor's upcoming retirement in typical Methodist fashion—a covered dish dinner after church. Because we expected visitors, we all took a little extra food. I love seeing what everyone chooses to make for a covered dish dinner. There are always the standbys, like macaroni and cheese. There are always deviled eggs and fresh fruit. But it's the multitude of other items on the table that interest me.


People bring in old family favorites. They try out new recipes. Some people love make-ahead recipes that don't require Sunday morning cooking, like cakes and pies and pasta salad. And you might find fried chicken from a drive-thru, or a platter of sandwiches from the grocery store deli. It doesn't have to be homemade to be included on our table.

These dinners are truly more about the fellowship. With the promise of delicious food to encourage people to come together.


For this meal, I opted for recipes that could be prepped ahead of time. Both dishes only required some oven time before I left for church. At the dinner last month, there was only one mac and cheese, so I made one for this dinner. This time mine was number 2 of the 6 macaroni dishes lined up on the table.

MACARONI AND CHEESE

16-oz. box elbow macaroni (we like the small elbows)
16-oz. sharp Cheddar cheese (NY sharp when I can find it)
4 cups milk (fat-free, 1%, 2%, or whole)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
a sprinkle of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to directions on the box. Drain. While macaroni cooks, grate the cheese. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with PAM. Put half the macaroni in the baking dish, layer half the cheese over it, add the rest of macaroni and then the remaining cheese.

Mix the milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour over the macaroni and cheese. Use just enough to cover the macaroni.  (Sometimes I don’t use quite all of the milk/egg mixture. And I have been known to add a little bit more milk if the 4-cups didn't cover it.)

Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes, until lightly browned on top.  Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving so that it "sets." 

You can layer the macaroni and cheese in the dish the day before baking. Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Mix the milk and egg the next day and pour over the macaroni and bake.


And because at the last dinner, we weren't exactly overloaded with main dish items, I made ham and swiss rolls. We call them "ham delights." I could do everything the night before and then pop them into the oven before we left for church.


These are the rolls (there are several similar brands) I prefer, but this time the store where I shopped didn't carry them. And I didn't have time to make a second stop. They were good with regular soft dinner rolls. But next time I'll take time to track down the rolls I like! Other good choices are Pepperidge Farm Party Rolls. And I think there are King's Hawaiian Rolls. The reason I like the little dinner rolls in the foil pan is that you can cut each individual section. That gives you 48 appetizer servings. That's a perfect party size.

HAM DELIGHTS

1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
3 tablespoons French's mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, minced
1 lb. ham from deli, shaved
7-8 oz. Swiss cheese slices (I used 10 slices for 2 pans of rolls)
2 packages dinner rolls
Mix butter, poppy seeds, mustard, Worcestershire, and onion, blending well. 
Split rolls in half. (I do the whole pan without breaking individual rolls apart.) Spread top and bottom with butter mixture. On bottom half, place ham and cheese. Replace top half of rolls. Put the uncut rolls back into foil pan, then cut individual rolls apart. 
Wrap in heavy duty foil. Bake at 400 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. 

You can make these ahead and refrigerate or freeze them. Be sure to label and date if freezing. If you are baking from the refrigerator or freezer, increasing baking time until they are hot in the center and the cheese is melted.








2 comments:

goodnightgram said...

Sound is good. I enjoy church meals like that. Home made mac and cheese is so good! All the best to your pastor on his retirement. And paired up with the ham delights...yum! You were busy.

Mimi said...

HER retirement! :-)