It was fun being a caterer for a day and Week 2 of Holiday Challenge

I’ve been really Bizzy in my kitchen lately.  A friend and co-worker was having a house warming party, and after helping her with the menu (um, fyi – sandwiches from California Pizza Kitchen for 40 people was going to cost $400!).

While her mom and sister were helping with some dishes, I shopped, cooked and prepared six appetizers.

  •  baja fresh salsa with fresh homemade tortilla chips
  • mini reuben bites
  • mini cheddar drop biscuit ham and cheese sammies (biscuit recipe below)
  • chicken pesto meatballs in a diablo marinara sauce
  • mini twice baked potato bites (recipe below)
  • bruschetta with homemade garlic crisps (recipe below)

One thing I noticed when I was cooking for someone else?  I hardly took any pictures, and lost a few that I did take somehow!   Somehow two of the six apps survived:

Mini Cheese Drop Biscuit Ham and Cheese Sammies

for the biscuit

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk is fine too)
  • 1 stick of melted butter (yep!)

This is truly simple because you put all the dry ingredients on the bottom, then add the milk and butter, and stir until just combined.  Set your oven at 450.  I used a 1/4 cup measuring spoon, and then divided that mixture in half to get the tiny sized biscuits I wanted.

While this sounded like an easy appetizer, making 100+ biscuits, then letting them cool, then carefully cutting them in half and building a ham, provolone, lettuce and spicy mustard sammie together was quite time consumming!

I don’t have any really big containers either, but discovered that the Dollar Tree has these aluminum pans with lids for $1 each – some were deeper than others, but it worked perfectly.

 Another appetizer that was simple, yet time consumming, was the mini potato bites:

Mini Potato Bites for a Crowd

  • 6 pounds of baby yellow golden potatoes
  • 1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
  • drizzle olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • green onion for garnish

Slice each potato in half, and using a teaspoon, scoop out the inside of the potato, careful not to cut through the skin.  Cut a tiny slice off the bottom of each potato so it lays flat on your baking pan.  Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 for one hour. 

Once they were cooled, I sprinkled with the bacon and cheddar cheese, and at the party I reheated them in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, then finished them off under the broiler for a couple minutes.  Then garnished with sour cream and green onions.

Just an fyi, coring out six pounds of potatoes takes a long time – I think it took me about an hour just to do that!  But they were delicious!

I was worried there wasn’t going to be enough food, but it turned out perfectly.  But I’ve realized I think I would lose my love of cooking quickly if I ever catered again – helping out a friend once is nice, but I don’t think I’ll do it again.

Best part though?  My food cost, including the boxes from the Dollar Tree . . . $91.72!  Here is how I saved money – for the chicken pesto meatballs I ground my own meat and was able to score boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.29 a pound.

I made my own tortilla chips – my store sells fresh corn tortillas, 10 in a package, for .25 cents.  I ended up making 320 tortilla chips for $2.  It just took a while to deep fry them, but everyone loved them.

For my crostini that went with the bruscetta, Jimmy John’s sells their 12 inch day old bread for .50 a loaf.  I picked up 4 loaves for $2.07, and ended up making 200 crostini – I made a mixture of melted butter, garlic and Italian seasoning, brushed over the top of each slice and baked at 350 for 10 minutes.

By the time I got home the last think I wanted to do was cook, so Tony and I ordered a pizza.  We had enough box tops saved to get 50% off any pizza, so we decided to go with the Chicago style deep dish.  Only catch was I had to pick it up.

So I call, make the order, and about 30 minutes later I go pick up the pizza, but they don’t have my order.  I was like “they told me it was going to be $11 with the 50% box tops, and that it would be ready in 35 minutes.”  Still they have no record.  I call Tony, he texts me the number I called which turns out to be . . . the pizza place 1/2 a mile away!

I was so embarrassed!  So I go to the place I actually ordered from, and apparently they have the same box top coupon deal too – only my box tops are not from them.  When I told her that, she took the box tops, threw them away and gave us our pizza for $11!  And she said “you’ll probably like our pizza better!”

It was a good pizza, but Tony and I just watched America’s test kitchen make a true Chicago deep dish pizza – and that is the next pizza on our list to make – hopefully next weekend!

Week 2 Holiday Challenge

I only worked out 3 times last week, and towards the end of the week with Tony’s birthday (and pecan pie) I ended up being up .2.  And this weekend with constantly tasting the food I was making, deep dish pizza and another slice of pecan pie last night, I really need to focus the rest of this week.

How was your week?  Anyone have an achievement to share, or does anyone need some extra cheering?

I am meeting my Mom for lunch to celebrate her birthday today – not sure where we are going – we thought Bonefish (love their bang bang shrimp!) but they aren’t open for lunch.  We’ll see!

Enjoy your Sunday – I plan on staying in 1st place in the football pool with Tony, my step-son and his friend. 😀

sda’;ldakf

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27 thoughts on “It was fun being a caterer for a day and Week 2 of Holiday Challenge

  1. Yum, if I ever need a caterer I know who to call. Those all look amazing, especially the sandwiches.

    I am a little behind on reporting last week’s results so I combined them both in one blog entry. http://tracysjourneytohealth.blogspot.com/2011/09/finally-finding-my-groove.html

    Short story is I am doing great so far. I’ve accomplished one of my goals both weeks and continued to improve on my tracking each week. Now if I could just get the working out in a better groove.

    Loving the challenge so far though, I wouldn’t have done this weel the last two weeks without it. Can’t wait to see how everyone else is doing!

  2. Wow!! Everything sounds great and i cant get over the price. Those mini potatoes would totally get me. Have fun today

  3. Hi Vat!!! OMG…you COULD give up your day job and be a caterer. And I’m in AWE at the price (or lack of) for such an amazing spread!!! My weekly update? Doing well, tracking and water drinking going as planned. (what didn’t go as planned? I forgot to go to weigh in…was having a busy day, and whoops….sigh) Hope you have a great Sunday!!!

  4. I’d already heard all about how you were cooking a ton!!! 😉 Everything looks great!

  5. Dear Lord! Your cooking is special! What a lovely talent you have! I almost ate the pictures straight off your post.

    Regarding Week 2 of the Holiday challenge: I am eating well and going toward my smaller size of jeans by Christmas full force. I am eating MANY vegetables right now. I did backbends in the gym yesterday! So I am working very hard to do great on this challenge.

    🙂 Marion

    • I started reading your back bend post yesterday, then got side tracked before leaving a comment – totally impressed with the back bend!!

      I was super flexible back in the day, I used to sleep in the chinese splits and could do twenty flip flops in a row. Now I can’t even do a hand stand, so I am so happy for your gymnastic skillz in the gym! 😀

  6. I love all of these miniatures foods!!! Party foods are my favorite. So much variety, but small portions of everything. You did a great job! I love the way those sandwiches look. YUM!

    You need to do full-time catering, Biz. You’d be a hit!!! You definitely have a talent for being creative in your bizzy kitchen. 😉

  7. I’m sure the party was a success with all of your creations. Everything looked and sounded fantastic.

    Week 2 of the Holiday Challenge did not go well for me. I could use a little cheering up. On Tuesday I fell down the stairs in my house and fractured a floating rib. I went from training for a marathon to barely being able to move. Ironically one of my goals for the week was to journal my food. I did well with that because now I am concerned about weight gain due to sudden inactivity.

    I am grateful that I didn’t injure my back or hit my head. I am trying to stay positive, but it’s been a rough 6 days.

    My goals for Week 3 are to continue journaling, only I will try to do it on Spark People so that I can monitor calories and nutrition as well. I am also hoping to increase my activity a little bit each day even if it is only a 10 minute walk.

    I hope everyone had a great week. Good luck on Week 3!

    • Aimee, so sorry about your fall but am glad that you are on the mend – I know it has to be hard on you because you are so active, but you will get better. Hugs!

  8. I can definitely see how catering can kill the love for cooking. So much to do all at once for so many people! You have such a knack for it though! And bonus that it was all on a budget!

    Here’s my update: http://cookingaweighthelbs.blogspot.com/2011/09/holiday-challenge-update.html

    I didn’t quite reach my goals this week, but here’s to next week! 🙂

    Have a great day, Biz!

  9. WOW – great job on the catering and smart cost-saving tips. Great price for so many awesome, custom apps!

  10. I haven’t done very well these first two weeks – no gain, no loss. A friend and I have decided we will write down everything we eat for the next week and at the end of the week exchange our journals. Having someone else see (and critic) everything thing I eat may be the motivation I need to eat healthier.

  11. Everything looks amazing! I would definitely hire you as my caterer!

    Week 1 went great for me, I lost 1.2 lbs, this week has been very ehh. I’m not really expecting a loss, and maybe even a small gain. However I know this next week is going to be a little easier for me. I haven’t worked out AT ALL. I know :/ I did however make a schedule for this 3rd week and am glad to have a new start 🙂

  12. Holy money saving Batman! That’s amazing! The food looks baller too!

    I made it to 6 classes at the gym this week. I barely lifted (boo) so that’s a goal for this week. Need to have some big guns, yo. I also ate my weight in crab dip and drank a little too much (it was Girl’s Night and it doesn’t happen that often).

    So this week I will:
    Work out 5 days
    Make better choices with my eats
    Lift 2-3 days

  13. Wow!! you’re a machine! 🙂

    I rode my bike last week. The way out was kind of lax, then Johnny mentioned something about the pace which kind of hurt my feelings. Like I was just lollygagging along, rather than actually working out. So the ride back I turned my gear to be harder to pedal and really upped my pace.
    We just got back from a little 3 day trip up to NY. Of course I ate fast food and drank soda. I’m really looking forward to getting back to healthy food though and re-starting the workout routine. I always get knocked out of whack when I change plans/go out of town.

  14. I STILL need to send you my goals!

    My week was pretty good, but I have a pulled muscle in my side, so I can’t really work out, which is miserable for me. I did quit my job though, so that was nice!

    • So glad you quit that shitty job Errign – you have to do what’s right for you – I like how you said your job was making you hate Ashville, not Ashville in and of itself. Now get your homework done! 😀

      From your blog Momma

  15. Whew! You’ve been busy! #1 I need to start coring our my potatoes with a melon baller, looks much easer. #2 The biscuit idea for the sammies is genius #3 I’m glad I’m not the only one who walked in to pick up food and went to the wrong place:)

  16. Yikes, you have been a VERY Bizzy woman! 🙂 It all looks amazing.
    I have been mostly keeping to my goals……….. I find it harder on weekends. I haven’t had any potato chips though, and I’ve been doing exercise TV. Thanks for the chance to keep on track! 🙂

    • Yep, weekends are hard – I hardly ever count points and I think mentally that I can eat/drink whatever because I have the week to work it off – obviously that isn’t happening!

  17. Busy little lady you are…that would have been so much fun.

  18. Neat post! I think I would feel the same way about catering. Yummy apps however! (and wow! a lot of work!) Don’t feel bad about going to the wrong pizza joint…I went for my yearly dr’s appt, and went to the WRONG OFFICE! I went to an office I used to go to 10 years ago. Talk about a brain fart! I was wondering why everything looked different…the receptionist was like “uhm, it looks different b/c your appt is down the road!” I’m such a dork.

  19. If you had charged for labor it would have added up to $400 Biz. What a nice job you did and what a great friend.

    Pooldad is staring me down for the mini ruebens. giggle – so we will be adding them to our appetizer menu along with the adorable mini potato skins. That is a nice new idea on how to make them.

    I used my hand weights this week. And then the dachshund carried one off. I laughed so hard I couldn’t bear to grab it back for a time. She could hardly carry it. So funny.

    I love them.

  20. Wow! You went all out! I’m pretty sure I would have been snacking away if I lived anywhere near you!

    Here’s the link to my challenge post: http://www.emptynest1.com/2011/09/its-challenge-day_26.html

  21. What delicious apps! WTG – side job in the future?

    Great deal on the pizza! I’ll be waiting for your deep dish pizza recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever had a deep dish pizza…not a legit one anyway…

    Regarding the challenge. I didn’t workout at all last week. Lots of stuff came up, sent me into a downward spiral, but great news for me – I managed to track every BLT & stay within my cal range despite the upset. I’m very happy & consider that a huge NSV.

  22. I had a great week with my goals actually! I relaxed really well in Kauai and enjoyed all the food that I ate while I was there without any guilt!

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