Friday, September 12, 2014

Catering for a Labor Day Campout

Earlier this year I was asked to cook for a campout at the church I grew up in. My parents still attend and this year they were organizing the annual church campout. 

It was an out reach to the community and while it rained most of the weekend, we had a wonderful time. 

Here are some pictures of my food adventures!

I put together these buckets to help people know where to line up for food. I made signs to change out for every meal. The signs had scripture, quotes, thoughts, all about prayer. Unfortunately, it rained after the first breakfast and well, I didn't laminate my signs. :) I was able to use them though for the last meal after church on Sunday, once the sun shined through. :)

These five gallon buckets were easy to put together. Thankfully my dad provided the buckets and filled them with dirt he had on at his house. I got fabric and tied it around them. The signs were stapled into the sticks. The ground was too hard to put the signs into anyway and we were able to move the buckets around as we needed. :)

Ultimately, if the lines were long, I wanted to provide something for them to read and ponder while they waited.

These were fun centerpieces to put together. I already had the jars, thanks to my mother-in-law.
The burlap and red gingham fabric were easy enough to wrap around and while I thought I was going to get white carnations at the store I was happy to see they had red! I did have red gingham napkins unfolded into a large square under the vase but with the moisture from the rain, they didn't last past the first day. :) 

 Our first breakfast included, scrambled eggs with diced ham and shredded cheese (tillamook cheese, at my dad's request), roasted potatoes and yogurt cups with berries on top and granola on the side.

After the first meal and the pouring down rain, we moved our food table under the big dining tent to let people be fully covered from the rain. We had black carts we could use to bring the chafing dishes out to the tent, from the kitchen.

Here are some pictures of our fruit cups...I layered them with pineapple (the most juicy on the bottom), strawberries, green grapes and blueberries on top. These large trays fit perfectly in the fridge and were really helpful for storing our dished up food. :) 

For the second breakfast we had miniature quiches, sausage links, a fresh fruit cup, and assorted costco muffins. 

Cutting them in half allowed for people to take different flavors...always hard to choose! 

"Rise and Shine happy campers!" Breakfast is ready to eat! 

Our first lunch of the weekend: 
Who doesn't love to pick out their own bag of chips!?

A different view for how we arranged the line and from the kitchen to the big dining tent. This was on the last day, when it was nice and sunny. :)

Build your own deli sandwich. Having servers was a big part on why this lunch was successful. We bought black aprons for them to wear, to look unified, we had gloves for serving and with their help the line moved right along. 

We had three different types of meat: roast beef, turkey breast, and smoked ham.
We pre-portioned them and folded them up to make it ready to put on the sandwich. 

I bought pre-sliced cheese but we layered them so they were quick to grab two slices to put on the sandwich. I separated each layer of cheese with plastic wrap so they wouldn't all stick together. I was able to prepare these after breakfast and have them in the fridge, ready to serve. 

I first intended to group these items together, tomato and pickles laying on top of the lettuce. But because the group wasn't so large we could have more time getting though the line. I also provided squirt bottles for mayo, ketchup and mustard. No messy knives in mayo jars etc...  

Pasta salad! The day before I cooked the pasta in batches, not too well done so they held their shape, I put them in an ice bath, covered in a little bit of oil so they didn't stick and put them in zip lock bags. We chopped up cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots and mixed them all together in a big bowl with italian dressing and a bit of italian seasoning. After dishing them up in a cup we put a little fresh parsley on top for looks. :) 

Having them dished up already was great. The dressing didn't get all over the plate.

Having some of the food already dished up into cups allowed people to just grab some and go. It was a constant theme for many of our meals. It allowed me to know how many portions I had and kept the line moving at a fast pace. Plus, it made the food look pretty! :)

Dinner Time:
With the rainy weather this meal was a big hit! Hot chili and hot dog bar. :) 

We did have to grill these before service with an umbrella over the outside grill. :) It was pouring rain at dinner time. In fact at one point we had to wait until it slowed down before we brought more food out. I was happy to be working in the kitchen all day! :)

Fixin's!  We had a smaller pot of chili for our gluten-free guests. 

Cheese, onions, saurkraut, banana wax peppers, and jalapeƱos. What else could you want for your hot dog? :) 

Watermelon was a perfect side to this meal! 

After church lunch! We had the most guests on this meal and the sun was finally shining!

Our menu: BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (I didn't get a picture), corn on the cob, watermelon, and chips and chocolate pudding dessert!

We had a great group, about 200 people for the last meal. The sun was out and it was a great way to end the weekend. :)  Plus, packing up with sun rather than rain was nice. :)
Pulled pork sandwiches. I bought pulled pork at costco, kirkland brand which is also gluten free. At home, before the weekend, I cooked it on the stove in batches, 28 batches to be exact. :) and mixed it with sweet baby rays BBQ sauce (Also GF) and put it a ziplock bag, flat, and into my freezer it went. :) Then we could reheat it before service and bring it up to temp, add more sauce if needed but it wasn't necessary, and it was ready to serve. Having pulled it apart before hand and pre-mixed it with sauce was a huge benefit and time saver. 

Corn on the cob was fun to cook. We actually did mini portions and cut the cobs in half.  We boiled them on the stove and kept them piping hot in these large crockpots. 

Isn't this just the cutest! I love these little dishes I found that perfectly fit my little cobb-ets! It let us brush butter on top and keep the drippings from getting all over the plate.  

Having melted butter in a crock pot was perfect for one of our servers to brush on the top of the corn. 

Another way we used the cups. These were great to put together. I mixed large bags of pudding mix, with gallons of milk and used a ladle to pour into these cups before they firmed up. Before service I added cool whip and used a chilled chocolate bar and an apple peeler to put curled chocolate shavings on top!

Looking back on it, after the rather filling meal, these cups didn't need to be as full to the top. :) It was a good portion of pudding. :) 

These trays cleared fast! We had cookies and fresh fruit as well.
This camp out was a ton of work, and long hours on my feet but I had the most amazing helpers in the kitchen. There were no emergencies, or kitchen disasters or last minute stresses. Everything came out hot and on time and ready to go. Our only issue was having a ton of food left over. But God used that food to provide for a local sandwich ministry that this church supported. The men were leaving for a camping trip the next weekend and used the rest of the left overs. :) What wasn't opened or still frozen was able to go back into the church for future events. 

Note to self: Do not wear new running shoes when you are going to be on your feet all weekend. After my 14-hour day on Saturday, I had quite battle-wound. :( A two-inch bruise on the bottom of my left foot. :(  

Thankfully my husband had a clean house for me when I got home and I could put my feet up before the school year started a few days later. :)

There were lots of fun events for the kids, pony rides, a giant bouncy house and this rock wall. My dad even climbed up to the top. Here are some of our girls climbing this rock wall. 

Overall, this was super fun and gave me a little outlet for catering. My husband and I used to work as professional cooks and have catered weddings for friends in the past. I love to host a party and see things come together for the big day! 

1 comment:

  1. I want to share with you all here on how I get my loan from Mr Benjamin who help me with loan of 400,000.00 Euro to improve my business, It was easy and swift when i apply for the loan when things was getting rough with my business Mr Benjamin grant me loan without delay. here is Mr Benjamin email/whatsapp contact: +1 989-394-3740, /