Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dutch Oven Dinner

Last year when I was Enrichment Leader we planned as one of our Dinner groups to do a family Dutch Oven Night. It was such a big hit we decided to do it again this year. It was even a bigger hit. With 15 dutch oven dinners, at least 10 gallons of lemonade and some amazing desserts and s'mores we fed almost 120 people. It is sure nice to plan an activity and have that many people turn up. We all had such a great time and the food was delish!!! My husband is such a good sport to sit in the weeds with the hot charcoal and cook all that food, it sure is a good thing that's what he loves to do. Maybe next year we'll get 150. 

Here are the recipes we used.

Byron's Dutch Oven Potatoes

1 lb. thick slice bacon
(1) 10 ½ oz. can cheddar cheese soup
2 med. yellow onions; sliced
1 cup sour cream
5 cloves garlic; minced
2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms; sliced
1 Tbs. Soy sauce
15 medium potatoes; peeled & sliced
salt and pepper to taste
(1) 10 ½ oz. can cream of chicken soup

Heat a 12" deep Dutch oven using 18-20 briquettes bottom until oven is hot. Cut bacon into 1 inch slices and place in oven and fry until brown. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir, then cover and cook until onions are translucent. Add potatoes. In a large bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour soup mixture over potatoes and stir until all potatoes are coated. Cover and cook 60 minutes using 10-12 briquettes bottom and 12-14 briquettes top heat. Stir pot gently every 15 minutes.

Serves: 12
These were sooooo good and even better because I used frozen square cut potatoes so I didn't have to peel and cut 15 potatoes. Made things a little easier for me.

We also tried something a little less traditional and made a pasta dish. It was really good right after I finished it on the stove as directed, but lost a little of it's flavor as it reheated in the dutch oven. I would definitely make it again but just in my kitchen.

Creamy Pesto Rigatoni with Chunky Tomato Vinaigrette

4 c Diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 c Red onion; chopped
3 tb Balsamic vinegar
1 c Low sodium chicken broth
3/4 c Fresh basil leaves
2 tb Grated parmesan cheese
1/2 ts Salt
1/4 ts Ground black pepper
3 Cloves garlic
8 oz Fat free cream cheese; softened
1 lb Rigatoni pasta
1 tb Pine nuts
Combine first three ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Combine broth, basil, Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, garlic and cream cheese in a blender; process until smooth.
Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Drain and place in Dutch oven with basil-cream cheese mixture and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated.
Top pasta with tomato vinaigrette and pine nuts.

I also made a totally yummy dessert that I totally forgot about and now have a whole pan of gooey s'more bars for my family...Darn! Thanks to my sister-in-law for this recipe.

s'more cookie bars
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
4 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars
1 c marshmallow creme (or small handful of mini marshmallows)

1.heat oven to 350 degrees, grease 8" square pan. (you may want to line it with foil for easy lifting out & cutting.)
2. beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. add egg and vanilla; beat well. stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until blended. press half of dough into prepared pan.
3. arrange chocolate bars over dough, breaking as needed to fit. spread with marshmallow cream (or mini mallows). scatter bits of remaining dough over marshmallows; carefully press to form top layer.
4. bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. cool completely in pan on wire rack. cut into bars. makes 16 very rich bars.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cool School

Years ago in Seattle, we had some youth in our ward host "Cool School". They plan a fun day for kids and then you pay them a few bucks to take your kids for a couple of hours and completely entertain them. I LOVED it! So the past few years I have tried to get some girls in my neighborhood to start it up but no one ever did it. Well this year as I was telling someone about it, I realized that Maggie was old enough to host it (with a little help and supervision from me). She was so excited about doing it. We quickly made a flier and planned 5 days to have 8-9, 4-7 year olds come over for crafts, games, activities and lunch. She was booked solid before we knew it. We have had 3 of the 5 so far and they have been a big hit.

4th of July Cool School
We started with Fireworks painting. Instructions here

Then made 4th of July Flip Flops (love the $1 spot at Target for the flip flops). We just tied cute red, white, and blue ribbons and tulle onto the flip flops and most of the girls could do this by themselves (Bonus!!!).

Lunch consisted of hot dogs, chips, grapes and fun patriotic popsicles (homemade by Maggie). Recipe here

Our last activity was decorating sugar cookies. Some of the girls went all out with frosting and Sugar. YUMMY!

And of course what activity would be complete with out a favor of some sort for the girls to take home. Maggie made these for each of the girls. Instructions here
We used scrapbook paper to wrap around life saver rolls (nearly impossible to find these. We went to about 4 different grocery stores before we finally found them at our local mini mart. Why don't they sell life savers anymore?)

Our first Cool School... pulled off fabulously with a big bang!!!

Teddy Bear Tea Party

This was the theme for our second day.
We started by making crowns. What kid doesn't love to squeeze out lots of glitter glue and stick foam stickers onto stuff.

We then made necklaces and bracelets. They lost interest before many of them finished so we ended up having necklaces for the stuffed animals they brought.

We then brought out all of our dress-ups and the girls chose their outfit for the tea party and then we proceeded to have a fashion show for each of them to show off their outfit. My favorite thing of the day was that Preston wanted to join in on the fun, so amongst all the princesses, rock stars, and cheerleaders, we had "BATMAN".

We then went into the Dinning Room for a "proper" tea party. We had flower shaped sandwiches, pretzels,  fruit kabobs, pazookies for dessert and lemonade.

By far my favorite picture of the day. Batman having tea.

Our last activity was a foam princess paper doll craft. 

Party Favor: Flower Suckers. Instructions here
A last fly by.

Second Cool School...I do declare it was a most enchanting day.

Spa Day

We had all the girls come today in their pajamas and had plans to pamper them. Maggie and Lindsey set up pedicure stations and as the girls worked on a fleece pillow (Instructions here) they took turns giving pedicures. We had candles and relaxing music playing. We were excited for this day.

After everyone had their toes done, we had an assortment of meats, cheeses, crackers and vegetables for lunch. We also served fresh fruit smoothies.

We finished off our spa/pajama day by making flower hair clips.

The party favor...bath sponges.

The girls were exhausted at the end of the day and had to relax at the spa themselves.

Spa Day Cool School...Relaxing, Rejuvenating, and Beautifying

Maggie's Birthday Party

We had another birthday in the Kargis home. Maggie turned 11 a few weeks ago. She wanted to have a Hello Kitty party at Cowabunga Bay. I kept suggesting surf themes or beach themes but she insisted on Hello Kitty. We decorated the cabana the best we could and had a little decoration on top of the cake, but that was about it. It was one of the easiest parties I have ever given. The girls loved being at the water park and had totally tubular time!!! We gave little beach bags with hello kitty t-shirts and a few little other hello kitty things like pez dispensers, cupcake rings and stickers in the goodie bags. It was a fun 11th Birthday. Can't believe she's that old.
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4th of July

We had such a fun filled 4th. We started the day off with a neighborhood breakfast and parade. The kids love to decorate their bikes and scooters every year and always do a great job. We had a great little parade with medals and prizes and then had a wonderful breakfast with waffle bar and all kinds of delicious dishes. Thanks to the Youngs for a great party. We look forward to doing it again next year. We then headed down to Grandma Lis' for a BBQ. The kids always love to go down there and hang out with their cousins. There is always so much to do and they are always entertained (I love that aspect of it). And finished off the day by going to Stadium of Fire. I wasn't too sure if I'd like it so many people have told me bad things about it, but I actually really enjoyed it and all the kids had a great time. They were especially excited to see the Jonas Brothers. But I have to say, my favorite part was the fireworks. It was an awesome show. We are so blessed to live in this great country and enjoy all the freedoms we do. I love the 4th and we had a great one this year.
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