New recipes for better camp food?
August 14, 2009 6:34 AM   Subscribe

What are some good, healthy bulk recipes (200 people) that I can serve at my camp?

Our camp food is pretty unhealthy and unappealing right now (chicken fingers, frozen pizza, boiled or canned veggies), and I've been given the task of making it more healthy and diverse.

I'm talking to co-ops in the area to get some local and some organic fresh veg to replace the frozen, but I would also like to get some recipes, links, and resources about what to actually serve.

The camp is for 9-13 yr old inner city girls who don't have very experienced palates and don't really love branching out into new territory, so spicy things, curries, etc won't fit the bill.

Another restriction is that the meals can't take all day to cook since we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner all out of the same kitchen and we need the space for each meal.

The meals each need to have a protein, 2 veg, and a carb/starch in order for us to get the gvnt food subsidy.
We have to serve each kid, so no "make-your-own" style as with a salad bar or taco bar.

So can anyone help me out with recipes for 200?
-meat, vegetarian both ok
-any meal, but I think dinner needs the most help
-doesn't take all day to prepare
-includes protein, 2 veg, carb/starch
-each portion must be handed out instead of self-serve
posted by rmless to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Breakfast Burritos are usually popular at camp. It also is packaged nicely as single a single serving. Here is a link about making a bunch at a time (not 200, but it gives you an idea of proportion). Chop up peppers and onions to cook into the eggs, then with the salsa, I think you meet the nutritional requirements. Or just serve with some fruit/fruit salad on the side. Use whole wheat tortilla for extra healthy.
posted by piratebowling at 6:45 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Finally, a use for Food for Fifty, a book that's been sitting on my shelf for years (I have a much older edition than this one). When I get home, I'll flip through, and see if there are any recipes that suit your needs. (It's possible there aren't, but I'm excited just to have a reason to look!)
posted by ocherdraco at 6:57 AM on August 14, 2009

How about rice & beans?

Stew together black beans, canned tomatoes, chopped green peppers, and fresh or canned jalapenos (sparingly). In another pot, make the rice - use brown rice or maybe even orzo or quinoa. You can top with a little sour cream or cheese.

Easy to serve, easy to keep hot, filling and healthy.
posted by minervous at 7:04 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Some nice veggie-heavy chili could fit the bill, and it doesn't need to be too spicy. Brown some ground turkey or lean beef with some onions and garlic, add spices too your liking (chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper) then toss in other vegetables (zucchini, peppers, carrots... almost anything goes), cook for a bit, then throw in some crushed or diced canned tomatoes and beans. Simmer for a bit, but no need to let it cook all day -- half an hour to an hour should do it.

So there's your 2 veg 1 starch -- make some nice big pans of simple cornbread and you're set. Each kid gets a piece of cornbread and a ladleful of chili on top.
posted by Ladybug Parade at 7:14 AM on August 14, 2009

Sorry, I meant chili gives you 2 veg, 1 meat -- cornbread is the starch, obviously.
posted by Ladybug Parade at 7:15 AM on August 14, 2009

Best answer: Lasagna, garlic bread, and salad with ranch dressing. My 8 year old will eat anything with ranch.
Maybe spanakopita with tziki.
Tofu corndogs.
chicken and dumplings.
You can hide a lot of nutritious things in chili and serve with cornbread.
posted by krikany at 7:22 AM on August 14, 2009

This book. By the cook at Hurricane Island Outward Bound in Maine. Tasty, nutritional, economic, lots of planning info, the whole package. Pure genius.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:48 AM on August 14, 2009

Best answer: Food for Fifty is definitely a helpful resource. Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd is also a great cookbook for this purpose, and it has an emphasis on fresh, healthy, veggie meals. Most of the recipes in it are scaled for 30-50 people, but it's easy enough to multiply quantities. Some crowd-pleasing, single-servable meals I've made from that book:

- Polenta Cutlets with tomato sauce & mozzarella on top, served with a side salad
- Chilaquile Casserole with fresh (mild) salsa & calabacitas
- Pretty much any of the casseroles, with appropriate side dishes to match
- Spanakopita (ideally, served with lamb cutlets and a simple salad of tomatoes dressed in oil & vinegar)

For large groups, I'm also a big fan of the following:

- Lasagne (easy & satisfying, serve with a side salad)
- Chicken Kebabs (marinate in some sort of simple dressing overnight, serve with pita bread, grape tomatoes, and tzatziki)
- Fritatta (make it a potato-based one if you're serving it for dinner, and add in any veggies and shredded cheese you have sitting around; bake it in full-sized hotel pans and slice it up in squares to serve)
- Stir fry (use equal parts minced garlic and ginger for the base, any colorful veggies you have on hand, add marinated chicken or beef, serve over massive quantities of rice)
- Chili (as others have mentioned, serve it with cornbread and cheese. I particularly like this quinoa chili, and you can always dial down the spice by adding less chipotle.)
- Chicken Caesar Salad (make it more hearty by serving it with minestrone and thick slices of garlic bread)

One final note: I always found Chez Panisse Vegetables to be an incredibly helpful resource. The recipes are delicious, incredibly simple, easy to scale up, and a great help when you're trying to figure out how to make the same old carrots (or tomatoes, or broccoli, or whatever) taste delicious and new. I am a particular fan of the Moroccan carrot salad (it's a snap with baby carrots or full-sized carrots grated in a food processor) and the wild mushrooms baked in parchment (sounds complicated, but it's actually the simplest and most delicious thing in the world). Good luck!
posted by ourobouros at 7:52 AM on August 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you have bowls:
Gazpacho (from memory, not notes so bear with me - scaling might need to go up 1.5-2x for this as I believe this is enough for one 10 galons bucket (mostly full)

estimated portion size: 8 oz. (ladle)
required amount for 200: 12.5 gal.
reccomended amount: 15 gal.

Requires: knife, cuttingboard, two 10-galon buckets with lids, bermixer or blender, spatula, spoon, 8 oz. ladel, fridge space.

Preparation time: less than 45 minutes for 1 person (once you get the hang of it).

24 english cucumbers: wash, quarter deseed (cut out middle), rough chop.
12 red peppers: wash, slice sides off, deseed, trim whites, rough chop.
12 green peppers: wash, slice sides off, deseed, trim whites, rough chop.
6 jalapeno peppers: wash, wear gloves, slice sides off, deseed, rough chop, discard gloves.
12 white onions: wash, trim tips, peel, rough chop.
2 bunches green onion: wash, remove end and bad portions, rough chop (slightly finer than the rest)
fistfull of garlic: wash, trim tips, rough chop.
12 tomatoes: wash, hull, rough chop.
8 limes: wash, zest, split, juice, discard husk, set aside juice.
6 lemons: wash zest, split, juice, discard husk, set aside juice.

olive oil (close to a quart, though add it while blending)
white or cider vinegar (between a quart and a galon, add while blending)

If you have a bermixer and all to 10 galon bucket, throw everything in it and blend, slowly working in vinegar and olive oil.
If you only have a blender, you'll have to work in batches. Use vinegar and olive oil to work batches.
Once you are at consistency, add , salt and pepper, and citrus juice, and blend again to disperse flavor.

put clingfilm directly over the gazpacho, seal bucket, label lid and side of bucket with contents and date. Put in fridge.
Stores for 3-4 days (longer, but you'll loose integrity).

Possible additions: an hour before service, mash avacados and work in a portion of gazpacho, work avacado mix back into original batch (avacado discolors over time, best to add right before service).

Serve cold on hot days.
posted by Nanukthedog at 7:54 AM on August 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There are a lot of websites with this kind of stuff. Here are a few. Some with just recipes, but others include strategy and good advice. Surprisingly, the ACA site is the weakest in this department. Ellen's kitchen has a page with a grid showing how much to buy to serve 50-100-150 people.

ACA wholesome food tips
Recipes for a crowd
Ellen's Kitchen

You have a really interesting project going. Good luck with it!!
posted by SLC Mom at 8:07 AM on August 14, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you all for the recipes and book tips.
If you have any more specific recipes I can hand over to the chef (I think the word "fritatta" will make her frown), I'd really appreciate it.
posted by rmless at 9:59 AM on August 14, 2009

My link got messed up from before, here is the right one.
posted by piratebowling at 10:22 AM on August 14, 2009

One of the most favorite meals at my summer camp was called affectionately "bread soup cheese fruit" (that's how it appeared on the weekly menu).

It consisted of soup - usually chicken vegetable/noodle, sometimes tomato; cheese - small cubes of cheddar, jack, and swiss; fruit - mixed bowls of grapes, nectarines, peaches, sliced melons; and bread. The bread was the star attraction, baked that day, served warm, with butter. Our camp had a lot of less adventurous eaters, too, but they loved this meal. The fruit was mostly fresh from the markets in south Jersey.

Other favorites - instead of frozen prepared pizza, the cooks made big sheet-pan pizzas on dough mixed in the Hobart, and topped them with crushed tomatoes and a lot of fresh veggies, also locally sourced. Usually each dinner table got a plain pie and one with veggie toppings. Both disappeared. If your cook doesn't want to make their own dough, you can buy prepared frozen dough, for both pizza crust and bread baking.

Roasted chicken/turkey - we used to have this on Sunday. It seems expensive, but per person it works out pretty good, because there are so many servings of meat. The cooks roasted several and carved them roughly, served them on platters with a pile of carved meat and a couple wings and drumsticks. Roasted potatoes, or stovetop mashed, went with it, along with something like broccoli.

An awesome side that kids love in spite of themselves is zucchini and summer squash (cheap too). The trick is to shred or grate the zucchini and squash. Then saute it in olive or canola oil with a nice amount of garlic. The garlic puts it over the top - pretty yummy stuff.

Broccoli can also be rendered delicious if, instead of boiling it, you roast it. Just toss it in a large bowl with olive oil and minced garlic, spread on a sheet pan, and roast at about 400. Pretty nice.
posted by Miko at 12:10 PM on August 14, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Okay, here are some recipes from my copy of Food for Fifty (which, it turns out, is the first edition, from 1937). Not surprisingly, all recipes serve fifty. These are likely of more value as a view into institutional food circa 1937 (nearly all the salad recipes, for example, involved gelatin) than they will be useful for this specific purpose, but I did try to choose dishes your girls might like.

Tuna Fish and Noodles

Cook, drain, and wash 1 3/4 lb. Noodles. Add 9 cans Tuna Fish, flaked. Mix 4 qt. Milk, 1 1/2 Tbsp Salt, 6 oz. Flour, and 8 oz. Butter into a white sauce, and then add to Tuna and Noodle mixture. Place mixture into a baking pan 12 in. x 20 in, and bake at 300°F. After 30 min, sprinkle 1 lb. Ground Cheese over the top before returning the pan to the oven for the final 15 minutes.

Spanish Meat Balls

Combine 12 lbs. ground meat, 12 beaten eggs, 1 small onion, 1 1/2 oz. salt, 1 lb. 2 oz. uncooked rice, 1 lb. mashed potatoes, 4 oz. green pepper. Measure with a No. 8 dipper and form into balls. Place in pans. Pour over the balls a mixture of 3 qt. tomato puree and 2 qt. water. Bake approximately 2 1/2 hours at 300 to 350°F or until meat and rice are tender.

Stuffed Peppers

Combine and fry green pepper trimmings, 1 chopped onion, 4 oz. fat for three minutes, and then add to 7 lbs. cooked ground meat. Mix together 1 1/2 Tbsp salt, 6 beaten eggs, 1 pt. milk and add to the ground meat mixture. Fill 50 green pepper halves with the mixture, and then sprinkle a mixture of 4 oz. bread crumbs and 2 oz. melted butter over the top. Pour 2 qt. milk around the peppers, and bake for 1 hour at 350°F.

Apples Stuffed with Sausage

Wash and core 50 tart apples. Pare upper 1/4 of each apple. Place apples in a baking pan. Sprinkle over the apples 3 lbs. brown sugar. In the center of each apple place an equal portion of pork sausage (3 lbs. pork sausage total). Pour hot water into the baking pan to a depth of 1 in. Bake approximately 1 hour at 350°F or until apples are tender. Serve with toast.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:56 PM on August 14, 2009

Big-Assed Pot Of Soup

Big-assed cans of creamed corn.
Ground turkey.
Fresh parsley.
Chicken stock cubes.

Brown off the turkey, drain off excess fat. Add cans of creamed corn, top up with water and stock cubes to make a thick soup. Stir through fresh chopped parsley. Season. Serve with chunks of buttered bread. Want more carbs? Add diced potatoes.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:12 PM on August 14, 2009

If frittata makes the chef growl, say "baked scrambled eggs" instead!

I learned how to make "church eggs" for 100 people using a recipe and instructions from Growlies for Groups. The recipes are very basic and shouldn't scare anyone. You could probably up the health factor by using fresh veggies instead of canned, lowering salt , etc.
posted by vespabelle at 10:37 PM on August 14, 2009

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