It took a lot of work and our parents were amazing, it was a lot of fun and a great success. Our graduate is incredibly appreciative of both the party and the generosity of our guests.
The cooking went as expected without a hitch and I had plenty of food. I would probably make a recommendation for those considering ribs for a large party to think about the type of ribs they have when calculating how many to make. All of my reading lead me to account for 3 ribs per person when serving other proteins. A typical baby back rib weighs 1½-2½ lbs., the ones I had were 3½-4½ lbs, I would have come closer to what I needed if I had done my calculation with the thought of 2½ ribs per person.
On the day of the party, I started by getting the ribs and mac and cheese out so that they could come to room temperature for more even cooking. Everyone in the house chipped in; this included both boys, my mom, and my in-laws. Once everything was set, excluding the food, I sent my team on missions, boys to get the fried chicken, moms to get the cake, and men to get the beer.
I set about to cooking and put the mac and cheese in the oven and started on the ribs.
I took each pan of ribs out to my grill, and brushed one side with my glaze, and once they were on the grill I glazed the other side.
I moved them through from one side of the grill to the other and ultimately transferred them to a cutting rack for my dad to cut them into single and double ribs and put them in the trays covered with foil to stay warm.
Just before the party we set everything out and started the slide show.
The recipes are as follows and can obviously be scaled as needed. I hope that you enjoy! Please ask questions if you have any regarding the recipes.
Thank you to everyone who helped!
Salads, Summer, Tested and Approved!
Makes Serves 10-12 ∙ Difficulty Easy
- 1 head cabbage
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 Tbsp canola oil
- salt and pepper
Shred cabbage. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage. Salt and pepper.
Add red cabbage and carrots, or use other vinegars for altering flavors and adding color.
Sticky Balsamic Ribs
Entrées, Grilling, Pork
Makes Makes 8 Servings ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Gourmet | July 2009
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 8-12 pounds baby back pork ribs, (8 racks; see cooks note below)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
Marinate and roast ribs:
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt. Stir together with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly all over ribs and transfer to roasting pans. Marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
Pour 1/2 cup water into each roasting pan and tightly cover pans with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pans from oven and transfer ribs to a platter.
Make glaze and grill ribs:
Add 1 cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).
Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes.
If you can only get larger ribs (4 racks), you will need more glaze; use 12 large garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.
Ribs can be roasted and glaze can be made ahead and chilled separately (covered once cool). Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing and grilling.
Sally’s Mac & Cheese
Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!
Cook 30-40 minutes ∙ Makes 8-10 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Aunt Sally
- 2-3 eggs beaten, large
- 24 ounces cottage cheese
- 16 ounces sour cream
- 4 cups cheddar, shredded
- 4 cups macaroni, cook as directed in salted water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the ingredients in order and salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, top with panko or crushed saltines.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Can be mixed in an oven proof bowl and baked directly or for more crispness on the top, bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Also scales well for large groups.
I have played with this recipe successfully including substituting Picolini for the elbows, dropping the cottage cheese down to 16 oz. and replacing with feta, and replacing half the cheddar with other cheeses such as smoked Gouda.
To make this as Bacon Mac & Cheese, use 3 eggs, and reduce cheddar to ~1 cup, and add 1 block of shredded sharp white cheddar, 1 block of shredded Boar’s Head 3-pepper co-jack, and ~1 pound chopped cooked bacon.
Breads, Tested and Approved!
Difficulty Hard ∙ Source Grandma
- 2 cups milk, lukewarm (less amount of water used to dissolve yeast)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 envelopes yeast
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, soft
- 7 – 7 1/2 cups flour
- butter, soft
- powdered sugar
- cream or half and half
Dissolve yeast in a small amount of warm water. Mix milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat to ~105℉. When the milk is warm pour into a large bowl and mix in the yeast. Stir in the eggs and butter.
Start mixing in the flour, stirring until thick and then kneading until soft and elastic.
Allow to rise for 2 hours (until doubled) then punch down. Butter pans (allowing dough to rest) then make the rolls. Allow to rise until light.
Bake at 400℉ for 15 minutes.
Use light colored metal pans to bake the rolls, dark and glass pans can tend to over bake the bottom.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Breads, Tested and Approved!
Prep 2-2½ hours ∙ Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes 3 loaves ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Mom
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 envelopes yeast
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 5 – 5 1/2 cups flour
In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast.
In a pan, heat water, milk, honey, and oil until warm. Pour liquid over flour mixture and mix for two minutes with a mixer.
Add white flour until smooth and elastic; knead for 5 minutes. Raise for 60-90 minutes (until doubled). Punch down and shape into loaves.
Let raise for 45-60 minutes. Bake 30 minutes at 400℉.