Cooking for our football playerscan be a fun (and stressful) experience! I always stress about not having enough food. There have been times where we have run out of food, and other times when we have so much leftover that we have to send entire pans home with players...it's a tricky balance to manage, but I would much rather have too much food than not enough.
Recently we had our position group over for dinner and I wanted to share the recipes I made, as well as how many times I multiplied those recipes. The position group that we have is Defensive Line, and we are at the college level. We had 19 D-linemen over, one wife of a player, and my husband and myself, so 22 people total. But when I'm planning a meal for D-linemen, I usually double or triple that number for serving sizes!
One of my current goals in life is to not make myself crazy with the expectations of others. For me, that meant not making myself crazy with stress in trying to make everything about this meal perfect and from scratch. So you're going to see a few short-cuts in the recipes below, so please don't judge me for that! It resulted in me having a much better attitude while preparing it all and it also helped me enjoy the players more while they were over.
Our menu was:
Pulled pork sandwiches
Brownies & ice cream
I'll break them down as follows:
1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Pork Recipe: (I multiplied the following recipe 5 times) adapted from PaleoLeap
- 1 pork shoulder or butt roast (5-6 pounds)
- 3 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp dry mustard
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1 large barbecue sauce container (or 2 regular bottles)
- 2 hamburger buns per person (I bought Hawaiian buns and they loved them)
Again, I multiplied this by 5. That was actually way too much, and I know I could have been fine to just multiply it by 4.
I bought the meat from Sam's and asked them to cut the meat into smaller cubes, as well as trimming some of the fat off. That saved me so much time! I put the meat into crock pots (3 of them actually) and put the seasoning on them the night before and let it sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning I set the crock pots on Low and cooked the meat for 8 hours. After it was done cooking, I shredded the meat and added the barbecue sauce.
2. Smothered Green Beans (the players call them "crack green beans" because they love them so much!)
- I multiplied this by 4. Again, way too much, but that was okay.
- To save myself some time, I bought pre-cooked bacon strips from Sam's. Game changer!
3. Hashbrown Casserole
- I decided to save myself some time and stress and I bought this from our local grocery's catering section. I'm so glad I did this! BUT if you choose to make it yourself, here is a good recipe.
4. Brownies & ice cream
- I used 4 boxes of brownies and followed the directions. I put half of the mix in one 9x13 pan and the other half in another 9x13 pam
- In past years we have gotten a half gallon of ice cream (Bluebell, of course) and either we scooped it for them or they scooped it themselves.
- This year, we got the individual ice cream cups and it was so much faster! I definitely recommend doing this.
We have an interesting housing situation, and we live on campus in a dorm because of my job (we have a nice, 2 bedroom apartment with a kitchen, but it is still in a dorm building). So we actually decided to use that to our advantage and we hosted them in the lobby of the building. We had the food set up in our kitchen so they would feel welcome walking through our home, and I had our school deliver long tables and chairs for us to use.
We also set up a game of corn-hole in the lobby, as well as a putting green that we got for our wedding.
And our guys have an on-going Mortal Kombat competition with my husband, so we set up the X-box and they all played each other.
What I love about these dinners is when they choose to stay, even after the food is gone. That was something I loved about this past dinner because most of our guys chose to stay after to talk and play games. I love those moments we get to have with them! It reminds me about the important parts of my husband's calling, and makes it worth it when things get tough with this coaching life!
What are some tips and tricks that you have with your player dinners? Am I the only one who gets stressed out by them? ;)