Dinner for fifteen! (Or eight.)

The RSVP list for my pre-Boulder Outdoor Cinema (showing Princess Bride) dinner party kept growing and growing until finally I was up to fifteen guests – though only eight showed up. But I’d never cooked for fifteen people before from scratch!

The menu was going to be chicken tikka masala, as it was possible to make that partially vegetarian (set some sauce aside) for my one vegetarian guest. I also decided to make a pie as my fridge had frozen my strawberries and I could get some fresh rhubarb from my co-worker who’s an organic farmer. Add some whipped cream on top and the pie was a HIT!

Cooking from scratch for a dinner party of fifteen took some planning. So I sat down a wrote out a detailed schedule of what to do when, starting with making the pie filling at 4:15 to having everything ready to serve at 7:00.
The party was a smashing success, though I was so exhausted after three hours of cooking (plus another of cleaning) that I took no photos. And nearly fell asleep during Princess Bride. The cool breeze and listening to hundreds of people quote along from the movie kept me semi-conscious.

Anyway, enough storytelling. Here’s the recipies, adjusted as I made them. 

  • Chicken Tikka Masala! (I tripled this recipe)

    1 cup yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • rice
  • pita bread

  • Combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, and ginger. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, and paprika. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

  • Cook chicken pieces on a grill on skewers or a bit at a time in a frying pan. Discard marinade. Add chicken to sauce and simmer 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

  • Serve over rice with pita on the side; garnish with fresh cilantro.

  • Strawberry Rubarb Pie!

  • 3 cups strawberries (frozen)
    1 cup sugar
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 cups rhubarb, sliced (fresh)
    ½ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    2 crusts for 9-inch pie – Pillsbury refrigerated worked awesome!

    1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar

    Mix together strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, rhubarb, lemon peel and lemon juice. Let stand 60 minutes. Roll both crusts; place one in a pie tin. Top with fruit mixure. Cut slits in the top crust and place on top of the fruit. Crimp the edges, dust with cinnamon sugar.

    Bake in a 400° oven for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 375°. Bake for 45 minutes. Cover the crust with aluminum foil if it browns too much. Cool before serving.

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