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  1. #1
    maydaymommy is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Default (Update in #11) Help with Mac & Cheese (w/ toppings) for a crowd (Costco??)

    Hi,

    We are going to a family New Years Eve thing. 12 couples, each with an average of 2 kids between 4 - 7.

    I offered to bring one of the things I'm good at making, but that was rejected and i was assigned "mac and cheese."

    I know part of my stress over this has more to do with the company than the task at hand. This group has been together for years, and as we became friendly with a few of the families, we started getting included in some of this big groups' stuff. That is very nice, no complaints about being included, but it's a little awkward. We are definitely the outsiders and they do things differently than the family group we're usually with.
    Anyway....

    I have NO idea how to approach this or what to do, and I am especially confused about how much I should make.

    Do they sell big trays at Costco? Is it cheaper for me to make it myself? Any good crockpot recipes for a crowd.

    I was thinking that for toppings I could do:
    crumbled bacon, roasted grape tomatoes, shredded cheese, ritz cracker crumbs, caramelized onions, maybe scallions AND I kind of want to bring pulled bbq pork or chicken also to go with it. (The pulled pork or chicken is practically the easiest part because I am confident in getting the kind I usually get at Trader Joe's or I think there's a good, easy version at Costco.)

    Is there a shortcut to getting good bacon crumbles or do I just need to cook a lot of bacon?

    I do not know how to go about serving any of this and I need to talk to the hostess about if I can stick a tray in an oven or something, but seriously, she is VERY difficult to communicate with.

    I have a big crockpot and 2 small "little dippers" I could warm things in.

    What do you wise mamas think?? This is totally stressing me out more than it should.

    I have all regular stores available to me for shopping. (Wegmans, Costco, Target, etc)
    Last edited by maydaymommy; 01-02-2014 at 01:49 PM.
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  2. #2
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    My Costco sells big trays of mac and cheese. Do you live far from the party site? I'd heat it at home, put it in a thermal bag, keep it in there until ready to serve, and put it on the table with a spoon.

    I don't think M&C needs toppings, maybe cracker crumbs or shredded cheese, but the Costco ones come with shredded cheese on top I think. Caramelized onions isn't appealing to me as a M&C topper, wrong texture. Does your group include vegetarians? If so, I'd hold off on the bacon.
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
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  3. #3
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    I recently did a Mac n cheese bar for dinner but it was at my home so I didn't have the logistical issues you have. I made mine from scratch using the Ina garten recipe (omitting the tomatoes and bread crumbs).

    My toppings were pancetta (purchased already diced at Trader Joes), chicken (purchased already cooked and cut into strips at TJs), steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower, sliced black olives (from a can), and chopped hot peppers (from a can). I meant to serve salsa, but forgot to put it out. So the vegetables were the only toppings that needed me to do more than open a can.

    Do you know what everyone else is bringing? That might help you figure out how much you should bring. Bringing both the Mac n cheese and the toppings seems like an awfully big assignment for one person at a potluck. It was pretty much the meal at our event and I had our guests bring salad or dessert.

    Catherine

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinFoxes View Post
    My Costco sells big trays of mac and cheese. Do you live far from the party site? I'd heat it at home, put it in a thermal bag, keep it in there until ready to serve, and put it on the table with a spoon.

    I don't think M&C needs toppings, maybe cracker crumbs or shredded cheese, but the Costco ones come with shredded cheese on top I think. Caramelized onions isn't appealing to me as a M&C topper, wrong texture. Does your group include vegetarians? If so, I'd hold off on the bacon.

    Oh good point, it sounds like maybe the assignment is just Mac n cheese? Not a whole Mac n cheese bar? That would make more sense. And in that case, I wouldn't bring toppings at all. I would figure it was a side dish for the most part with some of the kids maybe opting to make it their meal.

    Catherine

  5. #5
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    I would not do all of the toppings for a potluck, just do plain.

    Are you saying 24 adults + 24 kids? I got assigned mac & cheese in the fall and I don't eat it so I had to come here for advice on a recipe and I think I either did Ina's or Pioneer Woman's. I know it didn't have any toppings. I made a double batch, there were 20 people total, and a lot was leftover.

  6. #6
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    Brought Costco's Mac and cheese to a gathering this weekend with 8 adults and 3 kids. There wasn't a crumb left! I baked it in a glass Pyrex and kept it in a thermal carrier. Reheated 15 min. before serving and it was a hit. There was also pork, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and a garden salad.
    -Melissa
    Mom to M (2002) & M (2014)

  7. #7
    kboyle's Avatar
    kboyle is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I love pioneer woman's recipe, but if you just want to heat and serve I'd go with costcos of that's convenient. I wouldn't bring toppings. It's most likely just for the kids or as a side dish anyway.


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  8. #8
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Skip the toppings, especially the BBQ. Was BBQ what you wanted to bring originally? . If you really want to do a topping, I'd just do crumbled bacon. I don't think anything is necessary. I too like Pioneer Woman. I like the frozen from TJs but you'd have to buy a bunch of containers of it to heat up.

  9. #9
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    My husband makes the most amazing mac n cheese. It is Alton Brown's recipe. We just made it for a big family get together & everyone loved it!
    Melissa

    Mom to Emma (4/03), Kate (7/05), Sam and Claire (6/09)

  10. #10
    jam224 is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I love Ina's mac n cheese recipe. I use the corkscrew noodles, which I think looks fancier (and grabs the cheese better). Instead of her topping though, I adopted Alton Brown's version, which uses panko (Japanese breadcrumbs). I like the crunchiness of it. This is traditionally the first homecooked meal I make after we move into a new home!

    If you can buy store-bought though, I'm sure that route would be easier.
    Jennifer
    Proud Air Force wife since 07.05 and blessed SAHM to DD1 born 04.11 and DD2 born 07.17

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