Cooking dinner at RMH -- Hyde Park
posted December 17, 2012 12:56 PM   RSS | iCal | +googleCal

Sat March 2 at 4:30 PM, ronald mcdonald house -- Hyde Park
5444 South Drexel Avenue, Chicago, IL, USA (Map & Directions)
RMH Dinner 1: Let's get together and cook dinner for sick kids and their families at the Hyde Park Ronald McDonald House (5444 South Drexel Avenue, Chicago, IL) on Saturday, 3/2/13 starting around 4:30pm and finishing around 8:30pm
This is confirmed RMH dinner number 1. The other one is proposal number 2. We can do both -- they're about a month apart. Or come to the one that works for you.

We are confirmed with the volunteer coordinator at RMH-- Hyde Park.

Hyde Park RMH asks that we have no more than 12 people. I don't think that should be a problem, but keep that in mind.

At Hyde Park, they ask us to cook for 30 people plus the group of us that comes, and to have dinner ready around 6. I'm happy to help coordinate menus and food amounts and anything else that might need coordinating.

For those that haven't done this before -- they have kitchens in the houses that are well stocked with standard kitchen ware and utensils and tools. We will bring the food along for cooking. Spices they sometimes have, and sometimes don't, so it's safer to bring, but if you forget and it's common, don't worry. They're happy with us cooking whatever menu that we'd like, but to remember that we're cooking for a variety of people with a variety of tastes, so multiple dishes work better than one giant pot of stew so that everyone will be able to eat. So, what do you want to make (yourself, or as a suggestion for the group menu). Please do make suggestions, otherwise I'll accidently come up with something that's a lot of work for everyone like pierogi from scratch.

For those wanting to go, but concerned about distance, in the initial proposal thread multiple people from a variety of neighborhoods mentioned they'd be interested in going and driving other mefites there if it's helpful, so don't let that hold you back.
posted by garlic to Meetup (68 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I will come, I can drive others, and if people are interested in a breakfast-for-dinner thing, I have a waffle maker.

Thanks for organizing this!
posted by phunniemee at 1:04 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm in. Will think about ideas for food. But since I have trouble enough deciding what to eat every night when it's only me, I am also very interested in other people doing the same.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:07 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I cannot commit right now because I'm having a kid at the end of January and who knows what that will do to my availability. That said I want to do both of these.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 AM on December 18, 2012

I'm all over this dinner and can drive others too.

Things I cook regularly that may work for this...
* Cincinnati Chili. I am seriously the master of this dish. It's the only recipe I've created myself and have actually written down. It can be made in large batches.
* Lasagna (no tomato sauce, can be vegetarian if necessary)
* Creole shrimp stroganoff
* Tater tot casserole (not at all healthy, but deliciously cheesy and super easy)
* Apricot pork chops
* Tequila lime chicken
* Baked mac & cheese (what kid doesn't like mac & cheese?)
* Flank steak with spinach, bacon, and swiss cheese (kinda like a rouladen)
* Mashed potatoes from scratch - with or without horseradish
* Curry deviled eggs

I also have a full pantry of spices and seasonings that would impress a chef (I can say this because it actually did impress a chef friend of mine and his culinary school students when they cooked at our house once), so if there are things we need to bring I most likely have them.

The only thing that concerns me is how to gauge the quantity of food to make for this many people. Hopefully garlic or someone else can figure it out because I'm crap at stuff like that.
posted by youngergirl44 at 6:39 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Two things:

1) YAY BABY SHAKES. I forgot to tell you last time I saw you about my trip home for Thanksgiving. It is relevant. Remind me to tell you. (p.s. I will tell everyone, it's not a secret, it's just more like the sort of thing I shouldn't type onto the internet forever.)

2) When I did this several years ago, there were no kids either time. Our group was all adults except for one weekend there was a boy who was about 11 years old. I don't know if that's typical, but it might change the food/activity choices.
posted by phunniemee at 7:22 AM on December 18, 2012

I'm in. I can drive people from the far north side.
posted by misskaz at 7:09 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

For this past thanksgiving I made mashed potatoes for 16 persons, some with blue cheese, some not. Therefore, I could confidently sign up for that dish, it's about 15# of potatoes for 30.
I understand some people don't appreciate blue cheese, so I always split the mash for philistines and not.
Otherwise, I think the only factor to consider in menu planning is cook time, so if the chili, or stew or whatever needs to simmer for an hour, that may be less ideal than a prep and serve after 45 minutes.
ARE WE GOING TO MAKE GREASY HONKEY PIE!? that would be soooo metafilter.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:31 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

we're skiing on this date--so, i guess i'll catch the next one. Have fun!
posted by crush-onastick at 9:24 AM on January 3, 2013

OK, menu so far is
  • mashed potatoes (with and without delicious blue cheese) -- Cold Lurkey
  • Flank steak with tasty stuff -- youngergirl44 (or whatever you prefer as a main dish)
  • mac and cheddar cheese (with and without delicious broccoli) -- garlic
We could probably use a desserty dish, another main dish, and another side or two. If you want to come and be a helper instead of in charge of a dish, no problems. If you need help getting ingredients for your dish to serve 30, let me know.
posted by garlic at 9:43 AM on January 8, 2013


I don't know what it will be but it will be mine and I will love it like a child.
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2013

I child that I then share with others so that they may eat.
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 AM on January 8, 2013

Like the babies in The Road.
posted by phunniemee at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2013

I should stop this metaphor now.
posted by phunniemee at 9:54 AM on January 8, 2013

Actually, I might make chai spice cake.
posted by phunniemee at 10:13 AM on January 8, 2013

I have decided I will make cupcakes. I don't know if RMDH has cupcake pans, and I only have one, so if other people have them (standard size), please bring them!

(I realize this is way far in advance, I just really like thinking about cupcakes.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:39 AM on January 15, 2013

I can do a side veg. Probably roasted green beans and/or sweet carrots. Maybe chicken nuggets for the kids?
posted by eamondaly at 9:00 PM on January 15, 2013

I'm in, but I'm a pretty confirmed worker bee. I can make tasty soup, and I'm good at following directions in general. But I'm used to cooking for one, so scaling up to 30 ... your assistance is required!
posted by sldownard at 9:46 PM on January 16, 2013

Oh, also, I can drive from the South Loop or nearby, and I have a Costco membership if anyone needs to buy pounds and pounds of raw ingredients.
posted by sldownard at 9:47 PM on January 16, 2013

Patients aren't common at the RMH's, but child family members maybe. I'll call and ask if patients dine with us.
posted by garlic at 9:35 AM on January 17, 2013

Current Menu
  • mashed potatoes (with and without delicious blue cheese) -- Cold Lurkey
  • Flank steak with tasty stuff -- youngergirl44 (or whatever you prefer as a main dish)
  • mac and cheddar cheese (with and without delicious broccoli) -- garlic
  • vegetable sidedish (greenbeans and/or carrots) -- eamondaly
  • cupcakes -- phunniemee
  • child friendly entree, perhaps chickeny or nuggetty or both -- ???
just a heads up: we have 10 people going (counting misskaz and MCMikeNamara) and only have room for 2 more according to the volunteer coordinator.
posted by garlic at 10:00 AM on January 17, 2013

If there is still space -- I just mentioned this to Andy (my partner) and he would like to join us.

He mentioned steak fingers as a possible child friendly idea as well. Also do we need to be concerned about drinks? (I/We can cover that, if so)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:37 AM on January 18, 2013

OK, I used my google-fu and chicken nuggets seem like they ought to be doable for even a dilettante like me, if I can rely on eamondaly's mad Fry Daddy skills. I can coat things in breadcrumbs!
posted by sldownard at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2013

Would it be possible for me to go over there and scope out what they have/have not? with that (still formulating) menu in mind?
Like do they have big casseroles/pots or should we bring disposables ourselves... do they have a microplane and zester, or just a zester appropriate pan for deepfrying or other necessities of our ideas.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:15 PM on January 22, 2013

I haven't been to the Hyde Park one, but I have been to 2 other local houses. Their kitchens are stocked as if someone went to a thrift store, and cleaned the thrift store out of supplies -- meaning they have a good set of mismatched standard things like casserole dishes and sheet pans, but if you want something specific like a microplane or a cupcake pan or 3, or want to deepfry something, then we can 1) call or visit ahead or time, 2) bring our own supplies, or 3) change your plans so it's not necessary to have those supplies there (microplane ahead of time, make freeform cupcakes, bake instead of fry, or whatever)
posted by garlic at 7:45 AM on January 23, 2013

make freeform cupcakes

This is what it's called when you just lick the batter off the spoon, right?
posted by phunniemee at 8:47 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The volunteer coordinator says the following:
The people you are feeding are mostly adults. There are right now 2 children in the House. Most of the children are too sick to leave the hospital. Our House is for the Moms and Dads, sometimes Grandparents that can stay here while their child is in treatment at the hospital.

We have a fully stocked kitchen as far as cooking utensils go. We do have a spice cabinet with probably anything you need except for out of the ordinary spices. Let me know if you have further questions. I will email about two weeks prior to confirm your menu. Thank you.

posted by garlic at 8:10 AM on January 24, 2013

Alright... (puts away the reconnaissance gear)... But is it cool if I wear the nightvision googles while we're cooking?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:13 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

OK WE ARE LIVE. Cooking dinner in 2 weeks. The house would like a menu that they can post, so I'll be reconfirming with everyone that they're doing the dish they plan on. No major worries if we change it at the last minute though.

Also going to confirm with the attendee list that everyone's still on board.

Again, let us know if you need help recipe planning, or travel planning, or whatever.
posted by garlic at 4:57 PM on February 21, 2013

So we're cooking for about 40 people? And are there any allergies in the bunch we should worry about?
posted by youngergirl44 at 5:04 PM on February 21, 2013

For menu purposes, I'll be making mocha cupcakes and also some non-chocolate flavor I haven't totally decided on yet.
posted by phunniemee at 5:11 PM on February 21, 2013

It's 25 adults at the house, plus food for us -- we eat with the guests and hang out and try to be friendly with them. So a total of 35 or so. Leftovers are encouraged and shouldn't be worried about, but also remember everyone won't want some of every dish. Overestimate for 25 or so, and things will turn out lovely.

No fear for allergies specifically, we just want to make dishes that a wide audience will like -- so not to spicy or sour or weird, and be able to call out any ingredients that might be allergens if asked.
posted by garlic at 5:15 PM on February 21, 2013

Yes, I'm still down for making approx. 20# of mashed, of which I'll blue-cheesinate some non-zero fraction of. (if it's at all possible to poll the diners before I make the split, I'll try to make sure that it is so every one has enough mashed potatoes of their preference)
I believe I'll begin stockpiling potatoes this weekend... buying them in small batches so that no-one gets suspicious.
I'll also be bringing my own peeler and favorite knife. because, you know that's a lot of potatoes to go through with potentially indifferent implements.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:44 PM on February 21, 2013

I AM SO SORRY TO MISS THIS. But I am SO HAPPY TO BE SKIING. It's sort of a good problem to have.

When shall we do it again?
posted by crush-onastick at 9:54 AM on February 22, 2013

We're going to see how this one goes and reconvene after we're done to figure it out if/when we do it again, where we do it, and everything else.
posted by garlic at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2013

I never volunteered for a specific dish - is anything else needed, or should I just play sous chef for y'all? I'm pretty handy with a knife!
posted by misskaz at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2013

I think sous chef will be fine, unless there's something you feel compelled to make.
posted by garlic at 10:33 AM on February 25, 2013

I can do sous chef too or I can cook - whichever is needed. I'm coming from Evanston so if anyone is nearby I can drive or ride.
posted by xammerboy at 6:44 PM on February 25, 2013

Alright, in addition to my knife and peeler, Imma bring my knife sharpener. I'm writing this here so that I don't forget, and even if I do, I can always ride back and get it.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:26 PM on February 25, 2013

I am happy to report that my test run of chicken nuggets was both (a) ridiculously simple, zomg, why does anyone ever buy these in pre-fab sacks from the freezer section, and (b) pretty tasty, so, you know, VICTORY IS MINE. So I am all set!

But I have a question on prep. Are we going to be competing for oven space or anything like that? I ask because I can bake them to cooked at home and then throw them in quickly to warm and crisp on site, if oven time is at a premium, or I can just do the whole thing on site because it's so easy. (If I do it on site I need to bake in 20 minute blocks at 400°F.) Whichever's more accommodating for the group and/or a timely finish.
posted by sldownard at 6:28 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't been to hyde park's house, but the other two I've been two have had at least 4 different ovens. I think we can be fine mostly assuming there won't be collisions.
posted by garlic at 9:22 AM on February 27, 2013

I've been to the Hyde Park house, and I honestly don't remember there being more than one oven, but the kitchen is large, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if they had an extra one squirreled away somewhere.

If there's only one, I suggest we fight for it. Dinner and a show! How posh!
posted by phunniemee at 10:38 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also my +1 might be out because he might be sick. He's going to the doc today for a strep test. Good times.
posted by phunniemee at 10:39 AM on February 27, 2013

I'm thinking I might do some pre-cooking at home - mostly cooking the bacon that goes in the flank steak thing. Hopefully I won't eat all the bacon while I'm cooking it.
posted by youngergirl44 at 8:44 PM on February 28, 2013

1) Do we need to provide beverages or some kind with our food?
2) Is there anything else that others have realized they need that they need me to pick up?


3) Is anyone driving from somewhere up north/past or near Irving Park/Ashland that can give me a ride? (I can meet you anywhere close -- or really even not close. I'm just f'ing tired of the Red Line.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:18 AM on March 1, 2013

If anyone has any instant coffee, I will need like two tablespoons.
posted by phunniemee at 10:25 AM on March 1, 2013

pre-cooking at home is fine -- we want to be basically ready in an hour and a half and if you need more time than precooking is a good idea.

We don't need to provide beverages.

I think ping misskaz or eamondaly on rides since I believe they are both coming from farther north than that.

From the volunteer coordinator:

If you have not bought all your groceries, I wanted to give you a heads up that we do not have a full house and to plan on 15-20 ppl in the House. Thank you.
posted by garlic at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2013

Yep, I'm driving; hit me up off-list with your address if you're in Edgewater/RP or close to LSD, as I'll be driving that-a-way.
posted by eamondaly at 10:42 AM on March 1, 2013

phunniemee, I have instant espresso if that works?
posted by sldownard at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2013

Perfect! Just need some to blend into my mocha icing. Mmmm. :)
posted by phunniemee at 12:07 PM on March 1, 2013

Oh, and if anyone is so inclined afterwards -- the Midway Plaisance ice skating rink is right there, open skate hours go until 9, and skate rental is $6. Come skate and watch me fail to remember how to do crossovers!
posted by sldownard at 6:56 PM on March 1, 2013

If I arrive tomorrow smelling like wonderful, wonderful bacon, it's because everything in my house now smells like bacon - probably even my pet mice.

I'm going to bring along an oven thermometer in case they have the kind of ovens with no internal thermometer. Also, I can bring a cupcake pan.
posted by youngergirl44 at 8:05 PM on March 1, 2013

I will have a few extra eggs, extra milk, and extra powdered sugar.

For anyone who will be needing those things.
posted by phunniemee at 9:18 AM on March 2, 2013

sldownard, I'm afraid the rink's official closing date was 2.27, we could go wildcatting but you'll need your own skates. (i have an extra pair of men's size 7 on campus).

also, 10 pounds of potatoes is heavy.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2013

Doh! I totally missed that they closed already. :(
posted by sldownard at 11:50 AM on March 2, 2013

Consensus was that this went very well. Everyone's food was apparently delicious, we cooked a lot of food for the house, and we fed some hungry families.

We're also going to do it again, and I'll start figuring out what's available and propose another event soon.
posted by garlic at 7:09 PM on March 2, 2013

Poor Lenten-Vegan garlic, couldn't even taste the riches that his organizing hath wrought. The next event should certainly be after Easter.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:15 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Big, big thanks to garlic for organizing this awesome event.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:33 PM on March 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes - many thanks to garlic for organizing. I had a good time.

When we got home, I was tired enough to fall asleep (which is why I'm up now) and I had another MeFiChi dream. This time, garlic drove Cold Lurkey and me home from cooking dinner at a RMH-type place - IN A FLYING TANK!! It was pretty awesome.
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:27 AM on March 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I was an Apocalypse Tank from Command & Conquer, Red Alert 2. And we were somehow seated on the outside of the tank, below the guns.
posted by youngergirl44 at 1:31 AM on March 3, 2013

Hey there sldownard, just for posterity, i.e. me, Could you divulge your secret chicken nugget recipe? Or feathered dinosaur breaded delicious monstrosity specifics? They were super awesome, and I'd like to replicate them at home. I saw some buttermilk and bread crumbs... and then the magic?
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:38 PM on March 4, 2013

Yeah, actually I would appreciate copies of any and all recipes, provided they aren't family secrets or anything.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:14 PM on March 4, 2013

stovetop mac and cheese
posted by garlic at 7:57 AM on March 5, 2013

Glazed carrots: Boil baby carrots until tender. In a saucepan over low heat, combine 2 tbs butter with 1/4 c brown sugar and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Toss drained carrots with sugar and serve.

Roasted beans: Set oven to 375. In a roasting pan, add fresh, washed green beans and toss with about 2 tbs olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. Remove and toss thoroughly; roast another 15 minutes until tender. Remove and toss with 1 tbs balsamic vinegar.
posted by eamondaly at 9:21 AM on March 5, 2013

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes:
Boil finely sliced red potatoes until they fall apart with little or no provocation, approximately 25 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
Stir in butter and sour cream, salt, pepper and lawry's seasoning salt, all amounts to taste, with a large fork or wooden spoon. Do this efficiently, as you have a limited number of stirs until the whole thing turns into Glue-fest 2013.
To appease the philistines, aliquot a suitable portion to remain blue cheese free. Sneer at it gently.
To the remainder, add as much blue cheese crumbles as it can bear... ~8 oz/5 pounds of potatoes. Stir in minimally, let sit for a minute or two, then stir for the last time.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 12:51 PM on March 5, 2013

And, if despite your best efforts, it still turns to glue, say fuckit and turn it into soup... by adding heavy cream, chicken broth, steamed broccoli and bacon.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 12:53 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The secret ingredient in the cupcakes is two pounds of butter.
posted by phunniemee at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2013

I reiterate: you folks are AWESOME. The sort of awesome you only get with two pounds of butter.
posted by crush-onastick at 3:54 PM on March 5, 2013

If you liked doing this event and want to do it again some time and have preferences, speak up in this proposed repeat.
posted by garlic at 4:06 PM on March 5, 2013

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