Retreat House Menu

Joined Jun 20, 2011
Hi everyone!

I need help planning a menu for a small retreat house in Michigan (can serve up to 60 retreatants). We have been around for 50 years and in the past the religious Sister's who founded the retreat house used to plan, cook and serve some very excellent meals. They no longer do. We have been serving the standard fair since I arrived (3 yrs.) and I want to change the menu! So here's what I'm looking for from the experts:

1) As inexpensive as possible; we buy in bulk frozen meats, breads, veggies, dry goods from Gordon Food Service. Also fairly easy to prepare: our current cook creates very tasty dishes, but is unorganized!

2) Prepared food not used after a retreat we'd like to freeze to serve for the following weekend (one time only; we are well versed/certified in safe food handling).

3) Semi-healthy; low salt, fats, etc. We get a mix of folks in - some want healthy, some want good 'ole home cookin'.

4) Breakfast, lunch & dinner on Saturday, breakfast & lunch on Sunday. 

5) Last seasons menu: Saturday - Scrambled eggs, ham, toast, dry cereal, juices; mesquite chicken salad, soup (usually veggie), rolls/breads, dessert; spaghetti w/ground turkey sauce, garlic sticks, dessert. Sunday - Dry cereals, yogurt, toast, sometimes muffins; some kind of baked chicken breast (bbq, seasoned), rice, mixed veggies, rolls, apple pie & ice cream.

6) Is it possible to create two main course selections of the same type of meat and still keep prices down? Or freeze leftovers for use the following week? I'd love to give our retreatants more menu choices, but our budget is limited!

Ok, that's enough for now! Any and all advice/menu choices would greatly be appreciated! And I'll keep an eye on this blog as much as possible - we need help!

Thanks tons!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
Joined Jun 14, 2002
What kind of equipment you got there?

I would keep it at one menu option, and if you want variety, change the menu more often.

Red beans and rice is one of my go tos in situations like these. The rice is simple steamed white rice. Simple beans are sweat onion, celery, garlic, mild and hot green pepper, herbs (at least thyme and bay and black pepper) in bacon fat if you have it. Added soaked beans, cook until tender. Don't forget salt. Beans are improved by cooking with ham hock, or chopped bacon ends browned. You can either serve this plain, or with a pork chop, or a hot link. I serve the rice and beans separate, not mixed.

A big ol bowel of split pea with ham and bacon and a stack of excellent garlic bread is also a cheap meal that can't be beat.

Speaking of beans, yet again. Frijoles ala charro is also a good cheap dish. Basically it's soupy mexican style pinto beans, that you add bacon and diced steak that's been grilled. Serve with rice and tortillas and salsa.

Be back later, need to get some beans...

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