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Published on February 20th, 2012 | by DerbyLife


Chef Morticia Feeds the Family Right

or: 40 mouths to feed with 8 crockpots, a broiler, and a mountain of brownies
by Rigor Morticia (photos courtesy of She-Wrex, Bill Rhodes, and Rigor Morticia)

The Blue Ridge Rollergirls are on a mission: geting ripped in the off-season in preparation for a kick-ass competitive season. The pack has descended onto freeweights and treadmills courtesy of a sponsored gym membership and we are focused on high-class nutrition to fuel the derby fire. Unfortunately, derby isn’t all skating and bench presses; there are hours spent running the league’s every function. Our annual league meeting is a multi-hour extravaganza of committee presentations and planning for the next season. After the success during Rollercon 2011 of feeding five people for a week in a hotel room with one rice cooker, an electric kettle and an iron, I wanted to see if I could replicate the feat: feeding 40 league members a nutrition-packed meal and snack during and after an afternoon of league meetings.

I needed to participate in the meetings so I couldn’t spend all my time cooking in the kitchen; pre-making as much as possible was essential while letting it cook during the retreat. Cue a favorite appliance for doing such: the magic slow cooker (8 slow cookers, actually.) Round off the meal with a lovely salad, some hot crusty bread, and a sweet treat…there’s something worth going through 4+ hours of meetings for.

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Blue Ridge Rollergirls Annual League Retreat 2012 Menu

During meeting snack: Warm Baked Brie Rounds with Apricot-Habanero Jam or Lavender Blueberry Butter, Assorted Crackers

Main course: Chef Morticia’s Meatless Wonder Slow Cooker Lasagna
Creamy Pesto Alfredo Chicken Meatballs
Crusty Wheat French Bread with Ramp Beurre Maitre d’hotel (aka “fancy butter”)
Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Gorganzola and Italian Croutons

Dessert: Spicy Double Chocolate Brownies

The night before the retreat I made the brownies and prepped all the cheese and cut-up things. The morning of the retreat I assembled all the crockpots (four of lasagna, four of meatballs) and precut and buttered the bread. Upon arrival to the retreat bungalow, all I had to do was plug in the slow cookers and set them to LOW. The brie rounds just needed a little warming during a break, and about a half hour before supper was served I whipped out the bread. With a little help a buffet assembly line was made and the league was fed!

My favorite part? Getting to feed my Blue Ridge Rollergirls family high-energy, nutritionous food after a tremendously productive and effective afternoon of planning meetings. This is what success tastes like! (Recipes below)

Derby love,
Chef Morticia

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Warm Baked Brie Rounds with Apricot-Habanero Jam or Lavender Blueberry Butter
Ingredients: Brie rounds
Whatever lovely jam you like (I make all my own jam, so I just used some interesting ones from my larder.)
Directions: Cut brie round in half. Spoon on jam on cut bottom half, replace top half, spoon on more jam. Place in small pan in oven on 350ish degrees until melty. Serve with crackers. Quickly get out of the way of ravenous mob.

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Chef Morticia’s Meatless Wonder Slow Cooker Lasagna
Serves 10-12 league members
1 cup dry TVP flakes (textured vegetable protein)
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 large mushroom bouillon cube
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ cup minced sun-dried or dehydrated tomatoes
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
½ cup water
9 lasagna noodles, uncooked (I used the low glycemic kind, Dreamfield’s, or use whole wheat)
12 ounces cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces shredded cheese (whatever you like…I used a combo of fresh mozzarella, Gruyere, Cotija, Maytag Blue and shredded mozzarella cheeses, because I have a terrible cheese collecting habit and this helped clean out the freezer)–this will eventually end up as 3 cups of cheesiness.

1. In a large skillet over medium heat cook the onion, and garlic until brown. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, bouillon cube, TVP, herbs, dried tomatoes and red peppers and stir until well incorporated. Cook until heated through. Don’t worry if the TVP isn’t all the way rehydrated, it will be in the end product. Divide into 4 portions.
2. In a large bowl mix together the cottage cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and shredded cheeses, divide into 3 portions.
3. Spoon one portion of the sauce mixture onto the bottom of a large oblong slow cooker. Add 3 lasagna noodles; break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used, ending with sauce layer.
4. Cover, and cook on LOW setting for 4 to 6 hours. When a knife runs through without any resistance, it should be done.

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Creamy Pesto Alfredo Meatballs
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1-pound) package frozen precooked meatballs, I used breast meat chicken meatballs
2 packets alfredo sauce dry mix
1 packet pesto dry mix
1.5 cups fat free milk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, add milk, pesto and alfredo sauce packets. I know it tells you on the back of the packets to add a ton of oil and more milk, but just ignore that. Whisk and heat through. Be careful not to burn the milk (I spent a week scrubbing my beloved Le Creuset back to shiny enamel.)
2. In a slow cooker, place onion, garlic, and top with meatballs. Pour sauce over all.
3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours until meatballs are hot and tender.

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Crusty Wheat French Bread with Ramp Beurre Maitre d’hotel (aka “fancy butter”)
loaf of whole wheat french bread
Ramp Beurre Maitre d’hotel
(I make this every year in the spring, because it’s awesome. Feel free to make the more standard garlic bread too.)
1. Set oven to broil. Cut loaf in half lengthwise. Apply the compound butter in whatever quantity you deem appropriate.
2. Place bread on pan, position several inches below broiler. Broil about 4 minutes, or until nicely brown, or until screech of overly sensitive smoke detector interrupts the meeting in the next room. Twice.

Spinach Salad
Italian croutons
dried cranberries
whatever dressing you like (I picked out honey mustard, fat-free Caesar, and raspberry vinagrette.)
Directions: self-explanatory, I reckon.

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Spicy Double Chocolate Brownies
1 box No Pudge Fat Free Brownie Mix (here’s a clone recipe if you don’t wanna buy the box)
6oz fat free vanilla yogurt
½ cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate chips, high cacao solid percentage)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it with a good kick)
Directions: they are on the box or in the clone recipe. Add the spices to the dry mix, sprinkle with the chocolate chips before baking. I had to eat one right out of the oven to make sure they weren’t poisonous.

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