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Feeding the Soccer Team


Varmint
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I'm a glutton for punishment, as I've agreed to host a lunch for a men's college soccer team on Sunday. I need ideas of things to cook that will appeal to the 18-22 year old athlete on the off day between games (they play on Friday night and Sunday afternoon). I'll obviously put out lots of fresh fruit, but I'd appreciate any suggestions from those who know what this age group likes and needs.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I would say that pasta is good for several reasons.. Energy, cost, and ease are just a few.. I would bang out trays of lasagne can go white or red sauce,spinach or meat.. A big salad, garlic breads, stuffed shells, trays of chicken cutlets, and eggplant parm or rollatini..Eggplant goes a long way too.. ....Maybe some baked or bbq'd wings...

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I would say that pasta is good for several reasons.. Energy, cost, and ease are just a few.. I would bang out trays of lasagne can go white or red sauce,spinach or meat.. A  big salad, garlic breads, stuffed shells, trays of chicken cutlets, and eggplant parm or rollatini..Eggplant goes a long way too.. ....Maybe some baked or bbq'd wings...

You're thinking like me, Daniel. I know the boys are having pasta that night for dinner. However, I'd like to serve them something somewhat generic but still slightly different. Specifically, I could brine a bunch of chicken breasts, spice them up, and broil them (any suggestions here?). Several bags of salad with lots of fresh, local veggies and a homemade dressing. Hummus with good pita bread. Lots of fresh fruit. Leftover desserts from the pig pickin' (we had the foresight to freeze a bunch). And to drink, lemonade, OJ, and other non-caffeinated beverages.

Fortunately, it's only 24 people, and these are soccer, not football, players!!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I've fed soccer teams for years, don't fool yourself. They eat just as much as football players.

I do pasta, fruit salad, yeast rolls (frozen dough, thawed buttered on top and baked. they really like them) and choc. chip cookies.

any kind of pasta with any sauce will do. It's the carbs.

Chicken spaghetti, lasagna, mac and cheese with meat patties. These guys leave happy plates, just don't get too fancy.

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It sounds as if you'd be surprised at the tastes of the young. They are atheletes, so I'd provide plenty of carbs and protein. I can't think of anything better to do to accomplish both relaxation and refortification than a good grill party. The most important thing for you to remember is to make more food than you would ever imagine being eaten. I bet they'll eat it all. I'm guessing you'll have 20 hungry guests? I don't know where you'll be serving them or what your resources are. I would end up borrowing others' grills and slow cookers for the below menu. Invite them to the party too.

Starters:

You will never go wrong with crudites (carrots, broccoli, red and green pepper strips, cauliflower, radish) with a good blue cheese dip- you might be amazed at how these will be inhaled. Good olives. Hummus or black bean dip with pita triangles. Prepare all the day before and lay out before they arrive.

Grill a good variety of sausage.

The day before, dice tomatoes, douse with olive oil. Chiffonade some basil. Store in fridge.

Buy some dough from your local pizzaria (you can buy it the day before and let it sit in the fridge), roll it out on a olive oil greased and cornmeal dusted parchment lined sheet and let it rise in a warmer part of the kitchen.

Brush the top with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with roughly chopped garlic. Bake until the top is a nice crisp brown.

Pour a nice amount of tomatoes on top of the tray to be served at the moment and then strew with the basil. Season with some kosher salt and pepper. Display most of the tomatoes with basil for extra topping and dipping.

Make about three trays of this- so three dough balls, two or three pounds of tomatoes.

Sides

Roast corn on the cob- in the husk.

Soak fresh corn in the tub for 30 minutes beforehand and throw onto the grill- it takes about 30 minutes to cook. What, about 30 ears? I would think. Have lots of salt and pepper and butter on hand

Roast potatoes the same way- quarter some new potatoes the day before and sprinkle with lemon juice and more basil, or parsley, or dill, and some crushed red pepper. The day of, lay on an oiled grill tray (I use a piece of fine meshed aluminum fencing I bought at the hardware store with the edges turned up to keep things from falling off!!! Just make sure that there's no coating on the metal) and brush with olive oil. Serve with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. Do about ten pounds in batches- start these early and they sit nicely. You can always freeze leftovers for mashed potatoes or potato salad.

I'd make a huge batch of cheese grits- you being from North Carolina and all! They'll love those!

Protein:

I don't know your resources at this point, but if I had access to a smoker, I'd make smoked brisket or maybe a turkey!

Or borrow all of your neighbors' slow cookers and cook brisket in beer and BBQ sauce overnight and then serve with some good buns and more BBQ sauce. This is really easier.

Reuse another oiled grill pan to quickly grill tilapia sprinkled with salt and pepper (Make a quick relish of canned corn, diced red onion, tomatoes, herbs and diced GOOD olives to continue the theme)-it's high protein, sits well and it's cheap. I know, not everyone approves of tilapia. Use some other kind of fish, then. This can also be eaten on the buns.

Make peel and eat shrimp (boiled in beer and Old Bay of course!) if you're flush.

For dessert, peach cobbler (made a few days before and reheated) over ice cream.

I do believe you have shown these fine young men some good Southern Hospitality! And this isn't as much work as it is a lot of washing up to do. I have made this menu many many times for large parties.

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Chili. Both red with beef and white with chicken. These are new-age guys, ya know. :wink:

Both can be made ahead and set out in big crockpots.

Cornbread on the side, natch. Lots of it.

Grated cheddar, chopped scallions (that's "spring onion" to y' all, but you know that) and and a big bowl of sour cream to top.

Another pot of nice steamy white rice.

Yum.

..............................................................

And cookies by the massive handful.

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As a former soccer player, track runner, basketball, volleyball, and softball player, don't be afraid of giving these athletes pasta even though they are having more at dinner. They won't be upset.

I'm down with the different kinds of lasagna, the chili, the salad, cookies, pita and hummus.

As long as it fills them up, gives them consistant energy, and tastes good these kids are not going to complain.

Fresh fruit/veggies, carbs such as pasta or garlic bread, some protein, and something sweet, but won't make their blood sugar drop really far would be great.

And thank you for hosting a team meal, it means so much for the team members to be able to get together and hang out/socialize in a non competitive atmosphere during the season. Too much of their time is spent on the field, in a smelly locker room, travelling to games, that getting together with good food and company brings the team together and makes them stronger!

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i'd buy whole chickens, cut them in half, then grill them........

give them a huge baked sweet potato that was finished on the grill with the chicken........loads of butter, honey and brown sugar......

a massive tossed spinich salad with everything on it from bacon to eggs......

feed the leftover desserts like you said, (btw sorry we missed the party).......

that's pretty easy, and still high quality chow for anyone.........

you eat a half chicken, a big potato and a load of salad, then a little dessert.......that's plenty for lunch........even for those guys.....

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If you're really uninterested in pasta, I'd do a mixed potato/squash dish with acorn and butternut. Zucchini or carrots would go well in there, too. Just steamed and mashed together, or roasted and mashed together with some garlic and parsley for flavor (and butter and cream for lusciousness). Good cards, good nutrition. Also, something like that is really good for large pouch cooking.

Fajitas or similar with chicken breasts would be good. The tortillas are good carbs.

Best of luck! If they were older, I'd suggest sangria, but, alas, they aren't.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Some kind of lightly dressed pasta salad with say, salmon or tuna, would be a good way to get carbs and protein in the body. Plus it will be slightly different from the warm pasta that they are likely to be served that evening.

Make a lot, because they will attack that as a main, not a side. Personally, I would look more to pasta or rice than potatos for the carb portion of the menu.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Some kind of lightly dressed pasta salad with say, salmon or tuna, would be a good way to get carbs and protein in the body. Plus it will be slightly different from the warm pasta that they are likely to be served that evening.

Make a lot, because they will attack that as a main, not a side. Personally, I would look more to pasta or rice than potatos for the carb portion of the menu.

Personally, so would I. However, I know a lot of 18-22 year-olds, and if they were raised in America, chances are that they would be more of a mind to like the potatoes than gussied up rice. Pasta would be on a par with simply prepared potatoes.

Remember, the diet these boys are on is more akin to nitromethane than E-10 unleaded with ethanol. A salad isn't going to cut it. They, like I, need to pack away somewhere in the area of 1000+ Calories per meal just to maintain weight and ability. That is part of the burden of being a competitive, long-performance athlete.

Any cyclist, swimmer, pumpkin pounder, or marathoner will tell you the same things.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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My wife's family is huge, so hosting or going to a family get together is always a culinary adventure. At one of the get togethers the hosts had a "build your own taco/fajita/wrap" bar. She laid out fresh tortillas and a couple of griddles to heat them up on and a bunch of different fillings (vegetarian included). It was simple, fast and good (really good!). I think students would love this, and if you included some chips and beer your set to go!

Edited by dougery (log)

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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A salad isn't going to cut it.

If you're talking about vegetable salads, I agree.

As a cyclist, I can tell you that I would definitely appreciate a large plate of pesto salad (fusilli or tortellini) with some chicken or other protein. I'll also take some cherry tomatos with that.:biggrin:

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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My wife's family is huge, so hosting or going to a family get together is always a culinary adventure.  At one of the get togethers the hosts had a "build your own taco/fajita/wrap" bar.  She laid out fresh tortillas and a couple of griddles to heat them up on and a bunch of different fillings (vegetarian included). It was simple, fast and good (really good!).  I think students would love this, and if you included some chips and beer your set to go!

That's a great idea. I would say that you can also do a pasta bar that way. Make several types of pasta (i.e. linguini, ravioli), heat up different sauces (red, pesto, alfredo, etc.) and maybe some protein (chicken, meatballs, sausages) and let everyone serve themselves. I would also put out some sliced french bread, garlic bread and some salad.

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Dude, the only one in Raleigh seems to be a kiosk in the airport. :rolleyes:

Actually, there's a Popeye's downtown. I think it's pretty new.

Thanks for all the ideas. This may actually be fun. But I could use a few hands to help out. Any of the chefs from the pig pickin' want to come back??? :wink:

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Awww... brings back memories. Both of our boys played high school soccer, and one played four years of college. We never fed the whole team, but almost that many. I agree on pasta as the main carb, plus plenty of bread on the side. Chicken is always a favorite, and yes... all of the athletes in our family love to have great big chocolate chip cookies as part of the carbo-loading!

Hey, as for chicken, I've heard great things about a caterer that you might be able to get to help out.

gallery_13038_1496_53169.jpg

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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My wife's family is huge, so hosting or going to a family get together is always a culinary adventure.  At one of the get togethers the hosts had a "build your own taco/fajita/wrap" bar.  She laid out fresh tortillas and a couple of griddles to heat them up on and a bunch of different fillings (vegetarian included). It was simple, fast and good (really good!).  I think students would love this, and if you included some chips and beer your set to go!

I love this idea, although the beer won't be served! I'm going to do chicken and steak fajitas, fresh guacamole, fresh salsa, sour cream, cheese, lots of rice, a nice salad with bacon and egg and tomatoes and cukes, and lots of fresh fruit. Very easy to make, very easy to serve, and different. The desserts are already taken care of, so we're set. Thanks, everyone!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Varmint, sounds like you're pretty well set up but I thought I would toss out an idea:

A great salad/wrap filling (one of my all time favorites and I'm not a calorie counter by far) is an asian salad.

Iceberg lettuce, carrots, green onions, almond slivers, chicken and toasted broken ramen noodles, sesame seeds, and with a rice vinegar/sesame oil/soy/sugar/mayo dressing.

Great salad in itself and even better (imho) in a wrap. Toss a dipping sauce of a citrus teryaki sauce and... POW! You've got a winner.

Hope the dinner is a hit, good luck! If I lived closer I would head on over!

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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Lunch was a huge success. Chicken and steak fajitas, with homemade guacamole and salsa. Tossed salad with tomatoes, bacon and boiled eggs, with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Lots of watermelon. And homemade cookies, of course.

I went through 15 pounds of meat. Not a scrap was left. Amazingly, the cookies were hardly touched -- oh, darn!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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