Calling All Chefs!


An important goal of the Dinner Program Board has been to improve the quality and variety of food served each day to our dinner guests. We invite all our supporters to join in this effort by preparing a salad or casserole, boiling some eggs, or buying bananas or other soft fruit and bringing it to the Gavan Center (church basement) on Sunday or Monday. If your inner chef is yearning for a new way to share your talents, please email our Program Coordinator, Roxie Cruz (, to schedule a delivery.

This summer, we made a giant leap forward in reaching our goal of providing higher quality meals. We found new easy ways to introduce greater variety and better nutrition into our meal service. Below we share recipes used this summer to delight those we serve.

Here’s how we got started on a summer of scrumptious salads, the freshest of vegetables, and other new additions to our meal service. Once or twice a week, the Franciscan Monastery donated a bounty of fresh produce from their organic garden located at 1400 Quincy St. NW, Washington, DC. A monastery garden volunteer, Peter Quinn, transported flats of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, corn, okra and more each week and picked up empty flats to refill the next week. A dinner program volunteer shopped for good bargains on spices, olive oil and other ingredients to combine with the fresh produce. Other volunteers then got to work peeling, chopping and cooking up a storm, scaling up recipes to serve between 80 and 100 people. Some of our favorite recipes follow. We would be most grateful if you would make one of our recipes—or your favorite recipe, scaled up--for the dinner program, especially during months when vegetables form the garden are not available.

Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad
(makes two large pans of salad)
Combine and split between two large pans:
--20 15-oz cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
--20 cups of fresh tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
--20 cups of frozen corn, cooked and cooled
--20 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Mix together and split between the two pans and mix:
--10 teaspoons chili powder
--2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tomato, Basil and Cucumber Salad
(makes one large pan of salad – a favorite of our dinner guests)
--14 pounds of fresh tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
--5 cucumbers, chopped or sliced into bite-sized pieces
--2-4 boxes of basil leaves or lots of loose basil, chopped
Add dressing made of:
--1 cup olive oil
--1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
--5 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
--16 teaspoons salt or salt to taste
--15 teaspoons sugar (can eliminate or add less sugar)
Package dressing separately for delivery to Dinner Program. Cover salad with aluminum

Tomato and Green Pepper Salad
(makes one large pan of salad)
Cut 14 pounds of fresh tomatoes into bite-sized pieces
Chop 10-12 green peppers into bite-sized pieces
--Cover with aluminum foil for delivery to Dinner Program.
Serve with ranch dressing
Roasted Italian Squash
(makes one large pan of squash)
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Combine 100 cups of squash cut into bite-sized pieces (can use any squash) with:
--8 teaspoons each of garlic powder, salt and pepper
Drizzle olive oil over squash and mix to coat evenly
Coat large roasting pan with olive oil and spread squash evenly on the pan (you may have
to cook in batches)
Cook for 15-20 minutes until squash is softened
--Cover with aluminum foil for delivery to Dinner Program.

Roasted Eggplant
(makes two large pans of eggplant)
Heat oven to 425 degrees
--20-30 purple, white or Japanese eggplant into bite-sized pieces
--Salt and pepper to taste
--1-2 cups of olive oil to drizzle onto eggplant before baking
Prep Steps:
--Cut eggplant into bite-sized pieces
--In batches, place on paper towels and sprinkled with salt.
--Let rest at least 15 minutes until moisture beads from the eggplant
--Pat dry and transfer (in batches) to baking sheets greased with olive oil or covered with
aluminum foil
--Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil
--Roast about 25 minutes until tender
--Cover with aluminum foil for delivery to Dinner Program.

Roasted Okra
(makes one large pan of okra)
--225 okra, cut into bite-sized pieces
--12.5 Tablespoons olive oil
--25 teaspoons each of salt and pepper
Prep Steps:
--Place cut okra (in batches) onto large baking sheets greased with olive oil or lined with
aluminum foil.
--Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
--Roast 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly browned.
--Cover with aluminum foil for delivery to Dinner Program.

Hard-Boiled Eggs
(an idea from one of our volunteers who worked in Africa—costs less than $15)
--Purchase 3-4 large flats of eggs at any large grocery store.
--Cover with water in a few large pots, bring water to a boil, turn heat off and let eggs sit 5-10 minutes until hard boiled.
--Drain water from eggs and let cool.
--Repackage eggs in original cartons for delivery to the Dinner Program

Fresh Fruit
Grapes and bananas are quite inexpensive in summer. Watch for sales and purchase 100
bananas or 4-5 large bags of grapes. Our dinner guests love fresh fruit.

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