A Southern Feast for 20

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Wow, I am not going to kid you this was a lot of work.  I am glad that I did it because it was meant as a Christmas gift, and a thank you to the work community in which my husband and I belong.  Also, I have been wanting to make the Knott's Berry Farm's fried chicken recipe for years (literally).  Since it is not the healthiest of meals, I never got around to it.  Lesson #1: This recipe is just not conducive for a large crowd when you are only using two cooking vessles and each batch of chicken takes 45 minutes.  I knew that going in, of course, but the reality hits 
a lot harder than notes on paper when you put in an 8 hour work day and then another 8 hours preparing a feast.  I know, I know...there are other recipes that I could have used to feed a crowd of 20 with a lot less prep time.  However, I had my heart set on this particular "Southern Feast."

Links to these recipes are provided:

Mrs. Knotts Fried Chicken

2 3-pound frying chickens, cut in eighths
2 cups unbleached flour
1 quart oil (or enough to cover chicken)

1) Cover chicken with salted water and soak for 45 minutes.  Drain chicken and pat dry.
2) Coat each piece of chicken with flour and shake off any excess flour.
3) Bring oil to a boil in a 8 1/2 quart saucepan and drop in chicken pieces. (Do not overcrowd chicken in the pot).  Cover and fry for 45 minutes.
4) Remove chicken with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Fifteen minutes before serving, heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and re-fry chicken for 3 minutes.

7 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (important to use white pepper only)
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup half-and-half (more or less to the consistency of your liking)
1/4 cup butter (to garnish)

1) Place peeled and quartered potatoes in a large crock pot and fill with water.
2) Cook on low over night for 8 hours.
3) In the morning drain potatoes (if desired save some potato water for gravy base) and mash with remaining ingredients.
4) Dot with extra butter.
5) Transport crock pot (if necessary) and cook on low for 3 hours, stir and serve immediately.

32 ounces frozen cut green beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of trade east canadian steak seasoning (sold at Gordon Food Service)

1) Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
2) Put frozen green beans in the pan and stir to coat the beans with oil.
3) Add 1 tablespoon of trade east canadian steak seasoning and continue to saute the beans until warm but still crisp

Homemade Biscuits (served with a choice of honey, butter, blueberry jam, or gravy)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut in small cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk

1) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a blow.
2) Cut in butter using pastry cutter or use 2 knives.
3) With fork stir in buttermilk to make a soft dough (I have used an equal amount of buttermilk powder with added water and it works wonderfully in this recipe.)
4) Turn out onto lightly floured workspace and knead no more than 10 times to form a ball (if you over do it the biscuits can be tough).
5) Roll into a 6" x 6" square.
6) Place on ungreased baking sheet.
7) Cut into 12 portions but do not separate.
8) Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
9) Serve with butter, honey, jam, or gravy.

Quick Apple Crisp (served with Cool Whip)

I received lots of rave reviews from my co-workers.  I don't know if they were just being nice because some of them knew how long I took to prepare this meal or if it was true.  At the same time, I hesitate to say that because I don't mean to insinuate they would lie in any way.  My own personal review:  the chicken was slightly overdone; the mashed potatoes were great; some of the green beans became slightly overdone in the crock pot (I think I re-heated them too long and didn't stir often enough) but on the stovetop they are simply the best; the biscuits were great; and the apple crisp is a favorite with friends and family.


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