Church Potluck Classic: Fishes and Loaves

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by bigmike&nan, Apr 28, 2009.

  1. For years me and my buddy Naz ramrodded the monthly Church Potlucks. Pretty staid group of people, lots of bachelor yuppie types and a lot of (just recently downsized) really nice older folks. So turn out for the Potlucks was particularly high as the fellowship at table was quite uplifting for all those a little down on their luck - a lot of people "networked" trying to find new jobs. A vegetarian congregation for the most part and out of respect for the more conservative core members no meat dishes were ever served.

    My buddy Naz and I would go sneak a peak at the crowd in church and hustle back to kick ass in the kitchen, knowing the crowd we'd be feeding. We'd get a lot of people dropping of bags of pasta, french bread, olives or frozen vegetables (we called them Mr. or Mrs. Succatash's)... I'd take the day off before the potluck and do up a huge batch of sauce, Sauce Mary Magdalene, and we'd crank out a bunch of casseroles to serve the masses with all the stuff people dropped off (uncooked)... One day Naz got this great idea and we started building these in every casserole pan we could find. The stuff was really good and disappeared. Any casseroles that didn't get eaten we'd freeze and reheat the next potluck. I can't describe how good this is, ya gotta make it...

    We called this Fishes and Loaves because we took a lot of odds and ends and made something really great to feed our down on their luck Faithful with.

    Mis en place

    1 pot cooked brown rice
    1 batch fresh made pesto
    (add a bit of the pesto to the brown rice, taste, add more if necessary)

    1 pot marinara sauce
    bags of penne pasta, cooked al dente
    grated parmesan and mozzarella
    fresh tomatos, eggplant and zuchinni, sliced and grilled.


    Lightly grease your casserole dish. Cook off the penne pasta and be sure it is very al dente, drain and return to cooking pot. Garnish pasta with enough marinara to color it (don't "IRISH" the pasta with too much sauce). Place a ladle of sauce in bottom of casserole dish. Now add a thin layer of penne, some grated cheese, then a layer of grilled vegetables, then a thin layer of the pestoed brown rice, then a little grated cheeses, then repeat the layers until the casserole dish is filled. Press down a little bit to compact it all. Cover with foil and bake in a preheat 400 degree oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and like a lasagna let rest about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a hearty green salad and lots of rustic bread.

    If you are going to a party you can build this ahead of time (or whip an already assembled one out of your freezer) and bake off at your hosts. Great casserole and VERY satisfying... Assemble and freeze a bunch of these and take out to thaw the morning you want to serve it...

    Matthew 14 16-21
    Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
    "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.
    "Bring them here to me," he said.
    And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
    he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
    They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
    The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009

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