#TBT Cooking for a Crowd

It's Throwback Thursday, so we're sharing a blog post below from earlier this year about a time we found ways to use more than 400 pounds of donated oatmeal. 

We also wanted to remind readers that if you're looking for an earlier recipe or topic, posts can be searched by the categories assigned to them. Just click the "blog" tab under "news" along the top of TNFP website. Then choose a category from the list along the right-hand side of the blog. Sometimes posts have multiple categories assigned to them. The following post, for example, was labeled "Cook for a Crowd," "Breakfast/Brunch," "Vegetarian," and more. 

From April 23, 2015: 

A recent donation of over 400 pounds of oatmeal, left us a bit overwhelmed but we quickly starting including this heart healthy grain in lots of things:

- Adding oatmeal (instead of bread crumbs) to our meatloaf

- Including it in streusel topping for our desserts

- Adding oatmeal to breakfast casseroles headed to the warming shelters

We also experimented with this gift by making a Healthy 5 Ingredient Granola Bar (from the Minimalist Baker's version). It's a true winner. We frequently include these bars in a weekly lunch to our friends at Front Porch Ministry.  

In addition to the oatmeal, we’ll receive donations of ripe fruit from our Food Donation Partners. This fruit often includes bananas, strawberries, grapes and raspberries. The best of the fruit is included in our daily meals, but the extra ripe fruit is sliced and put in our dehydrator. Once this fruit is dried, we include this as a base in our granola bars.

Whenever we discover such a great way to use some of our excess, we just have to share the good news! Enjoy.

Ingredients:

3 cups packed dried fruit (bananas, strawberries, grapes and dates work well)

¾ cup honey (or maple syrup)

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)

4 ½ cups rolled oats

3 cups roasted almonds, loosely chopped

Instructions:

1.   Process dried fruit in food processor until small bits remain. It should form a “dough” like consistency.

2.   Toast oats and almonds in 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.

3.   Place toasted oats, almonds and dried fruit in a bowl – set aside.

4.   Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture, then mix, breaking up any fruit to disperse throughout.

5.   Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to a half sheet pan (12X17) sprayed with non-stick spray.

6.   Cover with a piece of parchment paper and press down hard until uniformly flattened. Cover with plastic wrap, and let set in fridge for 15 minutes to slightly harden.

7.   Remove bars from pan and slice into 32 bars. Store in airtight container in the fridge.