so, I’m not a fantastic cook. I get frustrated that I don’t have a ton of counter space, and before a few months ago, we didn’t have a dishwasher. All in all, I need to follow recipes and usually end up having one part of the mail finished long before the rest.
My friend Pitsa, however, is a master chef and hostess. Seriously. this woman can cook and bake and throw a fantastic party.
I happen to work with Pitsa. We were brainstorming to come up with an annual team-building activity, and when she mentioned an idea her husband had, we knew we had found the right thing.
The Albany Ronald McDonald House is located a few blocks from Albany Medical Center (and a short distance from other area hospitals). The house (or houses, combined into one) provide accommodations, respite, and relief for families of ill children. Most nights, families or organizations come to cook dinner for the families staying there.
Pitsa made arrangements a few months ago, and this past Saturday, a handful of my coworkers and I arrived to cook dinner for 25. Pitsa came up with the menu, which consisted of Chicken Cordon Bleu, Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Rainbow Fruit Kabobs, a Green Salad, and Chocolate Chip cookies.
I took charge of the mac and cheese, and have to admit, it came out pretty good! I may have to modify the recipe to be gluten free.
Jon was repeatedly teased about his reluctance to make fruit kabobs, but got the most compliments out of all of us!
Ed prepared the chicken tenders, and Pitsa and Matt (the executive chef and sous chef, respectively) prepared the Chicken Cordon Bleu.
But out of everything, I was shocked that we basically had everything done and cooked and ready at 6pm sharp!
The volunteer gave us a tour of the house, which includes 16 rooms (and soon to be over 20 when they expand to the house next door), a basement game room, a medical library, and a toy room with a working Thomas the Tank Engine railroad track. Oh yeah, and a giant rocking horse and life-sized Ronald McDonald.
It was great to spend time with my coworkers (and friends) out of the office doing something other than grabbing lunch or drinks. not to mention that I gained a few good meal ideas!
(Of course, we did head to New World Bistro for a fantastic dinner. I, for one, drank an entire carafe of Diet Pepsi and ate rabbit for the first time.)