Enough Food For Your Cookout Crowd (and How to Enjoy the Leftovers)

mom serving at cookout

It’s cookout season! If your family is like mine, I never know how many are truly coming until the food starts cooking and the surprise hungry ones arrive.

I am of the school of thought that says too much food is better than not enough. But you can only eat so much leftover salad, whether it’s potato, macaroni or coleslaw. Through trial and error, I have found some ideas that really work and my family is none the wiser that they are eating leftovers. Here’s my secret: I make extra of the “base” ingredients ahead of time. Your base ingredients may be different, but they will still work in the same way. Also, some of these amounts may sound like a lot, but you can easily adjust them for your family’s size.

With extra “base” ingredients ready to go, I can easily whip up another batch of salad if our cookout buffet is starting to run out. Plus, this way exposes only what is needed to the heat, so there’s less chance of food-borne illness.

potato salad

Potato Salad Base Ingredients
• 5 – 10 pounds of potatoes, skin on or peeled (whichever you prefer or what your recipe calls for), boiled and cut in quarters until fork tender (set aside to cool)
• 3 dozen eggs boiled, cooled and peeled
• 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Separate out the potatoes, boiled eggs and parsley needed for your first batch of potato salad. Cover and refrigerate remaining potatoes, eggs and parsley.

Leftovers can reappear during the week as:
• Parsley potatoes
• Deviled eggs
• Potato pancakes
• Egg salad

macaroni salad

Macaroni Salad Base Ingredients
• 2 – 3 boxes of elbow macaroni, cooked to al-dente, drained well. Separate the amount needed for first batch of salad; toss it with mayonnaise amount from the salad recipe you are using. Toss remaining macaroni with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Cover and refrigerate.
• 4 bags of whole carrots, trimmed, skin on and shredded (save out some for coleslaw)

Leftovers can reappear during the week as:
• Macaroni with cheese sauce – make your family’s favorite cheese sauce recipe and fold in warmed macaroni
• Shredded carrots sautéed in butter, brown sugar (to taste, also optional), salt, and pepper until carrots are tender
• Sloppy Joe Pasta – add cooked ground beef (ground chicken or turkey can be substituted) to warmed macaroni and your favorite sloppy joe sauce

Make quick work of shredding lots of cabbage for slaw or sauerkraut with our triple-bladed cutter. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Make quick work of shredding lots of cabbage for slaw or sauerkraut with our triple-bladed cutter. At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Coleslaw Base ingredients
• 3 firm heads of cabbage, trimmed and shredded 
• Shredded carrot from making macaroni salad

Leftovers can reappear during the week as:
• Fried Cabbage and Noodles – sauté cabbage in bacon fat (oil can be substituted) and ½ teaspoon sugar, toss with cooked egg noodles – goes wonderfully as a side with pork
• Soup – this is where you finish up using all the goodies you made extra of for your cookout – sauté carrots until near tender, add cabbage and sauté until tender, add 1 quart stock or broth (whatever you have on hand works in this recipe), bring to a boil and gently add potatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes and add salt and pepper to taste

Don’t get caught short of your favorite salads for your cookout. Plan ahead, and you’ll only need to “cook” once to have delicious, easy meals during the following week.

Discover the ultimate delicious sides to go your cookout fare - zesty, yummy and made right here in Amish Country! At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

Discover the ultimate delicious sides to go with your cookout fare – zesty, yummy and made right here in Amish Country! At Lehmans.com and our store in Kidron, Ohio.

family at cookout

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.