Now that last week’s charity dinner is over, I thought I would do a brief recap. You might have already seen some of the menu items or prep pictures that I posted on Twitter & Instagram. About 3 months ago I was approached by our local food pantry to help them with a fundraiser dinner. What most people don’t know is that they have to purchase a large amount of their food from the Maryland Food Bank. With the economy being what it is, their monetary donations have been down. They have never had to do a fundraiser before.

For this event, it was decided that I would base my menu around items found on their shelves at the food bank. The nice thing is that they also provide produce vouchers, so I didn’t feel too bad about using some fresh produce, but I still wanted to use as many items as possible. I started with the four proteins they have there: bologna, hot dogs, ground turkey & donated venison. Surprisingly to many, I passed on the venison. Letting autumn be my guide, I built my menu. I took some liberties with spices and alcohol. When all was said and done, I was quite happy with the way the food turned out. We had close to 100 people come and were able to raise a lot of funds, and awareness, for our local food pantry. There were four separate newspaper articles, including one in The Baltimore Sun. The local cable station also came out to shoot video and will be broadcasting the event soon.

Here is the menu from the event. Underneath each item I have included the pantry items used listed in parenthesis.

Food Pantry Dinner

Bloody Mario

An Italian Spin on a Bloody Mary

(Canned Marinara, Canned Pizza Sauce)

Peach Melba

5 Spice Scented Peach Puree, Rum, Orange Juice with a Float of Chambord

(Canned Peaches)

Italian Style Pork Spread

White Bread Crostini

(Bologna, Wonder Bread)

Corn Bisque

Roasted Corn, Nathan’s Famous “Lardons”, Celery Leaves & Alliums

(Canned Corn, Hot Dogs)

Fall Harvest Turkey

Ground Turkey, Roasted Root Vegetables, Port Glazed Onions & Bacon, Wrapped in Swiss Chard Leaves. Served on Maple Carrot Puree.

Accompanied by Spinach with Beet Vinaigrette

(Ground Turkey, Pancake Syrup, Canned Carrots, Canned Sliced Beets)


Pineapple/Jack Daniel’s Granita

(Canned Pineapple Chunks, Canned Pineapple Juice)

Applejack & Apple Jacks

Applejack/Apple Jacks Sabayon, Canned Apple Confit, Cranberry Sauce, Apple Jacks Granola

(Apple Jacks Cereal, Canned Apples, Dry Milk Powder, Canned Cranberry Sauce, Rolled Oats)