Back To School Reunion Dinner
Do you ever just see something at the store that you just have to have? Then it spawns a crazy, out of the world concept and you think how on earth did I ever come up with this idea? Well welcome to my back to school reunion dinner!
So here is how this all happened, I was shopping several months ago and I ran across a set of old school lunchroom trays and I thought “these are so cool, I just gotta have them”. So I tossed them in my cart and never looked back. Took them home stored them in my bat cave (aka the crafting store closet) for almost 3 months and saw them the other day and thought it is almost back to school time, but what am I going to do with those crazy trays I just had to have and the Back To School Reunion Dinner and local school supply donation drive was spawned.
Crazy nostalgia, it makes you spend money in ways I can not even begin to explain, lol. So, I got these trays and I thought what on earth can I do with them to make a fun back to school blog post, here were a few of my brainstorming ideas:
- A Kindergarten Round Up Meet & Greet Breakfast
- Who’s Your Teacher? A Neighborhood Meet & Greet for Kids In The Same Classroom or Grade Level
- The Night Before the First Day of School Dinner – A Practice Run for First Timers (learn to eat in cafeteria setting)
- A Mother’s Backpacking Group- Ladies Group Packing Up The Kiddos Bags, School Supplies, Labeling, Etc.
- Team Building Teacher Luncheon & Classroom Setup
- Here’s What I Ate Today- The Night The Kids Made Dinner For the Parents
These were not bad ideas, but nothing really resonated with me, or seemed to fit my personal style, however I am sure there are a lot of people that are looking for things to do with their small groups, and local friends right now as we are trying to figure what this new school year looks like. Needless to say, I loved these trays and I wanted to use them, what was I going to do with them. Then it hit me, what if I invited a few of our friends from school in the area, and had a sudo-reunion dinner. That could be fun, just like the olds days, right? We could serve up cafeteria style food on the trays only better, lol. So I decided the tablescape theme would be exactly what our old lunchroom tables usually looked like, when we all landed for lunch. So basically a hot mess, usually covered with books, folders, a variety of pens, graded papers and notes that we had shoved in our lockers. Oh yes, this was going to work nicely, since this was all stuff I could quickly dig up around the house.I took some old craft paper and covered some old encyclopedias, the same way we used to cover our books back in the day and we even had a few actual text books still laying around the house. No they were not mine, do I look like I took Physics or Calculus? I am an Interior Designer so that would be a big NO! You can ask my other half, mister engineer, I am pretty sure those are his books and why would you want to keep them? LOL,”Nostalgia, he just proofread this for me and said Nostalgia” ah geez…Speaking of Nostalgia remember these? I think today they are called cootie catchers, LOL! Why? I do not know, but I am pretty sure in “my day” we called them fortune tellers. The reason we called them fortune tellers is because you had the names of all the boys you liked inside and you had to pick numbers to see which one you would marry. Clearly a true scientific formula here, lol. Maybe that is where the whole cootie catcher name thing came from, idk, but cooties were what you got from boys, so guess it is possible?Anyways, I decide they would make a fun menu so I labeled them with our lunch room style dinner. Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joe’s, Tater Tots, Side Salad and of course Spice Cake. Which is kind of an inside joke for those that I sat with at my lunch table, “ummmm spice cake, yum, yum, yum” (use your George Takei voice or cookie monster whichever works for you) So once the table was set I decided it would be cute to run a lunchroom line through the kitchen across the main island. So I pre-loaded the tray with buns, cake and salad fixings, then we added all the hot items in a line formation, just like a working cafeteria.You can check out my easy Instant Pot Sloppy Joe recipe here, along with my other great recipes under my 5 Quick Weeknight Instant Pot Dinners. Which is sure to save you time on those busy weeknights through the school year, especially with all the extra circulars.
Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe's
- Instant Pot 3 Qt. Mini ( can be doubled for a larger 6 Qt. Pot)
- 1 lb. Ground Sirloin
- 1 Onion, small sweet, (Vidalia onion) minced
- 1/4 cup Garlic minced
- 1 Bell Pepper green or red, chopped
- 1 8 oz Mushrooms fresh, sliced
- 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs Lea & Perrin Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
- 1 can Beef Consomme' Soup
- 1 Tbs Cornstarch
- 1 package Bakery Buns
- 1 package Slice Provolone cheese
- Turn Instant Pot on to Saute', add olive oil, onions, garlic and peppers. Saute' until onion are translucent.
- Add ground sirloin to brown slightly
- Add mushrooms, soup mix, cornstarch, and brown sugar. Stir then pour beef consume over mix.
- Place lid on pot and set to high pressure cook for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool and decompress before opening. Serving on toasted buns topped with cheese and favorite sides like tots or side salad.
At my party everyone got to pick there seats, which was part of my party game conversation starter. Each seat had a chalkboard easel with a class elective listed. I told each person to pick a seat for there favorite elective they took during school. The twist is they later would have to share an embarrassing story about something that happened to them during that particular elective. It’s a great conversation starter and if your party consists of people you went to school with most of them might even remember the event or have been a part of it. If you have a few spouses not part of the group or have decided to host this theme with neighbors that you did not go to school with, it is also a great way to break the ice.My Story- I picked P.E. which should be kind of obvious, as I am not the most athletic individual, lol. However in high school I was a little more athletic believe it or not. I was actually on the track team, surprised? Well, this is why I no longer run, anywhere, ever! Let’s just say that while I did run, mainly only for warm ups, I did go to state for tossing a Discus and Shot Put around, so there is black and white proof out there. Anyways, one day we were sneaking off to the weight room to avoid, you guessed it, running and decided to take a short cut over a fence. Let’s just say I was not a hurdler, and my shorts got hung on the fence and pretty much I got hung on the fence, unable to reach the ground. Thank God cell phones did not exist back then I would have been an internet sensation or a young adult film star. Ahh yes good times, now it is your turn!So of course I went first, as an ice breaker, just to get the conversations going. Let’s just say we all have our tales to tell and talking out our glory days of high school is always a fun way to pass the time. We even decided to break out a few of our old high school yearbooks and really reminisce a tad further since our memories do not serve quite as well as they used too.I also decided that every cafeteria lunch had to have jello! So I made some fun little strawberry banana jello shooters, which also helped to break the ice a little bit too for the storytelling and the pop quiz! Yep I even designed a fun little pop quiz for my guests, you can check it out below. Check out the fun old floppy disks we used for drink coasters. LOL, I think kids today would be like”what are those?” Coaster, the answer is they are coasters. However my generation this is how we stored everything from our homework to online video games, but now they are jpegs or jump drives or just get an app for that, LOL!
The “DO GOODER’S” That Pay It Forward:
You may have noticed a donation bucket in the background of the previous picture. I want to explain that, no I am not in need of school supplies. But, many schools and classrooms are, and I know so many teachers that end up using a lot of thei own personal money to add to the supply closets each year to make sure that no child is left out. In line with our back to school theme dinner, we asked each couple to fill up a book bag to donate to a local school for children that are in need of school supplies. Things like Kleenex tissue, hand sanitizers are all great, but we also want to make sure that the students had what they needed after they leave the classrooms too. Just a little way to give back to our community.
THE POP QUIZ GAME:
Okay, so I may have mentioned that I created a little pop quiz for my guests. Think of it like the honeymoon game meets, Never Would I Ever and Horrible People. It was kind of like a naughty version of Senior Superlatives, in a secret ballot form.
A few examples might have included:
- Who failed the most classes:
- Name the nark:
- The dinner guest most likely to get caught smoking behind the gym:
- Which couple was caught making out under the bleachers:
- Who has the most detentions:
- Name the biggest teachers pet: Extra Credit~Name the teacher:
- Which classmate illegally operated construction equipment without a license:
- Name the school’s TILF:
- Who wrecked the most cars:
- Who snuck out of the house all the time and allegedly never got caught:
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