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A friend of mine had heard we are having our family dinner for Thanksgiving at my house. She made the comment that she could never afford to feed so many people, although she has the space. I told her it was easy on the budget, if you plan ahead.
As soon as you decide to host an event, start putting your plan into action. If money is a real big issue, then instead of volunteering for a holiday where you are to provide a turkey or ham, (such as Thanksgiving or Christmas), pick something else, such as July 4 (hotdogs).
Buy a little each week. Pay attention to your store sales and coupons and work it to your advantage. For example, a month ago, our local grocery store had green beans on sale for 19 cents a can. I had some coupons and got a few for free. The limit was 6 cans per purchase. I usually make a green bean casserole, so I bought 6 cans, husband got 6, and each of the kids got 6. Total, 36 cans; more than enough for green bean casserole. I did the same thing a week later when they had frozen rolls on sale. I got 6 packages for the freezer. I bake our bread from scratch each week, so the week of the dinner, I will also make a few extra loaves.
My husband gets a free ham each year from work, and I have been saving up my reward points from the grocery store to purchase a turkey. Tea is inexpensive, so I also got a new box of tea, knowing I would probably be out by Thanksgiving. So, I already have the meat, drink, bread and two side dishes covered.
I am also providing the potatoes, so this week I picked up 2 large cans of yams (the huge gallon cans) that were on sale for $3.99 a can and a bag of marshmallows for the candied topping. The week of Thanksgiving I will pick up a bag of potatoes for mashed potatoes. I still had pie filling on hand in the pantry, so my pies are already made and in the freezer.
I asked each family attending to bring a covered side dish or a desert. Most of the women in our family have one dish they are "famous" for making, and they love to share. The day before, I will make up some tea and freeze it. That will be used in my drink cooler instead of ice cubes, so as it melts it won't water down everyones drink. I only offer tea and water, so that will cut down on expense.
I also stocked up, with coupons and sales, on TP and Kleenex. Always want to have plenty on hand when you have a crowd. After adding it up, my total will come out to under $75, to feed around 60 people. Not bad at all.
I loved your good ideas and I have one for you. If you have some room in your yard start some sweet potatoes next summer and have plenty for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. They will grow in just about anything. Their vines are beautiful and the leaves are also edible. Save some of the smaller ones to start next year and the cost will be next to nothing. You can't beat the taste of a sweet potato grown in your own backyard.
I am on a mission here in Iraq. My job is to take care of service members in a very remote area. I can't give you my exact location, but what I am trying to do is bring this area into the 21st century and bring the Iraqi kitchen I deal with up to date on some basic American foods.
I am going to think about this and try to come up with something. Do you have potatoes of any kind? What other spices do you have or can obtain in bulk? Can you get garlic, rosemary, basil? What do you have for fruit available? Rice?
We have potatoes, rice and occasion Bananas, plums, grapes and figs. We have Garlic and I have seen basil on occassion but haven't seen any rosemary. We have salt and pepper that is readily available but thats about all I have seen so far. We have olive oil and lemon juice and some terrible red wine that could probably be used for cooking because it tastes awful for sipping. There is no such thing as mayo or mustard either. If you have recipes for those that would be helpful.
I did some searching and so far came up with these sites for recipes and tips:
Canadian Military Recipes
This site seems to have a lot of what you need. It is in metric and Canadian and American cooking are very similar so many of these recipes would help your people feel more at home.
Food Quantities for Large Group Cooking
This site gives a good idea of how many lbs. of food you need to feed 100 and 150 people. It is information for supplying a buffet so may be helpful.
Recipes to Serve 50
Here are some recipes for Breakfast, Desserts, Soups, Salads and Main Dishes for 50 people. You would need to triple these recipes but there is some good information here.
Recipes to Serve 100
Here's some for 100.
Thank you so much for your service to our troops and country. I hope you can find some "down home" recipes for them. Stay safe over there.
Here is a very simple, yet delicious, favorite cake recipe. I have made this as a cake or muffins and it works well for both. The cake is a small one, about 9" square, but I have successfully doubled it for a larger pan.
Gram's Coffee Cake
Mix together in a bowl and put into lightly greased 9" cake pan: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 cup milk. (You can use powdered milk; I always do)
On top of the wet batter in the pan, before baking, sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Put on 1/2 stick butter or margarine last (cut up into chunks and evenly distribute on top of cake).
Then bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
I haven't done this, but I imagine you could substitute nutmeg or another spice for the cinnamon if you don't have cinnamon.
THANK YOU for serving in Iraq. Please be safe. Jayne.
First, I join Susan and Jayne in thanking you for your service to our country. I also ask that you will be kept safe and will be blessed for your service.
Your answers may lie in a site called Allrecipes. It's a site I often use.
You can use the following link to do an Ingredient Search:
I searched for "flour, tomatoes, curry, beef" and received a recipe for Mulligatawny Soup III. You may customize any of the recipes found on this site by changing to 150 servings and the program will automatically refigure the ingredients for 150 servings.
With over 23,000 recipes from all over the world, which consits of the 25 distinct recipe collections of: Appetizer, Barbeque, Beef, Beverage, Bread, Brunch, Cake, Chicken, Christmas, Cookie, Dessert, Holiday, Kid, Main Dish, Mexican, Pasta, Pie, Pork, Quick & Easy, Salad, Seafood, Side Dish, Soup, Thanksgiving and Vegetarian recipes. Browsing these recipes for ones which contain the ingredients you have handy and contain the "American" qualities you're looking for, then having the computer program adjust the servings to 150 may be just the help you need!
I hope this helps!
Thank You All,
You are so very kind to help me in my endeavor. We are going to put some of the recpes I found at the many websites you suggested into play this weekend. I don't know how to thank you so on behalf of my Troops and myself I can only say THANK YOU for your support and caring. This has been a true morale builder. I'll let you know how everything goes:-)
Again, Thank You for all of your help.
Before I share my suggestions I would like to thank you for taking such good care of everyone there. they are lucky to have someone as thoughtful as you looking after them. Blessings to you and everyone with you. Okay, here are a couple of my recommendations. Number one, think ethnic...you'll automatically expand and add variety to your meals. Talk to the people you cook for...get their suggestions for meals. I am sure most of these folks cooked
from time to time before heading off to Iraq. Ask for their family recipes...better yet, invite them to join you cooking their family dishes or at least acting as advisor to the cook. I bet they would love it. I know I would jump at the chance to cook up my favorite dish or dessert. It might be a nice change from the day to day routine.
An even further out idea is this. Survey these folks for a farmer, a scout, a botnist, or naturalist,or perhaps a survivalist...people with "plant" identification skills. They might be able to identify some plants in the area you can use ie; herbs, seasonings, vegetables to vary the menu and keep things interesting . . .My korean neighbor taught me to identify and eat all sorts of weeds and plants I would never have tried on my own. I now use dandylions, ferns, sweat pea tips, flower blossoms, etc. just like in those upscale resturants. You might be amazed to find out what these folks know about plants. Give them a chance to show you what they know. Get folks involved. I admire you for reaching out to the bigger world. I'm going to check out some of the sites folks have recommend to you. I went to the "foodnework.com" they have a section called the 30minute meal . . . you can make requests. Take a look at it. ----Wow, sooo close to Turkey and India and no turkish coffee or Indian spices. That's punishment. I hope that changes soon and I hope you get lots of delicious idea. Best of luck to all of you. My thoughts prayers are with you.
Sounds like you have ingredients for a great quiche! That is easy to do and serves buffet style great.
start a compost pile and plant a garden in the spring
You could keep everything in containers for easy moving
I've just started a site dedicated to eating well in a War Zone called http://www.mercenaryscookbook.com . it's a bit bare bones right now, but I'm looking for any tips you might have firstname.lastname@example.org
I was a head chef for a camp in naziriya iraq. I feed 800 us personnels and my food was from scratch almost.
it was a good job and now I am in UAE.
if you have a vacancy for head chef please give me a chance and let me work it out for the best
Some recipes are easier to adapt tomcod for large groups than others. This is a guide about easy food ideas for 70 people.
Preparing large quantities of food for a group event presents many challenges. The first is to know how much food to prepare, to avoid waste and hungry guests. This page asks about how much to buy when making chicken on a stick for a large crowd.
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We have a special occasion, my husband is turning 65. Since I am now disabled and no one in the family has volunteered to help (but are coming) and everyone wants it to be a surprise, of course, what do I feed these family members and still make the birthday special on a low-cost budget? My husband does not eat beans!
I would go with 10 big bags of chips and dip stretched by adding extra sour cream or more diced tomatoes, bag of ice and homemade ice tea, coffee and bottled water... along with a very well decorated cake if you or others have time for anything more by all means tell them thank you :P
Tell guests it's a potluck as that is the only way you can really surprise him. If they really care that shouldn't be a problem.
I am planning a wedding for my sister. I need to feed 100 people on a limited budget. I think we have at least 10 vegetarians. It doesn't need to be incredibly formal. I need at least one meal for meat eaters, a meal for vegetarians, a couple kinds of salad and some snacky food. The cake is taken care of. I want the food to be as tasty as possible but not too expensive. It can really add up fast when you are feeding this many people. For example, if I budget 10 dollars per person I am looking at 1000, which is too much.
Here is a lunch meal plan from "Big Wedding on a Small Budget" by Diane Warner.
Dolly Roll Sandwitches = .97 per guest (see recipe below)
Fruit Salad = .39 per guest
Potato Salad = .32 per guest
Mixed Bean Salad = .35 per guest
Pickled Beat Salad = .35 per guest
Olives = .12 per guest
Pickles = .15 per guest
Nuts = .30 per guest
Mints = .20 per guest
Coffee, tea and Champagne Punch = 1.25 per guest
Paper Products = .73 per guest
The total comes to 5.13 per person or just over 500.00 for 100 people.
Dolly Roll Recipe
This recipe will server 100 people.
1 twenty pound turkey
1 gallon jar of mayonnaise
5 pounds Chopped Celery
Salt and pepper to taste
Dolly Rolls (baseball sized rolls)
Bake turkey unstuffed until done. Strip both light and dark meat off the bird and put it through a meat grinder. Mayo and celery can be added a day or two before the ceremony and stored in tight containers. You can serve these on the day of the wedding. Just cut rolls and use a small ice cream scoop to fill the little sandwitches. Its best to assemble to order and keep the turkey mix cold until they are ready to be eaten.
Notes: Most ingredients can be purchased in quantity at a warehouse store. Check your local baker for Dolly Rolls. They may be available at a warehouse store as well.
You can also find a breakfast and lunch plan in Diane's book.
If a hot meal is required, I'd do pasta-primavera with only vegies for those so inclined, and add chicken or turkey for the carnivores. A simple salad with prewashed, bagged mixed greens, and a few season vegies, rolls or bread. beverages, cake, whatelse is needed? Pre-dinner muchies could be nuts, wrapped candies-kisses strewn on tables are fun, pretzels, breadsticks and cheese chunks...
We did my daughters wedding of 250 people with the feature dish being chicken marsala. It is elegant, inexpensve, and surprisingly easy to prepare...it was a big hit! Other friends and church group members brought pre-planned pot dishes so there were plenty of veggies to go around. Friends enjoy helping and consider their small investment as part of their wedding gift to the newlyweds!
I did my sons wedding for under $400.00 total food cost. (75 guests) I did two large turkeys sliced and plated, gravy, stuffing (baked seperately) cranberry compote, tossed green salad, cut veggies and dip, chips and salsa, green bean casserole, Sliced hero bread and cold cuts, crackers, sliced cheeses, pickles, olives, potato salad, cole slaw, punch, Sangria (with fruit slices) and a champaigne toast.
the only things that had to be served warm were the gravy and stuffing (Chaffing dishes)
my vegan guests had plenty to choose from. There are some wonderful sites that can help you with how much you need.
Your grocery deli counter can be very helpful. they will assist you in knowing how much total coldcuts and cheeses will be appropriate. Just tell them your buget, and your headcount. Best of luck.
If I can be of help, please Email: Doggypaddler@aol.com
I often use recipes from allrecipes.com. You can choose what types of food you want to cook with (chicken, veggie, ect) and this site allows you to scale the recipes to suit how many people you need to serve. This may be helpful if trying to cook for 100 or more!
HI. I recently got married myself (Feb. 04). While I did not have a large reception, we did have to deal with variety (meat and non-meat eaters).
I suggest, if the reception is going to be at least an hour and a half before lunch, or an hour and a half after, serve a chicken salad ball with wheat crackers, a few veggies trays and a few fruit trays. Ranch dip is great with the veggies, and you can make a wonderful dip for the fruit by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar to taste. It is a whole lot cheaper to fix these yourself rather than buying premade trays. You can get very nice glass "crystal-look" trays at the dollar store. (IDEA: if you get these $1 glass platters, you can use them as gifts for your reception workers.)
If you need any ideas, feel free to email me at email@example.com I would gladdy email you pictures or anything you need. My mother is a caterer and I have helped her on way too many occassions, so I will be glad to give you ideas, and I promise, if I can do it, anybody can.
I would like to give a luncheon for 35-40 people. I want to plan a build your own salad, baked potatoe, and soup bar. How do I figure out how much to lettuce, for example, to purchase per person?
I catered a wedding for an acquaintence and set my price at $250.00. Here's what I served: 200 Ham Biscuits, 96 mini croissants with Tuna salad and chicken salad,2 LARGE fruit trays with extra refill 2 LARGE Vegetable trays with refill ranch dip,dill dip ,fruit dip and pineapple fruit dip,chocolte fondue and a few added things like mexican dip and tortillas, 2 crockpots of bbq meatballs and lg batch of sausage balls. Enough to fill an 8 foot table twice. Had to comparison shop for best prices and do all my cooking, cutting and make from scratch rather than buy ready made but I stayed within my budget. She was so pleased she paid me an extra $250. MY POINT: Receptions don't HAVE to cost a fortune if you watch your Ps and Qs.
What should I do. I hate being in the spotlight my wedding and reception is going to be 100-200 and I am worried what everyone will think. I know I shouldn't but it's EASIER SAID THAN DONE, you know. I feel like I'm having some sort of nervous breakdown. HELP am I alone? Not to mention all the stress of financial and other worries that go along with planning a wedding.
Ok, my situation is a little odd. My fiance and I are marrying young and we are having a smaller wedding. I really need some help because we are inviting 100 people, and our food budget is only $200.... Please, does anyone have any tips on how to make this possible?
By Barbara L.
I'm having a large get together in a few months (and by large I mean it could be up to 200 or so people) and I need some help. I'm trying to save money by making the food myself and not hiring a cater. Any ideas? or would it be best if I just found a good cater?
By Katlin Y
I am having a wedding in the south for 100 people. I am on a budget and have no caterer. How do I feed 100 people for my wedding?
By Jessica T.
I have to feed a group of 15 for a weekend. Does anyone have any recipes for nutritious, inexpensive, easy to prepare meals?
By Susan from WY
I am having a surprise birthday party for my dad at 2-4 in the afternoon about 2 hours from my home. So I need food that is cheap, easy to transport, and won't spoil in the summer. I also don't have a great deal of time to prepare. I know, that's a lot of caveats!
I will get a cake from Costco, nuts, and mints.
What are the easiest ideas for punch, other snack foods? I am thinking I'll use balloons to decorate, but they are hard to transport. Does anyone have other ideas for decorations in a church basement?
Dress is casual.
Thanks so much!
I am planning a graduation party for approx. 100 guests. What is the easiest and most inexpensive way to prepare the pulled chicken?
I am looking for recipes to feed 40-50 hungry football players before game night. It needs to be cheap and filling!
How many lbs. of cubed meat would I need to feed 70 people?
The rule is 1/4 lb for a persons. That would be 17.5 pounds. I would buy a few pounds more, just to make sure I had enough.
I need a recipe for a crock pot or baked dish for breakfast. It needs to be not too hard and enough for 40 people. Thank you.
How many loaves of French bread do I need to feed 150 people?
I need to have enough lemonade for roughly 3000 people. How many gallons do I need? Is 120 gallons enough?
Inexpensive recipe ideas for feeding a large crowd (150 or more people) at a dinner party/ how to know how much is needed.
Bonzai from Orem, UT
I am cooking for 100 people and the menu is meatloaf, chicken, hot dogs, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, mac salad, Hawaiian rolls, and cole slaw. How should I divide the meat for this many people? Once I divide the meat, how many ounces per person should I calculate for each type meat?
Weekly we feed 40 to 120 people. We pay for the food ourselves and need some cheep suggestions. We need some new ideas as beans and spaghetti are getting old. We have great salad options, but could use some help with main dishes.
Help! I have been put in charge of menu planning for an upcoming retreat we will be having at the beach in Oregon in January. The retreat is 3 days long and we will have access to 2 kitchens. I have no idea how to begin planning the food, the equipment, and any other needs that may arise so people can have good healthy food with gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options. This is our first retreat that we will be hosting and we are going to have 40-60 people there. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
By Wendy from Olympia, WA
There are some good ideas here, I especially like the chicken and rice. My husband's birthday party is this weekend and while I love grilling burgers and dogs it seems I always end up with buns left over. Any other suggestions?
By Janet S
I do have some menu items, however the person that came up with these recipes just took recipes for 8-12 people and doubled, tripled, etc. This has caused too much food, less than is needed and food waste at times.
Any help would be great. We start an 8 week national tour in 3 weeks.
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I need some new ideas for feeding our church youth group cheaply. Sometimes it can be up to 30 kids.