Feeding 40-50 people for $125 ~ need ideas!!
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  1. #1
    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Default Feeding 40-50 people for $125 ~ need ideas!!

    My husband is a Mason and for the next year, I am in charge of the monthly family dinner before the stated meetings. I need to feed 40-50 and my budget is $1600 for the entire year. Most of the spices/butter/etc...are already purchased.

    I haven't been around for a while, but I couldn't think of a better place to get ideas for cheap, delicious meals. Thanks in advance to everyone!

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    What will 'pass and constitute' this "family dinner"...........are casseroles acceptable?

    How 'fancy' does it have to be?

    Do you have to do table decor. too?
    Will you have a warming table to use?
    Do you have to worry about "allergies"??

    Not sure I would be much help but some more info will......for sure........be helpful!
    Also..........the drinks??? Will water suffice??????

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    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Sorry. I should have included more info. My mind was still reeling from the Felix Baumgartner jump

    Warming table ~ yes
    I'll have use of the commercial kitchen at the lodge
    Casseroles are fine
    There is a LOT of crystal light already purchased, water is fine, coffee is already purchased
    Table decor is already purchased for each month
    Doesn't need to be fancy
    No allergies to worry about

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  5. #4
    Registered User Jamauk's Avatar
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    Here are my plans so far:

    For Nov, we have three turkeys in our freezer that we are going to donate, so I'm going to roast the turkeys and pull the meat off the bones. I'm going to make a big batch of gravy (from the powdered Costco stuff ~ as it's already been purchased) and mix the meat in with that. I'll serve mashed potatoes, some corn and a salad. If I can fit it in my budget, I'll serve some stuffing.

    I'll set aside some meat and boil the bones into broth, so I can serve soup (with a bunch of veggies, beans & barley) another month ~ with rolls & salad.

    In Dec, I'm planning to buy a Costco ham and serve it with potato casserole and some baked beans. I'll save the leftover ham/bone and serve it with cabbage and green beans another month (or beans and rice, haven't decided yet).

    I'm trying to make the meals (at least the meat) do double duty as much as possible.

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    When i am at a function that feeds many these are the dishes they make.

    Pasta w/sauce
    Baked Beans
    Pulled pork sandwiches
    Homemade Mac n Cheese
    since you are having a sit down dinner style soups or stews could work
    Also with holidays coming you may want to stock up on hams and turkeys at rock bottom prices.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    Taco bar; soft and hard shells, sour cream, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc...With sides of refried beans and Spanish rice.

    Loaded baked potato bar; potatoes, meat, cheese, butter, sour ream, bacon bits, etc...with salad on the side.

    Poppy seed chicken casserole or another rice based casserole

    Breakfast for dinner, maybe? Eggs, meat and toast/biscuits on the hot side and maybe fruit and muffins on a cold side.

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    Soups are a great place to pinch pennies while making a mass of food, and are good to serve in the colder months.

    Easy Hash brown Soup Recipe | Budget Savvy Diva This is always popular at our fall dance recital. You can do it in a crock pot, just brown the onions and then dump it and let it go. Add bacon or ham if you can afford it.

    Minestrone soup: there are a lot of recipes for this. Pretty much it is broth, tomatoes, beans, pasta and whatever vegetables you can get. Frozen vegetables work great, too.

    Chili: I'm sure you know how to make this. I like to use 1 can of black beans per lb of ground meat. What I like about chili is that you can use any kind of ground meat, beef, pork, turkey, and you can use cheaper frozen brands because all the seasoning covers it up. Are any of your Masons hunters? Ground venison makes a good chili, by itself or mixed with other meats. I used to make a "roadkill chili" every year for halloween using donated venison.
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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    I think you're already on the right track. With a budget of $2.50 per person, you should be able to do this.

    The only thing I can add ... and you already hinted at this ... is to write out your menu ideas for the year and match it to the holidays in every month.

    November: Turkey / Thanksgiving
    December: Ham / Christmas
    January: Black eyed peas and sausage? / New Years / Chinese New Year?
    February: Valentine's Day or Mardi Gras is Feb 12th
    March: Corned beef and cabbage / St. Patty's Day or Easter (March 30th)
    April: Taxes due 04/15 - a great time for an all vegetarian meal - ha, ha
    May: Memorial Day/ Mother's Day / Mexican food is good this month
    June: Flag Day or depending on your meeting date look ahead to 4th of July
    July: Great time for a BBQ
    August: Same - BBQ or do all light / cold foods like anti-pasta trays and deli luncheon meats
    September: Labor Day and back to school or coming of autumn - soups and chili are good
    October: Halloween / Columbus Day (Italian food)

    In addition to what has been mentioned above: chicken & dumplings (dumplings are sold frozen in some places and keep in a crock pot very well), jambalaya, baked ziti, food on sticks (skewered and grilled chicken - like jerk chicken is good, skewered and grilled veggies, etc), Chinese food like fried rice and egg rolls, baked mac & cheese.

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    Registered User cheryl65's Avatar
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    Mostacciolli, sloppy joes, tacos, soups/chili are some things that come to mind. Breakfast for dinner is an idea. Also, sometimes you can get a great deal on fried chicken from the hot counter of your local grocery store. If you have a grill available in summer hamburgers/hot dogs are always a winner.

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    Can you find out what the person who handled the food last year did? Maybe they have a menu they can share and whether the food went over well or not.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamauk View Post
    In Dec, I'm planning to buy a Costco ham and
    I'm trying to make the meals (at least the meat) do double duty as much as possible.
    Just a thought and I don't know if they would do it..........or if they would give you a discount if you purchase a lot of them BUT........... thought of the Costco rot. chickens.........if they would discount them.......that would be do able........and I think they are good. Slice off the meat so you could keep the bones for soup in another month...........from experience, their chickens (and skin) make absolutely the best broth!

    Have you checked with Costco to see if you could get any sort of discount on things? Worth a shot............

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    How about a taco bar?

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    Registered User lovestoread's Avatar
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    When I was in charge of the kitchen at the craft show my sorority used to put on years ago, we would make hot chicken sandwiches, although we fibbed a little and used turkey...just baked the turkeys, boned, shredded , saved the broth, several loaves of toasted bread, boiled eggs, salt and pepper...served on buns...can't get much more economical than that and people LOVED our sandwiches...

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    Registered User ARCMOMMY's Avatar
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    Make friends with the butcher at the grocery store. Ask them when they do markdown meats before you spend anymore $$. I got tavern whole hams (normall price $45-$50) the following sunday after easter this year for $11 and $12 a whole ham. As long as I froze them right away and then cook them right after they thaw they are still good. I have been doing this for a few years now and it has saved us $100's of dollars on meat.

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    Ham & beans, cornbread is always good.

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