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Cook Talk

Catering for 300
Tanu
tanu@wanadoo.fr
10/04/04
Hi. I'm going to be catering an Indian dinner for 300 ppl and I'm going crazy looking for conversion charts.
The main course will consist of Basmati Pilaf and Butter Chicken. How much rice am I going to need for 300 ppl?? How much chicken? Butter chicken is made with boneless breast pieces.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This is the first time I'm catering for such a large crowd. Wherelese could I search for information?

Thans.

ellen

10/07/04
allow 4 ounces cooked boneless chicken breast per person, which is 75 pounds cooked, about 100 pounds raw or frozen. Please check out the planning pages in big pots for amounhts of grains, salad beverages, etc.

You will need at least 3 cooks and 10-12 servers.

Check out my crock pot chutney and make several batches using different base fruits, especially apples, peaches, and green or red tomatoes. Mangoes or pineapples if you can get them- canned pinaple tidbits work.

candi
majcan2002@yahoo.com
09/08/05
I'm preparing Huli Huli chicken for approximately 500 people. I will be using the leg and thighs of the chicken. How many pounds must I purchase

Thanks

ellen

09/09/05
Hi, Candi, that's a nice recipe. A 10 pound bag has about 8 1/2 to 10 quarters. You need 1 quarter per person, so a 40 pound case is 34 to 40 people's worth. 3 cases for 100 people. 14-15 for 500 people. Make sure you have cold storage- a case is BIG.
lori
02/07/06
i am catering my own wedding for 200 people. i am having a evening wedding and therefore am only serving a cold lunch with buns, cheese, meat and all garnish ..what amounts do i need?
ellen
02/07/06
Lori, congratulations. I am not doing initial estimates- see the note just above. There is a sandwich event planning page in Big Pots with very extensive quantity tables and great filling recipes that will help you with your initial estimate, and I will be glad to check it if you email it to me.
Judy
06/04/06
I really am having a hard time with the amounts to make for three salads. We will have potato, macaroni and pasta salads. This is for a company picnic. We will also be serving Hamburgs, Hot dogs and Sausage. Do we need each salad to serve 300? And what number of pounds do we need for Potato, Macaroni, and the Macaroni for the pasta salad. Hopefully you can help us. PLEASE!!!
ellen
06/04/06
Your total volume for salads including all three should be about 30 gallons. If made from scratch, the potato salad should start with 105-120 pounds of potatoes plus fixings (see the quantities for 100 page for amounts and recipe links). I would probably do a pasta salad starting with 20 punds of dry pasta and a cole slaw starting with 60 pounds of cabbage and carrots, rather than pasta salad and macaroni salad. If you use a slaw, it can be made the day before,,, and with the BBQ menu I would prabbaly do a more vinegary rather than mayo slaw.

You can refrigerate/store the salads in the 2 1/2 gallon size food-safe ziplock bags. Trash bags are not food safe. Keep them iced until served and only put out 1 hours-worth at a time.

sam
06/19/06
Hello, Im catering for 300, for a barbeque in chicago , im not sure how much meat to get,and im having a hard time trying to figure out a reasonalbe price for them as well myself
ellen
06/19/06
Hi, Sam,

This is a pretty big party for a first catering adventure...

You will need about 3 cooks (total) and about 6 servers per 100 guests for buffet style service. You need a written contract that specifies what food, beverages nd set up, service, and equipment you are responsible for including in the price. If this is a paid event, you PROBABLY need a public-health inspected kitchen to work out of, unless there is one at the site you are using- check licensing requirements in your state. You need LIABILITY INSURANCE for the event- what if someone gets sick, claiming food poisoning, or a guest or server is burned or cut?

Here are a few rules of thumb for you:
-Food costs should be 1/4 to 1/3 of the bill, the lower fraction with higher service costs (tables with plates,) the higher amount is OK for a buffet.
-Total weight of edible food for 1 adult, 1 1/2 pounds for a meal, 1 pound for a reception type event.
-Total volume of all sides for bbq, salad, slaw, beans, is about 1 gallon for each 10 persons
-Biggest cost is the meat, so menu choice steeply affects price; for riblets or ribs, you need 1 pound raw per person, where for pulled pork sandwiches, you need about 1 1/4 pound boneless raw for 3 people. Chicken pieces or leg quarters are a big BBQ bargain these days- check the plan for 100 lists for amounts.
-Choice of meats increases amounts needed about 10% for each one added. For example, say you want to serve Italian beef (sliced, marinated) AND baby backs in equal amounts to 100 people; you use the charts for 100 people, but instead of making for 50% each, you make for about 60% each- people eat more and take some of each when offered a choice.
-To control costs, put all the salads and side dishes first, meat last on the line. Put desserts very visible but on a separate table so people see them and "leave room for dessert".
-To control costs, have someone serve the meats- for a large party, the cost of the server is less than the cost of the extra meat taken with self serve. Besides, it looks elegant.
-To control costs, add some side dishes such as borracho/ranch beans, an extra slaw, or a hot vegetable or rice or potato dish that goes along with the menu.
-To control costs, use a 9" plate instead of a 10" and use a slightly smaller serving spoon. People usually take 1 or two spoonfuls regardless of the size of the spoon
-To control costs, be sure that the written contract specifies exactly how many persons you are responsible to serve, what is going to be done about noshows (you are contracted for 300 pople, 265 show up, they want to pay you for only 265. Your entire profit is gone; you worked the whole event for free...) and what your responsiblity is for extra guests (you are contracted for 300, 325 show up, you run out of food. Who gets blamed?...)
-To control costs, be sure the contract specifies who owns the extra food- if you bring 10% extra above the contracted amount to cover extra persons, not an unusual thing at informal gatherings, some inexperienced employers think they get to take home ALL the food not eaten. Un-unh, see why the contract specifies exactly how many mals they are buying?

Read all my food safety articles before you start selecting the menu and planning the prep. The storage and kitchen facilities may affect the menu.

Finally, go on line and inspect prices for comparable meals in your area. You will find some consistency, and there is a reason for that. If your estimated price differs markedly, ask yourself, why?

LYNNETTE
07/23/06
Catering for 30-50 people
my friends had been asking me for small parties and i just need a base line on how to estimate amount of food to prepare..i always over cook...how many people can u serve per pound?
ellen
07/28/06
Use 1/3 of the amount for 100 for 30, 1/2 for 50. Add 10% if it is buffet.
Savannah
08/10/06
Catering for 30
I'm having a party for about 30 people, a few more. It's an outside party with a barbeque so I was planning on cooking chicken kabobs or chicken teriyake. How much chicken do I need per person considering that the majority of the group are teenagers?
ellen
08/10/06
Leg quarters are the best buy in chicken- you can use a teriyaki marinade- it will be much simpler than kebabs. If mostly teens, I would make 45 to 50 quarters; you will have some left, but will not run out.
Mike N
08/16/06
BBq for 300 people,

Items are baby back ribs, Chicken (legs and thights , and beef briskets

How much shold i buy

ellen
08/16/06
See the BBQ and brisket page for directions on how to figure mixed meats for bbq entree. You have to decide what you consider a normal plate. A typical plate might be 1 rib, 5 ounces cooked meat, 3 ounces chicken, which is 1 leg or thigh each.
Kim
09/15/06
Catering for 500
Hi, there. My company is doing its first big gig for 500. We're doing all hors douevres(and wine) and really need to know how many we should do. We're completely in the dark. Can you give me any idea?? I hope so. Thanks so much!

Kim

ellen
09/16/06
Kim, please go to chef2chef.com, a professional group and read their bulletin boards. You need to talk to other pros.
Karen
09/21/06
Catering for 200
Hi there
I am having a dinner reception with the meat alread cooked by a restaurant. We are having 200 people and the meats are pulled pork and brisket that is already shredded. They sell it by the pound. How many pounds should I get??
Thanks
Karen
ellen
09/21/06
4 to 5 sandwiches per pound of ready to eat meat. So figure how many sandwiches you want (all adults, you want to allow 1.2 to 1.3 sandwiches per person.
Jorge
10/02/06
Dinner for 80
My mom is catering a turkey dinner. She would like to know how many pounds of turkey we would need? We would also need to know how many lbs for the sides which are green beans, mac & cheese, broccoli casserole and dressing. We are have cocktail hour with H'oderves before the dinner so everyone shouldn't be as hungry as Thanksgiving day.
ellen
10/03/06
All turkey questions are answered here:

www.ellenskitchen.com/turkey/planshop.html

with recipes and more advice on the related pages.

Valerie
11/13/06
Hi
I am planning a Christmas Dinner for 350 people I was wondering how much turkey(rolled),dressing, corn, cranberry sauce,gravy,juice, cookies I would need?

Thank-you
Valerie

ellen
11/13/06
Valerie, see the site above.
sarah
12/04/06
Catering for 400
we are having a beneifit soup & salad luncheon, everyone gets their own food. all the salads will be out on the table and we will sppon out the soup in 12 oz bowels. serving 500. how many punds of soup and salad do we need?
LaVerne
12/04/06
Potato Salad
I need to know how much to prepare for 40 guest.
ellen
12/04/06
Sarah, all the salads and the soup quantities for 100 are already listed in the plan for 100 tables in Big Pots, you just multiply times 5.

Laverne, see any of my potato salad for 100 recipes and make a scant 1/2. You want about 15 pounds of potatoes.

David
01/08/07
Catering for 500 people
Hi, Can you please help. I am cooking for my brothers wedding. This will be for the reception. I am in charge of making BBQ brisket, spanish rice and pinto beans. Can you please give me the amount of rice and dry pinto beans in lbs. that are needed in preparing for 500 people. I would rather have a little left than to be short.
ellen
01/08/07
8 pounds dried rice or beans for each 100 servings, given a 2/3 cup serving.

This is way too big for easy. I have posted articles on food storage and safety and the article on planning you wedding reception. There are a lot of serious details besides just the food itself. You need to realize that you will probably miss the wedding, as will the approximately 30 helpers you will need to set up, sook, serve and clean up the meal.

michael
01/24/07
hello, can you help. I am catering for 300 need to know how many pounds of chicken breast needed per person, I'm making Thai peanut chicken strips.

thanks.

ellen
01/24/07
1 pound raw, skinned, boneless chicken breast will serve 3, and can serve 4 if there are generous and intersting other dishes.
Jennifer
01/26/07
Ellen, I first have to tell you that this by far is the best web-resource around. Thank you. Now for my question... I have been asked to do a dinner for 350 with passed appetizers. This is the largest catering job that I have done. I have checked your charts and I would like to know what you think of my amounts. Dinner will be served.

Appetizers - 8 pp, total 2,800 pieces

Artichoke Canape 700 pieces
Spinach Cheese bites 700 pieces
Pork tenderloin brushcetta pieces
Antipasto skewers 700 pieces(tomato,boccacino,salami,green olive)

Dinner:
Chicken saute - approx 140 -160lbs. frozen,boneless,skinless, chick breasts

Rice pilaf
21 c. rice
21 qts chick stock
14 c. green & red bellpeppers
21 c. onion
plus spices

Greenbean saute
84lbs. fresh greenbeans
21 lbs. bacon
plus spices

64 dozen rolls/butter to go with

Does this sound correct to you? I am not to sure about the appetizers...if I should have more of a selection. My customer wants room temp appetizers..last year their hot appetizers were cold and the cold appetizers mushy..and not very good (from what I'm told). I would like to make a good impression on this job. Thank you for any help!

ellen
01/27/07
Hi, you want some work out of me, eh?

I generally use 1 different appe choice for each 25 people, so would look for 12-14 different choices. I would add at least a creamy or two and an overtly cheesy/ mediterranean, a seafood or large shrimp and a stuffed veggie such as maybe cherry tomatoes or cucumber cups stuffed with crab or shrimp salad.

Amount of chicken is fine but what else goes in the saute. You need a great sauce. Rice requires only 2 cups of broth for each cup of rice and I would likely go with 24-27 cups rice, especially if buffet. Green beans are barely enough. You also need a fourth item/ plate garnish such as spiced peach or apples, mango salsa, stuffed mushrooms, etc. 1 large roll per person plated on the table or 1.2 if on buffet.

ellen
01/27/07
And what about the salad?
Doris
02/02/07
Hello, Our Fireman's Ladies Auxiliary is planning a fund raiser Pinto Bean Supper, with beans,corn bread, & slaw. How much of each will we need for 300 tickets?
ellen
02/02/07
See the article on basic budget entrees and the plan for 100 quantity lists. You might add the garlic pickles from my chili page- cheap, easy, delicious.
Michele
02/08/07
I need to know approx how many pounds of dried beans I need to feed 100 adults
ellen
02/11/07
Please see the beans for 100 recipes for main dish and side dish amounts- about 8 pounds for a side dish.
Linda Schartz
03/01/07
how many turkeys do i need to prepare for 300 people?
ellen
03/03/07
For a party type meal you start with 1 pound raw whole turkey per person. There is a whole article on turkey mea shopping in the holiday cooking section of the Big Pots page.
elia
03/20/07
I need to make potatoe salad for 450 people. how many potatoes to fill a turkey size tray to feed 450 people do I need?

which are the best potatoes for a potato salad, red/white or both?

do you have a delicious easy potatoe salad recipe?

I am doing this big task for this saturday

help!

ellen
03/23/07
hello. There is a big set of recipes on potato salad for 100- 8-10 very different recipes, how to boil, what kinds to use, safe chilling, etc. See mac slaw and potato salad recipes for 100. You will want about 165 pounds of potatoes, so use a recipe that doesn't require peeling.
anna
03/27/07
Catering for 200
How many pounds of rice do i need to cater for 200 people?
ellen
03/27/07
About 15 pounds, depending on the recipe.
Beth Corbin
03/28/07
My company is having a Pork BBQ Sandwich sale for a Fund Raiser. We anticipate selling approximately 300 sandwiches. My question is, how many pounds of pork will we need to make that many sandwiches?
ellen
03/28/07
1 pound boneless raw pork shoulder (which is the cut you want for this) for each four sandwiches. You may add the garlic pickles on the chili page- make ahead- you can get $1 each for a whole one.
ellen
03/28/07
By the way, consider a half recipe of the Lexinton slaw for 500 for a really authentic side dish. Just posted on this site.
Lois
04/12/07
Catering for 100
I am doing a dinner for around 100 people, how many great northern beans will I need to cook?
ellen
04/12/07
Check the beans for 100 page, use the recipe most like yours to estimate. It depends also on whether it is a side dish or a main dish.
Jody
04/12/07
How much pasta salad should I have for 300 people? We are also having bbq, chips, fruit salad, veggie trays, cheese trays, and cake.
ellen
04/13/07
Check the plan for 100 page- the whole first section is salads. Then have a lppk at my pasta salad for 100 recipes, and you can make it from scratch.
Lisa
04/30/07
Catering for 330
I am catering for 330 people. How much turkey/ham, potatoes would I need?
ellen
05/02/07
Use the plan for 100 pages in Big Pots to help yourself. You don't say whether it is lunch, dinner, reception- amounts differ- all are covered. If you post your estimates I will check them for you.
Lisa
05/02/07
I am estimating my meal on 350 people to be safe.
122.50 pounds of potatoes
7 10 pound hams
7 turkeys @ 25 pounds each
175 cups stuffing
53 heads lettuce
200 cups gravy
How many bags of frozen corn?
ellen
05/02/07
If hams are boneless, looks good. Add a raisin sauce for the ham, about same amount as the gravy. You want about 88 pounds of frozen corn.
Lisa
05/04/07
Would it be okay to cook turkey and gravy day before and reheat?
Gail J. Townsend
05/05/07
Catering for 130
I am doing an encampment for Girl Scouts. I will be serving around 130 people. I want to make macaroni and cheese but I don't know how much of anything to use. Do you have a receipe that will help me.
ellen
05/06/07
Lisa there is an actual article on reheating turkey in the holiday cooking section of Big Pots.

Gail, See the mac and cheese recipes in Big Pots, they serve 100. Make 1 1/3.

Esther
05/21/07
Freezer meal for 10 (six servings per meal)
I need 4 cups of shredded chicken per recipe. Recipe serves 6. I need to make 10 recipes. How many pounds of chicken is 40 cups?
We are exchanging freezer meals, and this one has me stumped.
ellen
05/24/07
2 cups is 1 pound cooked, boneless skinless. It takes about 2 pounds whole chicken or chickn quarters to make 1 pound meat. For this much, you should consider roasting a turkey- cheaper, usually, and more flavor.
Linda
06/01/07
My daughters open house is in 3 weeks and she would like chicken if we sent out 150 invites how many usually come, and how much chicken do I buy to grill.
ellen
06/02/07
I can't help on the returns- varies by region and by competing activities- for example, is it the last game of the NBA playoffs- You want 125-130 pounds of quarters, but only 100 pounds of single pieces for 150 people.
Kelly Brewer
06/03/07
I'm catering a wedding reception for 300 people. I need some help figuring out how much food to purchase.The menu is chicken strips, meatballs,cocktail weiners, cheese trays, veggie trays, pimento cheese and chicken salad sandwiches,fruit tray. How much food will I need to purchase and how do I charge for this. I have only catered a few and have never went over 100 people. I would appreciate all the help I can get.
LAUREEN
06/04/07
How many of the big 7lb cans of Bush's Baked Beans will I need for 300? Also serving potatoe salad, mac and cheese, hotdogs, hamburgers, cole slaw. Thanks for your help.
ellen
06/05/07
Laureen, Please see the beans for 100 recipes, thee is one that uses the canned beans, I allow 4 #10 cans plus fixings for 100 people.

Kelly, Since I posted all my quantity tables, I no longer do original estimates. If you use my tables to prepare and estimate, and post it, I will check it for you. The usual charge is 3 to 4 times the cost of the food, plus extra for equipment delivery and rentals- it totally depends on whether you are dropping off cooked food or doing setup service cleanup also. Weddings are a very BAD place to start catering for this large a group- they need to be perfect, and you need written contracts and liability insurance. Please read my catering your wedding article and think hard before accepting this job..

Suzy
06/06/07
Catering for 200
How many lbs. of dry pinto beans are needed for server 200 people? Also serving brisket, rice & potatoe salad
ellen
06/07/07
Suzy take a look at my beans for 100 recipes in Big Pots for quantity guidelines.
Teresa
06/12/07
Catering for 400
I am serving hot roast & pork sandwiches. (Have that figured okay)
I need help figuring amounts needed for:
Potato Salad
Pasta Salad
Fresh Fruit
Relish Tray

Thank You!

Pete
06/12/07
Catering for 200
I am catering a buffet style event for 200. The menu consists of roast beef, chicken breast, mostacolli, red skin potatos, green beans, tossed salad, and dinner rolls. How much ingredients do I need to purchase? Thanks for your help.
ellen
06/13/07
Teresa, all these items are covere dvery specifcally in the plan for 100 pages in big pots, see the salad section of the plan for 100 list, the fruit tray page and the veggie tray page (for the relish tray), make 4 times the amount for 100. Since you are serving 400 two salads, I would make enought for 300 of pasta (about 10 gallons) and 300 of potato (about 12-14 gallons)- I would also add 8-10 gallons of coleslaw, it is VERY popular with this menu and easy to make ahead.
ellen
06/13/07
Hi, Pete,
When pro caterers serve beef and chicken, they allow 5 ounces cooked ready to eat boneless beef PLUS 3 ounces cooked ready to eat boneless chicken per person. Since beef loses 40% from cooking and trimming, that is about 2 pounds boneless ready to cook beef per 5 persons, and about 1 pound boneless ready to cook chicken breast for 4 persons. The mostaciolli, is it a side or an entree? See the lotsa pasta page for the difference in quantities for the two- and there is a mostaciooli and sausage recipe for 120 that will give you quantity ideas for an entree.
All the rest of the items are covered on the plan for 100 pages- if you rpepare and post your estimates, I will be glad to review them for you.
Sally
06/23/07
My daughter is getting married in July and there are approximately 265-300 people. I plan on having Meatballs, cocktail smokies, creamed chicken, sloppy Joes, chicken wings, pasta salad, fruit and veggie trays. Could you possible give me an estimate how much of each I should make? And how many gallons of punch I should make?
barb
06/26/07
Catering for 40
how much farfalle pasta for 40? shrimp and broccoli will be in with the pasta.
how many phyllo bites for 40?
ellen
06/27/07
If the pasta is the entree for all 40 people, it is usual to allow 1 pound raw for each 4-5 people. At least 3 bites per person, but it depends on what else is served-remember the "rule" for appetizers- 12 bites the first hour, 6 bites each additional.
ellen
06/27/07
Sally, I need more info. Is this a sit down meal a reception meal, or an after dinner reception? Is it self-service/buffet (more food is used)? How long is the party? How is the creamed chicken serves (patty shells, over rice, etc). Are the meatballs for toothpicks or hoagies? You get my drift.
The beverages are covered on the beverage planning page, button at the top of the main cook talk page, but that amount is just for 2-3 hours- you need about 8 ounces per person per hour for longer parties.
stacey
07/09/07
love your site!we are having a fundraiser for our grandson who has muscular dystrophy and hopefully...plan on 300 plus people.i need a simple no fuss menu idea.(i will have limited help and i am mc-ing also)i was thinking subs and munchies.any thoughts?want a temp friendly food.it is indoors and serve yourself type deal
ellen
07/10/07
A bowl type meal such as chili and cornbread, beef stew, chicken and dumplings, gumbo or jambalaya, red beans and rice, is less expensive, easier to prepare and can be well-served in electric roasters (Nesco-type). Would you consider this type meal? If you are devoted to the idea of sandwiches, there is a sandwich event planning page- button at the top of the main cook talk page.
I want to help you with this- feel free to email me at the UPDATES address at the bottom of the page.
patricia
07/27/07
Just a Normal Party for 100 at our house in PANAMA
Hi Ellen,
This website is TREMENDOUS! I wish I had found it sooner. I am a Kansas girl who married a party-boy Panamanaian and moved to Panama only to learn that about once a month we have these LARGE parties and I often cook for 100 people (by myself) - no special events, just weekend parties in our backyard. Buffet-style here is pretty much a cultural no-no, but thankfully some of the women help me serve plate by plate (no kidding!)
I have some tropical-style large quantity recipies I've made up by trial and error if you'd like them to add to your site, just email me.
Kimberly
07/27/07
Catering for 100
I need a recipe for my wedding. I have heard people use cocktail wieners, barbaque sauce, and grape jelly. I just don't know how much of each to use for 100 people. If you could help that would be great.
ellen
07/27/07
Kimberly, here are the proportions:
1 (16 oz.) jar grape jelly (I suggest red currant, you will have to look for it, but it is better)
1 (12 oz.) jar chili sauce
1 pkg. (24-36) sm. cocktail wieners/ smokies

Mix jelly and chili sauce. Add wieners and simmer on stove for 45-60 minutes. To serve place in chafing dish or food warmer. Use toothpicks to serve.

ellen
07/27/07
Patricia, I would be delighted with the recipes, here is the email: cookupdt@texas.net
Stewie
07/29/07
Pork Feed for 120
Hi,
I am cooking for a fund raiser for our local F.D. and I am looking for help in Quantities of food. I have attached the menu. This is a mixed couple event.

Marinated smoked pork
Marinated smoked chicken breast
Coleslaw
Pasta salad
Cowboy baked beans
Salt potatoes
Homemade bread & Butter
Brownies
Coffee

Thanks for any help you can give. Can you email me direct?

Stewie

ellen
07/29/07
Stewie, I can't email you if you don't give me an email address...

All these items are already covered in the tables, (plan for 100, baked potato bar, dessert bar) except for estimating the mix on the chicken. You use 1 1/3 the amount for 100 to cover 130. Please let me know if this is chicken quarters, pieces, breasts, etc. Also on the pork, is this sliced loin? Then I can give you some help.

adam
08/02/07
church is selling dinners around 500
we are aming to sell around 500 dinners.we will have b-b-q leg quaters, chicken perlou, green beans with potatoes and bacon, slice of cake and dinner roll. we are thinking there will be aroun 150 children plates. we like to fix our plates a little on the heavy side. how much rice,chicken, beans, rolls would i need to buy. i have to ahve enogh chicken to make the stock for the chicken perlou as well. HELP PLEASE
ellen
08/03/07
1 leg quarter per person- thats about 83 pounds per 100 (just over 2 commercial 40 pound cases)
Green beans 22-24 pounds fresh, at least 19 pounds frozen per 100, mix with about 8 pounds potatoes per 100.
Rice is cheap- 8 pounds per 100, or go a bit more.
Beans, dry, 8 pounds per 100 plus all the fixings.
one large or two small rolls.

Are you making the perlou, which is also called chicken bog, with the shrimp and/or sausage? If I bought all those chicken quarters, I might trim off that piece of backbone at the bottom of each and use those to make the broth. Or buy a few extra cases of chicken leg quarters...

Vina Bohling
08/12/07
For my daughters wedding reception we are planning for 300 guests and will be making baked beans used Bush orinigal beans - and need to know how many cans of beans and hamburger will I need - we will also be having a Pasta Salad and a pudding cookie sald with sandwiches.
ellen
08/12/07
You want 3 1/2 gallons total per 100 persons. Burger is 2 cups per pound, and you can see the can contents on the side of the can. So, however much meat you use, you add your beans to make enough.

However, when I freshen up canned beans, I usually also saute onions and finely diced celery. Sometimes I stir in prepared mustard or ketchup. Lightens the dish and tastes great.

Brian
08/13/07
For church dinner for 500 people. Have chicken/rice cassarole, Turnip Green, green beans and corn bread. I just need to know how much of everything I need to purchase.
ellen
08/13/07
Brian, did you look at the quantity for 100 tables?

For 100 people, you need 10-12 9x13 pans of casserole for the main dish, thats 30-32 quarts; there is a recipe for cornbread for many on the chili page; about 3 gallons, cooked of each vegetable, which is 4-5 #10 cans or about 20 pounds cooked (greens shrink when cooked, fresh beans, you lose about 10-15%).

Rita
08/14/07
Catering for 110
Ellen,
I am in charge of Ladies retreat for 110. How many chicken breast for 110 and how many potatoes do I need to get for mashed potatoes for 110? So glad I found you.
ellen
08/14/07
Rita, for a ladies retreat for 110, you can use the plan for 100 amounts for 100, as ladies eat a bit less than a mixed crowd. Your foods are already listed on the plan for 100 page. Link at the top of the main cook talk page.
Marie
08/19/07
Hi Ellen: I'm making a bok choy chinese salad for approx.300-350 people for a function at my church and I need to know how many heads of bok choy do I need.
Thanks Marie
ellen
08/19/07
About 20 pounds per 100 people, similar to slaw.
Stephanie
08/27/07
Catering for 200
I'm doing a very casual buffet style rehersal party for my cousin as my wedding gift to him and his fiancee - there is estimated to be 175-200 guests for an evening (after supper) garden party. My thought was to do all room-temperature finger foods as we won't have servers and I don't want to be tied to the kitchen. My menu is

Thai-flavoured shrimp on skewers;
spicey lentil dip with toasts;
Tuscan-style white bean dip with toasts;
cruditees with olive oil/herb vinegrette;
mini-quiches;
antipasto plates of salami/prusciutto/mozzarella/roasted red peppers with baguette.

My big question is how much salami/prusciutto/mozzarella do I need per person? The dips will be made using dried lentils and canned white beans, so how much of each would be reasonable? Thanks !

ellen
08/27/07
Hi, nice party. Of course, it depends on how much of the other foods, but you want at least 1/2 cup per person if it is a mixed marinated type dish. If you are doing sliced platters, you want a total of 6 ounces ready to eat meats per person PLUS 2-3 ounces cheeses. Proscuitto is SO expensive, do look at a really good ham and possibly capricola as alternatives.

1 pound of dry beans makes about 8 cups cooked, I don't know how much other stuff you are adding to the recipe. The dips you want a minimum of 1/4 cup each type per person, since it is dinner I would go toward 1/2 cup.

Your shrimps and quiches may keep you in the kitchen. Consider cold shrimps and some kind of spinach, ham, or cheese squares, made ahead.

With this many people, I would definitely add at least 4 more choices (6 choices per 100 is sort of a seat of the pants minimum). I would make my artichoke olive condite, chopping coarsely so it could be spread on the baguettes. I would have a couple of relish trays (olives etc) and a crudite tray or marinated veggie tray with dip, see the veggie tray section. I would make ahead and freeze some cheese balls or logs. I would have one hot dip in crockpots or roasters such as a spinach, artichoke or shrimp dip.

Then since it is dinner, I would segue off into a dessert table with 4- 5 different kinds of small bars and cookies, 1 each per person, and maybe a fruit tray.

It sounds like a generous gift, I have done the same, only it was a Thanksgiving dinner! You have a simpler plan.

Monica
09/04/07
Catering for 75
Can macaroni and cheese be cooked in an electric roaster? If so, do you have a recipe that will feed approximtely 75 people?
Thanks for being so helpful.
ellen
09/04/07
Yes, but one roaster would just barely make enough for 75 people. Use lots of PAM on the cookwell (the inside pan that fills the roaster), then dust heavily with Parnesan cheese. Then pour in your mac and cheese ready to bake. Cover and bake about 2 hourfs at 325. stirring occasionally until it starts to firm up. Then top with your crumbs or cheese and bake another 1/2 hour until the topping is hot.
If the mix or the sauce is cold/refrigerated add another hour for cooking.
There are mac and cheese recipes for 100 on the site, use 3/4 of the amount for 75.
Maria
09/05/07
Hi - I have been asked to do a corporate "employee apreciation" day lunch and the theme is Italian - 3 choices plus salad/bread and dessert - pasta w/ chicken - baked ziti w/ Italian sausage and veggie lasagne - I don't want to run out of food! I am going to serve them buffet style but only have 6 servers and will need to replenish when needed - I have nowhere to keep the extra food warm - the function is outside - can you help me with any suggestions?
ellen
09/05/07
Maria, I need to know how many people, what period of time and what kitchen facilities you are planning to use. Please write further.
Dianne
09/18/07
Cookout for 40 guests
Having a cookout for my wedding with 40 guests. How many cans of beans would I need for baked beans and how many potatoes for potato salad? Thanks soooo much!
ellen
09/18/07
Very sensible size party, I hope you have a great time. 1 1/2 gallons of beans counting all your add-ins. 15 pounds raw potatoes to base your salad (2 gallons made up).
Jim Bowman
09/25/07
I have been elected to help with a wedding dinner. Ham Roast Beef Mashed potatoes, corn, green beens and Mostacolli.There will approx 300 I need a Mostacolli Recipie and how much should I make.....HELP
ellen
09/25/07
If you want a mostaciolli with sausage, see the recipe for 120 and make up to 1 1/2 times the aount- recipe is on the spaghetti/ lotsa pasta page. If you don't like mine, use it for a quntity guide and make your own.

Usuallyt caterers allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef and 3 ounces of the second meat for each person, people eat more when there are several entrees served buffet style. You could cut back about 1 ounce each if the pasta has meat.

Lillie
10/08/07
Baby Shower for 30 people
I will be making pasta salad and having chicken salad on crossiant rolls. Can you tell me how much pasta salad I should make and also how much chicken salad I should buy.
ellen
10/08/07
Use the tables on the plan for 100 page and the sandwich event page. Use 1/4 the amount for 100 for the pasta salad (start with about 1 3/4 pounds dry pasta)- ladies at lunch don't eat as much as picnickers- and 1/3 the amount for the reception chickeen salad- croissants don't hold as much as regular sandwiches.
Janice
10/17/07
Canned Potatoes For Potato Salad
Just discovered your site. I am making my all-time favorite potato salad - but this time I have to use canned new potatoes as I do not have a stove to boil water at this time....waiting on a new gas range - gave electric one to my son for birthday - anyway....is there anything I need to do to "freshen up" the potatoes? Or will they be just fine. Doing this for a church function and purchased 6 of the large Del-Monte cannednew potatoes. Great Site!
ellen
10/17/07
They just taste different. I would possibly use them for a hot German potato salad with a sweet sour dressing, but I just don't know if you will be happy with them for a regular one, either taste or texture-wise. Rinse really well..., use plenty of mustard and vinegar.
maurine colgrove
10/18/07
Catering for 90
How many pounds of fresh greenbeans do you buy to to serve 90 people. we are serving 1/4 breast of chicken and 4 shrimp and roasted potatoes.
ellen
10/18/07
about 22 pounds raw to make 20 pounds ready to serve, one serving each, no leftovers.

A little spoonful of mango salsa or another fresh fruit salsa would look great on this plate.

Charlotte hale
10/21/07
catering for 200
how much in ingredients do I need for a recipe for sausage stuffing for 200 people for our turkey dinner?
celery onions bread eggs etc.
Charlotte hale
10/21/07
catering for 200
how much in ingredients do I need for a recipe for sausage stuffing for 200 people for our turkey dinner?
celery onions bread eggs etc.
ellen
10/21/07
Sausage stuffing recipes vary a lot. What recipe are you starting with (cornbread versus white, type of sausage, egg/ no egg, etc.).
Dawn
10/24/07
Hi. So I'm hosting this quincera with my two friends, and we want to know what kind of h'orderves to serve. It is going to be very elegant so please help me with the appropriate things to serve.
ellen
10/24/07
What is your budget and how many people? Home kitchen or professional kitchen? How many stoves and ovens? Buffet service or servers passing trays? Any cooks or helpers, or are party-goers also going to try to serve? All these things affect the menu-
Tracey
10/26/07
Our Elementary school is hosting a dinner. We have 205 students in the school. We are planning on 300 people. The meal is pasta (ziti) meatballs, salad, and rolls. How much do we need to get?
ellen
10/26/07
Please see the lotsa pasta/spaghetti page and the plan for 100 page to prepare your intitial estimates. When you have them, post them and I will check them for you.
Laura
11/08/07
Catering for 75-100
I am making 1 of 4 turkeys for a preschool Thanksgiving dinner. Do you think this will be enough turkeys? How many pounds do you suggest for each tureky? Thank you so much!
Laura
11/08/07
ps
I love your name! My sweet adorable grandmother name is Ellen and we always said "Ellen's Kitchen" to her...
Lois
11/09/07
party of 35/men and women
Hi Ellen!

What a find you are! Need to know for this weekend how many pounds of pasta to make (Greek Salad Style !) for a party of young men and women. There will also be appetizers/sandwiches/Italian sausage/ "real" Buffalo chicken wings & veggies/
Ceasar salad/relish tray/desserts. Thank you in advance!!

ellen
11/09/07
Make 1/3 the amount for 100, which means start with 2-2 1/2 pounds pasta.
Bee
11/13/07
Catering for 30
having a b-day party - need a mostaciolli recipe to feed 30 guests.
ellen
11/13/07
How about 1/4 of the recipe for 120 on the spaghetti/ lotsa pasta page?
Jerrie McDougle
11/25/07
Catering for 100
Hi, I am cooking for 100 people and need the amounts for Chineese Cole Slaw, Can you help me??
ellen
11/26/07
If you mean the salad with the crunchy ramen noodles and Napa cabbage, there are a lot of variations. Some people even cook the noodles, which to me loses all the crunch.

how about this:

Chinese Slaw for 100

16-18 pounds cabbage- may use Napa, red, green or combo
OR equal amount cabbage shreds or broccoli slaw
4 pounds assorted extra veggies, shredded, may be carrots, snow peas, bok choy, bean sprouts, red bell peppers
50 green onions, including tops, chopped
OPTIONAL 6 cups chopped cilantro

16-24 packages ramen noodles
14 cups slivered almonds, toasted
8 cups sesame seeds, toasted

***Dressing***
1 1/2 quarts canola oil
1 1/2 cups roasted sesame seed oil
2 cups (brown) sugar
3 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt or soy sauce
3 tablespoons pepper or red chili paste
3/4 cup minced ginger
OPTIONAL 1 cup lime juice (mix the dressing, add lime juice 1/4 cup at a time to taste)

Some cooks garnish with:
mandarin orange slices, 16 cans

For crispest slaw, pre-treat the cabbage: shred, salt with a few tablespoons salt, press under a second plate or bowl with a few cans on top for weight, then drain the resulting liquid.

While it is sitting, make the dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, rice wine vinegar, water, salt or soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, pepper or hot chili paste, and sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved.

Mix the cabbage with the other shredded veggies, green onions and OPTIONAL cilantro. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to mix evenly. Let sit at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the vegetables to absorb the flavors of the dressing.

Toast the almonds. Toast the sesame seeds separately. Break up the noodles. Mix together the almonds and noodles.

To prevent sogginess, toss everything together just before serving, mixing veggies, noodles and almonds. Plate the salads and garnish with roasted sesame seeds and OPTIONAL mandarin orange segments.

rachel
12/12/07
Catering for 15
Hi i'm planning a party for 15 people we wnat to have vegetarian pasta salad, salad and rolls, how much pasta salad do you think i should get? What is the rule of thumb?
ellen
12/12/07
I have a lot of recipes for pasta salad, you could make this easily. Use 1/6 the amount for 100 for your 15.

Deviled eggs are a great side dish for a vegetarian pasta meal.

Carol Albring
12/20/07
Wedding reception (150)
Our son and daughter-in-law will be having a reception at the end of May, beginning of June. How much do I need for the following: I will be doing the green beans with almonds, and bacon, baby red skin potatoes, kielbasa and pulled pork. If you have receipes for any of the above I'd appreciate it.
Thanks so much.
ellen
12/20/07
Hi, Carol,
Your vegetables are listed in the plan for 100 page- you would use 1 1/2 times the amount for 100. If you pulled pork and kielbasa are the only meats, you want about 85 people's worth of each; you have to allow for people taking more/ some of each with the multiple choices. I have a good Carolina pulled pork recipe listed, it is a good one, can be made ahead and frozen.

You might and a Lexington slaw recipe with these meats, I also have that recipe.

Latanya
01/08/08
Hi Ellen,

Love your sight! I am catering my son's football banquet. I am at a lost for a menu to feed 100 teenage boys, about 50 8-10 years olds, plus family and friends. I would like to serve an appertizer, salad, one -two meats, starch, vegatable, and dessert. As well as a tea and punch. I would like to serve that is kid friendly as well as a meal for the adults and older boys. Our team only has a budget of $3500 for food and paper goods. Any help you can provide is appreicated. This will be a Sunday afternoon event.

ellen
01/09/08
That is an OK budget for the event, unless you are talking about a LOT of family and friends. Do you have a general idea of the total number of people?. Have you considered a Tex-Mes fiesta theme with tacos, nachos, enchilada casseroles, maybe fajitas, salad, rice and beans? This is among the most flexible in terms of quantities, somewhat uncomplicated to prepare and generally popular with the age group, not too expensive. Also lends itself to easy decorating. I would steer away from the burger or cold cut area, as these are more costly.

A pasta supper is inexpensive but you need to go with a baked pasta dish as the boiled spaghetti is hard with this large a group.

A scalloped potato and ham supper or stew are also possible, as is a chili fest.

If you like one of these ideas, write back with more details.

Latanya
02/04/08
Hi Ellen,

Thanks for getting back to me. I would like more info on the pasta supper. I expect about 200 people.

ellen
02/04/08
See the spaghetti/lotsa pasta page, at the bottom there is a guide for a pasta dinner for 50-60. The teens and the little boys balance each other on quantities (teens eat more, boys eat less, so just count them as 150. Add the number of other family members.

Then use the quantities to make 4 times food for 50 and you will be good for 200. If you want further help on beverages or other dessert ideas, see the dessert planner and the beverage planner.

angelica
02/20/08
Catering for 200
I want to know the amount of turkies,gray,stuffing,sweet potatoes, rolls,pies, cranberry sauce, and green beans to purchase for 200 people thank you
Brenda
02/20/08
Cooking for 300-350
I'm taking on a job where I will be cooking for 300-350 ppl breakfast,lunch and dinner all ages, can you help me find information on conversion of and or . Any links or info would be helpful
ellen
02/23/08
Angelica, this specific meal is covered in great detail in the planning and shopping for large holiday meals article in the holiday cooking section at the top of the big pots page.

Brenda, is this short term or permanent, what kind of kitchen, stoves, refrigeration, etc, how much help, and what kind of budget?

jodi
02/28/08
Our group is planning a watermelon feed at the county fair. How many people should a 20 lb watermelon feed? What should be the average-sized slice (inches)? I've found conflicting information.
ellen
02/28/08
20 large slices- 1 pound per person is a generous picnic type servinge
Lisa
03/06/08
I am catering a wedding for 250 people at 4:30 in the evening. This is going to be a meal. I found your site very helpful and I have adjusted my numbers accordingly. But, my question is...How do I judge the amounts correctly when there is a wide selection of food? Could I possible e-mail you my list and get your feedback? I appreciate the help very much!
ellen
03/07/08
Yes, email at the contact below-
katorri cunningham
03/07/08
I'm taking on aparty to feed about 150 for a sweet sixteen and i want to know how i should price it.
ellen
03/07/08
Katorri, this is basically for non-paid cooking, I do try to help folks venturing into the professional world, but you don't even give me a menu, time/length, or type of party. Come on.
donnie brasco
03/09/08
catering irish breakfast,any ideas..do you have a site where i can calculate how much food i need.or can you help me
Katie D
03/10/08
Catering for 175
I have to do fresh fruit bowl/trays for a breakfast, how much fruit do I need...
cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, grapes... I plan to cube the fruit. Can you help me
ellen
03/10/08
Katie, go to the fruit tray page, look at the quantities for a tray for 25 and multiply by 7. There ia a VERY extensive list of weights for different fruits and how many pieces they cut, so you can doo any supstituting you want.

Donnie, this depends on your budget, but you definitely want Irish soda bread, real butter, real marmalade and good fruit jam. If aiming for authenticity, I would do steel cut oats if it is not too hot where you are, half and half, sugar, etc- the amounts are discussed on the breakfast planning page. Strong black tea is traditional, coffee is a very late addition. White pudding and black pudding, or at least sausage. Boxty, Irish potato pancakes, crispy. Bacon or possibly ham, or creamed fish or kedergee or devilled kidneys [yes, right, just the thing to be staring up at an American breakfast eater from the plate...). Simple eggs (fried is the most common, or soft-boiled would be very traditional. Use pasteurized eggs so you don't have to cook them to death, and make sure the diners KNOW they are pasteurized). Sauteed mushrooms and tomatoes on the plate are also very traditional.

ellen
03/10/08
By the way, black pudding and white pudding are homemade blood and liver sausages made with oats. Rather mushy textures. Pennsylvania scrapple, made with cornmeal, or Cincinatti "goetta" are in the same direction.
Rachel
03/12/08
Catering for 100
I am going to be catering 100th b-day party for my husband's grandmother who still lives alone in her own home. We are going to be serving grilled chicken halves. We are planning on 60 chickens (120 halves). My main concern is how to figure the quantity needed for the sides. I would like to serve a mashed potato casserole, corn casserole, and a brocolli and/or green bean casserole. Is there a website that I can go to in order to get this information? Do you have any suggestions for what to serve with the chicken that would be easier to prepare on one 4 burner electric 2 oven stove? Thanks
ellen
03/12/08
You will have chicken left, as many of the olderpersons will only take a quarter. You want 35-40 pounds of potatoes to make the mashed. See my green bean casserole recipe for 60 in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots, 1 1/2 recipes would be plenty. Corn casserole, yum, see my article on corn sides for 50-100:

www.ellenskitchen.com/turkey/cornsides1.html

Marta
04/01/08
Catering for 400
We are having a "kermesse" for 400. About 200 will be children under 10. How many pounds of rice and how pounds of beans will we need to prepare if there are 2 other entree items to go with them? (items will include tamales, soup, taquitos etc.)
ellen
04/01/08
What a great word! I had to look it up, fun festival or fundraiser in modern usage.

Count the children under 10 as 1/2, so prepare for 300 people. You want 8 pounds raw rice and 8-12 pounds dried beans per 100 people. There are good quantity Spanish rice and bean recipes on this site.

In honor of your request I have posted my borracho bean recipe. Go to the bottom of the page:

ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/beans100.html

Monca
04/04/08
I am helping with my cousin's wedding. I need to make enough sausage cheese balls for at least 300 people, could you tell me how much ingredients will I need?? Sausage, cheese, bisquick mix
ellen
04/04/08
No, I don't know your recipe. You want to allow 3 balls per person. You can make a homemade baking mix/ Bisquick at a good savings.
Dennis
04/13/08
Reunion for 140 people
I am putting together a reunion for my old U.S. Navy unit this August and I need to know how to determine how much food we will need. We are planning on serving Hamburgers, Bratwurst, Beans,potato chips and fruit platters. Also how do you determine the amont of charcoal and lighter fluid to buy.We are having beer, soda and bottled water.Any help is really needed.
ellen
04/13/08
See the BBQ and brisket page for some links to help yu with the chgarcoal question. I would figrue it as 150 people or 1 1/2 times my amounts for 100- your sides and fruit trays are all already covered. There is also a beverage planning page which has additional links if you don't find all the information you need on the beverages.

As to the burgers and brats, I would probably figure 1 patty per person PLUS 3 ounces brats per person (1 pound for every 5 persons) or about 30 pounds of brats, unless you know they are very very popular with this particular group. On the sandwich event page there is a tables for sandwich condiments for 100 people, you would need 1 1/2 tikes these amounts.

jimmie
04/13/08
Ellen
jimmie
04/13/08
Ellen
How many medium size potatoe do I need to serve 500 People
ellen
04/14/08
You have to plan on 500, at least 6 ounce size, for baked. If mashed, you need 175 pounds.
bobby
04/19/08
cooking brisket for 135 people
im smoking brisket and ham for 135 people can you tell me how much i will need and how much beans slaw and potatoe salad will be needed thanks
ellen
04/19/08
Bobby, since I posted all the tables in 2004 I rarely do the initial estimates; I ask the reader to use the tables to make and post an estimate and then I will check it. Your beans slaw and potato salad question is answered repeatedly on the threads and on the BBQ and brisket page. Use 1 1/3 times the amount for 100.

As to the meat, you want to END UP with 5 ounces of ready to eat brisket PLUS 3 ounces ready to eat ham per person for party size servings. The shrinkage depends very much on the trim im your brisket and ham, and how hot yu smoke it, Use your experience with your own smoker to figure out how much raw meat to start woith.

Karlene
05/14/08
Catering for 30
I'm preparing a morning-after-the-wedding brunch for 30 people. My son, the groom, has his heart set on bacon and potato pancakes. I think preparing potato pancakes for this many people is going to be a challenge. Is it possible to make them ahead of time and freeze them? If so, what would be the best way to go about reheating them? Also, I'm allergic to eggs. Do you have any recipe for potato pancakes that does not require eggs? Finally, what sorts of quantities re potatoes/bacon do I need for 30 people?
ellen
05/14/08
Yes, you can make potato pancakes or latkes ahead, fry up crispy, cool and freeze flat on trays, then bag up. Reheat in a preheated oven. Allow three per person- 4 if you make them on the small side. Do the bacon in the oven, cook barely done the night before, then you can oven or griddle it crisp the next day. Potato pancakes from about 10-12 pounds of potatoes. Bacon, 1/3 the amount for 100-see the breakfast planning page. See the beverage planning page for juice and coffee.

I think You need to prepare a second dish for yourself and other non-egg eaters. Fruit and yogurt parfaits, maybe, or a cereal buffet.

Tricia
05/15/08
Hi! We're doing a Hawaiian-themed party for about 40, and are planning three entrées: Huli-Huli chicken (going to use chicken quarters); smoked pork shoulder, and baby back ribs. How much of each meat should I plan on? (By the way, AWESOME website!)
ellen
05/15/08
Unfortunately, with three popular meats, you need to prepare about 20 servings of each; that is 20 quarters, 10-12 pounds raw boneless pork shoulder, and 20 ppunds ribs. This is the only way to make sure everyong gets at least some of their first choice.
Jodie
05/19/08
Catering for 200
Approx. how much rice would we need if we catering for 200 guests?
Jodie
05/19/08
Catering for 200
Approx. how much rice would we need if we catering for 200 guests? We serving an Indian dish, Akni.
ellen
05/19/08
15-16 pounds raw for generous servings for 200.
Kaye Ross
05/20/08
Catering for 90
Ellen, We are doing a baked spaghetti dinner for the DAV. It is a organization for disabled veterns. We are the wives of this group. Would you please give me a receipe for 90 people. We have a spaghetti sauce that we are going to use. I need to know how much the others things I need for this. This is a fund raiser and it's all you can eat. Thank you Kaye
ellen
05/20/08
See the spaghetti/lotsa pasta page. Have desserts and bread, as discussed in the last section.
ellen
05/20/08
There is also a good baked spaghetti recipe in the section called basic budget entrees in Big Pots.
Amanda
06/04/08
500 People
Hi
I am planning an open house for around 500 people. We are having cold cuts, rye bread, cheese, and crackers. However, I need to buy mayonnaise, mustard, and butter for the option of a sandwich. How many bottles(or containers) of each should I buy? Thank you.
ellen
06/05/08
On my sandwich event page, there is a complete listing on sandwich condiments for 100 people, this should be all you need.
Lisa
06/12/08
Ellen,

I am cooking for my daughter's graduation party, 200 to 250 guests. I am making chicken leg quarters. Can I cook them in barbeque sauce in 18 QT electric roasters, and if so, how many pounds/ servings will fit in each roaster?

Someone told me I need to cook the chicken in the oven or on a grill first, then put them in the roaster with the sauce, and that the meat would be mushy if I just cooked them in electric roasters.

Thanks, Lisa

ellen
06/12/08
They will be more like grilled if they are first oven-roasted, then kept in the hot sauce. To decide if you would like them cooked from scratch in the sauce, get out your crock pot and do a small batch for about 4 hours on high. That is what your meat will be like if you cook in the roaster in the sauce, from scratch.

You need 4 roasters to do this much chicken, as you can only do about 60 people's worth in one. You need 170-190 pounds quarters for this many people.

Jessie
06/29/08
Catering for 100
I am catering an afternoon BBQ reception for 100. There will be chicken breasts or tenderlions(boneless), hamburgs, hotdogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, either pasta or a tossed salad, chips, sheet cake... What do I need for Quantities to have enough?
ellen
06/30/08
Jessie, since I posted all my tables and the bbq and brisket article in 2004, I ask my readers to prepare their own initial estimate, post it, and then I will check it and comment. There are very good tables for 100 for almost all the items you have listed, as well as beverages.

I don't know how long the party is; how many of your guests are kids or what the local preference for beef versus chicken is; or whether you will serve the plates or have a self serve buffet; or whether this is at lunchtime or dinner time, or truly afternoon and in between. All these affect the portions, so be sure to include this information when you post your estimate.

msc
07/09/08
Hi I need to prepare potato macaroni salad for 300 people. I also put eggs, olives & carrots. Could you please tell me how much lbs. of macaroni & potatoes I would need. Thanks
ellen
07/09/08
I would make 12 gallons of potato salad (about 100 pounds of potatoes) plus about 8-9 gallons of macaroni salad (about 18 pounds dry pasta). I have a bunch of recipes for both on the mac, slaw and potato salad page, as a general rule I use 1 egg per pound in the potato salad.
kathy
07/11/08
I am having a family wedding supper for 250 people outside barbaqued roasts I am cooking 200 lbs.(will have leftover meat for midnight). I am also having potatoe salad, brocoli salad, fruit salad, baked beans, cottage cheese, and barbaqued weiners.How many lbs of salad should I make.Also how much cheese and ham should I prepare for midnight.Maybe 300 at midnight.(COUNTRY APPETITES).
ellen
07/11/08
Attractive menu.

The rule of thumb for the side salads and beans(not including the fruit) is, 10 gallons for each 100 people. When I am planning, I estimate 4 gallons of potato salad per 100 and divide the rest among the other dishes, in this case the broccoli salad and baked beans.

For the fruit, see the fruit tray page. Do the largest per person portion and consider doing fruit trays instead of fruit salad, looks better fills the table better, quicker to prepare and to replenish. As a reader put it, fruit salad gets picked through and doesn't keep, where trays you can replenish the most popular items and cut larger, therefore quicker pieces.

See the thread currently dated 7/3 titled fresh fruit for 300 for a useful real life report.

Assuming you will have bread/ rolls for the ham and cheese, allow 2 ounces of sliced cheese per person. Allow 1 pound ready to eat boneless ham for 4 people if it it pre-sliced, fairly thin. Allow 1 pound for 3 if it is thick sliced or slice-it-yourself. See the sandwich event page for a table to help with sandwich condiments.

michelle
07/21/08
I'm hosting a benefit for a friend. We're having bars, salads, and main course being bar-b-ques. We're expecting about 300 people. How much bbq should i have made?
Kara
07/21/08
catering for 30 people
I am wanting to make carne asada beef, and chicken. Rice and beans. How many pounds of meat do I need?
ellen
07/21/08
Michelle. what kind of BBQ? Pulled pork, ribs? sloppy joes? Chicken? etc. Write back.

Karen when you serve two meats, one beef, you need 5 ounces cooked meat PLUS three ounces cooked ready to eat chicken. That's about 2 pounds raw boneless beef for every 5 people, plus 6 ounces chicken pieces (about 1 piece) for each person.

Michelle
08/01/08
We are holding a memorial motorcycle run in memory of my brother Sunday. We are estimating we will be feeding 300 people. We are serving burgers, hotdog, macaroni salad and what we call Penney Potatoes (sliced coated in olive oil and vidalia onions and then grilled in an alum pan)

We are nervous about the mac salad and potatoes. We bought 80 lbs of potatoes and 12 boxes of elbow macaroni - does that sound like enough?

ellen
08/01/08
NOPE. You want at least 105 of potatoes (120 would not be way too much if they are big eaters) and 18 pounds of dry macaroni, plus fixings.

You do him honor.

Pat
08/18/08
Appetizers for 150
Having a 25th anniversary event/dinner/party. We're expecting 125 people. We are providing appetizers at 5:00pm Mocktail hour (45mins) We want to serve mini crab cakes, mini chicken taco, vegetarian meatballs, chick pea meat balls, cheese and cracker, cold shrimp, chicken spring rolls, fruit, guacamole and chips. How much of each appetizer do we need? P.S.We are catering the main dinner,chicken, rice, stuffed fish, vegeatble lasagna at 8:00pm
ellen
08/18/08
Pat, I am confused. The hor d'ouvres start at 5 pm, dinner is not until 8, and you are only figuring on 1 hour of hd's? People will come without eating, yhey will be HUNGRY, and you are serving shrimp, which they will scarf in huge amounts. They will eat for the whole three hours... please clarify.
CONNIE
08/18/08
I am catering a small reception for 75 people.Menu is ham, mostacolli, green beans, salad & rolls. Could you help me with quantities. Thank you
ellen
08/19/08
Connie, all these items are covered on the plan for 100 list and you need 3/4 the amount for 100. There is additional info about pasta on the spaghetti page.
Catie
09/03/08
Catering for party of 40
about how many bags of pasta should i use to make enough for 40 people
ellen
09/03/08
Depends on side dish, main dish, casserole or salad. See the spaghetti/ lotsa pasta page for full quantity info.
Shameenah
09/05/08
Catering for 150 people
Hello, my aunt and I are catering a party for 150 people. We are trying to figure out how many pounds of chicken we will need to serve this many people. Also how many pounds of rice and potatoes. With the potatoes we will be making potato salad and with the rice we will make white rice and rice and peas.
ellen
09/06/08
This site is developed for home cooks. I can't take responsibility for advising commercial caterers and I recommend chef2chef.com for them. If you were a home cook, this is what I would advise:

See the plan for 100 page. You need different weights of chicken depending on whether it is whole, pieces, or quarters. You use 1 1/2 times the amount for 100.

If you are just talking chicken meat, it takes about 1 pound whole chicken to make 1 cup chicken meat.

You want to use a total of about 11 pounds of fry rice between your two recipes. Potatoes for potato salad are covered on the plan for 100 page.

Shameenah
09/06/08
Thanks
Thank you for the advise. We are home cooks. We are catering our own party that we are giving for a family member. I will also check out those pages.
Tracie
10/07/08
Catering for 200 people
I trying to start a small cater company I am little uncertain on how to charge people, a lady call me to see if I would cater church dinner for about 200 people the dinner bake chicken, mash potatoes, greenbeans, asst cakes, and pies
ellen
10/07/08
Tracy, this is one of those situations where, if you need to ask, you probably aren't ready to take it on. 200 people requires 3 cooks and at least 12 servers, more if it is plated and not buffet. Commercial caterers charge 3 to 4 times the actual cost of the food, extra for rentals (dishes, tables and chairs, china and glassware).

You might want to look at the catering section at chef2chef.com. You need event and liability insurance and in most states it is illegal to prep the food in your own kitchen, you have to do it at the site or in a licensed commercial kitchen.

Susan
10/23/08
Catering for 200
Yikes!! First time catering a real party with a hot dinner menu and not just hordeurves. Doing it at a facility 50 minutes away, with only one regular kitchen stove on premise. Wondering how I will cook and transport turkey, roast beef, salad, green beans, red potatoes, yam and apple casserole, pasta etc. such a distance and then re-warm it once I get there so that it is not overdone or cold when I put it on the buffet. I am considering pre-cooking everything. Pre-cutting the turkey ahead and putting it in chicken broth, then warming it up in a roaster oven. Know not to cut beef as it may turn green before it is served. I have at least 7 roasters that will help in reheating and keeping food warm. I also have 2 heat lamps to help. Any special heat cabinets or equipment that I need to order to help me achieve my goals? My email address is snow3@comcast.net. Thank you so much for all of your help.
ellen
10/24/08
Susan, this is a site for home cooks, I recommend the catering section of chef2chef.com for would be pros.

That said, if this inquiry were from a home cook, I would say quite bluntly that it takes 3 chefs and about 12 other servers to do this dinner for 200, and you can't do it on one stove. How are you going to safely and rapidly chill and reheat this quantity of food? You can't cook, then transport an hour then setup and serve and stay within the two hour safety time limit...

Lorna
11/25/08
Catering for 100
I am getting married in December and have decided to cater the reception myself. I was hoping that you could give my some advice on what could be served that would complement the winter wonderland theme. I have a very small budget so it will definitely be buffet style.
ellen
11/25/08
If you are on a very tight budget, plan a 1 pm wedding so you can do a tea/dessert type reception instead of a full meal, cost is about half the cost of a meal, and at Christmas time it is wonderful. If you must do a meal, I would consider my wedding chicken, a rice pilaf, two green vegetables, such as peas and onions or mushrooms plus green beans. The red and green Greek salad.
Please read the wedding dinner article before going any further.
betty
01/02/09
Catering buffet breakfast for 300
portions for breakfast sausage, home fries, egg beaters
ellen
01/02/09
See the breakfast for 100 table. Multiply times three.
Kristy Marshall
01/22/09
Catering for 100
Ellen,

I am hosting a surpirse 60th birthday party for 75 people. I will be serving for the main coarse:
15# Rigatoni
300 Meatballs
4 Gallons of Green Beans
100 Pieces Fried Chicken
Salad
We will also have A variety of appetizers, veggie trays and a cake/cookie display. Do my quantities sound right. Thank you!

ellen
01/22/09
you will havge some left over, you have plenty. I mighty do fruit trays instead of veggie, since you already have salad and green beans.
Kristy Marshall
01/22/09
Catering for 100
Thank you, I hadn't thought about fruit trays. I will do that instead!
Lauren
01/27/09
Catering for 500
Hi I'm organizing a fundraiser for 500. How many cups of coffee and 1/2 & 1/2 should I plan for?
ellen
01/27/09
Depends on whether it is day time or diner. See the beverage planning page.
marsha
02/26/09
Catering for 300 ladies
I making three salads for 300 ladies - 9 inch plate. How many pounds of lettuce or pasta per salad? Chicken pasta, spinach strawberry, and toss green with apples & cranraisins.
ellen
02/28/09
You need 1 full pound of salad per person for a full meal, plus bread/ crackers (8-10 ppunds per 100). For example, you need 6 gallons of the chicken pasta salad per 100 to allow 1 cup servings per plate. If self serve, add an additional 10%.
Bakeer Muwwakkil
04/25/09
Catering for 300 (Wedding Reception)
Ellen please help me to ensure this event is a success. Close friends have asked me to cook... Wedding reception is on May 23, 2009

I really need "Help" to determine the raw poundage/amounts to buy, so they can budget accordingly.

Menu

Garden Salad = romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, with dried cranberries & cheddar cheese for 250.

How many gals. of dressing is needed
--

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast to feed 115 people

Fillet of Salmon to feed 135 people

--

Lbs of fresh sting beans for 130 people

Lbs of carrots for 120 people

Lbs of small Red Bliss potatoes for 120 people

Lbs of Yams for 130 people
--

Beverage

How many gals. for 250 people

--

Assorted Dinner Rolls

How many rolls for 250 people

Thank you in advance for your anticipated help to make this event a success

Sincerely yours;

Bakeer Muwwakkil

ellen
04/25/09
Hi, Bakeer,
You may be surprised to learn that ALL these foods are covered in the plan for 100 page and the beverage planning page. Use these tables to prepare your estimates, post them, and I will be glad to review and comment for you.

The cheddar cheese for the salad and the dried cranberries can be estimated using the potato bar toppings list on that page, and amounts of dressings are covered with the salad.

Be cautious; if you are really expecting 250 people and it is self serve, you need to allow 5 ounces of cooked chicken PLUS 3 ounces of cooked salmon per person for every person in order to have enough for everyone to have their first choice. Also, you need to add 10% to every dish when it is self serve; people eat more.

Buisy!
05/03/09
I got roped into cooking for a wedding. they say it will be 250-300 people. they want brisket and sausage. I figured I may need about 20 briskets to smoke, but not sure how how much of the sausage to get? in combination between the two the portions may be smaller. how much sausage and brisket (on the raw scale should I use)
ellen
05/04/09
You can't count on small portions, particularly for self serve at a party or wedding. I would prepare enough meat to have 5 ounces cooked ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces sausage per person.

That's 2 pounds raw well trimmed brisket for each 5 people PLUS 1 pound sausage for each 5 persons.

Karla
05/28/09
You're site is amazing! I am helping to coordinate a wedding where the bride's family wants to do the cooking for 300 guest. How much of each item would be needed? Menu is: rolls, rice, mixed greens salad, chicken breast and thighs (no bones) in a gravy sauce, plantaine, fresh green beans in soy sauce, water, sprite, coke.
ellen
05/28/09
This is all covered on the plan for 100 pages, make an estimate and post it and I will check it for you.
Valerie
07/09/09
Catering for 100
Iam plannning a family picnic for about 100 people. Menu Potato Salad Hot Dogs Hamburger Fish Green beansand chicken. How do i determine how much food to buy.
ellen
07/10/09
Potato salad and green beans are covered in the plan for 100 tables. You have 4 meats, which is quite hard to estimate for 100 people; if it were me I would have 1 burger plus 1 piece of chicken plus 1 hot dog per person, and skip the fish- especially if you are considering frying it, which is quite difficult for a large group. Or skip the hot dogs entirely and get about 40-50 pieces of fish, leaving the rest the same.
sandy
07/19/09
How many hole chicken do I need to feel 500 people each person will get a half chicken and how long will it take to bake the chicken??
ellen
07/19/09
You need 250 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound chickens. You should order by the case, which weighs 40 pounds.

How long depends on type and size of ovens, how many trays at once, for example a 4 rack convection oven is different from a home oven. So tell me more.

wanda
07/21/09
Catering for 100
How many pounds of chicken do i need to feed 100 people? We will be serving leg quaters
ellen
07/22/09
Covered exactly in the plan for 100 table.
julia
08/12/09
Catering for 500
hi ellen,
Am catering for 500 people on a daily basis,and would like your help in quantity charts for meats, fish, poultry, vegies and rice, pastas, etc.

what I am looking for is more like a portion control chart for an average male adult.
please could you help me urgently.

Many Thanks

Julia

ellen
08/12/09
Julie, it doesn't work well per person with this large a group, 5 times the amount for 100 really will be enough for 500. I am not totally clear what you need? It takes 1 1/2 pounds of food per person per meal, not counting beverages and desserts...
dj
08/25/09
Hi Ellen, I'm catering for 300 people for Holiday Dinner. Turkey Breast,Ham,Beef Tenderloin,Boston-Butt(barbecue). Mash potatoes,sweet potatoes,turnip,stuffing,bake ziti,bake beans,meatballs,green beans,corn,potato salad,macaroni salad,pasta salad,slaw,veggie tray,cheese tray,fruit tray,cranberry sauce,gravy,rolls and butter. Dessert and tea. I need to know how much meat to buy?Thank You.
ellen
08/25/09
I presume you have looked at the article on planning holiday dinners at the top of big pots? However, you have a monkey wrench in your planning; when there is beef tenderloin, EVERYBODY takes some and everything else, especially the BBQ, goes by the wayside. I would skip the BBQ, move the meatballs to the appetizer table (toothpick size) and count them as appetizers, not meat. Then I would allow 2 pounds raw tenderloin for every 5 people PLUS 1/2 pound whole raw turkey per person PLUS 1 pound ready to eat ham per 5 people. You will have some left, but less than you think; with this array of choices and it being a holiday, people will take more, and some of each.
Jennifer
09/17/09
Ellen,

I am helping my church group with open roast beef and turkey samdwiches. Can you giv me an idea of how much mashed potatoes I'll need?

ellen
09/17/09
Yes. Start with 35-40 pounds raw potatoes per 100. Check out the freezable, holdable mashed potato recipe on big pots.
suzie
11/21/09
concession stand for fundraiser
We are having a fundraiser for my husband who needs gastric bypass surgery and our insurance does not cover it. We are having a Christmas concert with a intermission. We are providing a drink and baked good,cookie/brownie per admission. The venue holds 500. We will offer soda,hot choclate, coffee and various goodies. Trying to figure how many goodies we will need. Thank you for your help.
ellen
11/22/09
This depends on type of event/ age mix of audience. Give me some more info, and good luck. A very nice treat is to do a plate of four "bites" such as brownie, lemon bar, Danish wedding type cookie and tiny snickerdoodle. Because you make them about 1/4 regular size, costs no more, but looks very abundant and festive.
maritza
11/29/09
catering for 30
my son has a objective to do a dessert for 30 students using atleast 6 ingrediants and atleast 4 fractional measurements do you know any simple ones i can bake up
ellen
11/29/09
Maritza, what age kids? A cookie recipe such as oatmeal raisin can have plenty of fractions if he adds 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 3/4 cup raisins, and so forth.
ANN
12/09/09
Catering for 150
am planing a chrismas dinner for my church how many turky will i need.
ANN
12/09/09
Catering for 150
am planing a chrismas dinner for my church how many turky will i need.
ANN
12/09/09
Catering for 150
am planing a chrismas dinner for my church how many turky will i need.
ellen
12/10/09
Full information in the planning and shopping for large turkey dinners article at the top of Big Pots.
Tracy
02/11/10
We are planning an 4 family graduation party in May with about 400 guests and are serving hot turkey sandwiches. How many turkeys will I need?
ellen
02/12/10
Assuming that you are doing sliced and not shredded, you want to allow about 1/2 cup of meat per person, 1 pound whole turkey makes about 1 cup of meat, and will feed 2 people well, so you are looking at around 200 pounds of whole turkey. Take a look at the yield tables for various turkey parts, you may decide boneless breast (1 pound feeds 3 and is MUCH easier to handle) is a better choice.
Tracy
02/14/10
I am sorry Ellen I should have told you we are serving shredded turkey sandwiches not sliced. So I am sure serving size is different for shredded, correct?
ellen
02/15/10
Yes. Assuming good, slightly thick gravy, you can cut it 1/4.
joycelyn
03/17/10
Catering for 200
I am catering for a party of 200. I was thinking about 700 meatballs, 400 chicken tenders, a variety of finger sandwiches ,how much of vegetable and fruit trays.
ellen
03/17/10
As I have discussed elsewhere, this site is for family and volunteer cooks undertaking occasional projects. I encourage paid caterers to consult chef2chef.com and cheftalk.com. If you were a family cook I would suggest that the amount of food you need will depend on the time of day and length of the party and that you can find the help you need for those two items on the fruit tray page and the veggie tray page.
kevin m
03/22/10
how many pounds of pork tenderloin do i need for 300 people.thank you
ellen
03/22/10
Depends on if it is plated or self serve. Plated, a pound raw serves 3, self serve, about 2 1/2.
liefie steyn
04/27/10
Catering for 20
help me i am catering for 20 people for a braai, can you help me with a menu and quantity i need per person for the meat and salad and porridge, and price per person.

regards

liefie

ellen
04/27/10
Help me out, Liefie. Is this a seafood braai? Spit braai? Are you thinking about lamb chops, steak and shrimp?
Pro caterers, figure the actual food costs, add in all their expenses for help, rentals, etc; usually the total comes to 3-4 times the food costs.
Here is a link to 3 braai menus from a pro caterer:

www.fusionline.co.za/braaimenu.htm

You can find many maore ideas with a google search for "braai menu".

carrie
05/05/10
I have the challenge to cater for 300, a a gala dinner,cooking from and eating in our new nursing home, i need advice, what 2 make? who many staff? being $120.00 per head, what do i do?
Deanna
05/07/10
Hi, I am going insane trying to plan a reunion for 300 people. I'm doing a "light buffet" for the first two hours of the event. The event starts at 7 pm on a Saturday at a Legion. How many people do you estimate will actually eat? I'm on a very tight budget and am not doing any hot foods....potato salad, bean salad, ham etc.

Thank you in advance for any advice!

ellen
05/08/10
Carrie, I am not clear on your event. Are you the kitchen manager or chef for the facility (or what is your experience)? Will you have a full staff to assist and serve? Is your REAL budget $120 PER PERSON??? Are you serving in the facility dining room? I have never seen a nursing home dining room that would seat 300...
Please email me at the contact email at the bottom of the page with the info above and I will try to help.

Deanna, At 7 pm, all the people will eat, and some will eat dinner, so you have to plan with that in mind. You are headed in the right direction with the bean salad; you need to plan some inexpensive heavy items; maybe potato salad and an antipasto type pasta salad with some cubed meats and veggies?

You want to end up with 1 pound of food available per person.

olenthia
05/23/10
50 pounds of rice in 4 inch pans
How many 4 inch pans will 50 pounds of rice fix in?

Thanks

olenthia
05/23/10
50 pounds of rice in 4 inch pans
How many 4 inch pans will 50 pounds of rice fit in?

Thanks

Kim
05/24/10
Hi,

I am having a party. How much BBQ sauce do I need for 300 people?

Thanks

Chris
05/27/10
Im serving hotdogs at a tailgate party and expect 200 to 300 people. How much will hotdogs and buns cost for 300?
ellen
05/27/10
Olenethia, fill a pan with water. 1 pound of rice makes 6-8 cups, depending on short, medium or long grain rice.

Karen, I allow 2 gallons for table use for 100, and usually use about 1 1/3.

Chris, you need to count on 2 dogs per person and 1 bun per dog. See the sandwich table for help on condiments (mustard relish etc.) You have to do your prices locally; we get hot dogs from 99 to 4.59 per 8, depending on what brand and type.

karen
05/30/10
Catering for 400
we are hosting 400 for a morning grade 6 graduation. MENU is vegetable platters, fruit platters, hummus and tazaki platters. Can you help us with how much fruit, and vegetables to buy? We cannot have melons or kiwi due to allergies
ellen
05/30/10
This menu doesn't sound too kid-friendly, unless you are in California. Have you considered having some traditional morning offerings such as bagels and muffins, or at least oatmeal and choc. chip cookies? Or at least cheese and crackers and peanut butter with honey or jam?

You can get specific help with the amounts of fruits and veggies on the fruit tray page and veggie tray page. However, the veggies won't be selected very much at that time of day.

I also suggest that instead of omitting melon, you simply package and display it on its own tray.

ellen
05/30/10
Karen, you can write back-
irene
05/30/10
Catering for 400
Hi There what am incredible site. I have volunteered with another friend to cater a Music Conference that helps provide financial asistance for young women who cannot afford to go to an acredited music school.Our menu was chosen for us and I would like to keep the cost low as the money donated should be going to the charity,
We are doing
Meditarrean chicken (chicken breasts) How much chicken should we buy?
We are doing a Pasta and will follow your recipe that you have(excellent)
We have been asked to do a tossed salad and have been following this site, but I wanted to add tomatoes and cucumber as well. How much should we buy of that.
You gave us the info on the bread and all sorts of other stuff. Thank you so much. The desserts are all being donated.
Bless you for this site.
Irene
ellen
05/30/10
Tomatoes (diced or small cherry) and cukes, about 6 pounds per 100.

If you want everyone to have chicken, you need about 8 ounces raw boneless per person. If your pasta is also a meat entree, you need chicken for about 320; if you do not have rice, people will take pasta as a side dish, even if they already have some chicken.

Hope this helps.

karen
05/30/10
Catering for 400
Would be nice if we were in a warm climate like California....Canada, Ontario
We are serving at around 1130-12 and are limited due to life threating allergies.This is the first year my group is helping and we are/were 'given" the plan. I will look at the veggie tray page and look at alternatives to pitch for next year. Thank you so much for your suggestions.
Dolci
06/20/10
I've noticed that people don't eat as much as they used to. the presentation of the food is very important (you will get lots of compliments if the food looks as good as it tastes...)

Good Luck

ellen
06/20/10
I guess it depends on the crowd. Some things people eat less, but overall, compared to 10 years ago, they eat more-about 1/4 more.
Auntie
06/23/10
Hi Ellen,

Can you confirm my calculations for feeding spaghetti to 300 people?

Here is what I come up with for ingredients:
45 lbs Hamburger
60 lbs Speghetti
72 qts Sauce
15 lbs Parm. Cheese (shaker type)
42 Loaves Garlic Bread

Any suggestions? Need to pick ingreds up tomorrow. Thanks for any help you can provide!

ellen
06/25/10
Looks about right. I would add salad, see the plan for 100 table.
kenya
06/28/10
Wedding reception for 300
I am having cocktail weiners & mini quiche @ my wedding reception. The cockatail packages weighs 3.75 lbs, about how many packs of this will I need to have enough? Also, the quiche comes in a pack as 60 count, how many packs of these will I need?
ellen
06/28/10
Kenya, I need more information; time of day, rest of the menu.

For general purposes, you want 2 per person of items like the quiches and 2-3 ounces of sausages, meatballs, etc. This assumes that there is a wide selection of appetizers; for appetizers only with this size crowd. you would want at least 12 different kinds.

kenya
06/28/10
wedding reception for 300
The reception will take place around 3pm. I am also having a veggie tray that a friend of mine is doing for me & a fruit tray. I meant that the cocktail package is 3.5 lbs(48 oz package) I am going to Sam's club, do not know if it comes in cases. How many gallons of punch to be on safe side that my aunt is making?
ellen
06/29/10
Kenya, for full help on beverages, send your aunt to the beverage planning page.
Also, you need some additional foods.

Each package of sausages will do for 15 people, each package of quiches for about 20. Check the cooking time on the quiches and make sure you have enough oven space and trays to do at least 100 at a time. The fruit tray would need about 50 pounds of edible fruit, and the veggie tray at least 40 of edible vegetables.

I would add at least cheese and crackers (Sam's has a good sharp cheddar and Monterey jack cheese in bulk and Kraft Swiss slices in 2 pound packages), you need about 50 pounds plus 20 pounds of crackers.

ellen
06/29/10
It is inexpensive to add a selection of bars and cookies, 1 per person of at least 4 kinds, when you have a light menu like this.
Lizzie
07/07/10
puch and cake for approx 350
I will be hosting a reception on Sunday for approximately 350 people, I intend to serve cake and punch. How much cake and punch will I need to serve that number of people
Diane Miller
07/09/10
Next years graduation party - I'll be cooking for 300 - my daughter wants Italian food...Baked Ziti, lasagna, fet alfredo, garlic bread, baked chicken-- I don't even know where to begin.help
ellen
07/10/10
Use the plan for 100 dessert planning page and beverage planning page Make 3 1/2 times the amounts.
ellen
07/10/10
Diane, you are talking $2000 and a LOT of work. Talk over a smaller party with your daughter.
Shannon
07/12/10
Catering for 125
I am catering for 125 people for a wedding (my own) I have the menu picked out and it will be: roast prime rib, boneless chicken breast with rosemary and sage and filet of sole with lemon butter. What amount of each in lbs. would you think I need to purchase. Thank you.

Shannon

ellen
07/12/10
This is a VERY expensive menu, and you need to put an RSVP on the invitation so the guests will tell you how many people are coming and who wants beef, chicken or fish. Also, I do not recommend that the bride herself cater a party this large with this kind of "must be fixed the day-of" menu. Please read my article on wedding dinners and rethink your plan; you could afford to have it fully catered with a lighter menu, compared to what prime rib will cost.
Millie
07/13/10
Catering for 400
I am catering for people for a reception. We will be doing a fresh fruit salad (preferably melons, grapes, and strawberries) but I am having a hard time figuring amounts of fruit to do for such a large number of people. Any advice would be great. Thanks!
ellen
07/14/10
The information yiu need is already covered in the fruit tray page; total weight needed, the fact that melons only yield half their weight in edible fruit, etc. Make an estimate and post it, and I will check it for you.
Regina
07/15/10
Catering for 25
I need to know how much would I change to cater a rehearsal dinner for 25 people. The cost of the food was $200.00. How much would I change for the total for me to make some profit? THANKS!
ellen
07/16/10
Regina, it sounds like you spent too much on the food, as the usual charge is 3-4 times the food cost, if you served, which would take you to 25-30 per person.More important, it sounds like you already did this dinner. No pro would prepare and serve a dinner without a prepaid, written contract. You need to improve your business skills- go read the forums on some pro pages such as chef2chef.com and cheftalk.com.
tina
08/02/10
Hi i am wanting to make fruit salsd for 300 people how much fruit will i require and what kind of fruit?
ellen
08/03/10
Go to the fruit tray page, or look at any of the fruit salad for 100 recipes.
Deborah
08/19/10
I am making rice for 300 and was wondering how the best way to cook it is. I was going to use roaster ovens, but haven't any idea how long it will take to cook it in the roaster oven and at what temp I would need to cook it at.
ellen
08/19/10
See the baked rice recipe in the recipe box section. This is a perfectly good way to do your rice. However, you will need about 6 roasters.
Latasha
08/24/10
Catering for a party of 60
How much should I charge for an event like this. I was asked to make 50 hot dogs and 50 hamburgers,pasta salad,2 pans of barbecue chicken and dirty rice. Please let me know what a fare reasonable price would be.

Thanks!

ellen
08/24/10
Latashe caterers usually charge 3 to 4 times the food cost, the higher amount if serving, the lower amount for drop off Please see chef2chef.com and cheftalk.com for pro advice.
Mary
09/12/10
We are catering for a funeral and want to know how much cheese and meat to serve?
ellen
09/12/10
2-3 ounces sliced meat and 1 1/2 to 2 ounces cheese per person, depending on what else is available. 2 ounces bread per person.
Lily
09/24/10
Looking for how much I should charge for a catering event I am hosting for 200 people.
Serving so far:
Rice with gandules
BBQ Chicken wings
Pasta

Thanks

ellen
09/25/10
Lily, this is a DIY site for family cooks and volunteers, though I know I have a pretty large pro following. The usual price for catering is somewhere in the 3-4 times food cost range. Check your local caterers for similar meals, or post at cheftalk.com, or chef2chef.com.
Emily Vettese
09/29/10
Hi, I am cooking for 350 people. I am making casseroles. The recipe only serves 10 and calls for 9 x 13" casserole dishes. What size casserole dish would I use now for an industrial size oven, and how many tortillas would I fit at the bottom of the casserole dish (the recipe calls for 5). Thank you
ellen
09/29/10
The problem is, you need to keep the thickness of the dish about the same, or it will be overdone at the edges and mushy in the middle. You can do 35 9x13.

A steam table pan holds about 6 1/2 quarts (3-4 9x13 pans)

betty
10/14/10
Would you tell me how much finger food, sandwiches, dips etc to serve 300 people at a wedding reception? This is Thursday and the reception is Saturday of this week.
ellen
10/15/10
See the sandwich and the tea party pages- the amount more than doubles if the reception is at ealtime versus mid afternoon.
tanya
10/16/10
catering for 300 people, how much mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy do we need... also how much boneless chicken and steak
ellen
10/16/10
Tanya, this is a DIY site for family and volunteer cooks, and what I ask them to do is use the tables, popst an estimate, and let me check it. All the foods you ask about arte already on the plan for 100 tables, including the way to calculate beef and chicken at the same meal. Please feel free to use the tables yourself; I can't take responsibility for pro catering estimates. You can also go to the catering sections on the pro boards;
chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com
samia
10/29/10
Hi. I'm going to be catering for 300 ppl.The main course will consist of Butter Chicken. How much chicken and tomato? ican use. Butter chicken is made with boneless breast pieces.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Wherelese could I search for information?
ellen
10/30/10
See the very first question on this thread, which is about butter chicken for 300.
Diedre
11/01/10
Hi. this year for thanksgiving my church basket ball team and my family want to give to the community so we want to cater for 300 people in the family shelter and i was wonder who much pans of items we will need thats on the menu:
so how much: turkeys, pans of rice, lasagna, vegetables,mash potates, stuffing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, cakes,icream, and eggnog

your advice would be greatly appreciated because we have no idea on what were doin and it's our first time and we really would like to know.

ellen
11/01/10
Deidre, see the hospitality article and the shopping article at the top of big pots. Treat the lasagna like macaroni and cheese. I would not do both rice and mashed potatoes, one or the other is plenty.
You need regular beverages in addition to eggnog, especially dinner coffee. See the beverage planning page.
If you want to post estimates, I will be happy to help.
fran Lewbel
11/02/10
Catering for 150
Making egg salad and tuna for 150 people.....

how many pounds of each? I am buying the eggs hard boiled and peeled...how many pounds of the egss?

charity
11/03/10
this website is great!
could you tell me how much i would need if im planning a dinner party for an opening celebration for a law firm, guests will be mid-thirties to mid-sixties. 300 guests, im thinking of a fiejta bar. Let me know what you think! thanks again!!
ellen
11/03/10
Fran, see the sandwich page and the salad section of the plan for 100 page for help with the tuna salad. I don't put eggs in mine; you might try 1 egg per pound of tuna.

Charity, this is a pretty practical menu for this sort of activity, if you want an informal party. There is a thread, all about fajita bars, plus help/ideas of the taco bar page. Of course you would want rice, beans, margaritas and mojitos, lovely fruit trays and a tres leches cake for the main dessert.

jeanne
01/10/11
Catering for 200
Hi, I have been asked to make 4 different salads for 200 people (meat,buns etc.)is supplied by someone else. Do I follow the plan for 100 x2 for each salad or will that be to much.
ellen
01/10/11
No, you need to end up with about 450 servings, approximately, since people will only take about 2 servings worth. The exception is fruit salad; make 1 per person. If not fruit salad, 150 potato, 100 each of the others.
David
01/24/11
I have been asked to prepare an annual dinner for my wife's church. There will be 150 or so. I have a cassoulet reciepe that has pork and chicken in it. How many pounds of beans should I use. There will also be a salad served and dessert.
ellen
01/24/11
About 1 popund dry beans for every 2-3 pounds meats.
Kelly
02/19/11
Catering for 150
Hello, we are doing our own catering for our engagement party of approx 150 guests. We have sorted out the meat but figuring out salad quantities is proving to be difficult. I am thinking we will have pasta, potatoe and green salad and coleslaw. Are you able to give me some guidance as to how much of each? Thank you in advance.
ellen
02/19/11
150 people
pasta, 6 pounds dry pasta per 100
potato salad 35 pounds potatoes per 100
green salad- see plan for 100 page, use 1 1/2 times amount for 100
coleslaw- 3 gallons per 100
Katie Madonna Lee
02/23/11
Hi! I am going to catering a dessert table with my cookies at an event for 300 people. How many cookies do I need? THANK YOU!
ellen
02/23/11
In detail on the dessert planning page
Stephanie
02/28/11
Catering for 350
HI...my cousins son is gettin married in August..and the list is 350 guests...and she wants a Turkey dinner...how many turkeys is required for that many?..and she is also wants to serve soup for an appetizer..while the guest wait for the bride and groom.(taken pictures).soo how many turkeys and potatoes, veggies do i need to prepare.?..this is my first catering job...
ellen
02/28/11
Stephanie, you may be in way over your head. All pro caterers agree that wedding dinners are the MOST difficult job, because they have to be, basically, perfect; one bad one can ruin your rep for good; and this is much too large a dinner for you if you have not done 300 people before.

You need liability insurance personal to cover the event. If a staff or guest is injured, or complains the food made them sick, do you want to lose your house over it?

For example, it requires 5 people in the kitchen day of, an event/floor supervisor, about 20 servers to set up, serve and clean up buffet style and about 30 for table service. That is NOT counting shopping and prep days, as well as the storage of 1/4 ton of food (which is what it takes to do dinner for 350 people). All these costs to be covered before you rent the chafing dishes, plates, glasses, etc; you would need 7-8 serving lines for 350 people, which is a minimum of 21 chafers, not counting the appetizer tables (soup).

Yes, you can do soup, but it has to be done in shots, not bowls, and you need at least 4 serving places- 6 would be better-

You will need 300+ pounds of whole turkeys for a crowd this size. You also need to offer a vegetarian entree, or a side dish that can be used as a vegetarian entree; in a crowd this size, not everyone eats meat.

Please read all the articles in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots, and think really hard about this. A pro caterer would not do it for less than $10,000 for full service.

stephanie
02/28/11
Thank you...i kinda thought i was well over my head also...and i think i may have to decline on this one...thanks for making me see the light...lol...i was just trying to help my neighbour/cousin in this department.
ellen
02/28/11
Consider offering to do just the soup/ appetizer tables, and let them go pro for the dinner?
Lana
03/07/11
Dinner buffet for 150
How many place settings, ie. forks, spoons, knifes, plates, cups etc. will I need for a buffet for 150 people with cake being served also?
ellen
03/08/11
You need 1 1/2 plates, 2 cups or glasses, 2-3 napkins, plus 1 1 small dessert plate and 1 setting plus 10% plus a full round of extra forks for the dessert. If coffee is also served, get stirrers or extra spoons.
Susan
03/13/11
My daughter and I are catering a dinner for my granddaughter's hockey league. There will be about 200 girls aged 8 to 16 and 100 adults for a total of 300. We have lots of help from other moms and dads but they wanted us to set the menu and get the food. I have researched your site for days now and have come up with this:

Cold meats - 50 lbs roast beef (boneless top sirloin which we will cook ahead and serve cold)
50 lbs turkey breast - store roasted boneless
30 lbs boneless ham
450 1" meatballs in sauce

Potato salad - 75 lbs potatoes, 20 cups chopped cucumbers, 10 cups red peppers, 4 dozen eggs, 6 qts. salad dressing
Macaroni salad - 14 lbs macaroni, 20 cups cucumber, 10 cups chopped peppers, 15 cans tuna, 6 qts. salad dressing
Coleslaw - 4o lbs. shredded coleslaw with 4 qts. dressing
Premade bean salad (from Costco) 3 x 2 gallon jars
Broccoli salad - 14 lbs broccoli, 4 cups chopped red onion, 6 lbs. raisins, 4 cups sugar, 1 cup vinegar, 3 lbs bacon, 4 cups sunflower seeds

Cheese tray - 50 lbs assorted cheese
3 gallons mixed pickles

28 dozen small Kaiser type rolls
10 lbs butter

Sundae bar for dessert
15 gallons ice cream
8 lbs cherries
6 lbs. cookie bits
6 lbs. m&m or mixed candies
3 lg. containers sprinkles
4 - 12 oz. chocolate sauce
3 - 12 oz. caramel sauce
4 lbs. bananas
30 cans whipped cream
8 honeydew melons
8 canteloupe
8 qts. strawberries

Can you please check the menu and amounts for me and let me know if we need to change anything? I have used your site many times for other family functions we have catered but we have not done one with so many kids. Appreciate all your help

ellen
03/14/11
The kids will mostly eat like grownups- the teens will balance the little girls.

This is a little heavy on food and I have a few suggestions.

Plenty meat.
I would use celery instead of cukes in the potato salad, more familiar for this large crowd. I would do the same in the mac salad, especially cutting in half the amount of cukes. Coleslaw and broccoli OK, but I might skip the broccoli and do fruit trays, this is a lot of kids, after all.

Maybe part olives for the pickles?

Probably 40 pounds cheese is plenty.

I would get less sprinkles and more chocolate sauce.

Susan
03/14/11
Thanks for the great advice Ellen. We were planning on using a variety of pickles which is what I meant by mixed pickles i.e. dills, sweet and olives. I am glad to know we will have enough food.

FYI - up here in Canada we tend to use cucumbers in our salads instead of celery but what I may do is use half celery and half cukes.

Thanks again

ellen
03/14/11
Always nice to learn something new! Thanks.
Momo
03/15/11
Im cooking for a festival so im thinking 300 or more shal be there. I want to know how much food do i need to get? Majority of the foods will be carribean foods such as : curry goat, oxxtails,fish,chicken,collar greens, macaroni, shrimps,broccoli,potatoes,pudding,rice and peas,cabbage etc..can you please help. I need i dea of this im planning ahead of time.
ellen
03/16/11
How is this served, and are people paying for each dish or is it all self serve all you can eat? This massively affects what foods are chosen and how much people eat. Write back.
Garland
03/28/11
I'm preparing Tri-tip Sandwich, Ranch Beans, Garden Salad and Potato Salad for 300 people. Can you please let me know how much of each I will need to purchase and prepare?
ellen
03/28/11
40 pounds beef per 100 if you serve it. All the other items are on the plan for 100 page,use 3 times tha amount.
Doris
04/03/11
Catering porridge for 30-40
I am cooking breakfast for 30-40 and they have asked for porridge as will be in winter.
can you please give me quantities I will need?
ellen
04/04/11
Check the breakfast planning page.
Kirsten
04/04/11
We are self catering our daughter's reception buffet style. We are serving pulled pork, teriyaki chicken, rice, macaroni salad, and fresh fruit. (watermelon, grapes, pineapple). I have a lot of friends to help me, but I need help in amounts of food. How much of each fruit, how much meat, how much rice? Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!
Kirsten
04/04/11
re: previous post ~ we are catering for 300 people
ellen
04/04/11
Kirsten, these foods are already covered in the planning lists and the fruit tray page, the only one you need help with is the combo entree.

I would do 1 pound ready to eat pork for 5 PLUS 1 pound raw boneless chicken per 4.

You need some kind of appetizer table for the hour between the service and the dinner (pictures, etc), especially if there are kids attending. At least 3 tables, all the same, with punch. 3-4 appetizers.

Lanette Claypool
04/06/11
I am wanting to know how much pasta to cook for 300 ppl for pasta salad and macaroni salad. How much cabbage to by for cabbage and noodles, cabbage rolls. how much hamberger to cook, and sauce
Lanette Claypool
04/06/11
pineapple glazed ham with cherries
cabbage rolls
haluski
parsley potatoes
corn
green beans
macaroni salad
pasta salad
tossed salad
soft buns

how much stuff will i need to serve 300 people

ellen
04/07/11
I would probably not make pasta salad and mac salad on this menu, but if you do, you need 18 pounds dry pasta total.

cabbage rolls- 1/2 per person
haluski- For the cabbage and noodles, with potatoes also, I would do 12 pounds dry pasta and about 22 pounds cabbage.

All the rest, 3 times the plan for 100 amounts.

Connie
04/18/11
Catering for 500
making a cranberries & oranges, jello salad w/shredded carrots, nuts and celery at a school for 500 kids; each pan holds 57 servings I know I will use 10 pans- how do I make the ingredients come out even in each pan and what should be the correct amount of the raw ingredients-my recipe is for 10 people!
ellen
04/18/11
OK. Put PAM on the pans before you fill them. Put 5 times your recipe in each pan. It will be plenty.
jodie parker
05/03/11
I am helping do a supper for 150 excluding meat and buns, my menu is potato salad, caesar salad, japanese cabbage salad, and broccoli salad. My question, is 40lbs potatos, 4dz eggs , 16 heads of romaine, 2-4 lbs croutons, 5 heads cabbage, 4lbs mushrooms , 10heads of broccoli and caulflower mix enough. These are just the main ing. to each salad.
ellen
05/03/11
Looks pretty good, I might go 8 heads on the slaw.
Laurrell
05/04/11
Catering for 200
Love your sight! I am catering a Bday party for 200. How many wings should I purchase and how many lbs of string beans and potatoes should I purchase.
ellen
05/04/11
Wings for appetizers, 1/2 pound raw per person; entree, up to 1 pound! For veggies and potatoes, see the plan for 100 tables and do twice the amount for 100.
India
05/07/11
Catering for 500
Hi my friend is hosting a event and would like for me to cook for 500 ppl. She wants a lot of chicken and other simple food. But my question is how much should I charge to cater an event for 500 ppl??
ellen
05/07/11
Hi, India,
Cooking for 500 people, even if it is buffet style and simple food, requires an industrial type kitchen, 8-14 cooks and 35-50 people to set up, serve and clean up the event. In most states it also requires event licenses or single event permits from the health department for the food, unless it is at her house. You personally also need event insurance; otherwise if a staff or guest is injured, or someone says they got sick from the food, you can be sued and lose your home.

Are you really ready for that?

Catering fees for these large events depend on the type of event and run from 30 to 200 per person, depending on the menu and what is included (china, tables and chairs, etc).

Look at the professional boards below and re-think your plans.

chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com

Leonie
05/09/11
Hi!

We have our youth camp coming up which will have around 200 people on it. We are looking at self catering. We are looking at simple meals (cheap and can bulk buy meat, vegies etc). How much do you recommend per person and how do you work out the costs?

Thanks!

Sharon
05/11/11
We will be self-catering my daughter's wedding, to serve approx. 300. It will be a late reception so we are just thinking ham sandwiches along with creamed chicken sandwiches. Other items will be fruit (melon and strawberries), cheese, veggies, bbq wieners, chips, pretzels and drinks. What would the quantities of each be?

Thanks!

ellen
05/11/11
Leonie, this is not out of the question if you have some experienced cooks, but I need to know how long is the camp, what are the kitchen and food storage facilities, and what is the approximate budget. You should probably start a new thread, also.

Sharon, when you say late, do you mean late evning or mid afternoon? And do you mean cocktail wienies in sauce, appetizer style, or on the grill? More info, please.

Noelle
05/13/11
Catering for 150
Great website!!! I just opened a little homebased catering business my first gig is for 150 people. Buffet style. The menu is Green Salad, Pigs-In-A-Blanket, Chicken Wings, Empanadas, Yellow Rice, Turkey Sausage and Peppers, Corn on the Cob, Grilled Roasted Vegetables, Macaroni Salad..

How much would I have to make so I don't run out of food?

Noelle
05/13/11
Noelle, I don't do advice on paid gigs, the liability is too great, I suggest you look at:

cheftalk.org
chef2chef.org

You MUST have event/liability insurance, if someone is injured or claims they got sick from the food, you can be sued, and it is not worth losing your house or savings.

It takes about 8 people, 2 cooks and 6 servers to set up, serve, and clean up this meal,unless you are doing drop off (where you make the food and deliver but do not serve.

In most states it is illegal to prepare food for sale in your home kitchen, has to be done in the host's home or a licensed kitchen.

If you want to try making an estimate from my tables, you can email it to me at the contact address below and I will look it over for you.

Sorry for the unhappy news.

Tina
05/13/11
Catering for 130
I'm cooking for 130 people.Menu is pulled pork,baked ziti,roast beef sandwiches,ham,pasta salad,cole slaw,3 appetizers and fruit tray. Could you tell me how much food I will need Thanx
ellen
05/14/11
Pasta salad, cole slaw, and fruit tray, see the related pages (plan for 100, fruit tray page).

3 appetizers, 2 bites or pieces of each per person, if dip 1/4 cup.

pulled pork, 1 pound per 4
roast beef sandwiches, 1/2 per person
ham, 1 pound ready to eat per 5

baked ziti, 1 pound dry per 10.

Breann
05/14/11
Catering for 500
can i get a recipe for braised potatoes, serving 500 people
ellen
05/14/11
I don't do that- suggest you enter "food service" and "braised potatoes" in a google search under recipes-
Deb
06/06/11
Chicken salad with small rolls to make sandwiches for a wedding reception of 250-300 people...how many pounds of chicken salad would be needed?
ellen
06/06/11
See the chicken salad listing on the plan for 100 page under salads.
eileen
06/08/11
break down a large recipe for me please
how do I break down a large recipe serving 200 cupcakes to serving 24 cupcakes.I broke it down in halves twice then got down to milimeters and then I got lost.don't know anything about Milimeters.. how much is 1.875 in flour and 0.625 also.875??thank you so much for the help...
ellen
06/08/11
Eileen, it does NOT work to split a baking recipe to 1/8 the original- the quantities do not hold. You need to find a similar recipe that is family sized.
Amy
06/16/11
Catering for 175
HI Ellen! Again, you are awesome!
I am catering a wedding for 175 in 3 weeks. The wedding is in a tent and there is only one side that is electric available. I am providing stations and was going to try and use 5 foot rounds for the food. The pasta station will have 2 chefs to cook some pasta to order as well as chafers. I rent a large kitchen ( off-site) to cook out of but there are little facilities at the tent location itself. (Tables, electric and water only.) I have cambro's etc for transportation and renting a warmer. There is a reception that is simple enough but the dinner in the tent has me challenged. They are only having disposables for plates and cutlery.

Here are my questions:

Because it has different themes how many stations for EACH theme do I need to have? Can I get away with one large salad station, one large pasta station etc...or will I need two?

Do I need to have 2 chafers of each item on display?

How many plates and cutlery should I provide on each station?

How many gallons of the "fixings" should I prepare?

I have 8 people working including me...

It is a fairly basic menu:

Mexican Station
Sizzling Chicken Fajita with Peppers and Onions
Flour Tortillas
Tortillas Chips
Beans and Rice
Fresh Tomato Cilantro Salsa and Sour Cream (plus 3 extra fixings)

Asian Stir Fry Station
Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken Lemongrass Pot stickers with Ginger Soy Sauce
Hot Mustard/Sweet and Sour
Fried Won Tons
Fortune Cookies

Pasta Station (2 chef attended)
2 selection of pastas
two different sauces
10 bowls of "fixings" to choose (spinach, peppers, broc, zucchini etc).

Salad Station
Medley of Fresh Greens Garnished with Tomatoes, Carrots and Cucumbers, Croutons, Grated Cheese and
Mustard Vinaigrette
Rolls and Olive Oil and Butter.

There are two bartenders, a coffee station and Ice Tea/Lemonade station.

Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thank you

ellen
06/16/11
Amy, as discussed elsewhere, this is a site for family and volunteer cooks, and I don't take on responsibility for free assistance for paid events. For these, I recommend posting on:
chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com
where they have catering boards.

Just a few observations; with 175 people and 3 entree stations, that is about 60 people per station, which is a too much; plus the Asian station is dull, and people will bottleneck at the Mexican and pasta stations. If you are grilling the fajitas to order, you need 2 cooks there, too.

I would add a real meat dish at the Asian station.

You definitely need 2 salad stations or a double sided serving line, and you need to beef up the selection. Maybe an Asian slaw and a caprese or other marinated veggie salad.

Think about 120 people trying to get coffee. How are you setting up the coffee station. I would consider putting carafes and pitchers for the beverages on the individual tables.

Ron
06/20/11
Catering for 200
Catering our son's wedding for 200 people. The menu and food estimates are as follows:

Pulled Pork - 100lbs
Italian Roast Beef - 60 lbs
Rolls - 250
Scalloped Potatoes - 50 lbs
Baked Beans - 6 #10 cans
Green Beans - 30lbs
Coleslaw - 25 lbs
Macaroni Salad - 20 lbs uncooked
Pineapple - 18 pineapples cubed
Pickle/Olive Trays

Appetizers:
Cheese - 18lbs
Bologna - 18lbs
Crackers - 8 boxes
Vegetable Trays - 2 large
Dips - 3 different kinds
Chips and Pretzels

Does this seem about right?

ellen
06/20/11
Pretty good menu, but I would do amounts a little differently,

Pulled Pork - 100lbs - 80 should be plenty
Italian Roast Beef - 60 lbs -OK; I might reverse the beef and pork
Rolls - 250- usual to do 1.5 each
Scalloped Potatoes - 50 lbs - very popular, consider 60-70
Baked Beans - 6 #10 cans-OK
Green Beans - 30lbs, usual 40-45
Coleslaw - 25 lbs
Macaroni Salad - 20 lbs uncooked- just 12 pounds dry pasta
Pineapple - 18 pineapples cubed- this will make about 3-4 pieces per person
Pickle/Olive Trays- see the relish tray on the veggie tray page

Appetizers:
Cheese - 18lbs -OK
Bologna - 18lbs OK
Crackers - 8 boxes - usual, 6 pounds per 100
Vegetable Trays - 2 large -30 pounds
Dips - 3 different kinds -OK
Chips and Pretzels - 6-8 pounds pretzels, 12-16 pounds chips (larger amount if corn chips)

Amy Anderson
06/23/11
thank you for your suggestions
tara moore
06/26/11
How many vegetables do you have to have for 300 people on mixed veggie trays. And how many buns for roast beef. Sandwiches.
ellen
06/27/11
Check out the veggie tray page, you want about 1 pound reday to eat for every 6-8 people, and amounts for dips are suggested. Sandwiches, it depends on the type of crowd, for example, families with small kids, about 1 1/2 regular buns per person, but teens or all men, 2 per person.
Jo
07/05/11
Catering for 250
We are trying to figure out how many cases of boneless chicken breast to purchase to feed approximately 250 guests at a wedding reception. We are having parmesan-crusted chicken breast and roasted potatoes. How many cases of chicken breast will we need?
Karen
07/20/11
Catering for 500
I have been ask to cater a picnic of 500 with me supplying the rib tibs, pasta salad and potato salad. How much of each shall I get?
Thank you!
ellen
07/21/11
Jo, assuming boneless, skinless, 80 pounds or 2 cases for 240, 1 pound for each 3 over that.

Karen, use the charts to make and estimate and post it so I can check it for you. The rib tips (assuming this is pork we are discussing and it is the only meat, about 3/4 pound raw per person minimum.

BEbe
07/21/11
Catering for 100
i will be self catering a hundred guest.. i do not know how much to prepare.. please help me..

Spaghetti
fried chicken legs
hotdogs for 50 kids
rice
spring rolls
filipino embotido or meatloaf
pork stew
baked mussels
buttered shrimp

ellen
07/22/11
Bebe, this is a lot of meats, maybe too many, and a lot of last minute cooking. I would do a baked spaghetti/pasta dish (it can be prepared ahead); either have the chicken catered from a chicken place, or do roasted (fried is too much for this many people, and you have to do the spring rolls at the last minute); skip either the meatloaf or the pork stew- one is plenty with all the other choices. Also, are the 50 kids part of the 100, or in addition to the 100? The mussels and shrimps are also both last minute dishes, you will not have room to do all this in one ordinary kitchen.

Write back with a few more details and consider trimming the menu.

Marilyn
07/24/11
I am catering a midnight lunch for my daughters wedding for 300. This is well after the 6:30 full meal reception and following dance.I estimate 25 doz buns, 22lbs sliced cheese, 40 lbs sliced meat, 5-6 lbs each carrots, cauli, broccalli, cucumber, celery for veggie trays, 15lbs each strawberries and grapes, 8lbs chips, 2 gal pickels, 2lbs butter, 2 gal. dip (for chips and veggies) 8 gal (64 lbs) each potato salad and pasta salad, plus mayo, mustard and dessert (which I have a ahndle on). How are my quantities?
ellen
07/24/11
Marilyn, is this for 300, and are most of the guests her age or a spread- older guests and kids will tend to go home before midnight- you wouldn't have 300. Write back.
dee
07/26/11
I'm catering for 250 ppl. Menu is chicken and sausage jambalaya, green beens, and corn. How much chicken and sausage should I buy. And how many industrial size canned beans and canned corns do I need?
ellen
07/27/11
See the jambalaya recipe on the big pots page do 3 times the recipe. You may want to season it further and add some additional meat, it is a mild budget recipe. Veggies are covered on the plan for 100 page.
Christine
07/31/11
baked ziti as a side dish
Hi Ellen. I'm having a graduation picnic for my daughter. I expect about 115 guests. I'm having burgers, hot dogs, turkey and other sides. I was, also, planning on making baked ziti as another side. How many pounds should I make?
ellen
07/31/11
Hi, Christina,
8-10 pounds dry per 100 is kind of a minimum for teen eating.
Marilyn
07/31/11
This is a close knit farming community, and the dinner is for 200 by invitation only, but the dance, and following lunch has been extended to include a total of about 350, I'm guessing at that time of night, mostly younger and middle aged adults. Kids and seniors likely go home, so maybe 200? 250?? My daughter came up with the rough menu which I can tweek. It's mostly midnight munchies, and to get food into people before they drive home.Should I trim the any of the quantities??
ellen
08/01/11
That is what I needed to know. For 250, light lunch

25 doz buns, OK if regular or large size, but consider doing 2 per person of smaller buns.
22 lbs sliced cheese, maybe 30?
40 lbs sliced meat, light, 50-60
5-6 lbs each carrots, cauli, broccoli, cucumber, celery for veggie trays, OK, add 8 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
15 lbs each strawberries and grapes, OK
8 lbs chips, need 20-25
2 gal pickles, OK
2 lbs butter, 5 pounds, need other condiments, see the sandwich page, plus mayo, mustard
2 gal. dip (for chips and veggies) need 3 1/2 to 4
8 gal (64 lbs) each potato salad and pasta salad, plenty, probably 6 is enough for pasta.

Christine
08/01/11
Thanks for the help with the ziti. Do you think that 80 hamburgers and 64 hot dogs is enough for 115? I'm having turkey and other sides besides the ziti.
ellen
08/01/11
The turkey will account for 15-20. I might have another 20 patties in the fridge just in case- teens eat a lot.
Sandra van Rooyen
08/03/11
Hi I am preparing for a meeting after which we want to invite the attendees for drinks and snacks.

This is a really low-budget event, so in terms of food I though I'll go for crackers, peanuts, chips etc.

Can you give me an idea of how much of what I should buy?

regards
Sandra

ellen
08/03/11
How many people, what time of day and how long is the snack period (for example if it is at 5 pm, they will eat twice as much as at 2 pm)? What beverages will be available? Write back with more info.
Sandra van Rooyen
08/03/11
Hi Ellen, it will be more or less at 7pm and it is a public meeting, so I am not sure what to expect, but I think we can roughly cater for 300. We will basically serve soft drinks and ciders.
ellen
08/03/11
OK.

Nuts are expensive.
Sometimes for public meetings local shops such as groceries, pizza houses and bakeries will donate- worth looking into.
Bar cookies and other cookies, cut/made small, small muffins, quick breads are a good, inexpensive choice. 1 ounces packages chips, if they are loose people tend to expect dips.
Coffee, 1/2 decaf, is popular and cheaper than canned sodas. Borrow urns from a local church.

Popcorn is a great item- the machines are cheap to rent, and it smells wonderful.
Hope this helps.

Linda
08/03/11
My daughter is getting married in 2 and a half weeks and we are making all of the food for the reception. We have not heard from everyone, so was wondering how much food should we prepare above the number attending. Our menu is: smoked loin, party potatoes, pasta & fresh fruit salads, and rolls. I am not too worried about the loin, but need help with quantity the remaining sides. For the pasta salad, I am adding some of my homegrown vegetables.

Can you help me on the quantity on how much I should by?

Thanks
Linda

ellen
08/03/11
Linda, how many invitations did you send and are they local or travel?

party potatoes, from raw, 35-40 pounds per 100, frozen,casserole 25 pounds per 100
pasta salad-6 pounds dry pasta per 100
fresh fruit salad- suggest fruit trays, prettier, easier to serve, leftovers are more useful- see fruit tray page
rolls, see plan for 100 page, don't forget butter, about 3-4 pounds per 100..

Aurora
08/06/11
Wedding for 150
I'm catering a fall wedding for my niece at our home with 150 people. I've never entertained more than 100, so this is a bit bigger for us and I'm worried about oven space. I bought a Food Warmer and I'm trying to figure out logistics of heating and cooling etc. and if I should buy a second one. In addition, have we gone crazy with the list of offerings? We radically cut down the initial list, but it still seems like it might be a lot. I'm planning to have three kitchen helpers and 6 servers. We will have separate buffets, as follows - Meat Bar - Turkey, ham, pulled beef and Tilapia; Baked Potato Bar - potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and a variety of toppings; Organic Salad Bar - caesar, pasta salad, broccoli salad, caprese salad, spinach salad, coconut rice (a request of the groom), assorted breads; Appetizers include - Meatballs (passed), cheeses/salami/meats, crudite with hummus, "raw" mini pizzas (passed), shrimp display (not sure if we have enough appetizers, by the way)

I welcome any and all advice. I did read your information on the potatoes and will follow it to the letter!!!

Thank you for such an outstanding website!

Aurora

ellen
08/07/11
Aurora, this is a great menu, but it is not practical to try to cook and serve this elaborate dinner from a single kitchen. If you see the article for the festive family brunch, you will notice that they borrowed several kitchens for prep and used a license (church) kitchen the day of for their party.

In addition, where will all 4 cooks be in the kitchen? Unless you have a HUGE kitchen, this won't fit.

Also, if you have 6 servers for this size party, they need to be very experienced- otherwise, 10 people.

Meat Bar - Turkey, ham, pulled beef and Tilapia; maybe too many choices- and is the beef going to be for sandwiches? With your heavy appetizers, I would skip it.

Also, tilapia does not hold well. What about salmon? It is good chilled, too, which is very nice for summer and for prep ahead.

Baked Potato Bar - potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and a variety of toppings; OK see potato bar

Organic Salad Bar -
caesar, spinach salad, total, 10 pounds green
pasta salad, 9 pounds dry pasta
broccoli salad, 15 pounds
caprese salad, maybe Greek instead? can be made ahead.

coconut rice (a request of the groom), 12 pounds dry

assorted breads; 18 pounds, 4 pounds butter

Appetizers
Meatballs (passed), 1 pound per 5
cheeses/salami/meats, 1 1/2 ounces cheese, 1 ounce each of the meats per person
crudite with hummus, 1/4 cup hummus, 3 ounces veggies per person
"raw" mini pizzas (passed), 2 per person
shrimp display 1 pound per 5 plus 1/4 cup cocktail sauce per person

deb
08/10/11
Catering for
I am doing a hog roast for 500 people. How much pork loin would I need to serve this amount of people. We will also be serving chips.
ellen
08/11/11
Deb, how big is the hog?
Cindy
08/13/11
HI Ellen - i will be serving chicken and rice, green beans, rolls and brownies for 200-300 ppl. how much of each will i need?

Thank you for any assistance you can give me.

ellen
08/13/11
Cindy, you need to firm up your numbers. Then use the plan for 100 tables and multiply to get to your number. The chicken depends on whether it is pieces, quarters, skinless, etc, and all that is covered in the lists.
RONDA
08/13/11
hi getting ready for daughters wedding we are haveing the meet catered but we are doing the salads rolls and beans to help cut cost down i have recipes for all except macaroni salad i now thye ingreidients that is used but need ass with getting amounts for 300 people it has macaroni canned tuna onions celery frozen peas hard boiled eggs and mircle whip can you please send me instructions on how much of each item i will need to make this thank you very much
Linda
08/13/11
Hi Ellen, Sorry for not replying sooner. We have 325 attendees at this time, but there is always some that just show up. Do you thing we should plan on 10% over the 325 people? For the party potatoes, we plan on using frozen hash browns. How much sour cream, crm chicken soup and cheese do you recommend.

Thanks again for all your help. It is much help.

ellen
08/13/11
Ronda, allow 6 pounds uncooked pasta per 100 and increase all the other ingredients to go with these numbers.

Linda, yes, 10% is the standard caterer's wiggle room amount. Use the cheesy potatoes recipe on the family brunch page to help yourself figure out your ingredients for the potatoes.

Stacey
08/18/11
Making taco salad for 300 people. How much do I buy?

Lettuce
Cheese
Hamburg
Catablina Dressing
taco seasoning
Doritos

ellen
08/18/11
See the out of the trash bag walking taco salad on this site. Make 10-12 times the amount.
diane
08/22/11
Catering for 80
I would like to know if you can help me with cost for a catering job. Five Entrees, chicken francese, linguini w/shrimp and scallops, roasted pork loin, penne vodka, and grilled veggies, 3 appetizers rolls butter. Approx number of people 70-80. also amounts would be helpful
ellen
08/22/11
Diane, this site is for family and volunteer cooks, I strongly recommend you join these two sites and ask your questions:

chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com

One of the things they are going to tell you is that 5 entrees are completely unrealistic for 80 people- the cost will be prohibitive.

diane
08/22/11
I know, but the customer wants it
carole
09/26/11
1 large catering aluminum pan
Hi, I would like to know how much chicken breasts i need to make Chicken Marsala to fill 1 large catering aluminum pan.

Thanks Carole

ellen
09/26/11
Usually, these are considered to hold 24-25 servings.
carole
09/29/11
1 large catering aluminum pan
Do you think 6 lbs of chicken breasts will be enough
ellen
09/30/11
For 25 people? As the only meat? No, I would plan at least 8 pounds raw boneless, skinless. If it is the second meat you might get by with 6, but it will be close.
Sandra
10/11/11
I am doing a benefit plate sale for a very sick little girl. We have sold 500 plates and I need a little help.The sides are boiled potatoes and slaw on a BBQ pork plate. How much cabbage and mayonaise will I need to get for the slaw and how many potatoes will I need. Thanks.
ellen
10/11/11
do 5 times the amounts and recipes for 100 on the plan for 100 page and you will have plenty; if you measure carefully, you can cut 10% less.

There are a dozen different slaw recipes for 100 on the site.

Rachel
10/17/11
Catering for 200
Hi,

I'm catering a desserts only engagement party for around 200 people. Please help. I have no idea quantity wise how much to make. Cakes/cookies/candies/pies/fruit? thanks!

ellen
10/17/11
Go directly to the dessert buffet page, quantities are discussed in detail. Just do 2 times the amount for 100.
Mary
10/20/11
Catering for 175
I am cooking chicken bog for a lunch fund raiser. it will include roll, cup of slaw and a pickle. a normal batch i make is 8 cups of rice, 2 pounds of sausage and 30 chicken thighs. i dont know how many this serves because i always cood for the left overs. how do i convert this recipe to serve 175 with small sides? If i know how many cups of rice then i can convert the recipe. Please help!!
ellen
10/20/11
I would estimate that recipe to serve about 24, and I would make 7-8 times the recipe (the larger amount if it is self serve, the smaller if it is plated/ served by you.)
Sannah Yende
10/25/11
Catering for 350
Hi Ellen
I am catering for 350 guests on my wedding on the 17/12/11,
How much 10kg Rice (bag) should I buy, How many KG's of beef can I cook, How many bags of potatoes can I buy, How many buches of Spinach can I buy, How much pumpkin can I buy?
Thanks in advance
ellen
10/26/11
Hi, Sannah,
I need some additional information-
What is the actual menu?
How will it be served (buffet, plates, served meal?)
Are you in the US?Portions are bigger here than most places.

Write back-

Lynette
10/26/11
Catering for 200
I need to know how much crudite to buy for a church party of 250 (kids and adults). The other food served will be chili and hot dogs. We will be serving carrots, celery, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.
ellen
10/26/11
You will find exact info on the veggie tray page- button at the top of the main cooktalk page.
Jon Schultz
11/02/11
Catering for 350
I am catering a wedding reception for approx 350 people. The menu is bbq pulled pork, grilled chicken breasts, pasta salad, baked beans, green beans and will prob do a dinner roll or small roll for the sandwiches also. Can you give me some approximations of quantity for the items? Thank you.
ellen
11/02/11
John, most of these items are discussed specifically on the plan for 100 page and the bbq/brisket page.

I would do 4 ounces ready to eat pulled pork PLUS 3 ounce small chicken breast per person. I strongly agree on tasty rolls to make pork or chicken sandwiches and would include sandwich fixings (for amounts, see the sandwich event page).

This event needs an appetizer table with fruit, maybe chips and salsa or another casual dip and one other item, could be cheese trays, especially if you are grilling on site, as this tends to back up.

Sharon Ptasz
11/13/11
Catering for parties
I just found your website and I wish I had found it sooner. I planned my wedding, a Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and two high school graduations, and have attended many of the same events. In doing these events, I found that yes, it is time consuming to grill and to keep up with serving hot food. Guests do no want breakfast or lunch for dinner. The best event I had was served with a smoked salmon from Duluth, Minnesota (my hometown) and a Greek dessert (Baklava) from a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Both items went fast and I could have refilled more than six times during the night. My worst event was with rolls, chicken wings, deli items, etc. I look forward to e-mailing you in the future.
ellen
11/14/11
Welcome.
rhonda
11/15/11
Catering apps for 60
I'm catering app's an desserts for an engagement party for 60. I plan on serving crab stuff mushrooms, shrimp cigars, mini quiche w/proscitto cups, mini upside-down cupcakes, mini red velvet cupcakes, fresh fruit fondue, endive lime infused shrimp salad, over stuffed mix mine potatoes, new Orleans bbq shrimp, crab stuffed mini peppers, cherry tomatoes stuffed w/ seafood salad. If they choose the option to have a fry station.. collars green egg rolls, swiss chard & shrimp egg rolls & crab cakes. I always over cook & never charge enough any suggetions.
ellen
11/15/11
Way too much stuff for apps and dessert, especially if there is a meal in the middle! Where did the menu come from?

This would be a $40 per person meal catered, not counting the beverages...

What is the budget, how long is the party and is a meal being served? Write back.

rhonda
11/16/11
Catering for 60
their is no budget just yet still in the planning stages. there wil not be a dinner. I came up with the menu per the client instructions.
Dana
11/22/11
I am catering for 300 people. I am making a spaghetti dinner. How much should I buy of the following; salad, spaghetti pasta, spaghetti sauce, meatballs, and garlic bread. I am looking for the cheapest way to feed 300 people.
ellen
11/22/11
Rhonda, do at most 2 seafood items. Avoid a fry station unless you want to add two more staff. Have some appetizers that vegetarians can eat.

Dana, go to the spaghetti page, do 5-6 times the spaghetti dinner for 50-60 at the bottom of the page. Do 5 if you are serving plates, 6 for self serve of to allow for seconds.

Rachael
01/10/12
I am catering for 300 people for my upcoming wedding. buffet dinner
The menu is:
Main Course: Chicken Breast, Beef Brisket
Salad: Green Salad, Cesar salad
Veggies: Carrots, Cauliflower, and Broccoli
Starch: Rice and Pasta
And a dinner roll and corn bread
How much should I buy of each?
ellen
01/10/12
150 pounds raw trimmed brisket, 70-80 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast. Suggest you do both in make-ahead recipes, such as my orange Dijon wedding chicken; definitely do not get into trying to grill/bbq this chicken at the meal site.

Consider adding one interesting dish, this is a fairly flat menu. Remember this is called the wedding feast, and figure out how to make the menu a little more festive.

You need appetizer stations, and here is why:

Before the Buffet; Why You May Need an Appetizer Table
A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, including a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

iris
01/19/12
Catering
Hi Ms. Ellen,

I am very lucky i stumbled upon your site. We are an established restaurant seeking to start up with catering, I was hoping to ask the needed materials to come up with catering. Would appreciate your response either here or through my email which i have provided. Thank you AND more power to your very helpful site!

ellen
01/19/12
Hi, Iris,

This site is one I put together as a service for family and volunteer cooks.

I also do consulting work, fee for service, for pros at a very reasonable rate. If you are interested, contact me at the "Ellen's Kitchen Update link" at the bottom of this page.

Jenni
02/03/12
serving about 100 to 150 people
I am over a High School Reunion. I will be serving about 100+ people. I was wondering how many salads and the sizes of those salads I should have. We will having macaroni, potato, and green salads. Thank you
ellen
02/03/12
The salad section of the plan for 100 table is set up for exactly this. Make 100 each of the mac and potato salad, 150 of the Ceasar if you expect up to 150.
sue
02/17/12
I am planning a benefit supper for a dear friend consisting of Baked Beans, hot dogs, potato salad, cole slaw, rolls, assorted sweets. Can you roughly give me estimate of how much of each I would need. Thank you so much
ellen
02/17/12
Baked Beans, 3 gallons per 100
hot dogs, 2 per person
potato salad, 4-4 1/2 gallons per 100
cole slaw, 3 gallons per 100
rolls, 1 per hot dog
assorted sweets, 3 smallish pieces per person
elisabriseno
02/22/12
Food for 500
My granddaughter is having a fundraiser. The menu is BBQ chicken, Beans, Rice, plus the fixings.
I need to know how much of beans and rice to serve 500 plates
ellen
02/23/12
Each of the amounts in my plan for 100 tables and my serves 100 recipes will actually make 110 plates. You can calculate it nicely using the tables times 4.7
Sharon B
03/06/12
Our parent group is providing a pasta dinner for 300 high school kids with penne pasta, tomato sauce with beef, and alfredo sauce. Salad, a breadstick, and assorted homemade desserts will also be provided. Based on your food for 100 chart of 4.5 gallons of sauce/100, do we need that amount for each of the sauces, or total? I was kind of thinking 1/2 cup of each sauce per teenager (one cup total)Does having ground beef in the sauce affect the quantity needed? And do you think we should have more red sauce than alfredo, or equal amounts? Thanks!
ellen
03/07/12
High school kids eat more than regular adults, I would hike all the estimates about 20%.

You want 2/3 red, 1/3 white if you are only having 2 sauces, and some should be meatless.

I would do many loaves of garlic bread, rather than a breadstick- at least 16 pounds per 100.

im
05/24/12
I am planning a Hawaiian party for 300 people. Kalua Pig, Lomi Salmon, Chicken Long Rice,Potato Mac Salad, Rice. Someone said 1/4 lb of pork per person. Any idea on the salmon or chicken?
ellen
05/26/12
I would do:

1 pound raw boneless pork per 4 PLUS 1 pound raw salmon per 4 plus 1 pound raw boneless chicken per 4.

Emma Cooper
06/14/12
I am getting married in August and me and my family will be doing all the food. I've been reading through the messages and I'm trying to figure out how much I should be making of the following based on 300 people coming.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Cheeseburgers
Lobsters / Steamers
Portabella Mushrooms for the vegetarians

Cole Slaw
Mixed green Salad
Black Bean Salad

Bread for Lobsters/steamers

Thanks for your help!!!

ellen
06/14/12
Emma, if you have lobsters, almost nothing else will get eaten, at least by the grown ups. This is a VERY expensive meal, even elf catered, and I would never recommend self catering it for 300 people. You are looking at $5000 there...

First, though, I want to talk to you and to your family;

On the wedding day, you and they want to have the day to yourselves. It is really important to find or hire a manager for the food so none of you have to be in the kitchen- or the day becomes a food day, not a wedding day.

A buffet for each 100 people takes about 3 kitchen people and at least 6 servers to set up, serve and clear away. These can be volunteers, hired, church ladies, etc; but there needs to be some experience there. And none should be members of the wedding party. Any money you spend on this, will be among your best investments for the event.

Have you considered a shrimp boil or mixed seafood steam?

Also, there is a reason why New England dinners include sausage, corn, potatoes, and other veggies- it cuts down on the amount of seafood. You need to augment your side dishes with some hefty items, corn, some kind of potatoes, etc.

Start a new thread and write back.

Emma Cooper
06/21/12
My father has a non-commercial license for lobster fishing, so he's going to providing the lobsters at no cost. The lobsters are being used to supplement, we're expecting about 150 and when they run out, they run out we're not expecting to feed everyone with one. He and his friend will also be cooking them. I'm very lucky to have a lot of family and friends who are up to the task of assisting with setup, cooking, breakdown etc. We've designed the menu so that we can have everything prepared the day before and we've hired people to set everything up. I'm more just curious as to the amount of the rest of the food assuming we have 150 lobsters for the event?
ellen
06/23/12
Oh, how cool, and yummy.

I would split the lobsters longwise and offer halves- almost everyone will get one.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches- allow for 100 sandwiches, that is about 25 pounds ready to serve, 35 raw
Cheeseburgers-you could do meatball sandwiches and they would be ready the day before- do 35 pounds ground beef either way-
Lobsters / Steamers- split as suggested lots of butter and mayo

Help for amounts for sandwich condiments/ fixings is on the sandwich page

Portabella Mushrooms for the vegetarians- about 30

Cole Slaw- 8-9 gallons
Mixed green Salad see plan for 100 page
Black Bean Salad- 3 gallons per 100

Bread for Lobsters/steamers - about 40 pounds of baguettes or hoagie rolls. you will have leftovers-

ellen
06/23/12
I would still add one starch- boiled or roasted potatoes, or potato or pasta salad- amounts on the plan for 100 list.
Bobbie
07/16/12
I am catering for my girlfriends wedding, 300 people I am only doing side dishes the rest is BBQ...

Potatoes Salad, pasta salad, glazed carrots, roasted bussel spouts, pea salad, bean dip and garlic dip... duchess potato casserole... my budget is 200$

What do you think is going to be a reasonable amount of stuff to make? It is buffet style and I am not going to be able to measure by serving sizes....

ellen
07/16/12
Not a big enough budget for this menu.

Potatoes Salad, 35 pounds potatoes per 100 plus fixings
pasta salad, 5 pounds dry per 100

glazed carrots, 20 pounds per 100
roasted bussel spouts, 20 pounds per 100

pea salad, 2 1/2 gallons per 100

bean dip and garlic dip 1/4 cup each per person. 1 pound chips per 10.

duchess potato casserole- this is essentially mashed potatoes- 40 pounds per 100

sharon
07/31/12
Catering for 500
starter butternut soup
roast chicken
bobotie
brocolli & cheese sauce
baby patatoes
mix veg
beetroot
pudding brown pudding

how many chicken & mince must i buy

ellen
08/01/12
Sharon, you can use the plan for 100 lists by multiplying times 5, but then reducing by 10% to adjust for the huge crowd.

The chicken is there. Because you also have bobotie, you will want one whole piece per person, plus some extra.

The ground meat, 10-12 kilos per 100.

Beets are 1/2 of potatoes.

Al
08/22/12
Catering for 250 people
I was hired for my first catering event. The menu is a buffet style of BBQ Chicken & Stew Chicken (Wingettes), Fried Chicken & Jerk Chicken (Thighs), Fried Whiting, Jamaican Style Rice & Peas, Mac & Cheese and Potato Salad. Mind you this is what the client wants.
I am having a hard time trying to figure out how much raw produce I need for cooking and how much I should charge for this order. I'm just being hired for the food and that is all.
ellen
08/23/12
Al, you need to post to the pro catering boards:

cheftalk.com
chef2chef.com

Usually, the food is 1/3 to 1/4 the total charge- 1/3 if drop off, 1/4 if set up or served.

Al
09/09/12
Catering for 250 people
Definitely not a pro... I did my own personal BBQ event for the 4th of July and someone like the food so much they wanted me to cook for an event they were having for a fee. Never had any type of Culinary School experience, just down home cooking learned by cooking trial and error and a very loving Grandmother as my inspiration! I know nothing of food portion to people and pricing of food.
ellen
09/09/12
OK, this explains why you have this difficult menu. You need to try to get rid of the fried items, or at least one. You need 6-8 cooks, 15-18 serving, setting up serving and cleaning up.

And you need a commercial kitchen, do you have this?

Work on the menu and I will help with amounts.

Al
09/13/12
Catering for 250 people
Wow, didn't realize how much of a task I'm partaking with this order! Luckily, they want me to just cook and deliver the food... serving will be taken care of by the client.

Now, I don't have or have access to a commercial kitchen, my step-up is an outdoor grill, 1 kitchen with 1 stove, 4 burners, a nice size fridge and deep freezer and little ole' me cooking. Lol! I maybe able to ask for max 2 more people to help. But, that's it!

The menu was something that the client wanted, I really don't want to make fried chicken because my time is going to be spent on grilling the BBQ and Jerk Chicken. If I do revise the menu it would be BBQ & Jerk Chicken, Jamaican Style Rice & Peas, Mac & Cheese and Potato Salad.

I really appreciate the help so far because this is really stressing me out!

ellen
09/13/12
Al, realistically, you need to end up with over 350 pounds cooked food, this is pretty unreasonable for one refrigerator and 1 freezer.

BBQ & Jerk Chicken, use the chicken section of the plan for 100 table.
Jamaican Style Rice & Peas, 12 pounds each dry rice and peas
Mac & Cheese- 20 pounds dry pasta, 20 quarts sauce, 20 pounds cheese. Make 20 9x13, about 7 full size chafers
Potato Salad-prep 2 days ahead. farm out to reliable refrig. 90 pounds raw potatoes, plus fixings; about 10 gallons

You need a veggie. I would do one that is made a few days ahead, refrigerated, and served room temp. My artichoke condite or antipasto vegetables would do, or look at this one:

www.ziggymarleyorganics.com/jamaican-vegetable-rundown/

Al
09/16/12
Catering for 250 people
I am overwhelmed by the amount of food that I would need to prepare and cook. I'm now in the midst of looking to rent a commercial kitchen for use locally. The event is fast approaching and I feeling a want and a need to do this event. I'm trying also to get the assistance of some family members. You're absolutely right, I didn't have any veggies on the menu and thank you for pointing me to the recipes. I will keep you posted!

Thank you for your help thus far!

ellen
09/16/12
Many churches and some private schools have licensed commercial kitchens that could be available.
Marcella
12/29/12
Am cooking for 300 people, this is a new for me have cooked for groups events before but never this many, hhheeeeellllppppp! Did not see exactly what I was looking for on your page though your page is very informative, very, thank you. Am looking for amounts of pasta, med or mild cheddar cheese, evaporated milk, eggs, butter for baked mac and cheese dish. For rice making a rice dish and how much fresh string beans. So that's how many pounds or ounces of pasta, cheese, eggs, butter, evaporated milk(come in 12 0z cans), rice, fresh string beans. Thank you very much
Lucretia
01/16/13
Ellen, I need help. I was asked to help with the food for a gardenclub fundraiser. Approx 300 people. It will be from 6-8. The ladies thought a Mash potato bar, Pasta station, Pork Tenderloin Slider station, Cheese & Fruit Station with an Antipasta station would be nice. We could pass salmon canapes, Endive with blue cheese and spanakopita and chicken satays would be passed. I really do need suggestions. How much to plan for each person. Recommendations Please.
ellen
01/16/13
Yikes, Lucretia this is a labor intensive and fairly expensive menu requiring at least 5 kitchen people and 20 full time servers to set up, serve and clean up ($3000 just for the help), and that is NOT counting the planning, shopping and cooking. Do you have a commercial kitchen with a walk in cooler? Experienced cooks?

Maybe you want to email me to the contact below for an extended e-conversation?

Aisha
02/26/13
Catering for 150
i am catering for 150 persons. the menu is curry. curry chicken, curry potato and channa, pumpkin. how much chicken do i need, how much potato and channa and how much pumpkin?
ellen
02/27/13
Hi, Aisha,

If this is buffet/ self service, I would allow 1 cup of each, per person;

1/2 cup chicken meat= 4 ounces cooked, about 1 pound raw per 3 people

potato- 1 pound raw per 4
chana dahl- 1 pound per 6-8

pumpkin- these vary a great deal in meatiness, but A 3½-4 lb. pumpkin yields approximately 3 cups of chunks. You want about 3/4 cup per person.

Hope you have some saag paneer, raita and other good things for this menu.

Laurie
03/05/13
Serving a pasta bar at wedding reception for 300. Will have chickens breast strips and meatballs to go on top (along with sauces). How much pasta do I need to buy? How much chicken and meatballs? thanks!
ellen
03/05/13
About 36-40 pounds if this is the only entree. VERY tough to do for 300 people, requires 1 server per 30 just to stand and reheat the pasta; You need to rethink your plan and consider baked pasta casseroles.

You would allow 1 pound raw boneless chicken per 3 plus 1 pound meatballs per 4.

Tim
03/26/13
Hi i was wondering how many pounds of pork loin would you need to feed 300 people? Also cheesy potatoes for 300 how many pounds?
ellen
03/27/13
Pork loin, only meat, 2 pounds raw per 5

Cheesy potatoes, see the recipe at the bottom of the festive family brunch page for help on estimating and preparing the amounts.

Christie Franco
04/06/13
Hello! I need some serious help! I am catering a party for 300 people and they want to do a full sit down instead of cafeteria style. The menu is chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli, steamed veggies and a salad. How do I know how much food I need but even more important how many waiters/servers on the floor and in the kitchen do I need?

PLEASE HELP!

ellen
04/06/13
Christie, you may be in way over your head.

You need 30 experienced servers and 6 folks in the kitchen to do this; staff alone would cost around $4000. It would be about 18 and 6 if buffet.

You MUST have liability insurance. If a guest or server is injured or claims the food made them ill, you can be sued and lose your house...

You will use about 10% less food than my estimates for plated.
Salads, bread, beverages on the table when people sit down.

You need appetizers- a tasting plate on the table before the food is served.

ellen
04/06/13
Christie, you can start a new thread if you write back.
prue
04/07/13
Hi,am having a kitchen party and inviting 400 people,my menu is roasted chicken,meatballs, pasta,rice, beef pieces,vegetable soup and coleslaw salads.I want to know how many kgs of each thing do i need
ellen
04/07/13
Hi Prue, I have to give this in pounds and quarts and you will have to translate metric.

roasted chicken, 1 piece per person (50 chickens)
meatballs, 1 pound per 5
beef pieces, 1 pound raw boneless per 6, if cooking in sauce/gravy

pasta,8 pounds per 100
rice, 8 pounds per 100

vegetable soup 1 quart/liter per 4 people

These are American size portions, you can probably go 10% less and still have plenty

coleslaw salads, 3 gallons (about 25 pounds) per 100

Chef Ralph
04/08/13
Wedding for 200
Hi Ellen! I am doing a wedding for 200 people
The menu is
Main Dish
Trip
Chicken Wings
Baby Back Ribs
Country Mac & Cheese

SIDES
Cole Slaw
Country Potato Salad
Corn on the Cob on the Grill in the Husks
BBQ Baked Beans
County Mac & Cheese

STARTERS
5 Element Green salad
Sweet Corn Corn Muffins

Appetizers
5 Element Fruit Skewers
Veggie & Cheese Trays

What kind of portioning do think this would. The 4 main dishes with all the other's are of concern to me! LOL
Thanks
Ralphie

ellen
04/09/13
Hi, Ralph,

As I have said before, this is a site primarily for family and volunteer cooks.

I don't know what trip is?

If this is a paid gig, you need to use the planning pages to make preliminary amount estimates, as the entree amounts depend in part on the amounts of side dishes. Start a new thread, post these, so I have something to work with. Also, a donation to support the site, a dime or quarter per person, is in order; as you have noticed, this is a minimum ad, no membership fee effort on my part....

Dave
04/11/13
I would like to cook chicken pieces in a large Nesco roaster for a wedding reception. How many pieces (thighs and legs) approx. would each roaster hold? What temperature should they be cooked at and for how long?
ellen
04/11/13
It holds about 20 pounds, which is around 20-25 quarters. That is only enough for about 30.

Each roaster requires a separate electrical circuit, which usually means they have to be in different rooms.

Dave
04/11/13
In regards to the chicken in the Nesco what temperature and for how long? Thank you
ellen
04/12/13
Preheat 20 minutes. 325 minimum, up to 375. allow 1 1/2 hours at the higher temp, but check a piece in the middle after 1 hour; if it has reached 165, turn the roaster down to 180.

These need to be well seasoned and have a sauce/moisture. You need to trim the excess fat and skin before they go in the roaster.

Jennifer
05/03/13
Hi Ellen, I am going to be helping organize a fundraiser for a transitional housing facility. We will not be getting paid, so I guess I would be a home cook. It is going to be for 550-600 people but they will not be coming all at once. The event is a lunch from 11:30 am-1 pm and is an outdoor event. We will be serving burgers, macaroni & cheese, and coleslaw. The burgers are being donated by Bubba Burgers. I am purchasing ready made coleslaw in 4-lb. containers. About how many do you think I will need? Also, what do I need to make the macaroni & cheese for that many people? We want it to be more homestyle, not like easymac if you know what I mean since we are using already prepared coleslaw and pre-made burger patties. Also, in case I am not able to check back on here, could you email me at j.vann545@gmail.com...if not, I will check back here in about a week.
ellen
05/05/13
20 gallons of slaw is plenty- get someone to measure the 4 pounds.

1 pound pasta for each 10 people, 1 pound sauce per quart- baked is the difference between easy mac and home style. The recipe on this site is inexpensive- you can enrich it with sharp cheddar and some Parmesan.

DRMc
05/28/13
I am wanting to do separate chafers (24x14x13) buffet style for a wedding reception. I am wanting to do some full of Lasagna w/ mean sauce, some full of Lasagna with no meat, and some full of Chicken Alfredo. There will be roughly 300 people and I was wondering how many of each I should have. There will also be salad and bread with dipping sauces. Thank you so much for your help.
ellen
05/28/13
DRMc, What size are the chafers, actually?

With 300 people you will need at least 5 people in the kitchen, at least 18 out front to set up, serve, and cleanup. You will need at least 4 serving lines (6 is better) which could be set up as 3 double sided lines.

You also need 3 appetizer areas, here's why:

Before the Buffet; Why You May Need an Appetizer Table
A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, including a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. You could do an ethnic theme, or even seafood, budget permitting.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

Now about the pasta, when you serve three you need extra because you can't predict exactly what everyone will want as first choice, some people will take some of each, and you can't run out on any before everyone is served.

Lasagna w/ meat sauce, full tray is usually counted as 20 servings,10 trays
Lasagna with no meat, full tray is usually counted as 20 servings, 5 trays, do white
Chicken Alfredo, full tray is usually counted as 15 servings, 6-8 trays (I would do 8)

You seriously need a veg dish, roasted can be served at room temp since oven space will inevitably be an issue; full pan serves 30; 10-12 pans

Salad per the salad section of the plan for 100 list

Bread, at least 12 pounds per 100; bread is cheap, consider extra. 1 cup dipping oil per 8. I would put these on the tables.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, consider a donation, maybe a dime per person, to support this site.

Darla Simonelli
05/30/13
Catering for 285 - two buffets (includes extra)
We will be preparing a buffet for around 285 people and I was wondering if you could help us with how much food we will need to get with the following buffet choices, etc:

It will be 2/3 taco & enchillada buffet, and 1/3 chix American dinner buffet-

Buffet one- (2/3 - 195 poeple):
Enchilladas, and taco bar with spanish rice, tomatoes, onion, seasoned burger meat, lettuce, sour cream.

Buffet 2 - (1/3 - 90 people):
Seasoned Chicken breast, Garlic mashed potatoes, Green beans with bacon, rolls with butter.

2 Appetizers:

*Fruit platters

*Chips and salsa and bean dip

Thank You SOOOO Much!!! You are such a blessing to do what you do for so many people!

ellen
05/30/13
Buffet one- (2/3 - 195 poeple) count as 200:
Enchiladas, and taco bar with spanish rice, tomatoes, onion, seasoned burger meat, lettuce, sour cream.
Do 2 times the taco bar for 100, adding 300 enchiladas. 2 double-sided serving areas

Buffet 2 - (1/3 - 90 people):do for 125- 1 1/4 times the amount for 100
Seasoned Chicken breast, Garlic mashed potatoes, Green beans with bacon, rolls with butter.

2 Appetizers:

*Fruit platters- do 2 deluxe trays for 100, maybe add an extra watermelon

*Chips and salsa and bean dip
25 pounds chips, 4 gallons each bean dip and salsa

All these items are on the plan for 100 table. Some people will double dip, for example, I would add additional chicken and green beans, unless the serving tables are completely separate. one double sided serving area

Peggy
08/19/13
Catering for 180
If we are serving mostcacolli for 180 how much parmesen cheese should I get?
ellen
08/19/13
If this is just for sprinkling on top, about 4 pounds per 100. I use about 1/2 cup (2 ounces) per pound of pasta in the casserole with the other cheeses.
Darleen
10/23/13
I am having a family style spaghetti and meatball dinner for 300 people for our fire dept. We are also having salad, ice tea, coffee, water and a ice cream bar. Need help calculation amount of food to buy.
ellen
10/23/13
Darleen, the best choice for 300 is, baked, see the basic budget entree section on the Big Pots page.

Second choice, take a look at the spaghetti page. 2 1/2 times the amount of the mozzarella sausage bake would be the right amount- you can use that recipe for a quantity guide.

Keisha L
10/25/13
Catering for 300 Spaghetti Bake
I want to do a spaghetti bake for my sons football award ceremony. I do not know where to begin, We were thinking 10 big aluminum pans; each pan 3lbs of ground beef; 3lb spaghetti pasta; 3lbs of tomato paste????

We want to keep it simple not to much ingredients of course our spices.

Help!!!! Am I headed in the right direction so far? :)

ellen
10/25/13
Use the mozzarella sausage bake on the spaghetti page as a quantity guide and do 3 times the amount-
erika
11/17/13
Hello, I just found this site, I love it!! I was wondering if you had any ideas for a Night at the Races. We are looking at between 250-300 people and we dont want to get the typical "wedding food(red&whitepasta,chicken,salad,green bean,roll) We usually have it catered,there are always too many complaints. I know we wont make everyone happy. We want to shake it up a little. Can you thnk of any great menu ideas we can try. Some thoughts were Bars; salad,taco,burger or Burgers and Brats with sides?? We were told chicken has sky rocketed. Is shish k a bobs a inexpensive idea?? Not sure if any of these are appealing with a ticket price of $25pp. This does include dessert,Beer and soda pop. We will probably hire someone, but if there is anything we can do to supplememnt or make on our own that is not too difficult we would do whatever. It is a highschool club fundraiser we have a full kitchen and plenty of help. We need a change!! Thank you so much!!!
ellen
11/18/13
A fiesta theme allowing a taco bar is a very economical choice- at $25 pp, you can't do much catering...

You could make the rice and beans and salad at a minimum- you could actually do the whole thing with those facilities.

For a high school based crowd, I would add the nacho option, I will post that onto the taco/ potato bar page for you.

Baderoonisa lakay
01/17/14
cooking butter chicken for 200 people
Hi
I need help with quantity for butter chicken for 200 people that im cooking for
ellen
01/17/14
Hi, about 4 ounces, 120 grams raw per person.
Phyllis
01/22/14
We have a budget of $1000 to feed 300 ppl and want to make a pasta bar with salad and garlic rolls. 1. Is it doable, and 2. How much should we make since half the guests are men and the other half are little girls that we suspect will eat bowtie with butter and parmesan! Thank you.
ellen
01/22/14
Taco bar more fun, easier, healthier, and same cost. What about a fiesta?
elyse
02/20/14
Hi there, ive been asked to make 400 chicken skewers for the local show. How much chicken should I purchase? I have also been asked to make 100 teriyaki vegetable skewers aswell, what veg would you recommend and quantities too please? Thanks!
ellen
02/21/14
If these are little cocktail chicken skewers, 1 pound boneless skinless will make 4-5.

For the veg skewers, put "veggie kabob" in a google search and take your choice; there are dozens of variations.

deanna
03/19/14
Hi Ellen, I'm catering my daughters wedding of 250 guests. I'm planning on a slider buffet table and a roast beef buffet table.
150 lbs. of pork for bbq sliders
50 lbs. of beef
35 heads of lettuce for salads
40 watermelon
60 lbs. of pasta salad
ellen
03/19/14
This is optimistic, let's move toward more realistic.

150 lbs. of pork for bbq sliders
50 lbs. of beef
When you have beef and pork, more people eat beef. So for 250, a pro would do 100 pounds raw of roast beef and about 60 pounds of raw boneless pork for

35 heads of lettuce for salads- about 38 pounds
2 1/5 gallons dressings
40 watermelon- 1/2 pound to 1 pound per person, lesser if there is cake
60 lbs. of pasta salad, you need 10 gallons with no other starch
If you are doing bbq sliders, I suggest 3-4 gallons of slaw.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

selina
03/26/14
Catering for 350
I need ceasar salad
ellen
03/26/14
Go to plan for 100 table, salads are in the first section, do 3 1/2 times the amount for 100 if buffet, 3.2 if plated.
Angel
06/08/14
Catering for 150
Hi! I am having so much trouble finding out how to get my families cooking for my wedding covered with liability insurance. I don't even know where to look or start. I decided to have my family cook for my 150 guests, our venue says we need Liability Insurance from whoever caterers. Do you recommend a site? Thanks!
ellen
06/08/14
This is called event insurance. The first thing to do is, check with the agent who handles a family member's home or personal liability insurance. You need to talk to a local agent.
Amy
06/11/14
I am making pasta (ww) for 285 children in my daycare. The food program requires I serve a 1/4 cup of cooked pasta to each child, how many pounds of uncooked pasta would I need?
ellen
06/11/14
1 pound makes 8 child portions, according to the usda. I suggest you try bow ties, or rotini; straight ww pasta is usually a hard sell to young kids used to white.
connie
07/18/14
Catering for 200
i am costing out my menu for 200 people per person,to see how much i should charge. My menu is one leg quater,or one breast. The sides are collards greens,baked beans,macaroni and cheese and corn bread , i am looking at charging $9.00 per person, am i anywhere in the ballpark
connie
07/18/14
Catering for 200
i am costing out my menu for 200 people per person,to see how much i should charge. My menu is one leg quater,or one breast. The sides are collards greens,baked beans,macaroni and cheese and corn bread , i am looking at charging $9.00 per person, am i anywhere in the ballpark
ellen
07/18/14
Connie, as mentioned elsewhere, I don't do pricing; there is too much regional variation, and too much depends on whether you just drop off food, serve it, whether you provide serving staff, plates, utensils, and so on.

That said, most catered meals charge about what a comparable restaurant would charge for the same meal, usually 3-4 times the food cost.

Arlo
09/15/14
I know this is catering for 300 but I have a wedding coming up and we are wanting cheesy potatoes but we are needing to serve 500 ppl just was wondering the best recipe and cheapest way to make them
ellen
09/16/14
Hi, Arlo,

Cheapest is probably frozen bulk potatoes, such as diced or shredded. See the bottom of the breakfast planning page for a recipe and discussion. There is a cheap, simple cheese sauce using powdered milk in the basic mac and cheese recipe, the link is on the Big Pots page.

You are looking at 30+ gallons of casserole.

Tammy
01/08/15
Hi Ellen, we are having a daddy/daughter dance at our elementary school. About 300 attended last year, we had it catered and they ran out of food. It was our fault though we let them help themselves, like buffet style. So we are doing it ourselves this year, and we will SERVE them the chicken and mostaccoli like you suggest. Menu is baked chicken from grocery store, should I guess 2 pcs. of chicken per person? 600 pcs total. We are making mostaccoli, about how many pounds would you suggest for us to make and how much sauce? We are having salad and rolls too. Also for dessert we have 7 sheet cakes. I love some of you suggestions, like the 9 inch plates instead of 10 inch, put the salad first, and let them see the desserts too so they can "save room for dessert". Also, quick question, some of the girls did not like sauce on there pasta last year so we will make a aluminum pan of just buttered noodles. Do you have any suggestions or recipe to keep them from sticking or getting gooey? Should I put parmesan cheese on the noodles or just leave them plain? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you so much!
ellen
01/08/15
Nothing worse than running out of food at an event! Inexperienced caterer?

This year will be great. Plenty of cake.

baked chicken from grocery store, should I guess 2 pcs. of chicken per person? 600 pcs total. Correct.

mostaccoli, sauce? 12 pounds per 100, 1 quart sauce per pound. If cheese, 1/2- 1 pound per pound of pasta. Have 2 large cans Parm per 100, or put small ones on the tables.

You need to consider adding a 3rd item! How about a veg casserole, such as broccoli cuts with a sauce or almonds; or hot peaches (peach halves, brown sugar and spice}; or roasted veg mix served room temp, Italian style, which can be done ahead. Something to add fullness, color, and interest to the plate.

For the plain noodles, consider using olive oil or alfredo style sauce instead of butter, less sticky. Good recipe for Alfredo style sauce on the spaghetti page- covers about 8 pounds noodles, so cut back...

salad- use the plan for 100 table, includes dressings.

rolls-12 pounds per 100, 3 pounds butter per 100- get good ones!

This is a great event, and do consider expanding the invite to brothers or to include another adult for girls who don't have a dad at home. If this saves you time, trouble or money, please make a donation, a nickel per guest, to support this site.

christine
01/21/15
how much chick peas cook with potatoes as a side dish will serve 300 persons
christine
01/21/15
how much chick peas cook with potatoes as a side dish will serve 300 persons
ellen
01/22/15
I would cook about 8 pounds of chickpeas and 15-20 pounds of potatoes per 100 for a buffet side dish, this will make a good size portion and allow for some seconds.
Kami
03/02/15
Catering for 200 for a wedding - first time
Hi I am catering my own wedding using buffet style were guests will serve themselves I am trying to figure out how many pans of curry chicken and white rice I should have based on the conversions. Thank you for your time!

From a bride to be going crazy lol,

Thanks Kami.

ellen
03/03/15
American portions for buffet are the largest in the world, I think...

If this is the only curry, allow at least 1 pound boneless chicken per 4. Allow 12 pounds dry rice per 100.

Hope you will have some good veg- chana dahl, sag paneer, etc, to fill out the plates and feed any vegetarians, 3 gallons per 100.

Kim
03/09/15
Catering dessert bar for 300
I am catering a dessert bar for 300 people. The bar will include layer cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and pies. How do I figure out how much of each to make?
Kim
03/09/15
Also, what should I charge for this? No pies.... Just Layer cakes, cookies, brownies, & cupcakes.
ellen
03/09/15
Look at the dessert planning page, it has a dessert buffet plan for 100, you would do a bit less than 3 times the amounts.
Bruce Alvarado
03/31/15
I am in charge of the food for a friends wedding in January of 2016. I have a budget of 2000 or under. There will be about 350 people invited. I'm having a hard time planning on how many will be there. The bride and groom have no idea what to serve but it will be buffet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've done some catering before but not for this many. Oh. And the bride needs something gluten free.
ellen
03/31/15
Bruce, even assuming you are donating your labor, you realize that 2000 for 350 people is a completely unrealistic estimate for a meal, especially if it includes the beverages and cake? For this size crowd, the best you could do would be a 1 pm wedding with an afternoon reception, tea or tapas type, not meal; or a 7 pm wedding with a dessert buffet type reception. A realistic dinner crowd with this budget would be no more than about 180.

A dinner party of 350 requires a commercial kitchen, 3-4 people in the kitchen, and about 18 people out front to set up, serve, and clean up the party. Since some will not be able to attend the wedding, this generally requires hiring some of the help, at 100-125 per person for a 4-5 hour stretch.

So first I suggest you read my article on wedding dinners and then have them read it, and go back to the couple and talk about options. If the invitations have already gone out, you can estimate that about 85% of those invited will attend- and you have to count all the "and guest" and "and family" bodies to get an accurate count.

The least expensive plan would be something like the fiesta taco bar, with beans, rice, tacos, maybe cheese enchiladas and nachos. But you can't do 350 people with cake and beverages for that price.

So talk it over and write back, but do start a new thread.

Lin
08/23/15
Catering for 250
I'm catering for 230-250 guests. They want 2 entrees....1)chicken 2)beef 3) vegetable 4)green salad 5) starch- possibly pasta dish 6) bread

Budget is $1500, its small but if still like to give them what they want. Any suggestion? Please email me. Thank you.

ellen
08/23/15
This is $6 per guest. What kind of dinners are available at local restaurants at this price?
Catered meals cost about the same as restaurant meals.
Are you donating your services? Who will be staffing, 3-4 in kitchen, 12-15 out front to set up, serve and clean up a buffet dinner this size.
A budget this size for a wedding reception dinner might be possible for 80-120 guests, not counting cake and beverages.
One of the least expensive full meals would be a chicken dish such as one of the wedding chickens, rice pilaf, vegetables, bread and a simple appetizer table. But If I were on this budget I would plan a simple 2 pm wedding with a stand up reception for 2-3 hours after.
ellen
08/23/15
Sorry to have no good news, Lin! You can write back.
lianne
09/16/15
Hi Ellen- this is a great site- thanks
I am catering a dinner for 300 - making a chicken curry.
I feel comfortable with the quantities of rice and chicken- my concern is the spices-
I think if I just expand my spices using an online expander calculator- It may end up wayyyy too intense- I have searched and searched and searched for large quantity recipes but cannot find any-
Please advise me regarding the salt, curry powders, garlic and ginger thanks
ellen
09/17/15
For each 20 pounds of meat, for a mild curry, you can use

CURRY POWDER , 1 1/2 ounce, 7 tablespoons; up to 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) depending on the particular curry powder...
GINGER,GROUND, 3/8 ounce, 2 tablespoons
PEPPER,RED,GROUND, 1/8 ounce, 1.3 teaspoon
GARLIC POWDER ,3/4 ounce, 3 tablespoons OR equivalent fresh garlic
HORSERADISH,PREPARED, 1 5/8 ounce, 3 tablespoons
SALT, 2 1/2 ounce, 4 tablespoons plus a teaspoon

If this saves you time, trouble or money, please make a donation, a nickel per guest, to support this site.

Shannon
10/21/15
Hello,
My family and I are planning to cook and cater my wedding next fall. My meal is a BBQ feature and I want to do pulled pork, brisket, pasta salad with chopped veggies (tomato, green pepper, carrot and also cheese cubes) and a sweet vinegar dressing, cut up red potatoes coated with olive oil. parsley and garlic, baked beans and green beans.
I know this is a lot but if you could help me with the quantity of what to buy, I would greatly appreciate it. Email me would be great!
Shannon
ellen
10/24/15
Hi, Shannon, this is a perfectly OK dinner menu, and you also need an appetizer plan, here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, (two if one is alcoholic), are sufficient. Typically, include at least a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a holiday theme or dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area serves about 100 guests. With your menu a TexMex appetizer spread could be a real hit.

You will need 4-5 people in the kitchen and 15-18 people out front to set up, serve, and clean up a 300 person party, they will not be at the wedding, they will be working.

Now, dinner:

pulled pork, ready to serve 55-60 pounds
1 gallon dill pickles per 100
6 pounds sliced onions per 100
1 1/2 gallons cole slaw per 100 (do 3 gallons per 100 if it is the only salad)
Rolls-One pound makes 5 sandwiches or 12 sliders. Sliders are a very good choice for this type party.
Table sauce, 2 1/2-3 gallons

brisket, 1 pound raw per 3, this is very popular and shrinks a lot when cooked

pasta salad with chopped veggies (tomato, green pepper, carrot and also cheese cubes) and a sweet vinegar dressing, start with 6 pounds dry pasta per 100

cut up red potatoes coated with olive oil. parsley and garlic, 35 pounds per 100

baked beans, 3 gallons (4 #10 cans) per 100

green beans, 24 pounds ready to cook per 100, or check out Ellen's better green bean casserole on the Big Pots page, which is much more interesting.

Consider adding a green salad. About 2 1/2 times the amount for 100 on the plan for 100 page would be right with this menu. Or increase the slaw

If this saves you time, trouble or money, please make a donation, a dime or quarter per guest, to support this site. Thank you.

harvest kitchen
10/28/15
Catering for 500
I need a stuffing amount for this event. Any suggestions?
ellen
10/28/15
If this includes potatoes and/or yams and the usual trimmings, 10 pounds (about 8 1/2 gallons) of bread cubes will make each 100 servings
altaf
05/25/16
please send me the recipe of indian chicken curry for 3oo people with rice quantity and any indian dal recipe for catering 300 people just to get brief idea.
ellen
05/26/16
Altaf, I have the biryani recipe above, but there are too many kinds of chicken curry and dahl soups to know what you want. All in all, 1 kilo of bone in chicken will serve about 5 people. 1 liter of dahl soup is 5 servings.
Rochelle
07/05/16
Hi, I'm catering for 300 people, how. The sides are Mac &cheese and great beans. How much will pans will I need to accomplish this task. The chicken is being bought at Albertsons.
ellen
07/06/16
Beans, 3 gallons per 100. Mac and cheese, 1 pound mac per 8, 1 quart sauce per pound, 1/2-1 pound cheese per pound. For beans, measure the water fill of your pan. Then for the mac, 1 pound makes about 2 1/2 quarts, so you can also estimate pans for that.
Dalton
12/04/16
Wedding Catering for about 400
Hi Ellen, I am catering my brother's wedding and was wondering if you could give me some help with portions. The menu follows:

Roast Beef (8 oz./person)
Smothered Chicken Breast (8 oz./person)
Mashed Potatoes (6 oz. /person)
Brown Gravy (2 oz./person)
Green Beans (4 oz./person)
Corn (4 oz./person
Pasta Salad (4 oz./person)
Another Salad-??? (4 oz./person)
Rolls (1-2 rolls/person)

The only think I am having trouble with is determining how much pasta I will need and another salad option for the dinner? Or what side salads would be good with a roast beef dinner? I dont wanna do a garden salad due to the fact that it will hold up the serving line.

ellen
12/07/16
Roast Beef (8 oz./person)
Smothered Chicken Breast (8 oz./person)
Expect to have almost 1/2 the chicken left
Mashed Potatoes (6 oz. /person)
Brown Gravy (2 oz./person)
Green Beans (4 oz./person)
Corn (4 oz./person
Pasta Salad (4 oz./person)
I use 6 pounds dry pasta per 100 for pasta salad
Another Salad-??? (4 oz./person)- consider fruit trays, roasted veg, or antipasto veg (recipes and amounts on site)
Rolls (1-2 rolls/person)
12-14 pounds bread and 3 pounds butter per 100
Debbie
01/13/17
Hi, I am thinking of catering a wedding for a friend, she wants Chicken Cordon Bleu. How much Chicken should I get, and well how much ham or bacon and cheese? thank you in advance for the input.
ellen
01/13/17
This is a very tough hand prep. What about using frozen catering quality entrees and doing the rest, understanding that a party dinner of this size is a 6 cook, 18 server event? write back,
Amber
03/10/17
wedding for 150
We have a wedding in aug and the bride favorite dish is chicken and noodles so we are needing to know how much we need to make to feed 150 people that's with ham, pulled pork, corn, green beans, mash potato, and rolls
ellen
03/10/17
Amber, pulled pork is a messy dish compared to the others, which are plated, rather than sandwich, dishes. Also, this gives you 2 pork dishes. Will you consider a different 3rd entree? Please read and then write back, and DO start a new thread so I can find you.

Also, you need an appetizer plan, here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, (two if one is alcoholic), are sufficient. Typically, include at least a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a holiday theme or dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area serves about 100 guests.

So, how about expanding your menu?

Adl
04/19/17
I am catering chipotle beef bowls for 300 with rice and beans. How much beef chuck do I need?
ellen
04/20/17
1 pound raw boneless per 5 for a chipotle-style burrito bowl. You might enjoy this off-site link:

gimmedelicious.com/2014/05/16/better-than-chipotle-homemade-steak-burrito-bowls/

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