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Cook Talk

Holiday Buffet Dinner for 75
I am planning an evening holiday buffet dinner for 75 people to be held in early December. The dinner will be held in an old colonial mansion owned by our county historical society that is still undergoing restoration. Kitchen facilities are very limited in that only a small refrigerator/freezer is available. We will transport all food to the facility; slow cookers, warming trays, and portable ovens will be available.Therefore, the menu must consist of dishes that are uncomplicated and can be prepared in advance. Small trays of appetizers and wine will be served at the table (6-8 persons at each table) in order to avoid long lines.
The menu:
Appetizers: Not entirely firmed yet, but possibilities are chicken liver pate on crackers, bacon crackers, cheese wafers, mixed nuts, and small phyllo shells with some sort of cream cheese-based filing. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Main Course: Virginia baked spiral ham with cranberry/apple conserve, roasted turkey breast (bone in) with rosemary wine/butter sauce.
Side Dishes: Curried rice and artichoke salad (cold), Christmas pea salad (cold—vinegar/oil based), glazed baby carrots (warm) and your freezable, holdable, mashed potatoes. Dinner rolls/butter.
Dessert: Cherries jubilee (served over ice cream) and assorted Christmas cookies. Note that the cherries will be prepared in advance reheated and the ice cream balls will be kept hard frozen until serving time.
Questions about amounts: I have reviewed your site materials, but am still uncertain about amounts of food to purchase and prepare, since all will not be eating every dish. I can wing it with the rice and pea salads as well as the dessert, but am concerned about the amounts for the turkey, ham, appetizers, and carrots.
Your site is incredibly helpful and I thank you in advance for your response!
Hello, Doc,

Assuming 10 tables.


Main Course:
Virginia baked spiral ham- 1 pound per 5 boneless, or per 4 bone in
with cranberry/apple conserve, 1 cup per 4
roasted turkey breast (bone in)- 1 pound makes 2 people when served with ham
rosemary wine/butter sauce, about 1 cup per 5

Side Dishes:
Curried rice and artichoke salad (cold), 6 pounds dry rice
Christmas pea salad (cold—vinegar/oil based), 12-15 pounds peas, depends on what else is in it
glazed baby carrots (warm)- 15 pounds
freezable, holdable, mashed potatoes- use recipe
Need some butter or gravy for these, 1/4 cup gravy or mushroom sauce per person or 3 pounds butter

Roasted vegetables can be served room temp and are colorful and popular- about 20 pounds ready to cook

Dinner rolls- bread is cheap, get good ones; 2 per person
butter- 3 pounds per 100

Cherries jubilee - 1 quart per 8-10
(served over ice cream)- I allow 5 gallons per 100- you could do a bit less if it is pre-portioned in measured scoops
assorted Christmas cookies- 3-4 per person

Dinner level coffee and tea, see the beverage planning page.

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