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Cook Talk

Italian Night for 135
Hello Ellen. I am chairing an Italian dinner in our community for 135 people. Here is the menu:

Italian wedding soup
garlic bread
eggplant parm
baked chicken tenders
meatballs in sauce
sausage and peppers
linguini with olive oil and garlic
penne with Marinara sauce and Alfredo sauce
Spaghetti with meat sauce
Plus a variety of desserts.

I need help with the quantity for the following:
How many pounds of ground meat for the meatballs
how many lbs of sausage
How many pounds of chicken

Also, do you have a recipe for the chicken that could be made the day before and reheated without drying it out?

I thank you so much for your help.

Warm regards, Donna

Donna Mutschler
See above re quantity of meats to purchase and type of chicken on the light side that can be prepared in advance.

I am so thankful to learning about your website.

You do realize that this is way too extensive a menu for 135 people? With this many entrees you will either run out of some favorites, or have leftovers on everything. I would cut at least 3 and add some vegetables.

Also, you' have to have at least 6 people in the kitchen- are you planning to casserole the pastas?

I CAN help with the chicken. The Marsala recipe on this site is perfect for this.

Please write back whether you are willing to revise the menu, and if not, whether you want to go over on the amounts or run out of stuff?

Dear Ellen, I agree totally with you; however, this is the menu people here expect. I cut out the Alfredo sauce for 10 minutes. Now it is back on. My main concern is how do I prepare chicken tenders so they stay crisp and moist. I dip tenders lightly in a seasoned flour mixture and brown quickly in olive oil. If I dip them the day before and I cook them the day of the affair, how long can they set on baking pan before I reheat them after they were cooked? I realize the safest would be parm; but this may be the lightest entre.

Last year we run out of pasta, salad and soup and had too many meatballs left. We run out of meatballs because one serving table only gave out one meatball instead of two. The people love the lasagna (which does contain meat). The manicotti does not have meat. Everything is homemade except Eggplant. The gal buys is prepared and she doctors up the sauce, adds cheese and people here go nuts.

Last year I used 18 lb ground meat (10 lb lean beef and 8 lb pork)

I was thinking of 5 lb spaghetti; 3 lb linguine, 3 lb penne. the 5 lb spag may be too much. The linguing would be used with Olive oil and garlic. This is the easiest part.

I was planning on making a nice tomatoe sauce and freezing. The day before, add the roasted meatballs and keep in large roaster and refrig over night.

I got a little over 200 meatballs last year. Am I giving you a headache? I am in charge this year. Last year I was only a worker. I realize we need 20 servers since there will be two serving tables and one runner and two in kitchen heating. There are two ovens in the kitchen. Already I am a wreck and this affair is 3/25. Thank you for your time and thought.

I can't help on the tenders, they just don't reheat well. The chicken marsala would be a light, wonderful option, could be made nicely with tenders.

Don't know how big meatballs you used, I would go for smaller, about 12 per pound, do 15 pounds, and offer 4 per person.

About 16 pounds of sausage in 2 ounce pieces.
1 pound boneless chicken per 6.

11 pounds of pasta is actually fairly light for this size crowd.

Thank you Ellen for all your help. I will check out your Marsala recipe.

Last evening, as I tossed and turned as I normally do since I became involved in this Italian dinner, I was thinking of slicing chicken breasts in medallion cuts and placing on cookie sheet the night before. Brush all filets with a butter/lemon garlic EVOO swipe and a sprinkle of nice Locatelli Romano with a little gentl
e pinch of parsley. They cook them right before the dinner. I can layer the fillets on an aluminum pan and stick them on the sternos. What do you think as a lighter fare?

Yes, would work, and you MUST keep them completely refrigerated until they go into the oven. Sternos wont cook them, will just keep them warm
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