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Cook Talk

cooking for a large crowd
Wendy
03/22/07
I am looking for a cook book that has recipes for groups of over 80 people. I enjoy your web site but need some thing in print form for our clubhouse . Can you sugest a book.I do alot of cooking for our clubhouse.
ellen
03/23/07
There aren't any really good comprehensive ones for the home-type cook. There are some professional ones- "cooking for 50", for example.
Anthony
05/10/07
What would you serve for 300 people on a budget (Shoulder Roast or Beef Tri Tip or Top Round London Broil or Prime Rib with Half Chicken and Garlic Mash Potatoe with Vegetable Medley.
ellen
05/10/07
Anthony, sliced beef of any kind is not a budget entree, but the less expensive shoulder roast is the tenderest if slow-cooked. The Cracker Barrel chain does this as their "roast beef" and it is very popular.
I am also not cear if you are serving buffet or plated and whether it is beef and chicken or beef or chicken. The least expensive standing rib roast, you are looking at $5-6 PER PERSON as the actual cost of the raw meat...
Anthony
05/10/07
What a blessing you have been so far (_)? It will be a plate up and the guest will have Beef or Chicken or Salmon. My concern was that I talk to a company who was pushing this Shoulder Roast and I would like to serve a New York Steak or Slice a London Broil or Tri Tip then a Rib Roast. A Shoulder Roast to me is like the butt and for these client I rather give them something that would WoW then at a good cost so how do you feel about this concern.
ellen
05/11/07
OK, then I would do the london broil or tritip, cooked medium rare, sliced, and plated about 4 slices with a mushroom/wine sauce. I would probably use top sirloin. Steaks are harder thanroasts to serve hot but not over or undercooked to a lrge crowd.
Anthony
05/11/07
Thanks so much for your information :) you are the best(_)? and I am happy to have found your site on line.
Lorie
05/17/07
How many pounds of pasta do I use for a full chafing dish of baked ziti? I'm assuming 6 pounds ricotta, but that can be done by eye. I'll have a crockpot full of meatballs and sausage in spaghetti sauce, but I'm trying to gauge how much per tray.

Thanks,
L

Janis
05/17/07
I need to make chicken salad for 70 people. How many boneless, skinless chicken do I need to cook?
ellen
05/18/07
Lorie, Chafing dishes come in several sizes and depths. I have the volumes for all the sizes of steam tables, check the amounts.

Janis, in the salad section of plan for 100, the amounts for lunch, dinners and receptions are different. Use 3/4 for 75 people, whichever situation is right for you. 1 pound cooked chicken is 2 cups of pieces.

estella
05/23/07
I were making a church benefit and I need to make potato salad for a large crowd and I've never made so, much please, help
ellen
05/24/07
Estella, there is a special page on slaw, mac, and potato salad for 100- lots of hints and tips and about 8 different excellent recipes.

www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/plan/slaws100.html

Pam Burgoyne
06/03/07
Hi Ellen,

How many pounds of pasta would I need for aprox. 75 people? We will also be serving chicken and a few other side dishes.

Thanks,
Pam

ellen
06/05/07
Hi, Pat, see the lotsa pasta page for both quantity and cooking/reheating advice.. You will probably want about 15 pounds if they are big eaters, 12 if light.
Mary Townsend
01/14/08
ellen
We are having a church Valentine's Banquet Feb. 10. Need to know how many large (FAMILY SIZED) cans of green beans will be needed to serve 150 people. Appreciate your answer ASAP.

Thanks,
Mary F.
ellen
01/15/08
You need 4 to 5 #10 can of green beans for each 100 people. Lower number with other sides.

I use my green bean casserole recipe for these type functions, you would need 2 1/2 times that recipe for 150 people.

Colleen
02/24/08
Ellen
I am hosting a fundraising event with about 150 guest. Our meal plan is Baked Ziti and meatballs. How many trays and of what size would you recommend for the ziti and about how many pounds of meatballs?

Thanks
Colleen M.

ellen
02/24/08
See the spaghetti/ lotsa pasta page for the recipe for mostaciolli and sausage for 120. Increase by 1/4 for quantities and then sub sausage with cooked ready to serve meatballs for meat quantity.
Brittany
02/28/08
I have my son's first birthday party in two days and I am planing on making BBQ...there are going to be about 60 people I don't know how many pounds of pork I needed to make BBQ for 60.
Vonda
02/28/08
My son is getting married. At the reception, we are planning to serve fajitas. How many pounds per person do we need to fix. We will be feeding between 300-450 people.
ellen
02/28/08
Brittany, 30 pouds raw trimmed boneless.

Vonda, this is a much larger crowd than usually considered for self catering. Please consider haveing a local caterer drop off the meat hot, safe and ready to serve. Also, please read my article on wedding dinners/ self catering your wedding. If you still decide to try it, please write and describe the commercial kitchen facility you will be using.

Robyn
07/09/09
I am hosting a BBQ next month, have 60-65 people coming. My menu is pulled pork, sausage & peppers and london broils. My question is how many london broil's do I need for this crowd? Considering I do have other dishes. Thank you!
ellenj
07/10/09
Hi, Robyn,

it is difficult to estimate 3 entrees for this small a group, but since broiled beef is SO popular, I would allow 1 pound raw for each 3 people. The good thing is, if you have some left, it freezes or refrigerates very nicely.

Donna
07/18/09
My daughter is getting married and we invited 200 people so maybe 125-150 show up.My meal is fried chicken ,boil shrimp and london broil,slaw ,string beans,potatoe salad,How much of each do I need I rather have little to much then not enought
ellen
07/18/09
Donna, because of the shrimp being SO popular, you will need more than you would expect; at least 1 pound for each 4 people and at that amount there will be none left. In addition, 2 pounds raw london broil for each 5 people PLUS 1 piece of chicken per person; you may have some chicken left, but it will provide everyone that wants seconds with seconds. Don't forget you need cocktail sauce (1/4 cup per person) with the shrimps.
Slaw, string beans and potato salad are each listed on the plan for 100 page. Pasta salad is easier to make and store. You need some good bread or rolls or a starchy casserole (rice?) to fill up the guests and keep the amount of shrimp and beef eaten at a reasonable level, specially if it is a self served- buffet..
Maureen
07/23/09
For a graduation party (with 100 guests) I am serving sliced Top Round Roast and Boneless Chicken Breast. I know you recommend 50 lbs of Beef if it's your only entree, but can you break down how many pounds of beef and chicken I should prepare vs breaking it down in ounces. Also, do you have a suggestion on how to prepare the chicken? I was planning on doing all the cooking in advance and reheating and holding in Dutch Ovens. Thanks!
ellen
07/23/09
Caterers allow 5 ounces ready to eat beef PLUS 3 ounces boneless ready to eat chicken per person for mixed entree buffets. That is 2 pounds boneless raw lean beef for 5 people plus 1 pice of bone in chicken per person. Take a look at the orange dijon wedding chicken, which can be made ahead and frozen, use the 3-4 ounce size breasts.
Nadja
07/24/09
i have 10 pounds of meatballs and want to make cocktail meatballs with jellied cranberry sauce and cocktail sauce. i have the giant cans 7 pounds of each. how much each of sauce should i use
ellen
07/25/09
You need about 10 cups of suace for a thin coating- mix is your choice.
Patti
09/18/09
I am helping with the cooking for a baby shower for 60 people and will be making sausages, peppers & onions. I will be cutting up the sausages into pieces for easier eating - how many pounds of sausages would I need ?
deedee
09/18/09
I am having a party of 225 people for my daughter. I am having fried chicken ordered from a resturant and i am making the sides. How much do it need for feed that many people.
I want to make mashed potates,whole kernal corn. Not sure how much to buy.
ellen
09/18/09
Patti; 15-20 pounds.

Deedee, 75 pounds of fried chicken per 100, 35 pounds of potatoes per 100 (2 pieces per person), 25 pounds of corn per 100.

Mary
11/06/09
Hi Ellen! I just found your site. My son's college cross country team is coming to dinner the night before the big regional meet. I have to keep it lean. Approx, 30 people. I have chafing dishes and will use them but not sure how without overcooking everything. I will be serving Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Boneless Chicken Breast and a Boneless Salmon Fillet. Sides will be roasted potatos, green beans and salad.
ellen
11/06/09
These folks will probably eat like horses. I would estimate for 45-50. Plan 1 5-6 ounce chicken breast PLUS 3-4 ounces cooked salmon per person.

You can't use chafing dishes to reheat or cook, they don't get hot enough. The food has to go into the chafer at a food safe, precooked, preheated temperature of at least 145 degrees (use a quick read thermometer). 350 to reheat in a regular oven.

Consider borrowing a couple of 18 quart roasters for the pasta, vegetables and potatoes to free up some oven space.

I would add one more side dish- roasted vegetables or a broccoli/cauliflower medley of some sort, perhaps?

ellen
11/06/09
These folks will probably eat like horses. I would estimate for 45-50. Plan 1 5-6 ounce chicken breast PLUS 3-4 ounces cooked salmon per person.

You can't use chafing dishes to reheat or cook, they don't get hot enough. The food has to go into the chafer at a food safe, precooked, preheated temperature of at least 145 degrees (use a quick read thermometer). 350 to reheat in a regular oven.

See this page offsite for chafer help:

www.eddiesportablepigout.com/steamtable.htm

Consider borrowing a couple of 18 quart roasters for the pasta, vegetables and potatoes to free up some oven space.

I would add one more side dish- roasted vegetables or a broccoli/cauliflower medley of some sort, perhaps?

Michelle
11/10/09
Hi Ellen, I am having a party for my daughter. I am making meatballs, sausage, a hoagie tray, baked ziti, pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, and deviled eggs. I am having around 70 people. How much of everything do you think I need? Thank you do much! I have been stressing about this like crazy! This will be my first big party!!!
ellen
11/10/09
Hi Michelle, congratulations on giving this a try. You do not want to serve ziti AND pasta salad AND macaroni salad at the same meal, especially with a potato salad also.

Assuming this is teens? (who eat more than regular adults) and assuming 75 people:

meatballs, 3-4 ounces per person
sausage, 3 ounces per person, equal weight onions and peppers mixed in
a hoagie tray- do deli trays and rolls 2-3 ounces sliced meats and 2 ounces sliced cheese and 1 1/2 full size rolls or two smaller per person. Sandwiches don't keep well.

baked ziti, about 6-7 pounds dry pasta
pasta salad about 4 pounds dry pasta
potato salad about 25 pounds potatoes
deviled eggs, start with 1 egg per person.

Cindy Sue
11/16/09
How many cans of cranberry sauce do I need to serve 150 people?
ellen
11/16/09
About 1 can for every 6-8. Homemade is less expensive and tasty:

Cranberry Relish for 12 people

1 pound cranberries, fresh - grind
1 apple, cored and finely chopped
1 navel orange, grind OR better, grind the peeled orange after you zest off the orange peel, grind with the cranberries
OPTIONAL 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped fine
1 cup sugar
OPTIONAL 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
3 oz pkg raspberry OR lemon jello
1 cup water

In a large bowl, add ground cranberries, ground navel orange, chopped apple, pineapple and chopped nuts and sugar; toss together well.

In a small sauce pan, boil 1 cup water add jello and stir to dissolve. Add the additional cup of water and stir to combine.

Pour jello mixture over the cranberry mixture and stir to combine well.

Pour into decorative bowl and chill until serving time.

Rebekah
12/03/09
cooking for around 50
My husband is having a lodge meeting in a couple weeks. The menu will consist on brisket, dirty rice, baked beans, and potato salad. How much should I figure on making to be sure I have enough. I am always terrified of not having enough to go around, especially since we don't have an exact number.
ellen
12/03/09
What I would do is plan generous portion for 50, which would be 25 to 30 pounds well trimmed brisket cooked low and slow to reduce shrinkage. 2 gallons each of the sides- you will have some beans and some rice left. Add some big fat tasty rolls- 1 1/2 per person- and some sandwich fixings (see the condiment table of the sandwich page, use 1/2 the amount for 100) and you will have leftovers.
Priscilla
12/15/09
Hi Ellen, I am hoping to poach a whole salmon for Christmas lunch. How big a salmon do you think I would need to feed say 15-20 people?
ellen
12/15/09
If this is the only meat about 10 pounds- two serves head to tale are lovely-
pat
12/28/09
how to make fresh string beans for 60 people
ellen
12/28/09
Make 2/3 the amount for 100- see the vegetable table at the bottom of the plan for 100 list. Perfectly steamed is delicious with good fresh green beans, or you could do a sauce such as browned butter with almond slivers.
carol mc.leod
01/10/10
cooking for a large crowd 150- 200 people
hi elen! had my first spag.dinner at our park club house. bradenton fl. your advice helped very much. now want to plan next one. have any ideas? buy the way got rave reviews. we want to keep tickets around 5 or 550 regards carol
ellen
01/10/10
A chili feast or soup and chili dinner would be great this time of year, a taco bar or baked potato bar would be other budget options, and you might look at the basic budget entrees section in big pots to see if any appeal to you.
Theresa
01/17/10
How much roast beef do you need for a party of about 80 people. We are having meatballs(is 12 lbs enough) potato salad(how much would you suggest)baked ziti(how much do you suggest?) Thanks for any help you can give me. Thersa
ellen
01/17/10
I assume you mean a pot roast type dish rather than standing rib. For a party, you want 5 ounces ready to eat beef plus 3 ounces second meat (the meatballs) per person. This is minimum 2 pounds raw boneless chuck or round for each 5 people plus 1 pound cooked meatballs for 5 persons.

Potato salad is on the plan for 100 page, pastas are on the spaghetti page, use 4/5 the amount for 100.

Cheryl
01/22/10
I am having a birthday party and 26 adults will attend. We are planning on serving beef and chicken fajita's. How many pounds per person for both types of meet do I purchase. we will have guacamole, beens, cheese dip along with the fajita's.
ellen
01/22/10
I allow 2 pounds raw lean beef per 5 people PLUS 1 pound boneless skinless chicken per 5 people for this menu.
Joyce
01/24/10
How many pounds of top serloin beef roast do I need to feed 80 people?
ellen
01/24/10
Roast? Steaks? stir fry? shish kabobs? Let me know how you are fixing it.
kim
02/10/10
I need to know how much sausage to use to feed 20 people. I will be making sausage balls. Do I use this according to the number of people or the 1 3/4 pound of sausage.
ellen
02/11/10
Allow about 3 ounces raw sausage per person, 1 pound for each 5 people.
tammy
02/18/10
I needto know how much broccolli to buy in order to feed 100
ellen
02/18/10
See the veggie table at the bottom of the plan for 100 page.
Samantha
02/21/10
Ellen,

I am getting married and we are expecting approx. 75 to 80 guests.. we are trying to get an estimate of how much baked spagetti to cook, salad to serve, etc. Can you give me some idea on it? Thank you!!!

ellen
02/21/10
Go to the spaghetti page see the spaghetti dinner for 50-60 at the bottom of the page. You would want 1 1/2 times the amounts. Add a nice appetizer platter of antipasto vegetables, some cheeses, maybe a fruit tray- all these are on the site.
carol
02/25/10
cooking for 150 175 people.how much potatoe salad baked beans-bushs 64oz. is sam's potatoe salad very good doctored up with hard boiled eggs celery ect.
ellen
02/25/10
See the picnic sides table at bottom of the plan for 100 page. Yes, it is fine, add celery seed along with the celery and egg, and maybe some chopped colorful bell pepper.
hannah
03/06/10
Hi Ellen,

I am wondering how many servings of baked chicken drumsticks and thighs will fit in a 1/2 size (Length: 12 3/4" Width: 10 3/8"
Depth: 2 9/16") disposable chaffing dish. Also, how many of these trays would you recommend to serve 100 people if this is the main entree? Sides will include pinto gallo (costa rican rice dish which has black beans and veggies in the rice), and salad. Appetizers will be served before dinner (chips, salsa, and guacamole.) The event is an outside informal serve yourself wedding reception.
How many half size disposable chafer trays of rice would you recommend? How many trays of salad?
Thanks so very much!

ellen
03/07/10
Your rice and beans recipe should start with 8 pounds of dry rice per 100. However many pans that cooks up to is what you need.

Then pans will hold about 10 quarters each, which serves about 9 people.

I would add one vegetable dish or salad that could be cold- such as marinated veggies, 5 bean salad, corn relish etc or a pickled fruit such as spiced apples or peaches, for color and flavor.

Donna
03/14/10
We are having a party for 80 ladies - using mini rolls - for pulled pork - how much pork to buy?
Donna
03/14/10
We are having a party for 80 ladies - using mini rolls - for pulled pork - how much pork to buy?
ellen
03/14/10
Plan on 2 rolls per person. You want 4 ounces cooked ready to eat pork per person, which is about 1 pound raw for each 3.
deborah
04/11/10
dear ellen I'm cooking macaroni and cheese for 180 people. How many serving can I serve out of a full chafer pan and how much cheese should I use? thanks
ellen
04/12/10
These full size pans come in 2, 4 and 6 inch depths. You need 10-12 pounds dry pasta per 100 for large servings, 8 pounds for side servings. Cheese is per your favorite recipe for the amount of pasta you select.
jenn
04/26/10
I'm serving teachers
grilled chicken, pulled pork, slaw and am trying to decide on another side? maybe roasted veggie medley - how many veggies would I need? 80 people.

also being served is salad, and dessert

ellen
04/27/10
Roasted veggies would be fine, you need about 16 pounds ready to eat, and so would my antipasto veggies (marinated, served room temp). A 3 to 5 bean salad or Texas caviar would also be a nice choice.
mel
05/09/10
How many #10 cans of pork and beans do I need to make 3 gallons of baked beans and will that amount be enough for 80 adults
Sue
05/09/10
I am making the food for my daughters wedding in two weeks, I am hoping I have the correct amount calculated for 300 people: We have two 250# pigs being cooked underground, 12 gallons coleslaw, 9 gallons mixed fruit (watermelon, muskmelon, grapes), 9 gallons baked beans. We are also having pickles, carrots and fruit pizza. I am unsure on how many buns to order, as I think we have too much pork and want to have extra buns for the following day to feed around 50 people.
ellen
05/10/10
For dressed head off whole pig, you need 1 pound raw weight per person, so you have quite a bit too much. I would order 360 or so large buns for 300; about 420 regular size. Consider adding one starchy side dish such as a pasta salad- can be made ahead (see my recipes for 100) and will fill out the plate nicely.
charlene evans
05/24/10
I'm making kabobs which will be sirloin with veggies or fruit for about 125 people. How much sirloin do you think I will need to do this? And shrimp?
ellen
05/25/10
Charlene. where do the shrimp come in?
If this is a party meal and beef the only meat, you need to allow about 1/2 pound raw meat per person. I would probably do the fruit kabob separately, except the pineapple, which will stay on the skewers and not overcook or fall off before the meat is done.

If you are grilling on site, it will take 3 people at the grill to handle this size crowd.

Charlene
05/25/10
Hi. I was going to do shrimp skewers too. The main meat are leg quarters. The skewers were for the appetizers. Why 3 people at the grille?
ellen
05/26/10
OK, then you need 3 ounces each raw beef and raw(shelled, headless) shrimp for the appetizers per person. You need 3 because you are doing a grilled entree and 2 grilled appetizers; this is standard for this size crowd in catering...
Rosalie Botello
06/04/10
Hi, I am making meat only (beef, chicken) and vegetable only shish kabobs for about 100 guests. Is there some way to cook these the day before and then reheat day of party? Also, how much food to make the kabobs, white rice, veggies and fruit? Thank you for your time & knowledge!
ellen
06/05/10
No. If day ahead is an issue, make roasted vegetables and serve them at room temp the nexdt day. Kabab meat does NOT reheat successfully.
Use the plan for 100 tables and the fruit tray and veggie tray pages for your estimates for the other items. You can post and let me review your estimates if you need to, but you probably can do it yourself.
Mari Fernandez
06/09/10
We are making 200 kabobs with chicken breasts, for a church dinner. The kabobs will also have veggies, how many pounds of chicken breasts do I need to purchase? Thanks!
ellen
06/09/10
1 pound boneless skinless for each 3 people if it is the only meat. Also price chicken tenders, sometimes they are less expensive.
Alexis
06/13/10
Hi!

I am cooking for my friends wedding in a few weeks. It is about 100 guests. We are doing an hour of hors D'ourves followed by a buffet that will have three entrees - braised beef roasts, salmon and penne pasta, along with three sides. Does the 5oz/3oz rule hold true when there are three entree choices? Also, how much pasta should I prepare?

Thanks for your wonderful help.

ellen
06/14/10
Yes, since almost all the guests will take meat or fish and many will then take some pasta as a side dish! Make the pasta meatless, so it can be an entree for the vegetarian guests, also. I would probably do about 20 pounds of pasta if it is the only starch, and have some left over.

Appreciate that you read the tables before posting.

Alexis
06/14/10
Thank you so much Ellen! I was really worried about the amounts. I am just curious, in general do people eat as much fish as they would chicken? I mean does the 5oz/3oz rule always hold true regardless of what the second protein is? Or do you just need to know your audience to gage how to adjust the numbers?
ellen
06/14/10
It is pretty consistent, especially with salmon, which is the most popular fish. If it is a summer wedding, a poached, chilled salmon would be a great choice for the fish course.
Ellen
06/17/10
I'm cooking for 45 people and will be serving whole poached salmon and beef tenderloin along with several sides. How much salmon and beef do I need?
yvonne
06/17/10
how much spagetti do we need to cook for about 300 people
also how much sauce and meatball
ellen
06/18/10
Ellen, you need a carver/server, or the beef will be sky high in amount. With server, calculate 2 pounds raw per 5 people PLUS 1 pound raw salmon per 4 people.

Yvonne, see the spaghetti dinner for 50 -60 at the bottom of the spaghetti/ lotsa pasta page, make 5 to 6 times the amounts.

Laura
06/28/10
how much will it cost for 75 shrimp kabobs with vege's and 75 chicken kabobs w/veges Also how much chicken & shrimp should I buy?
sonia
06/28/10
helping put together a surprize birthday party, they have a 500. budget and 60-65 people coming, any suggestions???
ellen
06/28/10
Can't do prices for you, that varies by region. You need at least 4 ounces of peeled shrimp and the same of raw boneless chicken per person for meal size kabobs.
JAIDY
06/30/10
I am making lamb and beef shish kabob for 8 adults on Sunday. How much beef and lamb will I need to get from butcher and what type cut.

Thanks,

ellen
06/30/10
I use leg of lamb for the lamb and sirloin or top sirloin for the beef. I allow 1 pound raw boneless meat for each 2 people total, as long as there are plenty of side dishes- rice, salad, etc. If they are big eaters, you might get 3 pounds of each, that will give people a choice, also.
mags
07/04/10
I am doing party for 40 adults and am serving beef bourgignon, cold whole poached salmon, sliced cold meats and tartlets plus salads potatoes and rice etc. How much salmon and diced beef do i need
ellen
07/05/10
The sliced cold meats will throw it off some, as it depends on what eats (bologna? Tenderloin?), but I would do 1 pound raw boneless beef for each 4, PLUS 1 pound whole salmon for each 4 if head on.
Tammy
07/25/10
I'm cooking for 150 ppl this Friday for a fundraiser. Im making baked ziti, anti pasta salad, and garlic bread. Im wondering how much sauce to use. I figured two jars per 1pnd box of ziti. I like my ziti moist. I also figured 1 1pnd box per 4 people. So I know I have plenty. Is this too much? Also how much mozzerella, and Italian sausage, and hamburger? For the salad, Im making homemade and am wondering how much dressing to make for 150 servings and how much lettuce to use as well. thanks
Tammy
07/25/10
On your lotsa pasta page it said to avoid rinsing in cold water because the sauce wouldn't stick to the noodles, but cooking the noodles a day ahead of time and storing in freezer bags, it says to rinse in cold water. Will this cause the sauce not to stick? Also, can I cook the ziti noodles 3 or 4 days earlier or does it have to be one day before? Im cooking for 150 ppl, which is a first for me. Our church has a warmer and an oven that can cook 4 huge aluminum pans at a time. So how early can I cook the ziti on Friday and leave in the warmer w/out it getting gross?
ellen
07/25/10
If you cook ahead, it has time to dry, so the sauce can stick. Not so good to cook more than 48 hours ahead. Warmer no more than 2 hours.
Tammy
07/26/10
Hi Ellen, didn't know if you saw my question on the 25th. I actually had two. You answered my last one though, just not the first one. Thank you so much for taking the time to help all of us out. You're a life saver.
ellen
07/26/10
If you cook it ahead, you can rinse it, because the pasta has time to dry and the sauce will stick. Sorry I was too brief the first time.
Jerry
07/30/10
I'm cooking two top round roast on Sat which weigh 25 lbs each @ 180 degrees how long shoul I allow for cooking and resting
ellen
07/31/10
I allow an hour a pound, after 1 hour at 350 to sanitize the crust. But I use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp. See more details on the roast beef page at the top of the big pots section.
rose
08/17/10
I'm throwing a barbecue this weekend for about 35 people. I bought about 7 lbs of ground beef which I made into 33 patties then stuck in the freezer for the time being, and I also have 10 lbs of chicken which I will cube and make into kabobs with peppers and onions. In addition to chips and dip to serve on the side, is this enough food for this amount of people? I am trying to make the most out of just enough meat to save money.
ellen
08/17/10
Just make sure you have some good, heavy sides- potatoes or potato salad, or rice, beans, slaw etc. You are OK on meat if that is boneless, skinless chicken; you won't have much left of meat, but no one will be starved.
howard barrett
09/01/10
i am cooking for afamily reunion july 2011,how many ribs ,hotdogs ,burgers do ineed?
ellen
09/01/10
Howard, I need to know how many people, what the sides are, and if this is one or several meals. Please write back.
ellen
09/07/10
Lena, I am sorry but it is an automatic post, and the email address gets stripped off, so I have to answer here.

The answer is, use the fruit tray for 100 on the fruit tray page and make 3 1/2 to 4 times the amounts.
I hope that your loved one has gone in peace.

bonnie
09/08/10
my son is having a wedding i'm not sure how much bolonga and cheese and veggies to get for 200 people.
Catherine
10/06/10
Hi, Ellen! I love all this great advice! I'm having about 25-30 people in for my 40th birthday dinner and am at a loss for a main course! I'm doing an arugula salad with goat cheese tartlets as an appetizer, and a sundae bar (with home made brownies and cookies) for dessert.

I really want an entree that can be made in advance and that is nice for a sit-down meal (I'll have 1-2 servers helping out). Can you give me any suggestions?

My backup is to have a caterer bring in salmon and serve it with a dill/cucumber sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans.

ellen
10/06/10
What about a make ahead like coq au vin, or the Dijon Honey wedding chicken? With a baked rice pilaf with almonds?

You could also bake your own salmons with the rice pilaf...

ellen
10/06/10
Beef Bourginon? Cassoulet?
Edie Thomas
10/13/10
Hi Ellen, I am making beef tips and gravy for 2 seperate church dinners. There will be 150 people at each dinner. I'd like to cook the tips ahead of time. There will be a rice medley and mixed vegetables with the tips. The meal is a plated dinner. What is the easiest method to prepare the tips? What type of beef should I use? Budget is always an issue but I don't want to sacrifice quality for cost.
Edie Thomas
10/25/10
Hi Ellen,

I am making beef tips and gravy for 2 seperate church dinners. The church has a good kitchen to work in. There will be 150 at each dinner. A rice medley and mixed vegetables will accompany the tips. The meal is a plated served dinner. What is the easiest method to prepare the tips? What type of meat should I use? I want good gravy and would like to aviod creamed soups. Also, I need to cook the tips ahead of time. Can you help?

ellen
10/25/10
Hi, Edie,
I thought I answered this one- there are two basic approaches to beef tips- tenderloin or real steak bits/trimmings in a good brown gravy, or a beef stew without veggies of braised beef, I presume you are heading for the second.
I would use boneless chuck or top round, cut small, and simmered for hours in a beef-stock based liquid- not just water. Some red wine, if acceptable to your church, is a big flavor boost. Oven simmering is an easy way to do this and gives great results.
A good restaurant supply store will have a beef broth concentrate that will enrich the gravy. Get the more expensive jar, that lists beef first in the ingredients. This is not the salty beef bouillon cubes, it is real beef flavor.

For 100 modest servings:
1 gallon (4 pounds) onions, diced or sliced
1 head garlic
OPTIONAL 4 pounds fresh mushrooms sliced
1 cup oil
30 pounds lean diced beef
1 quart flour
3 tablespoons pepper
3 tablespoons thyme

6 dried bay leaves
1 gallon plus 1 quart water
6 cups drinkable red wine (or additional water)
1 cup beef flavor base OR 6 tablespoons salt
24 ounces tomato paste

Mix the flour and spices, coat the beef/
Put the oil in the pan, add the onions and mushrooms, wilt the onions (not browning), add the garlic and stir until just colored.
Add the floured meat, brown.
Meanwhile mix the rest of the ingredients. When the meat is browned, stir in the liquid.

Bring just to a low boil turn down to bare simmer and cook about 2 hours, until beef is tender, stirring occasionally.

Correct the seasonings and serve.

Hold for service at 140 F. or higher.

Edie
10/25/10
beef tips
Hi Ellen,
Thanks for the quick response. The recipe looks wonderful and easy. I do have a couple of questions. Browning the meat is not a problem. I'll have to do it in batches and I will not lose the drippings, however,we do not have pans to simmer the meat in. They are beat up and light weight. The oven method might work by using multiple pans. What temperature would the oven be set at? Pan covered or uncovered? Also would free standing roasters work? Also, if the initial recipe is divided will it change the consistency of the gravy?

Ellen, you are a life saver for me. I'm so happy I found this website. Sharing your gifts with the world is a remarkable accomplishment

ellen
10/25/10
For 150 people. I would do 3 roasters, preheat to 325, allow 3 hours- if it gets done sooner, turn down to 180 to hold.
I would do 50 people worth at once to keep the gravy consistent between batches.
Tightly covered except when stirring.
Edie Thomas
10/27/10
Thanks Ellen. I'll let you know how this turns out.
rebecca
11/02/10
Looking for recipe prep for turkey breast to make sliders for 150 people. How many pounds & what is best way to prepare ahead to keep turkey moist?
ellen
11/02/10
Not familiar with sliders from turkey- only sandwich I have heard called that are the little 1 ounce hamburgers on square rolls, ala Krystal.

There are turkey yield tables in an article in the holiday cooking section at the top of Big Pots. If the turkey sliders are similar, you just need 1- 1 1/2 ounces cooked meat per sandwich.

Tammy
11/15/10
Thanks so much for this site. I am coordinating the cooking for a church dinner for 150 people. We are trying to keep it simple, so we would like to make oven browned or parsleyed potatoes using canned potatoes. How many cans do I need? (We are serving appetizers, salad, roast beef, potatoes, green beans, applesauce, and dinner rolls with cake for dessert.)
ellen
11/16/10
You could do roasted (unpeeled) new potatoes with the same ease and much better taste, 35-40 pounds for 100. However, if you use canned, 1 #10 can serves about 20.
Becky
11/18/10
Cooking for a group of 45 adults for Sun Nov 23. How much to feed this number of guest, serving sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced turkey breast, apple and pumpkin pie. Thanks for a prompt reply.
ellen
11/18/10
Go directly to the article, shopping for large holiday meals at the top of the Big Pots index. Use a scant half of the amount for 100. See the beverage planning article for that and the turkey yield article to figure your turkey.
christine
12/03/10
how do I calculate cooking time when roasting multiple joints at the same time, i.e. beef, lamb, chicken or pork.
christine
12/03/10
how do I calculate cooking time when roasting multiple joints at the same time, i.e. beef, lamb, chicken or pork.
ellen
12/03/10
You calculate for the smallest joint or piece and the largest. Thermometer for the smallest, when that is done, pull it and use the thermometer on the next piece till all are done. Multiple pieces does not make much change in the total time.
Stacy
01/06/11
I have a party of 15 and am serving chicken and steak kabob's, how much meat should I buy?
ellen
01/06/11
Assuming these are the only meats, 1 pound raw boneless beef for each 3-4 PLUS 1 pound raw boneless chicken for each 4-5. Larger for more men or big appetites or light sides, smaller for more women or more sides.
Anne
01/11/11
Ziti Dinner for 250 people
I am doing a fundraiser dinner for 250 people.
I figure out about 4to5 people per 1 lb of ziti.
I want to be able to give 2 meatballs and 1 sausage.
A side salad about 5oz.
Garlic bread.
I need to know about how many lbs of each I have to purchase. (Beef and Sausage)
Thank You
ellen
01/11/11
Anne, the size of meatballs varies. A lot. I would allow 1 pound ground meat for each 3 people. 1 pound sausage for each 5.
The spaghetti dinner guide at the bottom of the spaghetti page will help with bread and salad.
Julie
01/27/11
Hi,
I am trying to cut back the cost of my wedding by preparing alot of the food myself. It is 50 people and we are ordering 15 pizzas and I am making the rest. The appetizers, vegetable side, and salad should be easy to have most the ready before hand but I wanted to have an alternative main dishes for people who don't eat bread, like chicken breasts or london broil. It needs to be premade and easily heated up in the ovens on site. What would you suggest and how much of it should I make? Thank you so much! I am really glad I ran across this site!
Edie
02/04/11
keeping spaghetti hot
Ellen,

First thank you for your help with the beef tips for 250 people. It worked out fabulously. Today I need help with pasta. I am preparing spaghetti for 10 people. I find it is difficult to keep pasta hot. I usuasly rinse it in hot water so it won't stick together. Sometimes that works but the pasta usually gets cool and can get sticky. Is there a way to reheat it so everyone gets hot pasta? What do restaurants do? How to make it so the pasta is'nt sticky? Help, I'm serving Cincinnati Chilli for Super BowlSunday.

I appreciate your help.

Edie

ellen
02/04/11
Julie, if you have a meat dish, almost everyone will want some; I would consider doing the make-ahead orange Dijon wedding chicken, and do 50 servings, and a baked rice pilaf or a potato casserole, and cut back on the pizzas. Consider a veggie casserole such as Ellen's better green bean casserole and a make-ahead salad such as the Greek salad. You can write back.

Edie, they cook it not quite done, oil it, and reheat by plunging each serving into boiling water. See the info on reheating pasta on the spaghetti page.l

Yinette
02/06/11
Hello,
im planing my wedding and my manue is baked ziti, meatballs, and sausages with peppers and onion..for 150 people , and i wan to know how many trays of each do i need for my wedding...

I appreciate your help

yinette

ellen
02/06/11
Hello, Yinette,
Not knowing the size of your trays, I can tell you by weight.
If the ziti is meatless, you want 1 pound meatballs for each 4 people PLUS 1 pound sausage for each 5 people (you would add an equal weight of sausage and onions).
If the ziti has meat, reduce the other two meats by about 1/4 each.
kristi
03/05/11
yes im putting on a spaghetti benefit dinner and would like to know how many meatballs and spaghetti sauce i will need for about 400 people.
kristi
03/05/11
yes im putting on a spaghetti benefit dinner and would like to know how many meatballs and spaghetti sauce i will need for about 400 people.
ellen
03/05/11
Go to the spaghetti page, at the bottom is a spaghetti dinner for 50-60. Make 7 times the amount if serving plates, 8 times if self serve. Have some meatless sauce for the vegetarians in the crowd, there will be some.
Cindy
03/10/11
I'm cooking for an Open House for 150. They want mini hamburgers. Do you have any suggestions for making them the day ahead? I was thinking cook them and then putting them in beef broth to heat up the next day. Do you have any other suggestions?
ellen
03/10/11
That is fine, these are not fussy items.
Dontae
04/26/11
How much beef would I need for 300-400 shish kabobs? Party size is about 200 ppl.
ellen
04/26/11
If this is the only meat, you want at least 1 pound raw per each 3 people (1 large skewer) and 1 pound for each 2 for 2 medium skewers.
June
06/07/11
I'm making ka bobs for open house from all the messages (thank-you) I know the amount of beef and chicken. But how many peppers, onions, mushrooms, zuccini, and cherry tomatoes will I need.
ellen
06/07/11
I usually do the veggies except the onions on a separate skewer as they cook much faster than the meat, and do 2 small skewers per person. You need to make this serving using your vegetables, and then multiply.
Tammy
06/10/11
I am cooking for a grad party and making homemade roast beef for sandwiches. I was wondering how many sandwiches I can get from about 12 pounds of uncooked beef?
Helen
06/11/11
I'm having a birthday picnic at a park for 30 adults and 15 children (all under 5). I have to cook everything at home and bring it to the park and keep at temperature. **The majority of guests tend to arrive (1/2 up to 2 hours) late (it's a cultural thing). I will have to keep everything at temperature.

I'm thinking of serving pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw (either to put in the sandwich or as a side), store bought (Costco) potato salad, and a mixed greens with avocado and strawberry slices salad for the adults.

1. Is this enough? Do I need to add an appetizer..say veggie tray and/or deviled eggs.
2. Personally I like to eat something crunchy with BBQ pulled pork sandwhiches. I was thinking of adding potato chips?
3. For the sandwiches, I will prepare the pork in a crock pot and then shred and mix with bottled BBQ sauce. What do I need for quantities with this menu? Should I shred at the park to keep it warm? Any other tips? The other option is to do an oven roasted pork loin and slice over there, but I'm thinking the sandwhich is more picnic friendly. There will be picnic tables.
4. I've never made cole slaw in my life before (and actually don't even like it), but the birthday honoree does. I was thinking of buying 'cole slaw' bags at Costco and adding dressing. I saw your 'plain' slaw recipe. What do you recommend I use for the premade slaw? How much for this menu/group?

5. Since I'm buying premade potato salad, how much do I need for this size group? I was thinking of enhancing it with chopped fresh herbs and slices of roasted red peppers to decorate and make a pattern on top. Any other ideas?

Drinks will be water bottles, soda cans, and beer bottles. No wine to avoid extra work rather than extra cost.

6. Is wine that much extra work? How much would I need for this crowd with the beer and soft drink availability?

I will probably just do ham&cheese sandwhiches, chips, baby carrots and juice boxes for the kids.

7. Does this sound like a good idea?

Thank you a thousand times ahead of time!!!

What a great site!

Helen
06/11/11
P.S. I forgot. I am also serving watermelon slices.

8. I plan on cutting these the night before and putting in my refrigerator in an aluminum pan. Is this ok?

Dessert is double layer 1/2 sheet cake.

Thank you!

ellen
06/11/11
Tammy, that will make about 3 dozen nice sandwiches.

Helen, you are in some difficulty food-safety-wise here; 2 hours at air temp is sort of the max for outside foods. So you will need a LOT of ice chests for this amount of food.
1. People really love deviled eggs, and they would be great with this menu. See my recipe for many deviled eggs.
2. 4 pounds of potato chips, and don't open the last one til you see if it is needed. This is enough chips for all. Dip would be nice, about 2 1/2 to 3 quarts.
3. Yes, pulled pork is fine. 1 quart sauce per 6 pounds meat. I make it a couple of days ahead and let it sit in the sauce in the fridge.
4. Slaw is dead easy, and can be made ahead. About 8 pounds ready to mix slices.
5. 2 gallons. Add a dozen or so chopped hard-boiled eggs, along with the herbs and red peppers.
6. Wine is not extra work. Best buy, make ahead the High Wire Sangria on this site- 2-3 gallons, make ahead, add the ice on site.
If you just do regular, some economical 1.5 liter wines we like are Fetzer Merlot or Cab, Twisted Old Vine Zin, or some of the Italian pinot grigios.
7. I sort of don't like too separate menus for kids. Rather than pre-make ham sands for the kids, I would do a deli platter with about 10 pounds deli sliced ham and 6 pounds sliced jack cheese (mild). Allow 1.2- 1.5 rolls per adult, 1 roll per kid.
8- watermelon- MUST KEEP icy cold continuously after cutting! Much easier/safer to ice 2 nice big whole watermelons in 2 ice chests and cut on site.

OK, now for the hot/cold thing.

The ice chests can be use to heat or chill; preheat with hot water as discussed on the potato bar page for the hot food. Make sure the food is hot when it goes in. Ice the chests ahead and get them well chilled. Open the chests as little as possible- package food in one serving at a time baggies or contatiners, rather than putting a container in and out.

Mary
07/09/11
I am making chicken kabobs for around 200 people. I know I can't cook them the day before, and re-heat them. So can I cook them in my oven the day of the party? Grilling is not an option. And what is the best way to do it if I cook them in the oven. Thanks
ellen
07/09/11
Mary, if you are in a home kitchen for 200 people, the kabobs are not a practical choice. for 200 people, the meat is around 90-100 POUNDS of raw boneless meat, and that is many ovens full- about 4-5, at least-

Can you tell me more about the event and the rest of the menu?

Tricia
07/22/11
How much meat do I need for shish kabobs for 125 people?
ellen
07/23/11
About 1/2 pound raw boneless per person if that is the only meat.
Mary
08/04/11
I am making deviled eggs for 125 people. Do you have a good idea on what type of serving tray would be best?
ellen
08/04/11
I do what many pros do, take the whites to where I am going unstuffed and pipe the filling in on location (pastry bab or tough food plastic zip lock with a corner trimmed off). It makes any tray work nicely, because you don't have to figure out how to stack the trays and keep from crushing the eggs while you transport.
Monica
08/09/11
I am serving 130 people approximately and want to use two meats. chicken and Roast beef in aus jus/gravy. How much of each should I use. I usually have 5or 6 oz per person on the meat but since this will be served by attendant and giving the two meat choices I need some advice on purchasing. should I average and buy each for around 75 people or is there a better way?
ellen
08/09/11
Unfortunately for our budgets, when there are two meats, people take more and many want some of each. You need the 5 ounces per person for the beef PLUS 1 piece of chicken (or 3 ounces cooked boneless skinless) chicken per person if you want to be sure of having enough and everyone getting what they want.
Jay
08/09/11
Im having a bday/bbq bash and want to make sangria, im having approx 25 ppl. any ideas of how to make enough sagria for this party. please help
ellen
08/10/11
You need about 3 gallons plus ice, I suggest the white sangria on my site;

High Wire Summer Sangria
www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/plan/punchfont.html

ASIM
08/12/11
Hellow sir how are you? sir i want to chaff & cooking course ke books nead. Plz help me?
from
Asim
ellen
08/13/11
Hello, Asim,
I don't have a book, just this website, and I am not associated with any course or school. Sorry I can't help.
Bree-Ann
08/25/11
Ellen,
I am having a Surprise birthday party for my inlaws. We have mailed about 34invites! I want to make homeade meatballs and I am not sure how many pounds I should make?
ellen
08/26/11
If it is an appetizer, do 1 pound for each 5 people, if it is a main course do 1 pound for each 3. Have fun!
Megan
09/07/11
Hello `
I am planning a hoagie sale for 250 people we have no idea how much mozzerlla cheese, greeen peppers or onions to prepare for 250 sandwhiches....Help?????
ellen
09/07/11
Check out the condiments/ sandwich fixings table on the sandwich page, if that doesn't do it, write back.
Anna
10/03/11
I am having a 1st birthday party for my daughter, around 60-70 people. We are making the food ourselves, and would like to know is 1 full tray of rice pilaf enough? Also, can I make the rice the night before? I won't have time the day of the party, and have never made this much rice or even pilaf before. Can you help?
ellen
10/03/11
If it is the only starch, 1 full tray is not enough- you need 2, or one electric roaster full.

Use converted rice (such as Uncle Ben's) to reduce the risk of mushiness. See the baked rice recipes on the recipe box page- you want to do this much rice in the oven.

linda
10/04/11
I am catering a wedding about 300, I am cooking fried rice, sauteed veggie, chicken and some hot wings. I need ideas what type of fish i could serve and how to cook it in a way everyone will enjoy it.
ellen
10/04/11
Either a steamed or baked salmon, which can be served hot or cold, or a mild white fish with a creole-type sauce or Chinese sauce, such as tilapia or catfish. Fried fish is popular, but it is very difficult to provide for large parties.
Janet
10/05/11
I am cooking roast beef (inside round) for 400. I have to cook the beef the day before and slice and reheat on the day. Any tips for cooking and reheating to make sure the meat is tender and tasty - and how thick should the slices be?
ellen
10/06/11
You want to cook this very low and slow for both tenderness and to reduce shrinkage. You want to make a real gravy with drippings and beef stock/broth. Reheat in gravy. Allow for about 1/5 to 1/4 shrinkage with low heat cooking.

Since you are slicing and reheating you do not need to sear.

The slices should be just thick enough that they don't shred apart, to give really good visual coverage on the plate- about 1/3 of an inch max. 5-6 ounce serving depending on what else is on the plate. Have a server.

Mytchel
10/19/11
Cooking measurements per person
Have to cook for a school Home Coming. We were asked to make a dish for 20 people (everyone is bringing something different). I heard of a rule of thumb to determine how much you should used per person too make sure you have enough. Do you know of it or have any suggestions?

Thank you

ellen
10/19/11
For party size portions,
Meat Entrees 5 ounces cooked per person (about 3 1/2 pounds raw boneless for 8)
Meat patties 1 per person plus 10%
Casseroles or Side dishes, 9x13 pan for 10
OR 1/2 cup per person for low serving items (steamed greens, for example), 3/4 cup for larger serving items (mashed potatoes, for example)
1 pound dry rice or beans for 10

20 is 1/5 of 100, you won't go wrong on any item if you make 1/5 to 1/4 the amount for 100 from any of my tables.

Judy
10/20/11
cooking for a crowd
How much sausage for a pot of sauce to feed 60 people, thank you so much.
ellen
10/20/11
Is this a pot of spaghetti sauce? About 15 pounds would be plenty.
Kathryn
10/27/11
I'm planning a banquet. How much potato and baked beans to feed about 450 adults and children? I'm buying ready made potatoe salad(5lb tubs) and large cans of beans(117 oz) that I'll spice up.
ellen
10/27/11
Check the plan for 100 table. Count 2 small children (10 or under) as one adult. There is a great recipe for fixing up canned beans on this site.

If potato salad is the only slad, I allow at leats 40 pounds per 100.

Angel
11/04/11
Hi there, I am for a shower. We purchased 2 large aluminum roasting pans that has an inside dimension of 16-5/8" x 11-7/8 with a 2-5/8"
depth. If we fill these 1-5/8". How many people will that feed for baked macaroni and cheese? Thank you.
ellen
11/04/11
About 24 each pan.
Dan
11/08/11
Hi there, I am arranging a 30th birthday for my fiance which has 150 guests. Me and my mum are doing the food and are serving roast pork baps. There is a large catering oven on site so I was thinking that 6 x 3KG joints of bonless pork joints (18KG) currently half price at Tesco would be about right (120g per person). However I normally would allow 30 mins per 500g plus 30mins on top which equals 210 minutes (3.5 hours). If there are 6 x 3KG joints in the oven at the same how much longer will the cooking time be as I need to know what time to start cooking to allow for serviing at 9PM? Any other advise regarding the quantity of meat, cooking methods etc would also be appreciated. Thanks Dan
ellen
11/08/11
Had to do a bit of translating for my American measurements.

A kilo of meat will make about 20 small sandwiches, or 10 large. Depending on the side dishes this should be OK.

Multiple roasts usually only increases the cooking time about 1/2 hour, provided the oven is fully preheated and there is room for the heat to circulate around each one. If the oven is jammed, it will take longer, and you need to rotate the middle ones to the edges half way through.. Use a meat thermometer.

Allow a half hour for the roasts to stand before slicing inf you want the juiciest, tenderest roasts.

Tim O.
11/11/11
cooking for a fund raiser approx. 300 people going to make baked zitis, how far ahead can we prepare. We will have stay hot boxes available.Trying to avoid prep work on site.Tanks Tim O.
ellen
11/12/11
Real Cambros will hold safe heat for 5-6 hours if preheated. The shorter the hold, the less mushy the psta.
Bianca
11/13/11
Hello,

A friend of mine asked me and my husband to cook for 30 people on a low budget for a couple of days. He is shooting a movie and has a low budget for everything and people are volunteering to help him anyway. What receipes to cook would you recommend me ? Thank you dor your reply.

ellen
11/14/11
Bianca, you need to start a new thread, there is a lot to discuss.

Is this outside with no kitchen/stove-grill/refrig?

Breakfast lunch and dinner? Beverages, snacks? How many of each which days?

How low a budget?

Is there a closing party?

Start a new thread and write back.

Bianca
11/16/11
I do not knw about the closing party. The budget is 10$ per day per person. I think we will get a kitchen to cook in. It would be for 9 days. Lunch for sure maybe dinner. I do not know yet. Thank you for your fast interesting reply.
ellen
11/16/11
OK. When you get more info, start a new thread.
anne leon
11/17/11
I am in charge of cooking a breakfast with santa for 200-250 people at our church. The menu is scrambled eggs, ham, hashbrown or small chopped potatoes, pancakes, (regular & chocolate chip) with berries & apple topping, cinnamon rolls, cold & hot cereals, hot chocolate & o.j. My questions what would the easiest way to do the hashbrowns, I was thinking it is cheaper to buy the 50 lb bags of potatoes instead of prepackaged hashbrowns. How should I cook that many, I figure 100 lbs (do you think that is the right amount?)
ellen
11/18/11
Because the potatoes tend to turn brown, and take up to 40 minutes to cook, the frozen are much much easier. If you go for fresh, use the instructions for freezing OAMC hash browns and make them ahead. 100 pounds raw for250 is OK.
zena
11/19/11
I am cooking poached salmon for 40. Two questions: how much salmon fillet? and is there a way to serve it warm (ie by reheating) without overcooking the fish?
ellen
11/19/11
I do at least 35 pounds per 100, so at least 18 pounds. And no, reheating is not really and option; but it cooks so fast, why not day of?
Zena
11/19/11
Wow, that was fast, thank you! I don't mind cooking it earlier in the day if there's a good way to keep it warm. I just would rather not cook right before serving.
April
11/30/11
I am preparing food for 80-100 people. The sides I will be fixing is Salt Potato's (roasted potato's) , Baked Beans, and a Cold Pasta Salad. Can you please tell me how much to prepare for each item? Thank you so much!
April
11/30/11
Ok I took more time and review your website. I have found answers to all my questions, except how much pasta to cook for a cold pasta salad. I am cooking colored pasta and adding italian dressing with olives, cheese, and anything you might suggest. Thank you!
Kelly
11/30/11
I am using Pork Tenderloin to shred for sweet/pork tacos (sm flour tortilla) I am planning 2 per person at about 225 people, Buffet style. I am also providing salsa and chips. Are you able to tell me how many lbs of meat I would need and how much salsa? Thank you in advance!
ellen
12/01/11
April, 6 pounds dry per 100.

Kelly, pork shoulder is a better choice for this. 2 pounds boneless for 6 people. 1/3 cup slasa per person if it is the only dip.

Zena
12/07/11
Hello Ellen, it is me again, about to cook poached salmon for 40. Do you have advice about how to cook it and when? I'd rather it were served warm. Thanks!
ellen
12/07/11
Cook by steam, allow 10 minutes per inch of thickness, as you can see, that depends on the cut- whole, steaks, fillets, etc. Use a courtbouillon, as the liquid (mix of herbs, etc) see any google search.
Charlotte
12/11/11
What size salmon fillets for entrees? How many ounces or "fingers"?
ellen
12/11/11
see the plan for 100 table. Salmon is usually frozen in 4 ounce or 8 ounce steaks. If it is the only entree for a party, you want at least 6.
Elane
12/11/11
FIxing a turkey dinner for 16 adult people - with mashed potatoes. I'm wondering how many potatoes (#'s or number) should I fix?
Brian
12/11/11
Making a bunch of cocktail meatballs for a party tomorrow. I have rolled the meatballs and I want to get started on the sauce today so its more tasty tomorrow. Do I cook the meatballs too, add to sauce as normal and finish cooking and just refrigerate later until tomorrow?
ellen
12/11/11
Elane, at least 6-7 pounds and 8 would not be too much if there are no dressing or sweet potatoes.

Brian, this works just fine, you can also brown the meatballs and finish cooking in the simmering sauce, which enriches the sauce.

briana
12/27/11
Hi Ellen,

I am having a 5:30 reception for 90 people where I & family will be preparing the food. I would need to do buffet style because I don't have money for wait staff.

I have on site kitchen access (starting at 11am) with 2 ovens, 2 four burner stoves, a prep table, a large fridge, & a warming tray tower. I am trying to decide on buffet style or heavy horse deourves. I think buffet is cheaper. But I also am not sure on entrees & sides especially because I would be cooking a few hours prior to reception & need food to keep well in warming trays.

Ideally I wanted to cook a large beef roast (whichever cut is cheapest), a chicken or fish dish of some kind, and a vegeterian pasta choice, along with 2 side dish choices (green salad and perhaps a rice or potato side). & I would probably serve costco rolls. Would this menu be the most cost effective and or easiest to keep in warming trays? ANY help & suggestions are appreciated.

sincerest thanks

ellen
12/27/11
Hi, Brianna,

I am assuming this is a wedding reception? What month?

Thanks for the facility info, it helps. Buffet dinner is simpler and usually less expensive than dinner time hors d'ouvres.

This is a very good size party for your plans, and an adequate kitchen. I would do my orange dijon wedding chicken which is made ahead and frozen, for the chicken dish, a vegetarian lasgana, and possibly the beef (brisket would be a good, make ahead choice. Turkey or ham is another option, or a cold poached or smoked salmon). A baked rice pilaf and 2 additional vegetables, one could be casseroled, the other might be raosted, or maybe glazed carrots, or a corn medley. Yes on the salad. You want a lot of color and at least 3 non-meat items on the plate, or they eat too much meat.

Since this is a feast, consider getting an assortment of really good rolls from a local bakery and real butter.

Please consider having an appetizer table with a fruit tray, some sort of cheese and crackers and one other good dip. A punch (or two, if one is alcoholic). This protects the happiness of the party guests, especially kids, while the photos get taken, and also if you end up needing a little extra time to pull the dinner together.

Feel free to email me at the contact at the bottom of the page, or to start a new thread.

briana
01/09/12
Hello again Ellen,

thanks for your response it's been very helpful. How can I get your orange Dijon wedding chicken recipe? It sounds delightful.

ellen
01/09/12
The link is on the Big Pots index page. around the middle of the page.
carol
01/14/12
My daughter is getting married in Va Beach in September and we are having a reception the next weekend at her house in ohio. She has a 4 car garage and large drive which we will have a tent. We own a small Pizza and Grill Just down the street from her home. We are expecting about 125 -150 for a informal reception. She is asking for finger foods. What Ideas can you give me for the food. We have a 6 burner range w/ oven,a convection oven. pizza oven and walk in cooler. I am also doing her wedding cake. So trying to figure how to do all of this. We would have the help of 2 cooks and waitresses.
ellen
01/15/12
You have great resources. What time is the service, what time is the reception? Will alcohol be served? Write more.
denise
01/27/12
I am making kabobs, beef and chicken with vegetables, for a 6:30pm dinner of 50 people. Grilling is not an option. What are your suggestions for baking and the timing of. Thank you
Ruth
01/27/12
I am making 20 gallons (80 quarts)of vegetable beef soup as a church fund raiser. I'm not sure about the quantities to purchase in the beef, canned tomatoes, etc. Can you offer some advice?
Thanks.
ellen
01/28/12
See the beefy vegetable soup recipe:

www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/beefsoup.html

Michelle
02/22/12
I'm getting married in august and am planning on 140-160 people. We are serving Turkey, Ham and salami. How many pounds of each do you think I would need. We are also having potato salad, macaroni salad and a pasta salad.

thank you
Michelle

ellen
02/23/12
Will this be for sandwiches or plates and will you have cheese? Write back. You need to plan for an appetizer table. as well:

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.

PartyDiva
02/24/12
Hi,
I'm doing an event for about 300 people and plan to do heavy hors d'oeuvres. I'm doing a chicken skewer/beef and veggie kabobs and mini pork sliders (using pork tenderloin). I/m thinking 300 pieces of each since there will be other foods offered as well. What is your opinion and how much chicken, pork and beef will I need? Thank you.
ellen
02/24/12
You will run out, as many people coming first will take 2 of each skewer. Meat appetizers, I always allow 3 ounces per person of each.
Katrena
02/26/12
can u bbq tri tip early not quiet done and put it in large pand with juice and heat it and finish cooking it the next day for the event?
ellen
02/26/12
No, that is not recommended for tri-tip. It toughens and overcooks.
marguerite
03/02/12
I am cooking for 450 people.
The menu is
Baked ziti
Tortellini with alfredo sauce and
meatballs.

My question is how many pounds of ziti
and how many pounds of tortellini

It is for 150 students
and 300 parents

thank you

ellen
03/02/12
What is in the ziti? If it is plain or meatless, the tortellini will be much more popular. Also, whether or not it is plated or buffet, and also, side dishes affect. More info, please
marguerite
03/02/12
Ziti with ricotta and mozzarella, meatless but with sauce

* we have volunteers serving it as it will be buffet style.
* everything will be in half trays
* Tri color cheese tortellin alfredo
* i figured a meatball each to be on the safe side.
* side dish is just a spring mix salad with tomatos olives and onions and a dinner roll

maguerite
03/05/12
just curious if you got my last imput
ellen
03/06/12
No, when you post the same day on a very long thread, it is easy to miss it, this is why I encourage people to start new threads.

Your sides are light, so you can't skimp on the pasta.

The ziti will be much less popular, I would do 350 servings of tortellini and 150 to 200 of the ziti.

Unless the meatballs are very large, or the students are 6th grade or less, you need to allow 2 meatballs per student, at least.

Vicki
03/15/12
Cub Scout troop was invited to sell food at car shows. 6 shows 125-150 each show. They suggested hot dogs, chips, and drinks, and a dessert. I thought we might do bbq pork too, but that may be to expensive. How much pork to do 450 bbq sandwiches.I thought you might have a suggestion on what we could serve.
ellen
03/15/12
Pork is cheap, and shoulder is a good choice, but chicken is even cheaper and makes a fine pulled BBQ sandwich. 100 pounds boneless. Fewer condiments, too.

Dump cakes or cobblers, or brownies and bars, are a popular dessert choice.

Lisa W/mphs, tn
03/21/12
Hi ellen, im a first timmer, and need ur help, im a cater, and just started about 5 yrs or so, have not done many lrg jobs, only up to 200, only on dinners..buffett, my challenge is a wedding in april, 150 to 175, my question, is how many lbs. Of pasta do I cook for each padta station..my menu will be
3 cheese bow tie pasta with chicken
Garlic cream chicken penne
Crab salad mini sandwiches
Walnut cream cheese finger sandwiches
Curry cheese spread
Devild eggs
Watermelon ball (2) with mini fruit kebabs sticking outside of melons
Shrimp rockefeller
Garden Salad
Lisa W/mphs, tn
03/21/12
Sorry ellen, lisa again, I left off one more question concerning my wedding im about to cater in april..u know with all of the different food selections...can u give me an fare quote for the wedding on my menu...thanjs so much, ur q & a's are wonderful, very helpful
ellen
03/21/12
Lisa, this site is for family and volunteer cooks, and I don't do prices- they vary too much by region and supplier. Post to the catering sections on the pro boards:

chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com

Florence
04/24/12
Hi Ellen - I am attempting to make BBQ for 150 guest for a wedding reception. The chicken is 5 oz. portions of breast. My question is can I do this in a roaster oven? How long will I need to cook them to insure they are done? How may roaster ovens do you think I will need? I have four lined up right now.
ellen
04/25/12
It will take 3-4 roaster ovens, depending on the recipe, to do this much chicken. Time dependis on the recipe, I would do something with the BBQ sauce and chicken like my orange dijon wedding chicken ahead, freeze and reheat according to the instructions there
vickie
05/16/12
Hi Ellen,

Glad I found your site. My sister and I are cooking for my brother's wedding of 125 people. Could you tell me how much rice pilaf and how many bags of lettuce I would need? Also if we were doing sprite soda how many bottles would we need?
Thanks in advance!

ellen
05/16/12
Do 1 1/4 the amounts from the plan for 100 page and the beverage planning page.
Chris
05/30/12
beef and chicken kabobs
roasted vegies
greek salad
rice pilaf

Help! 100-150 people

Thanks

ellen
05/30/12
Chris, as I have said before, use the plan for 100 list to make a basic estimate, post it and I will expand. Also, 100-150 is TOO LARGE a span, it is like not knowing if 8 or 12 people are coming to dinner.
Reba Davis
05/31/12
Ellen, I need to prepare 2 ounces of meat for 420 Children. How much meat will I need.

Thank you.

Sue
05/31/12
I am serving a graduation party for ~200 people. I am serving pulled pork and barbeque chicken to make into sandwiches. I was going to provide some condiments, bbq sauce, horseradish sauce, mayo. How much do I buy? Is it best to put those in some kind of bowl or use the squeezable containers?
ellen
06/01/12
Reba, you need 53 pounds ready to serve. The loss on beef is about 30%, so start with about 80 pounds, cook low and slow.

Sue, if you do condiments for 200, you need at least 4 stations- or put bottles on each table- 1/4 cup bbq sauce, 1 tablespoon horseradish, 2 tablespoons mayo per person. 200 people only need about a quart of mustard.

Sue
06/01/12
Ellen, Thank you so much for your help!!
Kate
06/01/12
Could I get feedback as to whether or not the below quantities of food would be (more than) ample for a dinner buffet for 240 adult guests:
APPETIZERS:

* 15 # cubed cheese
* 15# trimmed veggies
* 5# crackers
* bruschetta crustinis with 10# romas
* bruschetta crustinis with 6# asparagus
* 26# ground veal and pork for meatballs
* 10# portobellos and 2# crab for stuffed shrooms
* 490 - 1oz. pieces of spanakopita

SALAD:

* 12# spinach
* 9# cherry tomatoes
* 5# shaved parmesan
* 6# croutons

DINNER BUFFET:

* 261 - 4oz. grilled chicken kabobs
* 261 - 4oz. grilled top sirloin kabobs
* Manicotti Noodles: 20# pasta, 15# ricotta, 15# mozzarella, and 24# roasted veggies
* 52# green beans

ellen
06/01/12
You posted twice, see the other one.
Angelia
06/08/12
Hi
Cooking Uncle Ben's Mexican Fiesta Rice-five 25.9 ounce boxes.I have never cooked a large amount before. Can i use an electric 18quart roaster and how would i do this ? Thanks !!!
ellen
06/08/12
I would do this in 2 roasters. See the baked rice recipes in the recipe box.
ladykat
06/30/12
how many people can i feed with 60 ponds of rib tips plz help.
ellen
07/01/12
About 70.
Wendito
07/13/12
Hi Ellen :) I am preparing a special B-Day dinner. There will be approx. 70-75 people, the hostess has asked me to prepare chicken, beef, and sausage kabobs. I figured one of each per person would be ok because they will have salads and appys to accompany the meat. How do I calculate the veg for the kabobs? And is 1/2lb meat per kabob adequate? Thanks!!!
ellen
07/13/12
I would do 5 ounces raw beef (2 kabobs), plus 1 each sausage and chicken (about 2 1/2 raw ounces each) per person, doing small skewers. People like them better. I always do the veggies separately, except some pepper and onion, and allow about 1 pound veggies per 3.
Wendito
07/14/12
Thanks:) Sorry for posting twice. I'm new but, glad I am. This is a great site!
Dusty
07/20/12
cooking a 50lb hip of beef on a routissire..... how long do you think it will take of an open pit.... 14 hours was the best i could figure
ellen
07/20/12
That is one big rotisserie! Suggest you check in with some of the BBQ sites- fires vary so-
Karen
08/21/12
Hi Ellen! I'm making a chicken artichoke lasagna into rolls, and braised beef with tortellini in wine sauce for 60. Also putting roasted vegies on each plate. All three items will be served for each person. How many ounces of each do I need for each person of the beef tortellini and the vegies? (Of course, the lasagna will be a single roll.) Your help is so appreciated.
Karen
08/21/12
I'm sorry. I forgot to ask..... I'm serving 2 salads, one is a typical greek salad, the other is watermelon with feta, arugula. How much do I need to make for the 60 guests? thanks (the salads will be buffet with appetizers. The above entrees will be served at the table.
ellen
08/23/12
3-4 ounces of tortellini- make a plate and look at it- and 4 ounces of veggies.

Make Greek for 50 and watermelon for 40.

Shantana
08/24/12
Hi I am trying to cook for a wedding receiption 160 people.
Chicken and potato skewers using romsemary and lemons. How many lbs of chicken breast will I need to fee that many people? How many potatoes and what would be the best type of potatoes to use that is also inexpensive.
Apx how many swekers. There will be other appetizers served also.
ellen
08/24/12
Shantana, are these skewers part of the appetizers or the main course? Write back.

Potatoes don't go on same skewers as chicken unless pre cooked- they take too long and the chicken would be way overcooked. I would cook the potatoes separately- such as oven baked wedges brushed with oil and sprinkled with rosemary and salt.

Shantana
08/24/12
The meal would be part of other appetizers people are bringing for the reception. Its a appetizer only reception.

The original meal I was going to cook was romemary wings with bacon wrapped potatoes. But I thought it would be more economical for the skewers and nix the bacon.

with the skewer idea. would i assmeble the cook potatoes and chicken together or finish cooking the pototes once they are partially cooked.

ellen
08/24/12
You can broil the skewers with the pre-cooked potatoes. But frankly, I would bake 1/2 a potato in 3 wedges as one offer, plus 4 ounces chicken with a bit of onion and pepper on the skewers- 2 small skewers rather than one large one.
DJ
09/15/12
I am planning on making steak shish kabobs for about 140 people. I am on a limited budget so I want to make sure I am purchasing roughly the right amount of food.

1. What kind of Steak should I get? and how much?
2.I plan on using red/green peppers and onions (simple) - how many do you think I will need?
3. Any suggestions on marinade or spice? What works best?
4. Any suggestions on something else to add?
5. About how long should they cook for (I am worried about burning the veggies before the meat is properly cooked).

Thanks!

ellen
09/16/12
Top sirloin is the least expensive that works well. 3 ounces each peppers and onions for the skewers.

See any middle Eastern cookbook for help on rubs and marinades.

If you use thin pieces of the onions and peppers, they will cook about right for the meat. Make a few, try them.

Do roasted veggies separately as the side dish, then an almond pilaf.

Tonya
11/16/12
I need the recipe for Green Bean Casserole for 40 people. Thanks
ellen
11/16/12
Look at the better green bean casserole in the holiday cooking section at the top of big pots, make 2/3 the amount.
elaine
11/26/12
How many lbs of Sausage/Peppers/Onion will be needed to make a full tray for 60 people
ellen
11/27/12
If it is the only meat, 1 pound per 3 sausage, equal weight peppers/onions/ If second, one pound per 5.
Leann
12/04/12
I am cooking a Christmas dinner for 20 people. I was wondering how much beef tenderloin I needed to buy in order to serve them all. Thank you for your help!!
ellen
12/04/12
At least 10 pounds raw. If several pieces, try to get the same size, so they cook evenly.
Gloria
12/05/12
I am planning a party for 150 people. Italian theme. Confused on a spread and/or how much to buy for this amt of people. Was thinking Chicken Marsala, penne pasta, Italian sausage with peppers and someone suggested baked ziti. Can you help with suggestions and how much is needed.
ellen
12/05/12
Chicken Marsala, 1 pound raw chicken per 4
PLUS Italian sausage with peppers, 1 pound sausage per 5, equal amount veggies

penne pasta
baked ziti
Plan on 12-16 pounds dry pasta per 100, divide among your recipes

How about a roasted vegetable mix that can be made ahead and served room temp?

And a salad of marinated veggies with artichoke hearts and olives and gardinera? Or a Caesar?

Gloria
12/05/12
Thank you for the suggestions. I was thinking about asparagus, although the mix vegetables sounds great. I wanted to know if asparagus is a good choice and once cooked would they loose the color if I put them in a chafing dish to keep warm. Also, how much asparagus woould I need or if I do the mix vegetables, how much is needed?
Dominique
04/06/13
How many pounds of mushrooms do I need for 225 people? I am making stuffed mushrooms for a wedding.
ellen
04/06/13
It depends on what they are for (appetizer, side dish) and the size of the mushrooms- 2 largish, 3 smaller per person- look at/count a pound of your size.
amber
04/15/13
Hello, I am getting married and my family and I will be doing everything due to budget. We are estimating 100 guests and I am wanting to serve chicken and steak Dakotas. I'm growing the vegetables and such but I am unsure of how much meat I will need to plan for. We are also doing cheese dip and salsa but that we have got figured out. Any advice would be great!
ellen
04/15/13
The only steak Dakota I am familiar with, is basically country-fried, not practical for a buffet at a wedding- too much last minute frying. Can you clarify?

Basics for beef plus chicken at a buffet, 1 pound raw beef per 5 plus 1 pound raw boneless chicken per 4.

Sally
05/01/13
cooking for a large crowd 400_450
Hi Ellen
Hw much meat and food do I need.they want sandwiches for appetisers and a fruit punch for the cocktail hour
I am catering for a wedding with bout 400/450 people and I need your help.they want roast beef and beef casserole,
Marinated chicken,some vegetables ,coleslaw,french salad,rice,fried and boiled.
Also hw many chaffind dishes would I need?
Ps.if u can give any recipes and tips I would really appreciate it.thanx
ellen
05/02/13
Sally, the amount of food is the least of your worries.

First of all, you need liability insurance. If a guest or server is injured or claims that your food made them sick, you can be sued, lose your house and have a lifetime of debt.

Also, it is illegal in most states to prepare food for sale in a home kitchen. It has to be prepared and stored in a licensed, inspected kitchen.

Second, a party this size requires day of at least 6 serving lines, with approximately 6-8 people in the kitchen and about 30 to set up, serve, and clean up. That is 38 people at over $100 per person- around $4000 JUST FOR THE STAFF for the day. That does NOT cover the cost of the shopping and prep done before, equipment rental, or the food, and you will need plenty of help.

You need written contracts. These have to specify who pays costs for staff, rentals; who provided the chafers, serving utensils, tables, chairs, silverware and glasses; decorations. Who keeps the left over food. You have to prepare at least 10% extra, and inexperienced clients (like yours) think that this is theirs to keep; it is not. Your contract specifies a flat rate for the fixed number or less, then a specific fee for each additional, and that the leftover from the extra goes home with you. Special items like the wedding toast. They should pay at least 1/2 at least 2 weeks in advance, and the balance day of.

Catering a wedding is absolutely the most demanding job a caterer can undertake. It has to be perfect, and if anything goes wrong or the food runs out (even if 50 extra guests show up), it is the caterer's fault. Always.

So, please reconsider taking this job. This menu should charge out at at least $38 per person, yes, over $17,000, and that is with experienced staff that allows minimum numbers, and very skilled prep staff. If you need to ask for help on the food quantities, you are out of your depth.

You can check this out on the pro boards.
cheftalk.com
chef2chef.com

ellen
05/02/13
Here is a must read for you:

gaming-guru.hubpages.com/hub/Questions-To-Ask-Wedding-Caterers-Tips-From-A-Professional-Caterer

and here is a source:

www.catersource.com/

ellen
05/02/13
This article deals with leftovers-

www.catersource.com/forum/caterer-to-caterer/rules-concerning-leftover-food

Jennifer
05/14/13
Helping a friend for a grad party for 60/70 She wanted to do Beef Kabobs as an option for a dish.... What is the best way to cook these in the morning and keep them for a 2:00 party start time without over cooking. We will then be using chaffing dishes for serving. Thanks for any advice you can offer.
ellen
05/14/13
no good way to hold and reheat-
Consider doing beef teriyaki skewers- these thin slices can be run under the broiler and served fresh-
amanda
05/15/13
Hi, I'm having a birthday party for my son and I was wondering how much will a half size foil pan hold of rice and baked beans. I also have 13" bowls for pasta, about how much pasta salad can one hold and serve. I'm hoping to get 25 servings in each dish. Thanks in advance, Amanda
ellen
05/16/13
Nope. About 15 servings per 1/2 pan. The bowls depend on the depth, fill one with water and measure the water- a pound of pasta makes around 2 quarts, serves about 15 in pasta salad.
kim
05/24/13
hi i'm doing a buffet for 45 people they want
poached salmon i have never bought or cooked salmon. what do i ask for and what weight,im guessing two 10 pound salmons do i ask for a whole fillet and how would i poach them.?regards.
Jane
05/28/13
I am needing to serve roasted vegetables (as an accompaniment to beef, pork and lamb) for 45 people. How many kilograms / pounds of vegetables (uncooked) do I nned to prepare?
ellen
05/28/13
Jane, it depends on what vegetables, for example, you need about 12 pounds ready to cook edible portion (EP). But it takes only about 13 1/2 pounds of summer squash but 16-17 pounds of asparagus as purchased (AP)to get that much ready to cook. So what mix of veggies?
ellen
05/28/13
Kim, I'm sorry this was stuck on a long thread and I missed your inquiry. You need whole salmon, head off; 1 pound per 5 if it is the second dish, 1 pound per 3 if it is the main entree. Your will lay an herb bouquet in the middle, preseason your steaming liquid, bring it to heat and put the fish over it on a rack, covered. For exact info put "whole poached salmon" in a google search and you will get bot good recipes and pictures.
Norma
05/29/13
Hi Ellen,
I am making Chicken / Seafood Paella with roast vegetables on the side for a crowd of 40 people.
How much Basmati Rice should I cook, do i work on 1 peace of chicken per person, and how many kilograms of roast veg will I need. Any other info would be much appreciated.
ellen
05/29/13
Yes, on the at least 1 piece of chicken per person, and you need 5 kilo of ready to cook veg per person- how much you buy depends on which veg, for example, you lose very little with squash, much more with asparagus.

About 2 1/2 kilos of rice, more or less...

Tiffany
06/01/13
Dear Ellen,
This is a great site. I was wondering if you had a recommendation for how many pounds of veggies each of mushrooms, green peppers, red onions and zucchini for 70 people. This will be part of a buffet style picnic with chicken kababs, salads, ect. Thank you very much.
ellen
06/01/13
This is about what I would do if these are all in one dish.

mushrooms, 6 pounds
green peppers, 4 pounds
red onions, 4 pounds
zucchini, 10-14 pounds, depends on how heavy the sides are.

Tiffany
06/01/13
Thank you so much for your speedy response. Your site is awesome. I have it book marked and look forward to exploring it more. Cheers!
Montoya
07/04/13
I have a baby shower coming up and I have around adults and 15 kids coming.I'm also on a budget and was thinking of ordering pizza for the kids but I would like some ideas on what to serve the adults. Any help is greatly appreciated!
ellen
07/04/13
Montoya, how many adults?
Montoya
07/05/13
I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that! 80 adults
ellen
07/05/13
And I should have asked if this is over a mealtime and whether it is mostly women or couples. And the approximate budget. Oh, well.

Delivered pizzas are expensive. If you don't have an oven to do your own, let's try to find something else.

Sometimes people do a baby sort of pastelly food thing. Sometimes it is more eclectic, or an ethnic theme.

An ethnic theme that works well and is not costly is Fiesta!, with a taco bar, adding nacho fixings and enough lettuce for salads for the no-carb folks. You can also have a pinata for the kids to knock around. Does that interest you?

Another option is tea party type food, ending in cupcakes with pink and blue icings. Skipping the pizza, have pbj's and ham orbologna in finger sandwiches for the kids, grown up flavors for the adults, a buffet of scones, cakes, cookies, and a fruit tray. Maybe someone to read tea leaves and tell happy fortunes.

Or you can theme off the expectant parent's interests or style.

Go ahead and start your own thread so I can find your next reply easily.

Iced tea and lemonade or punch...

And silly games, showers are supposed to include some silly games

Ashlei
07/20/13
I've skimmed all your shish kabob suggestions. Planning a reception for apprx 100 guests.

Saw "no good reheat opt" several times - although had a (chef) friend suggest grill day before to add marks, then bake day of...thoughts?!?

Also, plan was originally to have 3+ grills going and allow guests to prep/cook skewers on their own. Pros/Cons/Suggestions for this plan with # of guests expected?

Thx!

ellen
07/20/13
Ashley,

I would never set up a make your own kabob bar at a wedding event.

If this is a wedding reception and people will be dressed, they are not going to want to be skewering food- and raw chicken is a big no-no for handling without hand-washing right there.

There is risk of burn or even (no kidding) stab injuries from the skewers.

If the skewers take 8 minutes, which would be kind of minimum, think about how many people are going to be clustering around each grill trying to keep track of their own skewers and then pulling them off when they are not fully cooked...

The grill marks are not cooking- they are VERY brief and the meat is chilled right away- partially pre-cooking meats, but especially poultry, is an unsafe procedure.

You can make big pans of grilled meats and veggies, sort of fajita style, and just let people scoop up their own. Fajitas are just kabobs without skewers.

And I think that reheating lamb or chicken results in dried, chewy meats. Beef or pork can somewhat tolerate it, but it is not just as good as freshly grilled.

Penny
08/01/13
We have been asked to prepare salmon for a wedding reception for 90. Thinking to do some poached ahead to serve cold and rest on the grill on site. How much fish should we order? This will be the only meat as per the bride's request. Any/all help is appreciated!!!

PS We used your site to plan a ladies luncheon - tea sandwiches for 120 - and it went really well.
Thank you for your wonderful site.

ellen
08/02/13
If this is the only meat, you need at least 1 pound for each 3 people. Poach half; do the rest with a "meaty" marinade, such as teriyaki. I hope there is another dish that can serve as an entree for the non-fish eaters (eggplant parm, for example).

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, I'd appreciate a donation, maybe a dime or quarter per person, to support the site.

Cheri
08/14/13
How much chicken should I purchase for chicken kabobs for 30 people?
ellen
08/14/13
About 10-12 pounds boneless skinless.
Michelle
10/08/13
Hi, really informative page. I'm serving 75 boxed lunches and was wondering about measurements for, Rice, Beans, Chicken and Pasta or Potato for Salad. I dont really need extras because the food will already be boxed, so would the quantities you have still apply
ellen
10/08/13
75 boxed lunches

Rice, 1/2 cup per person
Beans, 1/2 cup per person
Chicken, 1 quarter if leg, or 2 pieces
Pasta or Potato for Salad, 1/2 cup per person. With this menu, though, I would do a fruit cup or salad cup instead...

The quantities I give are for buffet with seconds, so you can cut back at least 10-15 percent for the box lunch.

irene
10/16/13
Hi Ellen:
My husband and I are doing a taco bar for our son's social. This will not be a main meal but a snack like later in the evening. They are expecting about 150 people. We intend on making a pulled pork, chicken fajita and beef fajita for the taco bar. Could you suggest how much meat we need for the pork, chicken and beef?
Thanks!!!
Delphine
11/08/13
I have been asked to prepare beef tips w/mushroom gravy to feed 300 peope. How many lbs of stew meat will be needed to make that much?
ellen
11/08/13
Usually, beef tips are made from a more tender cut than stew meat, such as top sirloin or sirloin tip. You would need at least 100 pounds.

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

HKnight
11/21/13
Help! I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 16. I have a 12 lb turkey, 8lb ham, and a London broil. Mac n cheese, squash,greenbean,brocolli casseroles. Dressing, rolls, rice w/gravey collard and turnip greens mashed potatoes and yams........and a host ofdifferent desserts. Do I need more meat?
ellen
11/22/13
For some reason, this posted on two threads, please see the other one (help with amounts).

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

Ryanne
01/20/14
I'm cooking for my own wedding for about 150 people buffet style. Instead of requiring some of my guests to keep bringing food out to refill the chafing dishes, I wanted to know how many estimated dishes I would need if I just put EVERYTHING out at once. Cost of the chafing dishes and extra tables isn't the issue, trying to figure out how many chafing dishes I need is the issue! Thanks

Btw we're doing typical foods and serving sizes, things to keep warm:
Pre-slowcooked roast
Chicken
Pasta (maybe with meatballs)
Mashed potatoes
Veggies

Cold items: two salads, appetizers, etc

Nina Iscandri
03/02/14
I am having a reception and want to serve salmon and stuffed chicken breast. The guest list will consist of 225 people. How many pounds of salmon do I need. Thanks!
ellen
03/03/14
Nina, this is a very tough call, and it depends on where in the country you are- but the basic for a buffet would be about 2 pounds raw boneless chicken per 5 plus 1 pound raw salmon per 4.
Sandy
03/12/14
Am preparing food for 140 people for 90th birthday drop-in reception. Am planning following menu: meatballs (bought frozen) in cranberry sauce; chicken salad (either served on mini rolls such as Hawaiian rolls or used as a do-it-yourself spread on Ritz crackers; veggie tray (cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) with dressing;
cheese ball; frozen mini cheesecakes; frozen mini cream puffs; frozen deli spirals; mixed nuts; sheet cake; iced tea; fresh fruit-flavored water. How much do I buy of the following: 6-lb bags of frozen meatballs, pounds of fresh bone-in skin-on chicken; veggies; (how much dressing for the veggies (do you have a recipe that does not have bleu cheese) cheese ball (do you have a great recipe for this); mini cheesecakes (63/box) deli spirals (60/box); mini cream puffs (84/box); 40-oz containers mixed nuts? What size sheet cake do I need to get from bakery? How many gallons of iced tea do I need to make? If we make the chicken salad sandwiches ahead of time using the mini rolls, how many rolls and how far ahead of time can we make them. If using Ritz crackers for the guests to put onto the crackers themselves, how many boxes of crackers do I need? I know I am asking a lot. This is the first time I have been involved in preparing for this many people. My sister-in-law is helping. I have prepared for only 50 people about 10 years ago. I just discovered your website this morning. Have already learned a lot from the posts there. The reception is in 10 days. Thank you for your time and advice.
ellen
03/12/14
What time of day and for how long, and what fraction of the guests are seniors? This deeply affects amounts. Write back.
Sandy
03/12/14
Hi Ellen,,
Half of the guest will be over 50. There will be only 4 ages 7 to 19. The drop-in is from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.
Thanks!
ellen
03/12/14
140 people, 2 hour reception, mid afternoon, not heavy eaters

meatballs (bought frozen) in cranberry sauce; 12-14 pounds

chicken salad- you need just 4 gallons

(either served on mini rolls such as Hawaiian rolls or used as a do-it-yourself spread on Ritz crackers;
If rolls, allow 2 per, some left, and if crackers about 9 pounds

frozen deli spirals; 2 bites per person

veggie tray (cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) with dressing;
see the veggie tray page for help with amounts; Ranch dip (Ranch seasoning in Greek yogurt or sour cream) is the all-time favorite-2 cups per each 30

cheese ball; 1 pound per 15. I have some good recipes not yet posted- send an email to the contact link at the bottom of the page, and I will send you some. Put "cheese balls" in the subject line.

frozen mini cheesecakes;
frozen mini cream puffs;
at least 1 each per person, maybe a few extra

mixed nuts; 6 pounds per 100

sheet cake; each full sheet easily serves 50-60, so one 2 layer sheet cake would do, if someone cuts carefully, since there are other sweets.

iced tea, about 10 gallons, 1/3 unsweetened; you might try some of the new green or sweet teas- my mom favors green tea with ginseng and honey!
Ice, about 1 pound per 3
fresh fruit-flavored water (sparkling?)- a liter pours 5 glasses with ice. about a case (24)

What a happy day, take lots of pictures. If this saves you time, trouble or money, please, make a donation, maybe a dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Sandy
03/13/14
cheese balls
Thank you for all the info on how to prepare for the 140 people for 90th birthday celebration. I would like the recipes for cheese balls.
Thanks again!
ellen
03/14/14
This is a simple cheese ball, there are many more:

1/2 cup of the beast brandy you can afford
1 pound philly cream cheese
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 pound extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
3-4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 cup dried tomatoes, snipped into tiny fragments (not packed in oil or soaked)- you can sub dried apricots or figs for a sweet direction
dried parsley (I used organic, maybe 1/4 cup?)
3-4 tablespoons apricot preserves
pinch cayenne
2 teaspoons garam masala or any mild curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 cups chopped nuts or toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Sandy
04/13/14
Hi, I am having a bbq for 80 people. I am serving pulled pork, brisket, sloppy joes and chicken legs. I am also cooking mac and cheese, green beans and cole slaw. How much pulled pork, brisket and sloppy joe is needed? Thanks so much
Erika Ramos
05/09/14
Hi!

I am cooking for a group of 20 for Mother's Day this weekend. I am going to be making chicken, shrimp, and beef kabobs. How much of each meat do I need? Also, what kind of beef is best for kabobs? There will also be hamburgers, rice, and a salad. I may also add a pasta salad. Thanks!

ellen
05/10/14
Sandy, I missed this one, sorry.
ellen
05/10/14
Hi, Erika, sorry I missed this, here is the amount, hope it helps

chicken, 1 pound raw boneless per 5
shrimp, 1 pound raw boneless per 5
beef kabobs, 1 pound raw boneless per 4, top sirloin is a good choice- tender enough, not too pricy

andrea
05/13/14
Im trying to prepare Hawaiian Chicken Shish Kabobs for 50 people. Every recipe I found online gives me the recipe for feeding 6 people at the most. I just need to figure out the quantity of my items for my party.
ellen
05/13/14
It is pretty simple to multiply the recipe you choose times 10, then subtract 10%. This will give you the amounts for party size portions for just over 50. Basically, it should come out to about 14 pounds of boneless chicken breast.
Zoa
07/04/14
I need to prepare 80 mix meat/chiken skewers, I need to know how many pound of meat/chicken I need to buy?

Never done this before. We are having a Tiki party with 50 guest.

Any advise or suggestion is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

ellen
07/05/14
Zoa, beef and chicken require different cooking times, consider doing a small chicken skewer and 2 small beef per person?
Plan on 4 ounces raw beef (1 pound per 4)and 3 ounces raw boneless chicken (1 pound per 5) per person. That will give you about 100 small beef and about 60 small chicken skewers.
Ikaneng
08/10/14
I'm having a wedding and I need to know how many cows must I buy to feed 500 people
Donna Clough
09/29/14
Im catering for 300 people doing pepper steak and sweet and sour chicken. Which cut of meat is best for pepper steak also how much pound for one tray.also I'm a bit confused with the sweet and sour chicken being that the occasion is in the evening and to fry the thighs breaded and add sauce it will get saggy. Is there another way to prepare it. Thank you.
ellen
10/02/14
Top sirloin is excellent, prime or choice top round is usable. 1 pound per 5-6.

The heavy fried chicken breading is not authentic; a light cornstarch coating with pan frying is. Yes, soggy is an issue. Either heat the sauce separately and add to the chicken pieces just as you fill the pans for serving, or use a different dish- chicken almond ding, moo goo gai pan...

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

Jenn
10/15/14
Good morning,
How many pounds of Ground beef do I need to make 140 sliders. I am catering for 70 people on a tight budget, How many pounds of chicken for chicken tacos

Thank you so much

ellen
10/15/14
Jenn, are these both to be served at the same meal? It affects the amounts. Write back.
Faye
10/27/14
Hello Ellen, I am a professional caterer in Sydney Australia and have just come upon your site. You do an amazing job helping people. So many people doing large self catering jobs who probably shouldn't except as a group of charity workers. Please don't think me rude but so many menus are full of carbohydrates and pre-packaged foods. What is wrong with a good meat or seafood dish, potatoes and large bowls of fresh vegetable salads. So easy to make. More is not always better. I haven't heard of devilled eggs since the '60s. There was a recipe in the Cordon Bleu which was eggs with mild curry in the mix on a large oval platter. In the centre was prawns/shrimps with cucumber sticks and coriander tossed in a thin curry mayo dressing. Yum. Anyway, good to read all your posts.
ellen
10/27/14
Hi, Faye,
Yes, I do try to encourage more fruits and vegetables in the menus, and to help people be realistic about having fewer guests and more help; the "I want to give a wedding dinner for 200 people for $500" are a bit discouraging. Thanks for the pat on the back.
Tracie
11/14/14
Thanksgiving Dinner for 250
Hi there,
I'm looking for some advise on how much to buy & prepare for a Community Thanksgiving Dinner. I will prepare enough food for 250 and I don't want to mess up my quantities. The dinner is traditional. I'm cooking 25 turkeys and I'm also using Costco Pecan & Pumkin Pies. But the side dishes has me a bit thrown. I'll be using Hotel size pans and I need to know how many pans I should prepare for GREEN BEAN CASSERSOLE - SWEET POTATOES - CRANBERRIES - MASHED POTATOES.
ellen
11/15/14
Already covered in detail in the holiday cooking section at the top of Big Pots, the article on planning and shopping. You only need 250 pounds of whole turkey for 250 people.
Bette Detro
11/19/14
cooking for a large crowd 400
Can you please help were doing a Dutch oven tipe cook- average of 400 people-chicken fried steak-cobler-bread- green beans could you give me any Idea where we neeed to start with the average # of meat perperson(400) people to attend -so we will need to give each team how mush steak to cook we have 10 teams thanks
ellen
11/19/14
If you are using minute steak type beef, you can do 1 pound boneless per 3 people. But deep frying for 400 is pretty difficult...
una
12/09/14
Hi Ellen, I am cooking for a crowd of 60 adults, and would like to know how many kilo's of beef to use, I prefer the blade steak from the chuck and also if I should use a 7kg bag of potatoes. I am also having fried chicken drums and fried potatoes, is it 2 pieces chicken per adult then and is a 5kg cooked rice enough? Thanks.
ellen
12/09/14
How are you preparing the meat? Roast, steak, stew? Write back. With the beef, 1 piece of chicken per person is usually enough.
Maty
01/14/15
How many pounds of raw veggies would I need to do roasted veggies for 80?
ellen
01/15/15
About 22 pounds before trimming, a little more if you have a lot of loss (such as asparagus).
Leah
01/15/15
How many 20 inch pizzas for late night serving at wedding reception, approximately 250 guests?
ellen
01/16/15
Assuming they had dinner and cake earlier?

An extra large pizza like this cuts 12 slices, and 2 would be the most you would expect anyone to eat at this stage in the party, unless they are football players or complete pizza addicts? So 1 pizza per 6-8, maybe 32 all together.

They will eat less if the pizzas are cut in squares rather than slices.

Niccole Fales
02/17/15
Hello all. I am not quite sure how I found this page, but I think I have an idea that will help EVERYONE. I do a lot of catering from home. When I need to get my cooking supplies I go to my local Gordon Foods Marketplace (GFS).
When I am not sure how much of everything I need, I ask one of the staff at GFS to set me up with their MENU WIZARD. Simply tell them how many people you will be serving and they will plug in the info you give them and hand you a scanner. You take the scanner around the store and scan the items on your shopping list. When you are finished, let the staff know and they will give you a printout of your total quanities in items and your total cost. You can then take the printout and pick up exactly what you need.
I hope this helps everyone :)
susan
02/24/15
my daughter and her friends are organising a fun dinner for 70-80 teenagers(12-17year olds) they have sent me the following ingredients and want to know quantites to buy....

chinese noodles
packets of frozen veggies
frys vege strips (tofu strips frozen)
tomato cuecumber onion for israeli salad
vege sticks for dips - carrot cucumber celery and capsicum

can you help??

ellen
02/25/15
chinese noodles, for each 20, 3 pounds if they also cook rice (about 8 pounds dry for 80 people)
packets of frozen veggies, about 14 pounds
frys vege strips (tofu strips frozen), about 20 pounds
This sounds like a vegetarian version of chicken haystacks.
www.ellenskitchen.com/bigpots/haystacks.html
which might give you some additional ideas.

tomato cucumber onion for israeli salad
Look at any of these tasty off site recipes:
www.chabad.org/search/results.asp?searchWord=israeli+salad

Or take a look at this interesting variation:
www.egglandsbest.com/recipe/israeli-salad-tahini-lemon-dressing/

vege sticks for dips - carrot cucumber celery and capsicum about 1 pound total ready to eat per 12, 1 pint dip per pound. Help available on the veggie tray page.

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

joseph
03/16/15
Hello Ellen

I am cooking for a 150 people, and want to make cheese tortellini with grilled vegetable and foccacia bread. I wan to use a chafing dishs, is two enough, and have back up inserts(how many back ups do I need?)

ellen
03/16/15
Joseph, you need at least 2 serving lines, and don't you need one pan for sauce also? That makes at least 6 chafing pans.

A full pan is usually about 25 servings, so you are talking 6 of each dish.

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

mary sklencar
03/23/15
Hi Ellen,

I am hosting a repast after a funeral. We are expecting about 200 people. We really don't know for sure, but this is our best guess.

We are serving Ham, Salmon, meatballs, Green Beans, green salad, potato salad and cake. The family has asked their neighbors to bring sides and desserts, so we have no idea what's coming.

How much ham and salmon (family favorite) do we need?

The funeral is at 10 AM so the meal will be served about 11:30 AM. Thanks for your help. Mary

ellen
03/24/15
This will be a pretty hungry crowd.

For 200 people, 50 pounds ham, 30 pounds salmon, 20 pounds meat balls in 6 quarts sauce

Green Beans, 7 #10 cans
green salad, use plan for 100 table, has amounts and dressings
potato salad, 8 gallons

Hope this helps.
cake, full sheet or 2 layer half sheet serves 60

Jennifer
03/29/15
church dinner
Hi Ellen! I am cooking a roast beef and roasted vegetable meal for 150 people. What is the most economical cut of meat I can use? I'm using white potatoes, baby carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes. How much of each should I buy? Lastly, I'm using a convection oven and will be cooking in 1/2 chafer pans. How long should everything cook? Thanks!!!!
ellen
03/30/15
For this, you will do a pot roast- you can't afford a standing rib roast! The cut of choice is chuck/shoulder. 3 pounds per 8 people. Costco has 25 pounds shoulder clods, you would do 3. You do need to trim off all the silverskin. It never gets tender.

If you want to see the whole roast, see this video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rZLyPDWozY

You can roast the whole thing in one piece. Cook it a day ahead and reheat for the dinner. This will allow you to chill and remove any fat, spend more time getting a sauce done, and give you more time with your guests. With braised meats they're better once cooked, chilled and reheated. Slice it and return it to a reduced braising liquid and keep it in there overnight before reheating.

See this great article:
foodspin.deadspin.com/how-to-braise-a-big-chuck-roast-and-stave-off-scurvy-1645079179

braise in the oven, covered, at 275, covered well.

white potatoes, 1 pound per 4
baby carrots, 1 pound per 8
onions, 1pound per 4
sweet potatoes, 1 pound per 6

You need tomatoes and tomato paste, and beef broth for the braise, as well as some red wine, church permitting.

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

Berto
06/03/15
Hi Ellen, your page is awesome! Thank You!!!
I got a general idea of what to get, we are having our baby shower this weekend. Expecting 90 people.
We want to do beef kabobs (sirloin I heard is best) and Chicken kabobs (thigh). Also with Onion, Peppers, Mushrooms and possibly Pineapple. People are bringing sides. What would be a good amount of meat and veggies for 90 people? Thank You again!!!
elizabeth
06/04/15
am catering a wedding reception for 110 people. Entrees are Chicken Marsala & Beef Lasagne. I will be using your recipes from Cooking for 100 as my basis. The wedding is 9 days away on Saturday.
My question is-
I am planning on making my lasagne ahead of time and storing in my church's freezer. Will be making 5 pans/24 servings ea. The oven being used can accommodate 4 pans in one side & 2 on the other. But will have to rotate during cooking process. Can I bake from frozen stage or should I defrost before. Your recipe reads at 375 degrees 50 minutes. What adjustments should I make?
I will prep my chicken the day before, hold in refrigerator then reheat day off possibly using electric roasters (have 3).
ellen
06/05/15
I plan for 2 4" skewers of each per person.
22 pounds lean boneless beef. Top sirloin or even marinated top round is possible for this.
22 pounds boneless skinless chicken

A fresh pineapple makes about 50 kabob sized pieces
A bell pepper about 8 pieces
medium onion, about 12-16
mushrooms, just decide how many and count all the pieces to estimate your veg.

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

Jen
07/05/15
Hi Ellen! I am throwing an engagement party and trying to determine how much of each food item I need. There will be about 40 adults and 20 kids. We will be fixing kabobs (chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions), hamburgers and hotdogs, a few black bean burgers for a vegatarian options, pasta salad, potatoe salad, Watergate salad, veggie trays, fruit trays, and cupcakes. How much of each meat should I get? Thank you so much!
ellen
07/05/15
kabobs (chicken, pineapple, peppers, onions), 18-20 pounds boneless meat, do brine it for juiciness,, and do parboil the onions so you don't overcook the chicken to get the onions done.

hamburgers, plan 50, amount of meat depends on size of burgers, condiments on the sandwich planning page. If you keep the last 10 cold till you see if you need them, you can use for another meal in the next day or two, yay meatloaf!
hotdogs, could skip, no extra buns, and just do some plain chicken legs for any shy kids. Or maybe do 5 pounds of smoked sausage?

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

Michelle
07/07/15
I am looking to make cheese tortellini with diced chicken and alfredo sauce for 100. There will be other salads to go with this main dish. How much tortellini, chicken and sauce should I get? Thanks
ellen
07/08/15
Assuming this is the only entree, start with 1 pound raw boneless chicken per 3-4 (all ladies eat less than mixed or men). Assuming you are using frozen totellini? On the package it gives servings, For buffet, figure 1/3 fewer, for example, if it says 6 servings, count on 4 people, if it says 8, count on 5. For sauce, 1 cup per person, approximately. Most Alfredos dont hold well, or lose their texture; see the Alfredo style sauce for 100 on the spaghetti page for one that holds with good texture.

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

Al Ismaili
07/21/15
cooking for a large crowd (400 people)
Hi
I suppose to prepare 400 skewers of boneless chicken breast, but I am not sure how many pounds do I need. To specify, I am planning to have four pieces of chicken on each skewer without any veggie.

Do you have any suggestion about how to cook them through the oven? how much time do I need to cook? needed spices? and what if I add olive oil to make the skewers tender, does it help?

ellen
07/21/15
First, brine the chicken breasts before cutting and skewering; these dry out terribly when done kabob style. Or better yet, use boneless thighs, they make MUCH tastier kabobs

If you are doing just one per person, you need at least 4 ounces of cooked meat per skewer, which means, 1 pound per 3 people raw boneless and fairly large chunks.

articles
www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/how-to-make-great-grilled-kebabs.html
www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/dining/18mini.html

shaff
07/22/15
Hi Ellen I am hosting a bbq party for my daughters first birthday party for 40 people this is including 6 children. The menu will be chicken tandoori pieces (drumsticks and thighs) boneless chicken tikka pieces on skewers, sheesh kebabs cooked on skewers, lamb chops and maybe some chicken mince burgurs....the guests are big meat eaters. I will also have sides such as pasta salad, fruit salad, and nibbles like tortilla chips with dips? Nuts etc. I was hoping you could help me figure out exactly how much meat I would need for all these categories? We have never done a bbq before so are a bit clueless

Many thanks

ellen
07/22/15
Hi, Shaff,
I do understand about big meat eaters, still, it is costly, so, you don't want a lot of leftovers. I suggest you think of the plate as 1 piece of chicken, 1 skewer each chicken and sheesh kebab, 1 piece of lamp; and consider whether a skewer of lamb would be better (more easy to limit and less expensive) than lamb chops. Skip the ground chicken, there is already enough chicken on the menu.

chicken tandoori pieces (drumsticks and thighs). 2 quarters for each 3 people, cut apart
boneless chicken tikka pieces on skewers, 1 pound rawper 4
sheesh kebabs cooked on skewers, 1 pound raw per 4
lamb chops, 1 per person or for cubed meat, 1 pound raw per 4

This gives you almost double the usual serving of meats, so should be plenty

Best wishes to the birthday child. I hope this helps. If I have saved you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thank you.

Donna
08/03/15
Cooking for a Large Crowd
Hi Ellen!
My chorus of 100 women is planning a fundraiser
for 300 sit down dinners. Tri-Tip, Green Bean, Roasted Potatoes, Bread and a Dessert Auction.
My concern is asking about 3 husbands to do the roasting in the ovens at our facility and then slicing and plating dinners and serving them with chorus
members doing the work. Good home cooks, but none are experienced caterers. How would you organize this event? Thank You for any tips!!!
ellen
08/08/15
Appropriate concern. Experienced caterers would have 4 people handling this meat. Tri tip is delicious, but not an easy cook or serve. Have you considered prime rib? A much easier cook and serve, looks better on the plate, and not hugely more expensive. You will also plan a pan of a vegetarian entree such as eggplant Parmesan for any vegetarians in the crowd; with 300 people there will be some. Write back about your kitchen/oven situation.

Plan to put good bread baskets and plate salads on the tables, this will help fill in while the diners wait for the inexperienced servers to serve. A low cost happy maker. My amounts for salads on the plan for 100 tables will make 120 plates

You can write back. If it goes well and this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thank you.

Re Re
10/23/15
I am having a luau for my daughters 10th birthday. I am cooking for 50 people (20 children and 30 adults). I plan on making chicken and pineapple kabobs and sweet and sour meatballs. How much chicken and pineapple should I buy for the kabobs. And how much ground chicken should I buy for the meatballs.
ellen
10/24/15
This is the equivalent of about 40 adults.

At least 14 pounds of boneless chicken. A fresh pineapple cuts about 48 chunks, so the amount of pineapple depends on how much you plan, but I expect at least 4 pieces of chicken and 3 pieces pineapple for each skewer, making about 60 skewers.

Soak the skewers in water at least 1/2 hour if they are bamboo.

10 pounds of meatballs, 3 quarts of sauce.

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

Sheridale
01/18/16
Our travel club is doing the midnight lunch for a wedding reception for 200 people as a fundraiser. We are serving sausage and a bun, and 3 salads ( taco, pasta and Japanese Cabbage salad). We would like to know how much of each salad to make.
ellen
01/19/16
Depending on the age of the crowd, you may not have 200 at midnight, check this out with the bride and groom. I am giving you numbers for 200.
Sausage and bun
This depends a bit on what type sausage you are using. For this late supper, 1 per person will probably leave you with leftovers, but you have to allow 1 each bun and sausage, plus a dozen extra. Have a crockpot of veggie sausages for any non meat eaters.
Mustard 3-4 squeeze bottles, get some spicy
3 salads
Taco salad does not hold well! May I suggest you do a fruit tray or salad of some kind, and chips and salsa? Fruit help and recipes on the fruit tray page. Chips, 12 potato or 16 corn or some mix, 1 pint salsa or dip per pound.
pasta, 12 pounds dry pasta, lots of really good recipes on this site
Japanese Cabbage salad, a top notch slaw, about 30 pounds cabbage to start

Hope this goes well. If the guidance saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Katie
01/20/16
I need to make grilled chicken strips on a skewer to serve at a wedding reception. 150 guests. Also serving pulled pork sliders. How much chicken and pork do I need to purchase and can I cook these things a month in advance and freeze in seal a meal bags?
Elizabeth
01/21/16
Hi Ellen, I am doing a wedding for about 175 people. The menu is Pulled Pork, Chicken Tenders, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Macaroni and Cheese. I am having the pulled pork ,about 35 lbs, and chicken Tenders, about 2-3 catered. Would this be about the right amounts? Also, I am not sure how much of the sides I need. Do I calculate for 175 servings or scale down. This will be a buffet setting.
ellen
01/21/16
Are these the entrees for a meal? Or appetizers? The pork can be done ahead, but no grilled chicken reheats well. W I f you need to reheat, you want a different recipe. Tell me also what else is being served? Write back.
ellen
01/21/16
Elizabeth, are there appetizers and is it lunch or dinner. Is the pork on buns? Write back.
Elizabeth
01/21/16
It is a 4:30 Wedding, no appetizers. There will be small buns for the pork if the guest wants to make a sandwich.
ellen
01/21/16
wedding reception for 175
Elizabeth, a 430 wedding means they will be starving when they hit the dining room, You definitely need an appetizer plan and here is why:

You need to expand the menu, including appetizers and 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, or there is grilling.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a 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 is needed for each 100 guests.

Also, Elizabeth, it will help to brighten up this rather ordinary meal.

Now on to the dinner.

Pulled Pork, 1 pound per 6=29 pounds, OK
Add 1 1/2 gallons sliced pickles, about 12 pounds thin sliced onions, 3 gallons cole slaw, 1 squirt bottle sauce per table
Buns 5 large or 12 slider buns per pound
Chicken Tenders, 1 pound per 5=35 pounds
Dips are usually expected, 1 cup per 6

Mashed Potatoes, 50 pounds,
add gravy, 7-8 quarts
Macaroni and Cheese, 16 pounds pasta, 1 quart sauce per pound of pasta, 1/2 to 1 pound cheese per pound of pasta

Green Beans, 40 pounds ready to cook

You can write back. If this is a paid gig, or I have saved you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Jen
02/01/16
I have been asked to dress a whole salmon for a birthday buffet. There will be 70 people but loads of other food. Will one 6kg dressed salmon be enough? I am also making potato salad and thought 10 kg would be sufficient. Am I right?
ellen
02/01/16
Salmon good. I would do 12-15 kg salad unless there are lots of other starchy salads and sides.

You can write back. If this is a paid gig, or I have saved you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Lola
03/13/16
Hi Ellen, I'm catering wedding that will be white glove service, it is for 75 people and only appetizers will be served as the main course. Can you help me In determining how many pieces per person and pounds of meat required.
Here is a list of items that will be on the menu, meatballs, chicken and shrimp kabobs, empanadas, mini cheese steak sandwiches, risotto balls and crab cake balls.
ellen
03/13/16
Lola, this is a nice size group. However, if this is at a meal time, it is a poor selection for the menu. For example, there is virtually nothing for any vegetarian guests.

Please e-write me at the contact link on the top right with full menu and details (time; table, passed or buffet service, venue, help) so I can help you.

Tara
05/18/16
Hi Ellen,

We are having a engagement party at our place for 40 guests. we will be serving a chicken curry with rice, potato bake and roast beef and gravy rolls in a "help yourself" style. we have assumed that about half could eat 2 rolls (and maybe more) but between us we cant figure out how much beef we will need. could you please help us out with a rough estimate of how much beef you think we may need?

Thank you Ellen.

ellen
05/18/16
This is an unusual mix of foods. I would make about 60 rolls, for 5 per pound, so about 12 pounds raw boneless.
Stephanie
08/22/16
Hi Ellen,
I am cooking kabobs for between 50-60 guests. Would like a mixture of veggie, shrimp, beef and chicken breast. How many pounds of each meat would you suggest? Also, what is the most effective beef that I could use? There will also be chips, dips and a few sides such as potato salad served. Thanks!
Stephanie
08/22/16
*should be cost effective
ellen
08/26/16
Steph, both shrimp and beef are costly served this way-

Can you consider doing keftah kabob, seasoned ground beef packed on the skewer and roasted? Tasty and more economical. The ones in the picture are actually twice the size recommended in recipe, which makes about 10 this size, serves about 5

www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Kafta-Lebanese-Beef-Kebabs

Chicken breast 4 ounces raw boneless per person- 1 large or 2 small skewers

Suggest you have humus and pita bread and tabouli-

Shrimp, 4 ounces per person

Two veggie skewers or do one and also serve halves broiled tomatoes seasoned with olive oil and herbs

A delicious and cost-effective addition is dolmas. Large cans containing 60 cost about $8-10, you would do two. A pound of feta cubed in the middle of the platter and a pint of good olives and you have a handsome appetizer.

Hope this helps. Now I need to ask for your help in return!
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Stephanie S
09/15/16
I am cooking for a repast for 200. The menu is sliced top round, sliced chicken breast, string beans, rice pilar, garden salad and dinner rolls. Using some of your previous advice, I estimated 80 pounds raw beef and 40 lbs of raw chicken breast. Am I in the right ball park? Do you have some recipes that might feed crowd with ease?
ellen
09/22/16
Plenty, have someone serve the beef first round. You may have some chicken left.
Tammy
01/17/17
I have a request to cook 120 Beef Kabobs using either Sirloin Tip Steak or Round steak. They are requesting 5-1-inch cubes of meat on each skewer equalling 600 1-inch cubes of meat. Do you know how many pounds of meat this would require and do you have a suggestion on the best cut of meat to use out of their preferences?
ellen
01/18/17
Sirloin tip, 2 pounds boneless raw per 5 people,
Adyna
02/10/17
Im having a dinner for 40 people. I am planning on cooking some of it at ordering the rest.

Order:
Hawaiian rice - 1 pan
Yakisoba (noodles) - 1 pan
Garlic chicken - 2 pans
Each pan is suppose to feed 10 to 15 people full servings.

Me:
Steaks - 20 lbs
Veggie kebabs - 3 per person
Mixed green salad - 7 lbs
Poke - 6 lbs

Do thesee amounts sound alright? I want people to eat but I don't want or need too much left over. Also, how much beer is appropriate? I have plenty of juice and soda.

ellen
02/12/17
Adeena,

Beerwise, a full keg serves 40 beer . For cans or bottles, see the beverage planning page

too much meat, not enough carbs.

Hawaiian rice - 1 pan
Yakisoba (noodles) - 1 pan
I would do 3 pans total of the two at least, you divide according to your estimate of the crowd's taste

Add kings rolls? 5-6 pounds

Me:
Steaks - 20 lbs-40 people
Garlic chicken - 2 pans- 25 people
Poke - 6 lbs- easily 40 people

Veggie kebabs - 3 per person- it would be much easier to do roasted veggies rather than skewered. plan 12 pounds ready to cook veg
Mixed green salad - 7 lbs see plan for 100 to estimate dressings

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