how much food for an engagement party buffet?t

mfoxjacksonJanuary 16, 2009

I am throwing an engagement party with 60 guests in a few weeks and was wondering if anyone knew of a site that would help estimate food quantities needed.

I do entertain a lot at home and always make way too much food and want to avoid that in this situation. The party is off-site and I am doing very well on a diet plan over the past 3 months, so don't want the leftovers for both reasons. :-)

I know that it depends on how many choices there will be so so far I was thinking of making: Tossed salad and rolls, Italian meatballs, Swedish Meatballs, Honey chicken wings, Rice Pilaf, Penne ala vodka, Stuffed shells and Chicken w broccoli. I was also thinking of having a hot dog stand and serving hot dogs with Sauerkraut.

Based on those choices, how many 1/2 trays of each choice would I need?

Also other suggestions or substitution ideas would be appreciated for something a little different from what I am afraid might be a kind of boring menu.....

Thanks for your help!


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I do lunches for the church...I am very good at estimating what people will eat....but don't know about 1/2 trays...I know pounds of meat and pounds of pasta and cups etc.
When will the party start and how long will it last? What are the ages of the guests....teens and "twenty something" eat a lot more than 50 ish people and men more than women etc.
Sounds to me like you ahve way too many choices particularly if you will have the hot dog stand or as we used to call it a "dog wagon".
Lets see....tossed salad...for 60 I would do 4 heads of iceberg, 2 6 oz bags of baby spinach, 1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage and a cup of shredded carrots....
I would have 60 pieces of each of the meatballs and 90 of the chicken wings.
One pasta dish and serve a recipe calling for 5 pounds of dry pasta. and the chicken with broccoli?? Is that pasta or Chinese?
Have 1 1/2 rolls per person....depends on the size but.
You have way too many options to be talking in 1/2 tray amounts! will have leftovers up to here!!

Does it have to be catered in multiples of half trays??
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Thanks so much for the feedback. I think I will do away with the 'dog wagon' idea based on there being too many choices.

By 1/2 trays I mean the aluminum foil trays that go over a sterno. 2 of these trays would sit in the whole tray that holds the heated water and sits over the sterno. I am doing 1/2 trays only because they are easier to handle.

The 4 hour party's guests for the most part will be adults, with less than 5 children under 10 and no teenagers. About half with be in their late 20's, with the rest scattered through 30, 40's and up.

The chicken and broccoli dish I was thinking of would be some kind of a primavera with no pasta.

Do you this I should still cut back on some choices? What would you serve if it were you?

I really appreciate your help!


    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 8:20PM
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First of all I would not use aluminum foil trays over a rack and sterno butners.
And I still don't know the quantity that a half tray holds.
I have done more than a few engagement parties for 60.
One thing I made was a sort of BBQ turkey dish....served hot in a large chafer with the rest kept hot in the kitchen and replinished. Sides were a pasta salad...with I think peas?? Rolls and a broccoli salad.
Another time I made cornflake know chicken rolled in evaporated milk and cornflakes and baked.....sides were potato salad and was summer!
Another time I did a casserole of hamburger and rice ( that was bad....I didn't make it!)

How about a ham....either spiral cut or a boneless you cook and slice....a side of creamed dilled potatoes, pineapple and cheese casserole, marinated veggie salad and rolls.
For appetizers you could do wings and a cheese platter and crudites and dip.

I have also done a similar party with a huge whole poached salmon and platters of sliced ham and turkey a rice pilaf of brown rice cooked with onions, celery, and pecans and dried cranberrys,a marinated veggie salad, rolls and dessert.
Remember the KISS principal...Keep It Simple Stupid! LOL!
A meat dish or perhaps 2...a starch a veggie, salad and rolls is lots.
Another thing I have doen is meatloaf....made special by a spinach mushroom and blue cheese filling...simple oven browned potatoes a veggie, tossed salad and roll.....appetizers and dessert.
Shout if you need recipes.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Hi marg,

I'm not an expert in large parties; however, you mention seven entries, not including the hot dog stand. Wouldn't larger amounts of fewer main dishes be easier? Are there many vegetarians? Will the rice pilaf & penne ala vodka do as main dishes for them? Linda's suggestion of a ham is easier than making a main dish, too.

What about having two salads instead of one? Will there be desserts?

Here is one site with quantities. Search Google or Yahoo for "FOOD QUANTITY" for other sites.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Food quantities for 25, 50 AND 100 servings

    Bookmark   January 19, 2009 at 6:40PM
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KATHLEEN Gave the link for A GREat site thAT I OFTEN USE FOR Large pARTIES. IF YOU EXPLORE THat site further, you will find suggested menus, how to set up buffet tABLES, ETC. IT IS a reALLY NICE SITE. ENJOY THE Party!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Yes that is a great site!

As for my menu, I do like the idea of spiral ham, however the place only supplies 1 waitress and someone would need to be there to cut the ham for the guests as they need it. I am looking for a fairly self serve type buffet.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 9:12AM
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You could buy a boneless German style ham and have it sliced ahead, cover tightly with foil, pour a little pineapple juice or applejuice over it and rewarm.
I have done that for a large luncheon. I piled the sliced meat into a 10 by 14 glass dish, covered and heated very slowly at 250. Then filled serving platters from that.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 10:47AM
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