Baked Ziti for 50?

sharon_sApril 21, 2009

Hi all,

Well, it looks like I'm the last-minute host of my son's ultimate Frisbee team's pasta dinner on Friday. We are expecting about 50 people (mostly teenage boys) and I realized that I have no idea what to serve. I'm guessing baked ziti is the easiest thing to do, but I have no idea how much quantity. Baked ziti, garlic bread and salad are what I'm thinking.

So, I figured that someone here must have done this before. Any clue on how much pasta to purchase? And if you have a recipe to share, I'd be most grateful!


Sharon S.

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I'm not the best at judging food amounts - I always end up with way too much food because I'm afraid I'm going to run out. And anytime I try and be careful, I do run out or come very close!!

That being said, I just want to add (altho you probably are aware already!) that teenage boys have hollow legs. They can eat a LOT.

I know a box of pasta is supposed to feed 8, but I find 6 is the max. So with bread and salad - you know boys that will actually eat salad??!! - you're safe with 6 per pound. It also depends if you're putting lots of gooey cheese in there. That will add some bulk. I'd figure 6 people to a pound of pasta just to be safe. Good thing about baked ziti is it freezes great. If you get too much and end up with leftovers, freeze it and you have some suppers ready to go! Are you making it yourself or buying it ready made? If you're making it, use those tinfoil trays that way you can wrap them in foil and freeze if you have leftovers! Altho I don't know many people who have enough glass dishes to make enough baked ziti for 50 lol!! Guess you'd be using the trays anyway!

I make something my mother-in-law called Company Casserole - it's really easy to make, and very similar to baked ziti.

I've only made a tray or two at a time so you'd have to do the math to increase it for 50. And you can leave out anything you don't like - it won't matter.

1 pound wide egg noodles
Sauteed ground beef (about a pound)
Diced green pepper and onions
1 package cottage cheese (or sour cream)
1 package cream cheese
1 package ricotta cheese
spaghetti sauce (I often use jar sauce for this - one large jar is good for a pound of noodles)

Cook the noodles and drain, mix with the sauce, ground beef, diced green peppers and onions and put a layer in a casserole dish or foil baking pan. Combine 3 cheeses and "dollop" on top, here and there, then top with another layer of noodle mixture and keep doing that until everything is gone, making sure you top with a layer of noodle mixture. Bake at 350 for about a half hour until heated thru.

I've used various macaroni shapes if I don't have the egg noodles, I've made it with and without the meat, with red peppers instead of green, and as I said, I almost always use jar sauce for this. I also tend to use the sour cream instead of the cottage cheese just because I'm not a cottage cheese fan. And it freezes great as well in case you want to make multiple batches and freeze some for later use. Just pop it in the oven - everything's pretty much cooked already so you're just heating it thru and "cooking" the cheeses a bit.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 3:18PM
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I am doing that identical dinner for a bunch of college kids next month, but I will have closer to 100.....and my group will be more than 1/2 girls!

I don't plan like pounds of pasta....cooked pasta is cheap...I cook lots then mix up "batches" for casseroles...I figure with adults that each heaped 8 1/2 by 11...I repeat heaped casserole will serve 20....I will figure it will serve 16 your case I would figure 12 to 15.
I have 15 pounds of lean hamburger. 10 pounds of cheese, 10 cans of tomatoes (40 oz) and lots of tomato paste.
I am figuring that for every 1 pound of pasta, I will use 1 1/4 pounds of meat, cooked and drained....thinking about 2 1/2 cups. Each pound will take one can of tomatoes and about 1 1/2 cups tomato paste, with some broth, and a cup or more of cooked chopped onion, celery and whatever else is on sale....likely carrots but perhaps zucchini....and 1 pound of cheese....mix all together and pile into a casserole. top with more cheese and move on to the next casserole. I plan to make 10 casseroles like that and figure there will be 2 leftover....but, I will have a use for them the following Tuesday.
I will cook the meat, drain the fat, add chopped onion and celery, tomato paste water or chicken broth, tomato paste, oregano garlic basil dry parsley and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Then start tossing cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes and cheese and filling casseroles.
If you are not fussy ab out pasta shapes, Dollar Tree often has amazing deals on things like R and F, Muellers, Barilla etc....I bought a boat load of ziti for $.69 a pound.
I make a honey mustard that teens seem to like....quite sweet....but they won't eat a lot! Just pasta and bread!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:22PM
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You will need at least 10 lbs. of Ziti or Rigatoni
Use you own Sauce. I'll put mine in if you want.
Use a lot of Sauteed Sausage and Grind Meat in the Sauce,
and Crushed Tomatoes.

Rigotta mixture:

For every 1 lb. Container of Rigotta

Mix in Parmesan or Romano Cheese
Garlic Powder and Onion Powder
Parsley Flakes or Chopped fresh Parsley
Provolone chopped
1 Beaten egg
Salt to taste

Mix all this in a bowl

You can make all the Baked Ziti in Alluminum Baking tray's and freeze them.

Put some sauce in the bottom , lay in some Cooked Ziti, then some Rigotta mix.
Some more Ziti and Sauce and more Rigotta mix (leave lumps)

You can make 3 layers top with Sauce and Cover with Foil.
Bake at 350 Deg. For about 1/2 hour.
If too watery on top, Bake with out the foil a few minutes.


PS : If I was a good swimmer I would come and help !!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 4:32PM
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Like Lou, I was thinking a pound of dried pasta for every 5 people. I arrived at this as a compromise between a pound for every 4 (more than you need I think) and a pound for every 6 (could be slightly skimpy).

Like Lisa, I would figure a large jar of sauce per pound of pasta. If you make your own sauce I would base the sauce on a large can of crushed tomatoes per pound of pasta.

All the other ingredients are pretty flexible. I think you can eyeball the amounts based on your experience.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:31PM
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Ellen's Kitchen has a great section on quantity cooking.

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

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 6:37PM
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You all are wonderful! Thanks so much!

Looks like I've been cut back on the amount of ziti. The coach thinks it's too much cheese before the game the next day. So, I'll make one tray of ziti, and we are going to have the boys cook, and cook, and cook pasta. I'm really curious to see how much pasta 40 some teenage boys actually go through!

And Lou, no swimming necessary. I'm guessing you are thinking of the Sharon who lives on Mallorca, or someplace equally wonderful (oh, how I would love to be a Sharon who lives on an island!). I'm just in NJ. :-)

Thanks again!!

Sharon S.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 12:04PM
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One pound of uncooked ziti will make about 9 cups of cooked pasta.
Just for figuring purposes, cook a pound of pasta and take a cup and a half and put it on a plate. I think you'll see that it's a big serving, especially when you figure cheese and meat and veggies in with it.
A typical baked pasta dish that I make contains about 13 to 14 oz of pasta cooked, 2 cups of meat, 2 cups of veggies and cheese and 3 cups of sauce. That will fill an 8 1/2 by 11 casserole heaped full and serve 20 adults....or 15 to 18 teens....with salad and garlic bread.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:56AM
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One large aluminum tin feed 10-12 as a main course....thats how i do it for catering.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 8:20AM
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