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How much to cook?

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Alanna H

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How much to cook?

by Alanna H » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:16 pm

My son started high school this year, and joined the football team. I found out that the parents provide dinner to the boys before every Friday night game. Some parents just donate enough money to cover pizzas and some parents actually provide meals. I volunteered to do a meal like a good football mom...but I have no idea how to go about providing dinner for 60 people, and I only have a few weeks to figure it out!

To those of you in the catering or restaurant business, how do you determine how much food to make? We can't use the school facilities to actually prepare and cook the food, but we can use it to heat up already cooked stuff. So I was thinking of just making spaghetti. It's easy, and since pasta itself is so cheap I would really only have to spend money on hamburger, Ragu, and garlic bread. I figured I could cook it at home and just mix the pasta and meat sauce ahead of time, and fill up a bunch of large aluminum serving pans. Those should be easy to transport to the school and get heated up.

I'm terrified of not making enough food, but I refuse to take the easy path and just shell out for pizza, since they have that A LOT. If anybody has any other ideas for easy and- the key here!- cheap ideas to feed 60 players and staff, I will gladly listen to your suggestions :-)
Last edited by Alanna H on Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Suzi Bernert

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Re: How much to cook?

by Suzi Bernert » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:34 pm

Check out GFS for large amounts of ingredients. The prices are actually pretty good and no card is needed. I do not know if it is still in print, but I used to have a book called "Food for Fifty" I used when I got a job cooking at a fraternity house many (many, many) years ago to figure out portions. It may be available in the library. I imagine there are some internet sites that would be helpful. A suggestion - under cook the pasta a bit and when you put the sauce on make it a little "soupy". The pasta will finish cooking in the heating process and thicken the sauce. Learned from many years of pot lucks when my kids were in scouts and sports. Have Fun!! :D
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Re: How much to cook?

by Alanna H » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:51 pm

Thanks so much for the advice, Suzi!
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Suzi Bernert

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Re: How much to cook?

by Suzi Bernert » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:45 pm

Oh... and chili is good for large groups. Since locally it is liked with spaghetti (not by me), you could stretch it pretty far. Chili, crackers or cornbread, done.
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Robin Garr

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Re: How much to cook?

by Robin Garr » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:06 pm

Suzi Bernert wrote:Oh... and chili is good for large groups. Since locally it is liked with spaghetti (not by me), you could stretch it pretty far. Chili, crackers or cornbread, done.

This might be an even better idea than spaghetti, although either should work. I'm just thinking that spaghetti for 60 would call for 120 ounces of dry pasta at least, or 7 1/2 pounds which would require a mighty big pot! Or several ...
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Re: How much to cook?

by Alanna H » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:20 pm

I thought about chili, too, but figured that with spaghetti I just have to buy pasta (pretty cheap), and then beef and sauce, whereas with chili I have to buy beans, chili base, tomatoes, beef, etc. Unless I come up with a better idea I'm just going to make pot after pot and fill up those big aluminum serving trays. Why did I volunteer for this again???
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Re: How much to cook?

by Joel F » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:09 am

Am I mistaken in thinking that Sam's Club offers "food service" size packages of stuff in the frozen foods section -- in addition to the canned goods? And that this might also apply to Costco?

This might lighten your workload considerably if you can use the school's ovens to heat up trays of XYZ and then serve a fresh veg on the side...
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Re: How much to cook?

by Alanna H » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:19 am

Thanks, Joel! I've never been to Sam's or Costco, but I will check them out along with GFS. I appreciate it!
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Re: How much to cook?

by Joel F » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:27 am

Both require memberships...

I'm seeing large size things here... mac-n-cheese, lasagna...

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/entrees/1516.cp
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Re: How much to cook?

by Robin Garr » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:01 pm

Joel F wrote:Both require memberships...

And some say that Costco is good/liberal and Sam's is evil/conservative. 8)
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Dan Thomas

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Re: How much to cook?

by Dan Thomas » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:34 pm

If you are cooking for teenage boys that play football, I would probably up my amount by at least 1/2. Teenage boys have an almost insatiable appetite. When I was that age and playing football, one of the parents bought us an insane amount of White Castles and I had about 10 just myself. :roll:

One thing I would consider is a taco bar. Easy to put together, it travels well and it would be a big hit. You could probably pull it off for about $2-2.50a person. As Suzi pointed out the GFS Marketplace is a great place to shop for an event like this. PM me if you need help with costing out your menu and I can make suggestions about some items to help make your job a little easier. I do a lot of catering still

Personally even if you just do spaghetti, which probably seems cheap until you start doing the math. (You'll need at least 25# of ground beef for that many people and it's $3.50 a #)
I don't see you getting away with spending any less than 100 bucks. People tend to forget that you also are going to have to have something to eat with, off of, drinks, cups and ice etc. They don't exactly don't give that stuff away either. Do you give them some cookies or brownies for dessert? Just things to consider.
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Alanna H

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Re: How much to cook?

by Alanna H » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:23 pm

Thanks, Dan! Just sent you a PM :-)

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