Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Dinner for Thirty, Cheap and Easy

Just in case you ever need to cook a real meal for a crowd, here's a plan and shopping list that feeds thirty people for $60, and won't kill you to get it done.

Meat loaf:

5 lbs. ground chuck
2 lbs. ground turkey
2 packages frozen mirepoix mix (chopped onions, celery, carrots--sautee ahead of time)
bottle of ketchup
bottle of Worcestershire sauce
small box of oatmeal

Mashed potatoes:

lots of potatoes
bottle of half-and-half
pound of butter (don't use it all)

Big pot of mixed greens:

bag of kale
bag of collards
bag of turnip greens

Bowl of fruity jello:

8 small or 4 large boxes of raspberry jello
large can of sliced peaches in light syrup
3 cans pineapple tidbits in juice

This will not be the most elegant meal ever presented, but it will feed people comfortably for about two dollars a person.

Order of works:

Make the jello early in the day and leave in the fridge to set. Start the greens before lunch with some broth, bacon grease, and red pepper flakes. Mix the meat loaf around 3:30 and shape into four large loaves in a big roasting pan and stick in the oven. Last, peel those potatoes, cook and then mash. Dinner can be served at 6:00 and the clean up is not too bad.

You may never have to feed large groups of people. I, on the other hand, seem to have one of those chalk marks on me like tramps used to put on houses. But I don't mind! 


Cheryl said...

Your last sentence made me smile! We have said the same thing here, although at our house it's the stray cats that mark it to let the others know where they can find a good home.

Rose said...

Anna this makes me smile because it reminds me of (cough cough) thirty years ago when, as a teacher, I was part of a team of six (!) who took 120 sixteen year olds to the snow each year. We also had to cook with the boys' help which was of varied usefulness. Three meals a day for 120 was very err, basic.

I like this plan you've put together, it's very workable and tasty. I have no idea what "collard" or "turnip greens" are but I'm guessing this is a green salad with the meatloaf and potatoes.

Beloved's Redheaded Bride said...

Your last two sentences cracked me up. lt looks good for 2$ a person! When I get tagged I always do Spaghetti or Chili. Not elegant but no one complains.

Margo said...

love your hostess perspective! I would save a step with the mashed potatoes and just chunk them (no peeling), put in a covered casserole with some butter and salt and in the oven with the meatloaf. When they're soft, mash with a potato masher while adding some cream or milk, a bit more butter and salt/pepper to taste. This is my easy way of making mashed potatoes. I sometimes add garlic cloves to the mix, depending on who's eating.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

We are always feeding a crowd here! I really appreciate your including this menu, new ideas for meals for a crowd are always welcome!


WendyBee said...

Wonderful! I selfishly hope I never am called upon to feed 30 people. I am not the hostess I wish I were, and I would have a nervous breakdown, I think. But I do work at it, and I will keep this menu in mind "just in case".

Lisa said...

Amazing. Not the dinner so much as the idea that it seems a regular occurrence at your place.


SistersCloset said...

When I was a teen it was not uncommon for our family dinner of 5 to explode into dinner for 5 plus 4-6 hungry teen boys. My Brother's mates used to pop around just in time for dinner. We learnt to have pasta on hand. Cheap and easy to add as a filling side dish to any meal.

In Australia large numbers are catered for cheap via a 'sausage sizzle' Sausages bought in bulk, cooked on the barbie, onions will also be cooked. Sliced white bread (Or if you are being fancy- bread rolls) tomato sauce (ketchup) and a garden salad. Can't beat it!!

Rachel said...

Great post!!!

MissouriMother said...

But, using all of the butter in the potatoes would not be all that bad, right? :)

Lindsey in AL said...

I know this is a bit late but I'm wondering if you sautee the mirepoix before freezing. Or do you freeze the raw veg and sautee as needed? I have done the latter but would love to know if some wiser homemaker than I has done the former :)

Anna said...

Lindsey, I use a bag of frozen raw mirepoix from the grocery store--it's chopped carrots, onions, and celery. I throw it in the pot to saute without thawing it.

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