Easy dinner entree for 50 people?

The local Ronald McDonald house is requesting recipe ideas for serving 50 or so people. They only have the kitchen basics and of course a limited budget. FYI - They are burnt out on spaghetti and lasagna. Any creative ideas?

  • Posted by: CaryNC
  • June 20, 2011


Dilee March 18, 2019
This was a hit feeding around 50 people preschool to older adults.
Pork loin (we smoked two whole loins, cut in half. One would not have been enough but two was too much. It freezes well.
Sweet potato disks (quick and easy from the frozen section in the grocery store)
Basic green salad
Fruit wasn’t touched much
Pound cake and Oreo dessert was devoured.
A frozen fluff dessert always goes over well. I’m not sure if that is what it’s called. But it can be served cold or frozen.

Dilee March 18, 2019
Oops, I just came across this. Embarrassed 😳. I didn’t realized this post was from 2011. Problem already solved. 😳😳😳
Maria T. June 26, 2011
Hi, these are some ideas that are not very expensive and adapt well to serving a croud:
Main dish:
Chicken Piri-Piri
Chicken with creamy Dijon mustard sauce
My Favourite One-Pot Spring Vegetables Stew
Poulet à la Provençale - Chicken Provence Style
Beef Strogonoff

For Dessert
Orange Salad with mint and Marsala

These recipes are all in my list on Food 52
healthierkitchen June 24, 2011
chicken Marbella
wssmom June 24, 2011
Chili, of course!
SKK June 21, 2011
@pauljoseph - Thank you so much for sharing the link from CIA. It is wonderful!
pauljoseph June 21, 2011
Honey and Mustard Roast Chicken or Basic Vinaigrette and Some Variations from Culinary Institute of America link above is very good we tried few at Napa Valley CIA long back really good
pauljoseph June 21, 2011
helpful link from Culinary Institute of America http://www.healthykitchens.org/downloads/mediaPG/Meals_On_Budget_FULL.pdf
Sam1148 June 20, 2011
One other thing you can do, is contact local universities---especially ones that have pharma corps catering lunches.
Find a contact point for departments.
They normally have lots of leftover (which the staff take home). Taking the leftovers to shelters is good. I used to do this at my Uni...much to the 'stink eye' of the people wanted leftovers.
sexyLAMBCHOPx June 20, 2011
I like the taco bar idea - ground beef, shredded chicken, and/or pork with all the traditional fixings. Cold bean salad, cole slaw, chips & guacomole, watermelon cut into big slices. Great Cause! Good luck!
Sam1148 June 20, 2011
Understand your problem. Making a dish for that many people many of whom are 'picky eaters' when it comes to 'good food', as it's unfamiliar to them, is difficult.

Mac and cheese is good. (but don't go fancy, they want neon cheese) you can find bulk powdered cheese online which is cheaper than buying boxes and boxes of kraft.

Another one that's a hit is a taco salad served on taco chips. Ground beef with taco seasoning (make your own) served on lettuce, tomatoes/green onions/olives/sourcream on the side as options. Catalina dressing and salsa as dressing options.
CaryNC June 20, 2011
I am leaning towards some panko breaded chicken strips. I think it would be enjoyed by the adults and children. Some dipping sauces on the side. Easy to make, affordable and nutritious. THANKS EVERYONE! I love this forum.
Bevi June 20, 2011
How about Pierino's porchetta with a nice side of sweet and sour un-mayonaised slaw? Then fresh fruit kabobs for dessert.
Ophelia June 20, 2011
I tend toward lasagna and moussaka when I'm cooking for lots of people, but... burritos are always pretty easy to make for a crowd or lemon roasted chicken (maybe just breasts and thighs?) with cucumber salad sounds heavenly right now (cucumber based salads are nice for big groups because you can make and dress them way ahead of time and they only get better).
Panfusine June 20, 2011
Hearty Chili served with pita bread
drbabs June 20, 2011
What about red beans and rice? (it's southern food!) You can even make it vegetarian, beans are cheap and can feed lots of people, and you can cook collards and other greens on the side. You could use those pork shoulder bones for the base for the red beans also. Pork one day, red beans the next.
SKK June 20, 2011
Another idea - order pizzas with different toppings and have vegetable and salad sides.
jls June 20, 2011
Nice big pot of jambalaya--minimal cost, feeds the masses...any time of year.
beyondcelery June 20, 2011
Kebabs, tabooli, and pita are a fairly neutral way to introduce people to that type of cuisine, and I've never had trouble with that menu even with picky eaters. But I've also been on the west coast my whole life. =) That chicken fingers idea might be your best ticket. Chicken fingers are also delicious dipped into hummus!
Waverly June 20, 2011
"Oven-fried" chicken fingers are easily made in large batches; are relatively healthy; and very pleasing to all ages. I would serve them with fresh fruit, rolls, and a tray of hummus with lots of fresh raw vegetables as suggested above. Bake Mrs. Larkin's sugar cookies for dessert.

Voted the Best Reply!

PIIHA June 20, 2011
How about Pulled Pork? It's an inexpensive cut of meat and once shredded, it makes a lot of portions.
Robin O. June 20, 2011
How about 2 or 3 slow cooked pork shoulders that you could serve with buns or corn tortillas and a big bowl of coleslaw.
ChefJune June 20, 2011
Cary, FWIW, the menu Syronai suggested would be PERFECT in 100 degree heat. But as you suggested, possibly not to folks who are not familiar with that cuisine.

For me "light" and "casserole" are mutually exclusive.

Perhaps a boneless chicken breast stuffed with, say, spinach, mushrooms and a dab of goat cheese? These can be prepared ahead of time and baked off on sheet pans.
CaryNC June 20, 2011
Let me expand. This is in North Carolina so Syronai while I would love that meal I am not sure how it would go over here in the south. And, with temperatures hovering near 100 during the day something light would probably be preferred. Maybe a light casserole type of dish??
SKK June 20, 2011
This is a great recipe and easy to make. http://www.food52.com/recipes/2962_secret_ingredient_beef_stew Easy to do a side dish of salad and vegetables.
beyondcelery June 20, 2011
How about hummus, quinoa tabooli, fresh veggies, pita, and kebabs with tzatziki? The meat would be the most expensive part of that. You could make them more like meatballs instead of kebabs, so they'd be easier to cook in mass quantities. Quinoa tabooli can also be made in a huge quantity, plus it's gluten-free, vegetarian, and high in protein so it should make any pick eaters pretty happy. For the chopped veggies to go with the hummus, I'd include: bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, and carrots.
sdebrango June 20, 2011
What about chili maybe with some corn muffins. Or are you looking for summerlike fare?
Recommended by Food52