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AIBU to panic about catering for 40 people

(61 Posts)
M0rven Sun 21-Aug-16 17:40:57

I have 40 people coming for lunch next weekend for a family party. I'm not a confident hostess or cook so I'm now getting a bit stressed.

WIBU to just do a cold buffet ? I was thinking cold meat, cheese, salads .

It's mostly teenagers so I was going to get sausages / burgers for them to BBQ if it's dry .

How do I know the right quantities ?

Any tips / suggestions welcome .

Amelie10 Sun 21-Aug-16 18:08:57

What type of event is it?
I think teens would enjoy burgers/ sausages with a variety of fillings. Grilled onions, pickles, Cole slaw, grilled veg. Skewers can be marinated and prepped beforehand and make nice BBQ food as well.
Cold meat, cheeses are a bit lame everyday food, not really proper lunch food.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 21-Aug-16 18:21:39

Wow your barmy, unless you love that kind of thing. How did you agree to that! Yes cold buffet, fine, I think you can order party food from M&S or Wairose if you just could not face it. Oh what I did for dd holy communion, I ordered loads if take away and laid it out on the table for people to help themselves. We catered for 15, people, it was so yummy and took the stress out of cooking. Tgey give you lots so you don't have to order as much.

poisonedbypen Sun 21-Aug-16 18:25:31

I find it far less stressful to do something hot. Chilli,/veg chilli, lasagne (Costco if you have one nearby & want to cheat), macaroni cheese, shepherds pie etc etc. Serve with salad,garlic bread etc.

foursillybeans Sun 21-Aug-16 18:31:18

Are you confident making lasagne or curry?
Both with jacket potatoes (no faffing with rice)

Or even just jacket potatoes with a loads of fillings.
Chilli (made a day or two in advance)
Chicken tikka (from a jar)

Don't stress. It will be fine. Also could a few relatives bring puddings? Ask 4 people to bring one big/two small puds each and then just prepare fruit yourself. Sorted.

Jenni2legs Sun 21-Aug-16 18:41:58

What I'd do;
Have a bean chilli going in the slow cooker
80 buns
40 burgers (10 of which veggie)
40 sausages (some a pack of Linda McCartney)
Grated cheese (5 bags of basics)
Wedges (5bags of)
American mustard

A massive pesto pasta with two bags pasta, two tubs of pesto, a box of cherry tomatoes, a cucumber and a bag of toasted pinenuts - I'd buy vegan pesto so there's a diary free option (this keeps well if it doesn't get finished)

Giant watermelon scooped out and filled with fruit (including the watermelon) frozen mango and pineapple would be good here

Three sheet cakes or if I could get to Costco a carrot, chocolate fudge and another big cake

I'd also do pimms as its a cheap way to stretch alcohol

Chilli burgers/ dogs

M0rven Sun 21-Aug-16 18:50:37

Thanks for all these ideas.

I'm not happy doing hot food because i have to be out at church all morning and will only get home at the same time as the guests, as its a first Holy Communion .

Is a cold buffet really too boring and not special enough ? I was thinking of

Cold meats - usual various naice ham etc
Fish platter with smoked salmon, mousse , prawns
Naice cheeses
Quiche ( bought)
Salads - coleslaw , potatoes salad, green and other vegetable salads , pasta salad
Crudités and dips
BBQ for for teens - thanks Amelie for the suggestions. I only have two vegetarians ( both teens ) so will get veggie BBQ stuff too. Neither require a seperate grill .

good idea to ask peope to bring puddings. My scope for this limited as the guest list is

15 adults
5 children
20 teenagers

I've not counted pre school children as they don't eat much. And I've counted the teens seperately as IME they don't each much of the " adult food " unless there's nothing else .

The teens are all family / friends kids , mostly 12-16 years old, so they prefer to run around the garden screaming and eating pizza rather than getting drunk upstairs or making polite conversation with granny while sipping prosecco .

M0rven Sun 21-Aug-16 19:03:38

I love the pesto pasta idea , can I do this the night before or will the cucumber go soggy ? Where do I buy tubs of pesto - ive only seen jars ?

Are Linda McCartney the best veggie Sausages ? And where do I get veggie burgers that are not good and rubbery ?

( sorry for all the questions )

Will look out for the watermelon - often the ones I've seen here are expensive and tiny .

We have no Costco ( I don't have a card anyway ) but we do have aldi and lidl #downmarketarea

listsandbudgets Sun 21-Aug-16 19:04:54

Well you've partially answered your own question then. Order a variety of deluvered pizza for the teens. Seriously. Add in various crisps and dips and they'll be very happy people. I've seen it done at big parties and it always seems to go down well.

Put out a cold spread as you've suggested for adults.

HeCantBeSerious Sun 21-Aug-16 19:07:13

I'd use snipped up baby spinach rather than cucumber in that pasta salad (and no tomatoes). Toms (if you must) on the side.

RaggyDoll1 Sun 21-Aug-16 19:08:01

Love the watermelon idea Jenni . Our local Asian supermarket has massive ones, I could barely carry it

maisyanddaisy Sun 21-Aug-16 19:10:58

The best veggie burgers by miles are Linda McCartney mozarella burgers. YUM.

AppleSetsSail Sun 21-Aug-16 19:13:39

I've always found chicken drumsticks to be a great crowd-pleaser - cheap, easy, impossible to screw up.

Giant vat of pasta salad done in advance - olive oil, celery salt, parmesan, dill for seasoning; red/orange/yellow pepper, cucumber, carrot, olives, red onion, red cabbage - in a pinch I make this with Paul Newman's Italian dressing and it's beautiful.

Wrenniecat1970 Sun 21-Aug-16 19:25:55

I once hosted a party for this number and segregated the food into child / adult, as you are suggesting regarding your BBQ. Problem was that the guests had no idea the children's food was separate and there was no way of " policing" this division of the food. In the end the children's food was gobbled up unintentionally by the grown ups. Trying to control what 40 people eat will be tricky especially if the BBQ smells lovely. Your menu sounds great to me . I would make the quiches mind you as shop bought are inexplicably expensive per potion given what goes into them. And yes, ask best friend / easy going/ local guest to bring a pud. Catering on this scale justifies such a request but If you think any guest might be offended by such a request then simply don't ask them. Hope you have a lovely time. Xxxx

M0rven Sun 21-Aug-16 19:26:29

< scribbles frantically >

Can any advise on qualities for soft drinks?

Teens will drink very little alcohol ( I don't mean in general, just not this lot as they are mostly younger teens and there with family and we don't have beer or alcopops as none of the adults drink them )

adults won't drink much - some are driving, some are teetotal. Mostly wine / cava / prosecco kinda stuff

So I need lots of nice non alcoholic drinks , as well as lots of soda for teens

M0rven Sun 21-Aug-16 19:35:37 not thought about that Wrennie cat. I'll maybe get some more BBQ food, as its the kind of thing that I can freeze later if not used on the day ( I mean uncooked of course ) .

Any suggestions for easy and popular pudding for teens ? When they were younger I just did tubs of ice cream with sauces and sweets for toppings, which always went down well .

But I think I need to do sometime a little bit more fancy now

( you can see that my culinary expertise is limited )

TheSpottedZebra Sun 21-Aug-16 19:38:40

For pudding, you could just get tubs of brownies/flapjacks/mini rolls and those giant cookies from instore bakeries in supermarkets? Add some berries maybe?

Or - a load of bought in meringues, and use those for mini pavlovas?

Or if you have freezer room, and it's going to be hot, an array of ice lollies, magnums etc?

TheSpottedZebra Sun 21-Aug-16 19:39:51

You can make the above pretty and more special with a nice display I meant to say.

teacher54321 Sun 21-Aug-16 19:41:05

Go to Costco and stock up on cans of a variety of fizzy drinks. The Sanpellegrino ones are lovely and they do trays of 30 diet cokes for about £6. Means they won't go flat if they don't get used on the day and you can use them up later. What's your budget? A friend of mine got a local butcher to bring a massive BBQ to her back garden for a party and they brought local sausages and burgers and salads for a certain cost per head. they did the cooking as well. No idea how much it cost but catering for 40 people isn't going to be cheap-I always spend a fortune on buffet food. Costco do do massive platters of sandwiches etc and they are nice.

GrumpyOldBag Sun 21-Aug-16 19:44:51

Keep it simple but good.

Whole poached salmon - think you can order from Waitrose.

Cold thinly sliced roast beef - cook the day before.

Potato salad (make the day before)

Lots of green salad - buy ready washed mixed leaves. Chuck in some ripe avocado.

Decent italian bread - focaccacia, ciabatta, or baguette.

Chocolate brownies, make day before. Fresh raspberries and cream.

HeCantBeSerious Sun 21-Aug-16 19:46:25

Go to Costco and stock up on cans of a variety of fizzy drinks

The OP said they're nowhere near Costco.

I actually think it would be much easier to cook a couple of hot dishes the day before, and warm them up on the day, than it would to faff around with a load of buffet stuff.

If only a cold buffet, I'd keep it really simple - bread, cheese, cold meat, sausage rolls, grapes, celery, salad, coleslaw, crisps

Ordering pizzas for the teens is a brilliant idea!

If you can't get people to do puds, I'd be tempted to just do icecream cones, a couple of trifles and some chocolate brownies.

ClashCityRocker Sun 21-Aug-16 19:56:12

Seriously, what you've got planned so far sounds fine. I'd maybe add some nice bread, but I'm a bugger for bread.

If not many drinking I'd maybe do a few jugs of something non alcoholic but a bit fancy - maybe a nice elderflower cordial with fizzy water or something of that ilk?

I'd also be tempted to say to guests eg I'll supply prosecco for a toast, beer and wine (if you're happy to do so) but bring anything else you fancy.

ClashCityRocker Sun 21-Aug-16 19:57:28

Puddings - if you've got the BBQ out for the teens, I'd just melt some chocolate and get them to make marshmallow and fruit kebabs, or just get some chocolate sauce

lasttimeround Sun 21-Aug-16 20:00:39

For no stress mass feeding i make a big vat of this chorizo stew thing (the chorizo is expensive but otherwise it's just chickpeas onions passata so actually really cheap- and sometimes I substitute dome if the chorizo with bacon to keep costs down) but it's lovrly punchy and flavourful . Good bread for mopping if up, some cheeses as extra or girl the veggies olives, some salad cherry tomatoes butter. Feeds 40 fairly cheaply xnd uou can make it the day before do you only have to reheat (it's actually better that way) do no cooking stress on day of the do. Plus some nibbles and drinks. For pudding easiest is big tubs of decent icecream say vanilla snd chocolate plus various bits people can sprinkle on themselves - Malteasers, fruit.sauces. people can make sundaes and posh folks can make affogato (purchase coffee) or pour over limoncello or baileys if your feeling fancy. If u oh have some nice glasses this evening feels fancy.
You can cook a day or two jn advance and the rest is just assembly. You can buy extra cheese and ice cream if you're worried about quantities. It'll all keep. If you are interested pm me for recipe. It needs smoked paprika snd chorizo obv but that's it in terms rarer ingredients

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