Of all the questions I get with regard to cooking for a crowd, the one most frequently asked is “How much do I make?”
I always counter with, “That depends. Who are you feeding? Are the diners being served or is this a buffet?”
Teens and older folks are two very different diners. Serving women vs a men-only group will require adjustments as men are most likely to have heartier appetites.
One of my greatest fears as a caterer was running out of food. The ONLY time that ever happened was underestimating the servings of steamed vegetables. I didn’t know my diners well and we had some real vege lovers in the group.
I catered that same Christmas luncheon for the next 5 years. I guarantee I never ran out of vegetables again.
The way I figure out how much to buy is to actually make the dish for family dinner and portion out reasonable servings.
I keep a folder with the printed recipes I am using. I note the number of serving on the printed recipe. This helps me when I begin my shopping list for the event.
I also make extra amounts, depending on the size of the group, say…5 extra servings for every 50-60 people. My goal is to have enough, but not a huge amount of leftovers.
Serving buffet style affects the amount one needs to make. People often take more than they can consume. The plate size also makes a difference. Give them a larger plate and human nature will compel us to fill it completely.
Serving the diners will keep portions controlled, but you will need extra kitchen helpers to make this work well.
In addition, I always pray, “Loaves and fishes, Lord, loaves and fishes!” His intervention allowed 5000 to be fed with 5 barley loaves and three fish with 12 baskets of leftovers!
I’m sharing today my recipe for Steamed Vegetables with a Chive and Sour Cream Sauce. And remember…”Enough is as good as a feast!”
I’m Sue Murphy, and I am
Confectionately Yours, Sue
Steamed Vegetables with a Chive and Sour Cream Sauce
Carrot, broccoli, and cauliflower mix, fresh or frozen (any amount)
½ c. butter
1 c. sour cream
¼-1/2 tsp seasoned salt, to taste
2 tsp. chives, dried or fresh
Melt butter, add sour cream and seasonings. Keep warm, but do not allow to boil.
Steam vegetables over simmering water until tender, about 10 minutes for frozen, 5-7 for fresh. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce on the side.
Note-Usually 1/3 to 1/2 cup is a vege serving (depending on those dining.)