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ELLEN'S KITCHEN

Plan Your Sandwich Event

Planning guide
Quantity tables
Recipes for bulk sandwich fillings

Sandwiches on every side

Sandwich events come in a wide range of flavors, from a stand up tea to a picnic. You may be planning a graduation event or a Super Bowl party. On the plus side, it is popular, can be relatively easy to organize and prepare, easy to eat and has quick cleanup. On the down side, it is a relatively expensive lunch, and for an all day event, sandwiches must be discarded and fresh ones put out every two hours. Prep time is up to 3-4 hours for 100 assembled sandwiches. Preparation can only be done one day in advance, trays must be refrigerated and cannot be stacked, and leftovers cannot be frozen. You also need to offer a second choice for the vegetarian or non-meat eater if your main sandwich is meat-based.

One way to simplify preparing a sandwich meal is to offer the buns and bread separately and the fillings to be assembled by the eater. This also prevents wasting unused sandwiches. Again, the fillings should only be at room temperature for two hours, so plan your serving bowl size to match this. In addition, this service can really slow down a buffet line- one solution is to portion out the meats or fillings onto paper sheets or cups (as done at some commercial sub shops), allowing the diner to quickly select the serving desired.

Serving Choices

Preassembled sandwiches require careful storage to stay moist and cannot be saved once they have been on the table for a couple of hours. Since it takes time to construct a sandwich, a self serve sandwich bar is most often practical for teens or for informal events such as sports rallies where time is not an issue. You can reduce costs of sandwich events by both service and menu choices. Box lunches give the tightest portion control, limiting both the size and number of sandwiches. Pre-made sandwiches do reduce the size of each sandwich. Even with self service, you can portion out each 2 ounce serving of meats into a fold of deli paper, as they do at a popular fresh sandwich chain. Most people will take just one. As a general rule, there is less waste with self serve.

Save Meat: Expand Your Menu

There are also many ways to cut the meat consumption by expanding the sandwich menu design. The most obvious is to offer at least one non-meat sandwich filling. You can add a baked beans or soup; it only takes 5 large crockpots (or 1 1/2 Nesco roasters) to provide soup or beans for 100 people. A heavy appetizer such as chili con queso or 7 layer bean dip with crackers or chips will reduce the amount of sandwiches eaten. For a self serve sandwich bar, offer an Italian olive salad or artichoke relish to add to the sandwiches. You can add at least one heavy side dish. How about a salad such as bean or potato salad or Texas caviar, or a side dish like baked beans, scalloped potatoes or macaroni and cheese in a crockpot, or a baked potato bar. Offer a relish tray with about 2 ounces of veggies and 1 1/2 tablespoons of thick dressing per person, approximately 12 pounds of vegetables. Provide a modest portion of potato chips, 6 pounds or 8 pounds of corn chips. Place your breads, soup and sides ahead of the meats in the self-service line. Large Desserts help, too. Large cookies or bar cookies, fresh fruit, and frozen treats make great sandwich desserts.

Stop Soggy Sandwiches

For preassembled sandwiches, select the fillings that suit your schedule needs. It takes one person about 4 hours to assemble 100 fancy sandwiches, including making the filling. Make meat sandwiches no earlier than 1 day ahead. Make filled sandwiches with spreads and cream cheese sandwiches for the same day, or within 24 hours, if possible. Spread soft butter or mayo in a thin layer all the way to the edge of the bread no matter what kind of filling. Mix sandwich fillings on the dry side, just loose enough to spread.

Tomatoes and pickles are real "sog sisters". If possible, serve them on the side and let the eaters put them on. You can even do this in a box lunch, and it looks nice in the little baggie with a couple of carrot curls. Slice tomatoes vertically up and down instead of into the more common horizontal slices; they release less juice. While slicing, scrape away most of the tomato seeds. They can go into your stock pot along with end pieces. Drain both pickle slices and tomato slices as well as washed lettuce on paper towels before assembling into sandwiches. If you have doubts about how long a sandwich will be good, make up some test sandwiches and check it out.

You can order specialty breads and rolls from any good bakery at very little extra cost. Small cocktail sandwich rolls are about 10 per pound, "turkey rolls" are 5 per pound, hamburger rolls are 4 per pound, sourdough, Kaisers or hoagies about 3 per pound. Croissants or mini croissants are beautiful at weddings and receptions. Fresh "Pullman loaves" have flat tops and a tight texture and are especially easy to work with for tea sandwiches.

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Ellen's Kitchen Sandwiches for 100
Premade closed sandwiches
self serve
Allow at least 120 sandwiches for each 100 guests 1 pound shaved deli meat makes 5 regular sandwiches or 8 light sandwiches
1 pound regular sliced meat such as turkey, brisket or corned beef makes 3 1/2 to 4 sandwiches
1 gallon sandwich filling
(recipes below)
makes about 30 sandwiches
To add cheese (1 ounce serving) 7 pounds, presliced
add a pound if you have to slice by hand
Bread or rolls 14 pounds loaf bread
OR 120 rolls
Sandwich Combos
Self Serve
reception
Ham/cold cuts (2 ounce serving) 14 pounds
Cheese (1 oz serving) 7 pounds
Bread or rolls 11 pounds loaf bread
OR100 rolls
meal
Ham/cold cuts (3 ounce serving) 24 pounds
Cheese (1 oz serving) 10 pounds
Bread or rolls 17 pounds loaf bread
OR 160 rolls
Big sandwich or teen hoagie meal
self serve
Ham/cold cuts (4-5 ounce serving) 40 pounds
Cheese (2 ounce serving) 20 pounds
Bread or rolls 22 pounds loaf bread
OR 180 regular rolls
OR 120 hoagie rolls
Where the table shows ham or cold cuts, this is pre-sliced one ounce slice. For hand-sliced roasted meats, you will use up to twice as much, or more if you do not have a carving person and the diners carve for themselves.
Chicken, Tuna, or Egg Salad
luncheon salad (1 cup serving) 6 gallons
reception (1/2 cup serving) 3 to 4 gallons
sandwich meal
self serve (1 cup for 2 sandwiches)
7 to 8 gallons
Bread or rolls 14 pounds loaf bread
OR 120 rolls
Open Face Sandwiches
small openface tea sandwiches, fingers or rolls
24 dozen pieces
single slice
such as cheese toast
12 dozen slices
1 1 1/2 pound loaf makes 16-20
hot sandwiches with gravy
1 per person
1 1/2 pound loaf makes 16-20
2 1/2 ounces ready to eat meat plus 1/4 cup gravy per person
Sandwich Fixings for Self Serve Sandwich Bar
Use All
7-10 heads of lettuce cored rinsed and broken for sandwiches,
12-14 pounds tomatoes sliced,
one gallon total sliced olives, pickles and peppers,
10 big red or sweet onions (7 pounds) thin sliced and soaked overnight in the refrigerator in water with a few tablespoons of sugar added.
mayonnaise, 2-3 quarts and/or
butter, 2-4 pounds soft
mustard, 18 ounces to 2 1/2 quarts
ketchup, 80-112 ounces
double for French fries
pickle relish, 3 quarts
sauerkraut or slaw on sandwiches, 2 qallons
For coney sauce for 100 or hot dog chili for 100, see these recipes: Coney sauce and Hot Dog/Nacho chili, which is also great for chili cheese fries.

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Chicken Salad Sandwich Filling-

40 sandwiches

9 cups (4 1/2 pounds)chicken meat, cooked ready to eat, finely shredded or chopped
3 cups finely chopped celery
1 cup parsley leaf, fresh, chopped Use flat Italian parsley if you can get it, much better texture and flavor
4 ounces pickle relish OR 1 cup thin sliced almonds
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups salad dressing (vinegrette type) OR 1 quart mayonaisse
lemon pepper and salt to taste

Mix well, add additional dressing as needed to make it spread easily. Spread on well-buttered bread allowing about 2 ounces per sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will make 9 full size sandwiches or cut into 36 tea sandwiches. Yield: Filling for 40 full size sandwiches.

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Egg Salad Sandwich Filling ("Egg Mayonaisse")

40 sandwiches, approx. 1 egg per sandwich

36 hard-cooked eggs, chilled, finely mashed or grated you don't have to boil and peel the eggs. They can be done in the oven. Check the Eggs faqs
OPTIONAL 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped OR 1 small onion, grated
4 cups parsley leaf, fresh, chopped Use flat Italian parsley if you can get it, much better texture and flavor
2 teaspoons dry mustard OR spicy brown mustard to taste
4 cups mayonaisse, divided
salt, pepper and Bon Appetit fours or Mrs. Dash seasoning to taste
OPTIONAL paprika or 3/4 cup chutney for garnish

Combine all ingredients thoroughly, starting with 1/2 the mayonaisse and adding more as needed to get a satisfactory texture for spreding. Spread on well-buttered bread allowing 2 ounces per double sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will yield 9 double sandwiches or 36 tea sandwiches. Yield: Filling for 40 double sandwiches.

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Cream Cheese and Tasty Mix-In Sandwich Filling

30 sandwiches

3 pounds cream cheese
1 pint (16 ounces) sour cream
3 cups tasty mix-in such as

  • chopped raisins or dates with chopped pecans
  • drained crushed pineapple
  • drained chopped cucumber
  • minced celery with chopped walnuts
  • finely shredded dried beef or corned beef with chopped green onions and a dab of mustard
  • chopped black olive and pimento
  • lemon marmalade with sliced almonds and finely chopped dried apricots or golden raisins

    Don't let cream cheese or cream cheese sandwiches sit around for hours at room temperature. It is a bit harder to work in the sour cream when the cheese is cold, but this is a food safety issue. Mash the cream cheese, mash in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add the chosen sweet or savory mix-in. Mix well, add additional sour cream if needed to make it spread easily. Allow about 1/2 cup per sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will make 9 double sandwiches or 36 tea sandwiches.

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    Salmon Cream Cheese Sandwich Filling or Logs

    30 sandwiches or 6 small logs
    3 pounds cream cheese
    3 cups chopped green onions
    1 1/2 pounds smoked salmon, finely chopped
    3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    Blend all ingredients in bowl until well mixed. Pack into log or loaf and shape into ball and refrigerate several hours until it holds its shape and is ready to serve.

    Don't let cream cheese or cream cheese sandwiches sit around at room temperature; after 2 hours, they have to be discarded. It is a bit harder to work in the sour cream when the cheese is cold, but this is a food safety issue. Mash the cream cheese, mash in the sour cream until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add the chosen sweet or savory mix-in. Mix well.
    For sandwiches, add additional sour cream if needed to make it spread easily. Allow about 1/2 cup per sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will make 9 double sandwiches or 36 tea sandwiches.
    For logs, roll into shredded almonds or a fresh chopped mix of dill and parsley mix and chill.

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    Deviled Ham Spread Sandwich Filling

    40 sandwiches

    4 pounds lean ham, liverwurst or luncheon meat, chilled and grated
    4 ounces pickle relish, drained
    12 green onions, finely chopped OR 1 small onion, grated
    1 tablespoon dried mustard
    1-2 cups mayonaisse

    Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Spread on well-buttered bread allowing 50 ml per double sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will yield 9 double sandwiches or 36 tea sandwiches.

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    Pimento Cheese Spread Sandwich Filling

    40 sandwiches
    Pimento cheese is a comfort food, people have strong opinions about it, and the flavor ranges from rather sweet to mustardy dill. Experiment.

    4 pounds cheese*, grated
    1 cup pickle, grated, or pickle relish, drained
    1 quart mayonaisse (may use part soft butter or cream cheese)
    4 large jars pimento or other roasted red pepper, well drained and chopped
    1-4 tablespoons dried mustard
    1-2 cups mayonaisse or to taste, added at the end to get correct consistency.

    *Cheese used is most often Velveeta, mild cheddar or Colby. Grind or grate it fresh, for some reason the pre-grated cheeses don't make nearly as good a spread. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Pickle may be dill or sweet. Experiment with small batches until you are very happy with it. Spread on well-buttered or mayo'd bread allowing 2-3 ounces per double sandwich. A 16 to 20 ounce sandwich loaf will yield 9 double sandwiches or 36 tea sandwiches.

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