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How much food to make?
I am hosting my daughter's first birthday party and we are planning on having 2 types of chili and a baked potato bar. We have 4 basic hor'dorves (Chips and Dip, Chips and Salsa, Pretzels, and Spinach Dip with Bread) We are also having cake and ice cream for dessert. I want to know how much chili of each kind we need to make as well as the amount of toppings needed. We have invited 48 people, and 6 are children 10 and younger.
The beef chili calls for 1 lb of meat and we were planning on doing 5 times the recipe.
The chicken chili calls for 1.5 lb of meat and we were planning on doubling the recipe.
We also plan on having 20 lbs of potatoes, for baked potatoes as well, approximately 50 potatoes.
Thanks so much for your time!
Happy birthday, kidlet~!
If the chili is to top the potatoes, you are fine. If it is to be served in bowls with sides, you need about 18 pounds total meats.
You are good for potatoes.
Lori Cook
This is my first catering job. I will be catering my cousins wedding. No one would cater the a wedding due to being short notice. The groom has been serving our country and is on leave to get married. We will be serving 150 people.

I need to know how may pounds of cheesy potatoes and broccoli with butter sauce to make.

Thank you very much!

If you use the cheesy potatoes recipe at the bottom of the festive family brunch page, it will direct you on the amounts. You would need 3 electric roasters. For the broccoli, you want 33-35 pounds ready to cook.
You need to read the wedding dinner article. You will need to plan on 2 other kitchen persons and 6-8 servers/cleaners to set up, serve and clean up this size party.
Having family of 35 for christmas. Serving toupie ham,roast beef(boneless blade), mashed potatoes,potato delight,baby carrots, niblets corn,turnip and salad.Please let me know number of pounds of meat and potatoes to prepare. Thank-you so much for your help. I am a stressed novice for this. Answer ASAP Please
Hi Marie,

I have been doing this a long time. When I cook an elaborate holiday meal for 35, I start 2-3 days ahead and arranged to have at least 2 pleasant skilled helpers the day of, so the first thing is, GET SOME HELP.

This is a nice menu by the way. Usually I would explain that you can find all this info in the tables already, but in honor of your nerves, I am going to lay it out for you here:

toupie ham,roast beef(boneless blade),
This ham is usually a whole, boneless well trimmed already cooked ham which is reheated for 5-7 minutes per pound at 350. You want 1 pound for each 4 people.
The beef shrinks about 1/3 from raw, and you want to end up with 5-6 ounces ready to eat per person. So you start with 2 pounds for every 4-5 people.

mashed potatoes,
potato delight,
Not sure what potato delight is, but you want at least 15 pounds raw potatoes between the 2 dishes. I would make my freezable, holdable mashed potatoes 2 days ahead.

baby carrots, 8 pounds
niblets corn, 8 pounds
turnip 6 pounds

salad- Make one of my salads that hold and make 1/3 the amount for 100. Make 1-2 days ahead.

beverages You want coffee and a sugar free drink. See the beverage planning page. about 1/4 the amount for 100, assuming you will have wine or other grown up drinks also. Don't forget the water, either.

desserts- people love to try a variety of desserts, have 1 each of 3-4 different kinds for each person cut/made in small (2-3 bite) pieces. You can make brownies, lemon bars, small cookies several days ahead.

Thank-you so much for your welcomed and much appreciated help. Merry Christmas and Happy,Healthy New Year to you and all your staff. Marie
how much pork & sauerkraut do I make for 16 people
Marie, I had to chuckle. I am all my staff...(except for my darling webmaster).

You need about 7-8 pounds raw boneless pork and 2 quarts of sauerkraut- a bit more if they are kraut lovers- for party size portions.

I have a recipe for Farfalle Pasta salad that normally serves 6 with 1 1/2 C. I guess that is if it is a main course.
1 lb pasta
3 C mixed veggies, chopped (tomatoes,artichokes,peppers)
5 oz feta
1 C fresh herbs
I am preparing the food for a friend's wedding reception with the help of 5 other friends. It will be for 100 and available around 7 (as the wedding is at 6).
Here's the menu
Pork Tenderloin with rolls
Chicken Tenders
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Poppers
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Roasted Red Pepper Cheesecake
Killer Shrimp Dip
Cold Pasta Salad
Fancy Pimento Cheese Sandwiches and
Rolled Olive Spread sandwiches

I know there are 2 chicken appetizers but that is what my friend wants.

The quantity of each is what I am confused with. Can you help?

Thanks so much. Denise

Yes, but I can't work on this till Friday- and the sandwiches are fiddly and time consuming to make, only last two hours and can't be re-used if not eaten. Would your friend consider serving these two items as spreads and letting people make their own? Also, will liquor be served, and how long is the reception?
She might go along with an olive spread or dip, but she wants the pimento and cheese sandwiches.
Wine and beer will be served. The reception is
from 7 to 10. Thank you.
This is called heavy hors douvres or an appetizer dinner, so it is OK to have more than one of the same kind, the chicken is not an issue. You want to have 6-8 ounces total meat appetizers per person. The two things I would add are a big fruit tray and some kind of relish tray with pickled and marinated vegetables; you have very little on the menu for non-meat. I would do 1 relish tray for 6o on my veggie tray page, adding grape or cherry tomatoes for color, plus 3 25 person fruit trays from the fruit tray page.

Pork Tenderloin with rolls 4 ounces raw boneless plus 2 small rolls per person, don't forget the mustard
Chicken Tenders-3 ounces per person
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Poppers 2 per person
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip 1/4 cup per person
Roasted Red Pepper Cheesecake -3 ounces per person
Killer Shrimp Dip 1/4-1/3 cup per person
Cold Pasta Salad- one recipe fopr 100- see my recipes- about 6 pounds dry pasta
Fancy Pimento Cheese Sandwiches- 2 pieces per person (one regular sandwich makes 3 pieces)(Pepperidge Farm makes thin slice white and wheat, great for this). See my tea sandwich article, these have to be made the morning of).
Rolled Olive Spread sandwiches- do an olive bruschetta, 1/4 cup each, 2 ounces baguetta or ciabatta per person

Sabrina Thorn
Hi Ellen,
I'm catering a brunch Wedding reception for 250 people. From what I can gather from your Festive brunch menu I think I will need to make 5 full size steamer pans of egg dishes (strata's etc.), 2 full size steamer pan of cheesy potatoes casserole, about 300 sausage balls, a fruit tray for 30, 10 lbs sliced tomatoes with vinaigrette dressing, 4 gallons broccoli salad,and a few sweet assorted rolls, 25 gallons of punch, 150 cups coffee with trimmings. Does that sound right? Also I was wondering if I could make my egg and potatoes dishes in the full size chaffing pans refrigerate overnight then bake in the oven then refrigerate overnight and reheat in the chaffing pans when we it was time to serve? I hope this makes sense. Thank you.
Sabrina, this is for family cooks and volunteers, and I recommend and for paid/ professional caterers. If you were a family cook, I would be puzzled by your numbers. You need 2 sausage balls per person; fruit for all 250; 30 pounds tomatoes; 8 gallons broccoli salad; 275 large or 450 small sweet rolls; full breakfast coffee service with tea also as discussed on my beverage planning page for all 250; no more than 20 gallons punch (and I would use an orange juice based bunch or mimosas).

In addition, it is completely UNSAFE to reheat in chafing dishes; food has to go into the chafers already fully hot at 160 or hotter in the center. Besides, these dishes are not good reheated. Make and refrigerate the mixtures for the egg dishes, no more than 24 hours ahead.

Sabrina Thorn
OK, we are doing this for a friend. Sorry didn't mean to make you think we were professional. She has a very limited budget and I was trying to figure out how to do this as cheaply as possible for her with a $500.00 budget. From the festive brunch page it sounded like most of the food was not eaten so I thought we could skim it down a bit. That makes sense about not reheating in the chafers. I do remember reading that it needed to be at 160 in center. Thanks for that reminder. But can I make them up the day before in the full size chafer pans then put those pans in the oven to cook the morning of the wedding with out ruining my chafer pans? Then put those hot chafer pans with food into the chafer frames to keep warm? They are stainless steel but someone said using them in the oven may warp them.
Thank again
If the pans are full, they are very unlikely to warp at this temp.

Sabrina, a $2 per person budget is awfully unrealistic for a festive meal, even brunch. $10-up is realistic. Is it possible that some of her friends would be willing to contribute items (or cash for the reception?) as wedding gifts?

Sabrina Thorn
That is what I thought. I will check into those options and see what we can come up with. But that is the budget for now.
Now to clarify
the 5 full size chafing pans with egg dishes will be enough?
And the 2 full size chafing pans with potato dishes will be enough?
along with your other recommendations above.

You have been very helpful. Love your site, and thank you again.
Sabrina, usually, the full extra deep chafer 12x20x6 holds holds 5 gallons where the 12x20x4 1/2 (which is more common) holds only 3 1/2 gallons. The 2 1/2 inch depth holds only 2 gallons; check your pan sizes!!! So assuming 2 of the medium chafers for potatoes= 7 gallons of potatoes=28 quarts=112 cups. So you are allowing less than 1/2 cup potato casserole per person, where 3/4 is more usual for self service, especially when there are not a lot of other dishes. Then you are allowing about 17 1/2 gallons of egg strata, 70 quarts, which is something over a cup per person, which is OK. But I might make 4 pans of strata and one of plain soft scrambled eggs for the diabetics and low carb eaters in the group.
By the way, the table for pan sizes is here:

Sabrina Thorn
Thank you for directing me and all the good advice. I will poor over your site the next few months for more info.
We are catering my niece's grad party, can you please tell me how much kielbasa & kraut to plan on for a party of 150 people. Thanks.
For teens, I allow 2 sausages and 1/3 cup sauerkraut per person.