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Cook Talk

Wedding Buffet for 100
Kristy
02/27/13
I am trying to plan for my daughters wedding, we are expecting 100-110 people. My mother-in-law has ordered chicken breast tenders in lemon butter wine sauce, rice pilaf and green beans almandine for 75 from a local caterer. We will be supplying baked ziti, tossed salad, and french bread. How much ziti, salad and bread will we need? This is for a dinner buffet. I have two 18-quart electric roaster pans for the ziti, can you tell me the best way to do the ziti in the roasters?

We will be having a cocktail/appetizer hour prior to dinner and will have veggies and dips, crackers, cheese, and summer sausage, smokies in bbq sauce, and mixed nuts. How much of each of these will we need?

Also, do you have suggestions for amounts of drinks needed for this many people? About 40% are either non-drinkers or children, so how much beer (keg), wine (planning a white and a red), and canned soda/tea/bottled water would we need?

ellen
02/27/13
Kristy you need to plan for the max possible, so say 110.

chicken breast tenders in lemon butter wine sauce, you need 35 pounds
rice pilaf for 75 OK
green beans almondine you need for everyone- 110

For the roaster pasta, see "Big Lasagna in an 18 quart electric roaster" on the spaghetti page for how to do roaster pastas. 2 is OK, but you will have some left.

veggies, see the veggie tray page and dips, 1 cup per 5
crackers, about 8 pounds
cheese, 1 pound per 10
summer sausage, 1 pound per 10-12 if sliced thin
smokies in bbq sauce, 1 pound per 8

mixed nuts, 6 pounds per 100

Fruit trays would be great with this.

If this saves you time, trouble or money, please consider a donation to support the site.

Kristy
02/28/13
Thank you, Ellen! I will check out the spaghetti page. I forgot to add that we will also have a couple large crockpots of meatballs and Italian sausage in sauce. For the green beans, could we do another vegetable, like corn, in addition to green beans for 75? And yes, we will also have a fruit tray.

Did you have any suggestions for drinks?

ellen
02/28/13
Yes about 22 pounds of a second veg would be fine, but you may still run out of green beans.

That's good about the meatballs and sausage.

Dinner coffee per the beverage page at cake time.

About 8-10 gallons of lemonade or punch, to start on the appetizer table.

About 12 gallons of iced tea, 1/3 unsweetened, if you do not have wine or beer.

If you do wine, see the beverage page and plan on about 3 white for every 2 red. It is smart to buy alcohol from a seller who will let you return unopened bottles.

ellen
02/28/13
Info on amounts for a champagne toast are on the beverage page. There are many sparkling non-alcoholic beverages great for toasting, as well.
ellen
02/28/13
If you do a sangria or other signature alcoholic punch, about the same amount as the lemonade, and serve with the appetizers.
Kristy
03/03/13
Again, thank you so much Ellen! You have been such a help! I have a few more questions though...

Would the fruit trays be served during the appetizer hour, or during the dinner buffet, or both?

For the ziti in roaster pans -- I've read the pasta page and I'm still confused. If an 18 qt roaster holds the same as 4 9x13 pans, does that mean I would put 2 1/2 - 3 lbs of ziti pasta in each roaster? Two roasters will be plenty for 110? And could I prepare the ziti, toss with sauce and freeze in gallon-sized bags, then thaw and layer it in the roaster the morning of? Or would it be better to assemble the whole pan and freeze it whole?

The wedding is March 16th and I'm starting to stress over time! I have hired some helpers for the day of (we are doing everything ourselves -- setting up the venue, decorating, food, etc.), so I'm working on a timeline/list of jobs for everyone for the day.

ellen
03/03/13
You can put 4 pounds dry pasta in a roaster and related 4 quarts of sauce/additions. Yes you can freeze in baggies, thaw in fridge (allow at least 2 overnights) and then layer and bake.

To lower stress level. get PLENTY of help (8-10 is not too many); even a couple hundred dollars is totally worth it to allow family to enjoy this special day. You need to be able to be mother of the bride, not kitchen manager, that day, and SHE needs that, too.

Kristy
03/11/13
Ok, I made all the ziti and sauce and froze it in gallon bags this weekend. It didn't take as long as I thought it would and worked out well!

With all rsvp's in now, we are at just under 100 people. For the appetizers, I'm still a little confused. Can you tell me if these amounts sound right?

5 lbs baby carrots
2 lbs cherry tomatoes
2 lbs celery sticks
4 lbs broccoli florets
6 lbs dip (dry packets mixed w/ sour cream)
8 lbs crackers
10 lbs cheese, sliced and cubed
10 lbs summer sausage sliced
6 lbs green grapes
6 lbs red grapes
3 large canteloupe, balled
4 pineapples, chunked
10 lbs strawberries

I have 14" trays to assemble everything on, but how many am I going to need?

Thank you again, this has helped so very much!

ellen
03/11/13
Looks good, needs about 12 trays. You will have some held back in baggies to refill.
Kristy
03/18/13
Just wanted to let you know that everything turned out great! We ended up with a LOT of leftover food, so I sent all the helpers home with leftovers.

One more question -- we have almost 1/2 roaster pan still of the ziti and I'd like to reheat it tonight for dinner. I don't want to burn the edges since they already have a bit of a crust on them from the previous baking. What temp and for how long should I reheat in the roaster?

ellen
03/18/13
Put some tomato juice in the bottom. Reheat in preheated oven, tightly covered at 300, until 165 in the middle.
Candice
07/14/13
I'm having a 4:30pm-9pm reception. I am serving bottled beer, red/white/sparkling wines, lemonade, flavored iced tea, and water. How much of each? Thank you!!!
Candice
07/14/13
Oh sorry! 100 people, and I'm afraid j posted in the wrong location. So sorry... New to the site!
ellen
07/15/13
Candice, welcome, I am assuming you have a meal in there somewhere...

Look around and buy liquor from a store that will let you return unopened bottles.

You have to make a guestimate about how many wne drinkers and how many beer drinkers, then use the apprpraite fraction to figure the amounts of beer and wine. The wine discusses white vs. red, too.

For the sparkling wine, get enough for everyone for a toast- this amount is discussed on the beverage page- and get a sparkling juice of some kind for the kids and non-drinkers. For 100 people, at least 4 bottles non-alcoholic.

4 gallons lemonade and 8 iced tea (at least 3 non-sweet) would be more than enough.

Water 2 per person if bottled.

People really like some coffee with their desserts- consider adding dinner/reception level coffee as outlined on the beverage page.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, consider donating a dime per person to support the site.

Kris
06/24/15
I need to know how much to bye to serve 110 people. the menu is as follows:
chicken breast
green beans
mac and cheese like stoffers
red roasted potatoes

thank you very much

ellen
06/25/15
chicken breast, 45 pounds boneless, plus sauce or gravy
green beans, 25 pounds
mac and cheese like stoffers, 11 pouds dry pasta, 1 quarts sauce per pound of pasta, 1/2 to 1 pound cheese per pound.
red roasted potatoes, 30 pounds
Consider adding salad and bread, see the plan for 100 lists.
Write back if you need to. If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thank you.
Chels
07/09/15
Hello. I have done a little research and wanted to check my quantities. will be a wedding dinner around 6:30/7. We will be having appetizers around 6. The guest count will probably be about 100-120.
We were going Italian. chicken Marsala ( or something similar),A ziti (red sauce), an Alfredo dish. sausage and peppers, Salad ( Cesar and a tossed), and rolls.

Noodles: 40lbs (20/20)
Red Pasta sauces:20qts
Alfredo sauce: 5gallons
Bread: 10 doz rolls
butter: 4lbs
chicken: 50lbs ( thinking breasts cut in half)
Sausage: 30lbs
Peppers:
Cesar-
Romain:7lbs
croutons: 3lbs
Parmesan shredded: 2 1/2lbs
cesar dressing:1 1/2 qts
Tossed salad-
premix:7lbs
ranch:32oz
Italian dressing:32oz

venue doesn't have an oven just a fridge. also curious about reheating. I have a few roasters and a few helping with heating up food and bringing it right before serving about a block away. would you suggest for the roasters I do the Alfredo . Pre cooked separately and then mixed and heated up day of. would this be two roasters? Thank you .

Chels
07/15/15
Just checking back for a response. I dont want to duplicate my post. but it has been a couple of days. Dont want to be a bother. Thank you.
ellen
07/15/15
Thank you for getting back to me! Sometimes I miss a post at the end of a long thread, so do feel free to start a new thread any time you post a new question.

Going to assume 120 guests.

Noodles: 40lbs (20/20), this is a LOT for 120, suggest 30; 1 quart sauce per pound dry pasta
Red Pasta sauces:20qts
Alfredo sauce: 5gallons
Adjust sauce to pasta. Consider doing some veggies in the Alfredo, or a separate dish of roasted veg- 28 pounds, can be made ahead and served room temp, Italian style
With this cooking issue, suggest you do baked/ casserole. Usual is 1/3 white. 2/3 red.
Parm cheese shredded or grated, about 5 pounds

Bread: 10 doz rolls, 15 pounds, get good ones
butter: 4lbs, OK

chicken: 50lbs ( thinking breasts cut in half), little heavy, use the chicken marsala recipe on this site for guide- do the amount for 100- can be prepped ahead and frozen
Sausage: 30lbs, 20 plenty
Peppers and onions: equal weight to sausage

Caesar-
Romain:7lbs
croutons: 3lbs
Parmesan shredded: 2 1/2lbs
caesar dressing:1 1/2 qts
Tossed salad- OK
premix:7lbs
Dressings- short, use the guide on the plan for 100 page
ranch:32oz
add quart lite
Italian dressing:32oz
add quart other

Strong recommend an appetizer plan, here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area easily serves 100 guests.

People also really like some coffee with their desserts- consider adding dinner/reception level coffee as outlined on the beverage page.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Diane Relyea
07/15/15
Wedding Buffet for 300
How much cheese dip will electric roaster hold?
ellen
07/16/15
You don't want to put the dip into a roaster to serve; people will burn themselves on the walla. You can use a crock pot, it won't. A 4 quart will hold 3 quarts, 6 6 quart will hold 5 quarts.
anita
08/04/15
Wedding Buffet for 150
Im having like a potluck reception im in need to figure out how much food I need for each:
Baked ziti
Baked beans
Mac n cheese
potatoe salad
macaroni salad
green salad
rolls

I figured 5 turkeys 20# ea 1 pig @ 110 lbs. Baked potatoe bar bout 1 ea

ellen
08/06/15
Hi, Anita,

If you are doing a potluck, you have to plan for safe hot and cold storage for the food for the 2-3 hours between its arrival and serving. For 150 people, you are talking probably 3 ovens and 3-4 refrigerators or a half dozen large ices chests with dry ice.

It will take about 3 people in the kitchen and about 8 people out front to set up, serve, and clean up a party this size. Most will not attend the wedding, as they will be prepping the dinner at that time.

This menu could also use some work. It is a lot too much food and an overabundance of starches.

5 turkeys 20# ea, a pound of whole turkey makes at least 1/2 pound of meat, and when it is the second meat, that is enough for 3 people. So, for 150 people, you will use about 50 pounds of whole turkey at the most. 14-16 pound turkeys cook easier and have better quality meat than 20 pounders, so I suggest 3-4 this size. Definitely not 100 pounds. 1 pound cranberry sauce per 6-8
1 pig @ 110 lbs. this is at least hundred servings all by itself, so you will have some left. About 2 gallons BBQ sauce, 8 pounds thin sliced onions, gallon pickle slices, get good rolls that can double as buns for the meat.

Baked potato bar about 1 ea
Baked ziti
Mac n cheese
potato salad
macaroni salad
If you have the baked potato bar, the only other starch needed is the macaroni/pasta salad with about 9 pounds of dry pasta (5 gallons pasta salad, approximately). If you skip the potato bar, have about 16 pounds dry pasta in one or two recipes, or about 16 9x13 dishes, using about 1 quart sauce per pound, 1/2 to one pound cheese per pound, and do the potato salad with about 50 pounds of potatoes.

Baked beans, 5 gallons, have some meatless for any vegetarians

green salad, use the plan for 100 list, do 1 1/2 times the amount for 100

rolls about 18 pounds, 4 pounds butter

This menu calls out for some cooked or marinated vegetable dishes, about 30 pounds

Also, an appetizer plan is critical, and here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray (see the deluxe tray for 100 on the fruit tray page), a cheese tray (1 pound per 10, 6 pounds crackers per 100) and an attractive dip or spread (1 cup per 5-6 persons, 1 pound chips per 12); or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area serves about 100 guests, two would be great for this size crowd. It is a useful potluck place, as you need about 6-8 "bites" per guest, and people can bring cute things, 60-80 pieces.

You can write back. If this saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a dime or quarter per per guest, to support this site. Thanks.

Leigh
02/21/17
Wedding Buffet for 160
Hi! I am new to this site! I need some ideas for wedding buffet food I can prep ahead and freeze. My ideas are baked chicken, ham slices, sausage and peppers, real roasted potatoes, green bean almondine, Ceasar salad and rolls/butter. Any suggestions?
Joanne Judd
02/24/17
Birthday Party 120 adults
Hi, we are serving ziti and sausage
Chicken legs and thighs,
Meatballs,
Ceasar salad
French bread and butter

Sheet cake
Can you tell me how much of each do I need. Thank you so much.

ellen
02/24/17
Argh, Leigh, you have several foods that don't freeze well on this list.

Look in the big pots section for the wedding chicken recipes and see if either of these will do. The saucing is rather critical if you want to freeze and reheat.

Instead of ham, what about a meatball of some kind in sauce. can be done ahead and frozen. Ham does not freeze well.

Roasted potatoes are day of. So is Caesar salad; there are several salads on site that can be done the day before.

Please read the answer just above- you need an appetizer plan and it explains why.

You can write back. OK to start a new thread!

Keyla
03/08/17
mEQhCgiDIrOeFre
Geez, that's unvileebable. Kudos and such.
Greg Friedman
09/04/17
Hi, I was wondering if you could double check my numbers...Planning on 100 people max menu is:
-Pasta Bar with 3 sauces, Pesto, Alfredo, and red sauce.
-sliced marinated chicken breast to top pasta if wanted
-roasted veg to top pasta if wanted
-Caesar Salad
-Rolls
Fruit Salad
Tea/juice
Cake

Thinking 10-15 dry tube tpe pasta or Cavatapi
Not sure on amount red/white sauce, pesto 30oz?
was going to get 48 7oz chicken breast
havent figured out roasted vegi weights yet-broccoli, squash, mushroom, red onion
15-20 romaine heads
2.5 pounds parmesean cheese
2 or 3 gallon ziplock bags of croutons (making my own)
10 dozen rolls
25# of chopped fruit salad, too much?
4 gallonso juice/Tea plus pitchers of water
sheet cake.

Any help is greatly appreciated. I don't mind leftovers, but last time I did this, my fridge and freezer were full for a month. :)

ellen
09/04/17
A quart of sauce per pound of pasta for a single flavor, add about 10% more for each additional choice. Usual is 1/4 pesto, 1/3 alfredo and remaining about 5/12 red. However if it is grown ups, you might up the alfredo.

Closer to 20 pounds pasta.

30 pounds boneless chicken

roasted veg, everyone will take some, 28 pounds
Caesar Salad, 15 large firm heads OK,
Parmesan cheese, shredded, 5 pounds
small croutons, 3-4 pounds
PLUS 2 1/2 quarts Caesar salad dressing

Rolls, 12 pounds, 3 pounds butter

Fruit Salad, please consider fruit tray, looks better, keeps better and leftovers more usable. See fruit tray page for both trays and salads

Tea/juice, 6 gallons, some unsweetened. Pint water per person.

Cake, full sheet cake barely serves 60. 2?

ellen
09/04/17
By the way, write back if you need to. If this is a pad gig or saves you time, trouble, or money, please make a donation, a nickel or dime per guest, to support this site. Thank you.
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