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Dinner party for 45- need suggestions

I have been asked to come up with a menu and prepare a dinner party for 45 people...Sit down affair, with two plates, main course and dessert (no alcohol will be served). I've never cooked for this many people before. The date is Dec. 1.
Any suggestions for seasonal dishes for that time of year and somewhat simple preparation (something in the oven, pork loins, mashed sweet potatoes, etc)?
Thank you.

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  1. Dear rcburli,

    I think I can help ok but you must have sense of adventure and try something new what about middle eastern dishes since you will not use alcohol we never use in our dishes so let me give you some suggestions and the way to make each

    5 Replies
    1. re: dehka

      Wow. Thanks for all the recipes. They are a little out there for this conservative older crowd I'm cooking for, but I WILL use them myself at home.
      I think Karl's suggestions are more how I need to go.

      1. re: rcburli

        Your wellcome rcburli if you needed any other recipes please feel free to contact me at any time

      2. re: dehka

        dehka! I cannot believe how gracious you were to take the time and effort to key in all those gorgeous recipes!!!! I'm very interested in the cinnamon rice recipe and most of the others, my eyes are popping out at all of them...by "minced meat" I assume that either ground beef or pork or turkey would work? I'm not the original poster but I do thank you for the work you did to post these!

        1. re: Val

          Val it's no big deal at all trust me if you needed more recipes please let me know as for minced meat it should be beef never turkey it will change the taste completely as for pork as a Moslem I never tasted it and I'm not sure if it can be minced at all. Also Christians here in Egypt don't use it in this recipes not sure why may be cause it contains too much fats

        2. re: dehka

          I read all your recipies -- and copied them all. I was especially pleased to find the cinnamon rice recipe. My husband and I are just back from Egypt -- and had some wonderful food. We often had a white sauce that tasted like Tahina and something else -- do you know what that may have been? We also had lots of different okra dishes and loved them. Any tips?

        3. For a crowd this size, you need to think like a caterer: do things that can be kept at the right temperature without damage during the long time it takes to serve, et cet. That is very important. If you had a way to keep plates warm for that large a crowd, I'd recommend it.

          For that many people, you'd want good hams that only need to be warmed and can keep for a long while during service. Burger's Smokehouse is wonderful; I'd recommend the spiral-sliced city hams for this purpose. Lots of people love good ham, because it's something most people don't make at home any more and is hard to find at restaurants for some bizarre unknown reason.

          Steamship rounds of beef would be a second choice.

          Third choice, the most expensive, would be duck breasts, which are easy to prepare and hold for service. They are my default choice for catering.

          If you must do other poultry, I would stick to dark meat, which will hold up much better than white meat to being kept warm; tofu is better than chicken breast that's been subjected to the abuse it often takes...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            Karl's right--you need to carefully consider what you're serving to prevent overcooking/drying out/toughness (think about all those horrible baked-chicken-green-bean banquets you've endured over the years and the problems will be clear!).

            For a group this large, you might want to consider a soup course. Many soups are easy enough to prepare in advance and will stand reheating. A pureed fall veggie soup (say, roasted squash or sweet potato & andouille bisque) might lessen your day-of cooking burden.

            If your budget can stand it, roasted whole tenderloins are pretty fool proof and can be held for a while before slicing without too much wear & tear. You'd need to slice just before plating, and the slices could rest atop a gussied-up potato or root veggie puree. Of course, not everyone eats beef these days.

            Further recs for food would depend on the circumstances: how many tables will be used for the dinner? Will you need to plate everything at once & deliver to all tables at the same time? Will you have one waitperson/attendant for each table? These sort of logistics can impact what you decide to serve.

            As for dessert, don't do individuals of anything...they're a pain. Do a cheesecake, cake, or pie that can be sliced into pieces & plated ahead of time.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              Map out ahead the following (I do it on a spreadsheet):

              1. Linen, plates, flatware and drinkware for place settings. Flatware and glasses for dessert courses can be preset with the main place setting; plates and coffee/tea items need to be prepped to the side, as it were, and then replaced, et cet.
              Draw a picture of each place setting and you can easily delegate to Helping Hands to setup. Cook should not be doing this all him/herself.

              2. Same-day cooking dishes and utensils (mise-en-place; essential for sanity when cooking on this scale). Anything you can prep ahead of The Day is a savings in sanity.

              3. For each course, service dishes and utensils. These should be different than #2 above; you may need to go to Bed Bath & Beyond to pickup a scad of serving forks, spoons and tongs, et cet. (it's worth it to have extra, believe me; you can never have enough). Map them out specifically; this is the ruin of the sanity of many unprepared hosts. Again, having this written out will help Cook delegate to Helping Hands.

              4. Try to plan a menu that gives you at least a half hour breather before guests arrive; time to shower, catch a breath and regain one's composure to be Host(ess) rather than Cook.

              ***

              It's very difficult to be both Upstairs and Downstairs. And being in between is even harder, as Hazel Forrest Bellamy discovered.

              Try to recruit Eileen Atkins, Jean Marsh and Helen Mirren as Helping Hands for Cook...

          2. Appetizer

            Eggplant with cheese and parsley

            This is a different recipe of Eggplant from the regular recipes we know in the region. It is worth trying especially if you want a nice and different side dish for your ozouma.
            Cuisine Italian
            Main ingredients Eggplant, White cheese, Eggs, Breadcrumbs, Parsley
            Time of preparation 20 Minutes
            Time of cooking 30 Minutes
            Serving 5

            Ingredients
            1 kg Eggplants
            2 tbsp Parsley ,chopped
            2 tbsp White Cheese
            2 Eggs ,beaten
            1/2 cup Flour
            1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
            Sunflower Oil Crystal ,for frying
            Salt and Pepper

            Directions 1. Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into thick slices. Fry eggplant slices in oil. Drain on kitchen paper.
            2. Cut cheese into very small cubes and mix with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
            3. Make a small cut in eggplant slices from the middle with the tip of a knife. Stuff 1 tbsp of cheese mix inside the cut.
            4. Dip each stuffed eggplant slice into flour and coat well. Then dip in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Fry stuffed eggplant in oil and drain on kitchen paper. Arrange eggplant on a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.
            +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

            please tell me when to stop

            1. Salad

              Baba ghannoug

              This delicious ans easy recipe is known in both Egypt and El Sham. It is also served as an appetizer. It can be eaten with a lot of fried meat and chicken dishes.
              Cuisine Shamy (Lebanon, Syrian and Jordon)
              Main ingredients Eggplant, Tehina
              Time of preparation 30 Minutes
              Time of cooking 0 Minutes
              Serving 6

              Ingredients
              1 Eggplant ,medium size
              3 tbsp Tehina
              2 tbsp Yoghurt
              1 1/2 tsp Garlic ,crushed
              3 tbsp Lemon Juice
              2 tbsp Olive Oil ,or corn oil
              Salt and Pepper


              Directions 1. On a small metal dish, grill eggplant over medium heat. Turn on all sides so that they are equally grilled (about 20 minutes). Take off heat and leave to cool.
              2. Peel eggplant and take out the seeds from inside.
              3. In a medium bowl, mash grilled eggplants well with a fork. Add tehina, yogurt, and crushed garlic. Mix well with eggplant. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
              4. Remove to a flat serving dish and even surface with the back of a spoon. Add oil on top. You can garnish with a few parsley leaves and black olives.

              1. Beets salad

                This is a famous dish in almost all Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a winner in a lot of lunch and dinner parties as well as many restaurants' salad bars.
                Cuisine Other middle eastern
                Main ingredients Beets
                Time of preparation 15 Minutes
                Time of cooking 2 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                Serving 5

                Ingredients
                4 Beets
                3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
                4 tbsp Lemon Juice ,or 2 tbsp vinegar
                1/3 cup Parsley ,snipped or chopped
                Salt
                Corn Oil Crystal


                Directions 1. Boil beets in water for 1-2 hours. Drain and leave to cool.
                2. Cut beets tops and ends and peel with your fingers. The peel will come off very easily.
                3. Cut beets into cubes, strips or any other shape you like. Put in a bowl.
                4. Add parsley and season with salt, lemon juice and oil. Stir to mix ingredients together well. Refrigerate until serving.