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Catering in for 50 people

My future inlaws offered to throw us an engagement party at their home, and asked what we wanted them to serve. Thinking we were keeping the price down, we said deli platters would be fine. Turns out deli for 50 people is about $500... which I'm told is too much.

What now? We don't need anything fancy, but the party's in the evening, and we need to serve dinner. Any thoughts on how to feed 50 people inexpensively? Pot luck's not a good option because many people are coming from out of town. I don't mind doing some cooking, but I think it's a better option to bring something in for that many people. Any thoughts?

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  1. Oh.... and it'll be in Bergen county, NJ, if that helps....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nalega

      What about getting salad, baked ziti and one other entree (chicken dish)from a local italian joint? You could bring a crudite or fruit salad and dessert. I would think, albeit not fancy, it may keep the cost down and it's pretty simple.

    2. Check out your local grocery's deli department (Wegman's, Shop Rite, Stop N Shop), it might be well within your budget. Also, check out Costco, BJ's, Sam's. Their prepared food has solved many a catering crisis!

      1. That's $10 a head. It's going to be hard to serve dinner for less than that. I agree with checking out the local grocery store. Or making your own salad/dessert (enlist a few friends who aren't traveling) and order entrees.

        1. Try Costco, BJ's or Sam's club for some platters such as crudites, shrimp cocktail, ready-made salads, rolls, cake/cookies and wraps. Also, large trays of ziti, lasagna, eggplant that just need cooking in an oven is also quite convenient. A large package of frozen h'or d'oerves, especially hot dogs are always a favorite. If you do not belong to the above stores, they sometimes have one-day memberships, or a friend can take you in. You should be able to stay under the $10/head.

          1. Where are you? What kind of food are you looking for?

            Ethnic restaurants are great places to try. Not sure where you are, but I've gone to my local mexican place for catered lunches for work. I buy the meat and sides in bulk, and they throw in the sauces, tortillas, etc. I know other latin places will do something similar if you are so interested. I know at my place, I could get plenty of food for 50 people for around $150 dollars, and that includes sides and all.

            Anyhow, good luck and let us know more specifically what you need/want.