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May 19, 2007 03:23 PM

Lunch for a crowd?

I am hosting a walk for my sister in law. She had a stroke on her 47th birthday.......... I am expecting about 35 people at a park with a pavillion. I don't want to cater, to save money. We can grill there, with non-gas grrills. There will probably be an additional 10 kids. Any toughts, suggestions?????????? By the by it will be served at noon June 3.

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  1. One idea that comes to mind that is delicious and affordable is chicken thigh/leg quarters.

    I know Walmart sells them in bulk and they are filling yet affordable and actually do well on the grill and don't get dry like white meat.

    You can brine them overnight in buckets in the fridge (or many people's fridges) with kosher salt and brown sugar, then drain and dry them, rub or spray with olive oil or cooking oil, then grill. Ratios for brines vary wildly, but roughly 1 c kosher salt per gallon (16 c) water. I use about half the amount of brown sugar that I do salt.

    Brush barbeque sauce over them as they near completion. Store-bought is fine, or here is a good recipe for sauce:

    Then, you could have sides of macaroni salad, beans, chips, orzo salad or cous cous, green salad, watermelon, orange slices, cookies, pie, cake, cupcakes or whatever else on the side.

    To ease in keeping things cool and/or food safe, I would focus on as many temperature-safe sides as I could like chips, cookies, fruit and non-dairy salads, then maybe just one or 2 cold salads that can be kept in the cooler, then in foil catering pans (fill one with ice, then rest the one with the food on top of the ice).

    It sounds like a great event! I am sorry to hear about your sister-in-law, you are very sweet to host an event like this and I wish you great success!

    1 Reply
    1. re: HomeCookKirsten

      My favorite grilling dish for a crowd is Firemen's chicken. Use whatever chicken parts you like, & throw on some hotdogs for the kids.

      Fireman's Chicken

      Beat 1 egg; add 1/2c. oil and beat again. To this, add:
      1 c. vinegar
      1 1/2 tbsp. salt
      1 tsp. pepper
      1 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

      Marinate chicken several hours or overnite. Grill till done and crispy.

    2. Best of luck with your event and best wishes for you sister's recovery.
      Costco has great prices on big pieces of salmon. Also chicken breasts.
      Another idea-- sausages on the grill. Costco has large packs of really good sausages that just are already cooked--just need to go on the grill for a short time.

      1. Kathi: Consider a layered and pressed sandwich. I've found a round loaf works better than an oblong for slicing. I hollow out the loaf (save the crumbs in the freezer for another use), spread the insides with pesto, tapenade, or just OO and maybe a little vinegar, layer up a variety of meats, cheeses, roasted peppers, put the top on, wrap and weight down overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temp and cut in wedges.

        You don't have to use expensive meats and cheeses -- like balogna instead of mortadella . If you use a large sourdough loaf, you can easily get 8, maybe 10 slices. Maybe stick a skewer through to keep them from sliding. It's very dense and very filling, so small slices are enough -- especially if you have other sides. It's do ahead and no cooking the day of.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nemo

          I like Nemo's idea of a sandwich and the homemade dressing sounds very good.

          I've made Submarine Sandwiches for many outdoor parties. I worked at an amusement park in the deli shop as a teen. Our sandwiches were very good, simple to assemble, and easy to store in the refrigerator or cooler until time to serve.

          You could make these sandwiches up the day before, just don't put the dressing on until time to serve them. You'll get 5 nice-sized sandwich servings per loaf of bread.


          1 loaf french bread (the kind in the foil wrapper down the bread aisle works best)
          Trio of lunch meats like bologna, salami, and ham (Oscar Mayer makes a trio packet)
          Kraft American and Swiss cheese slices
          A Zesty Italian Dressing (Kraft makes a good one)
          Shredded lettuce
          Tomato slices (I squeeze the seeds out so the bread doesn't get soggy)
          Red Onion Rings

          Slice bread in half lengthwise. Lay three slices of each kind of meat on the bread, alternating; 9 slices total. Same with the cheese, 8 slices. Top with lettuce, tomato, and onion rings. Top with the top piece of bread. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

          To serve, unwrap the sub sandwich and take off the top of the sandwich and drizzle the Zesty Italian dressing liberally over the sandwich filling. Slice into 5 - 6 servings per sandwich. Use fancy toothpicks (frou frou's) to hold the sandwiches together.

          To keep it simple, serve with chips, a dill pickle spear, watermelon slices, and a cookie or brownie.

        2. Good suggestions thus far! You could also do BBQ ribs, grilled corn, onions, and baked potatoes from Costco, along with baked beans and some fruit salad or even grilled fruit w/ shortbread or sugar cookies or florentines. You could also get some restaurant style tortilla chips with a few tubs of the seven layer dip.

          1. Grill some pizzas! Either the straight-up kind or flatbread pizzas. You can make meat ones and veggie ones.

            Cookies and watermelon are great ideas - both kids and grown-ups love them, and they cover the treat/healthy bases. Plus the walkers can rehydrate on the melon.

            Have some veggie-heavy salads (not mayo-based) and a make-your-own sandwich or quesadilla station (the grill's handy for this) and you're set.

            Make sure you have lots of drinks, too.