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Mar 5, 2008 10:57 AM

School- 1st Annual Spaghetti Feed-advice?

I searched this site for help on this subject and got alot of reminising about good feeds, but need a little good advice. I don't wan't to overthink this project.

We are sending home a flyer and asking for a RSVP and payment- $6.00 adult, $3.00 kids, with limited tickets available at the door. No family would pay over $25.00. Our school is a K thru 8th grade.

I am basically in charge of the planning and execution of event, and I expect at least 200 tickets to be sold. I want to serve the best possible, yet keep it simple=most enjoyment for the folks eatting. Alot of these folks are health conscious/ make good food choices. I would like to make a profit for our PTA.

I am fretting over my sauce(s), whether to add meat, or make meatballs on the side to add on top when asked for, how best to prepare bread(s), salad ingredients, fruit salad or simple dessert? Should I use whole wheat pasta?

Any advice appreciated.

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  1. I would make meatballs and have them on the side - that way you have a vegetarian marinara and accomdate anyone who might not want the meatballs -

    2 Replies
    1. re: weinstein5

      This site may help. Do a search on spaghetti and any other dish you're interested in. Meatballs on the side sounds logical, and you might want mushrooms to give the sauce some weight.

      1. re: weinstein5

        I would keep the meat on the side for possible vegetarians/picky eaters.

        I might make a simple sauce of sautéed celery carrots and onions, plus garlic. Puree this mixture and add pureed tomato product and tomato juice, spices. Simmer this for 2-3 hours. I would plan on a generous cup of sauce per person.

        I would make small(golf ball) meatballs and bake them. These can finished in a roaster or baking dish with enough sauce to cover, but do not mix the main pot of sauce, so you have a vegetarian option.

        I would serve regular pasta, as the price is cheaper and many people don't like the whole wheat flavor.

        There are 2 possible serving methods for the pasta;

        1.)Par cook the pasta (5 minutes) drain and set aside. You can then bring it back to serving temperature as needed with a pasta insert.

        2.) Boil the pasta and then finish it with the sauce in a serving roaster after it has been cooked for a minute, but it should not be held this way for more then 1 hour.

        I would pre-slice the bread(generic Italian loaf) and heat in a low oven on a foil covered baking sheet. You can serve this on the tables or in the serving line. The butter can be on the table or in sliced pats in the service line. Tongs are needed.

        I would make a generic green tossed salad w/ a optional crudite' plate.

        You can ask for donations of pies, cakes and cookies from parents.

      2. I totally agree, meatballs on the side. Although i almost always use whole wheat pasta, for the masses, i suggest regular, its less expensive, and even the real health nuts, can forgo the ww for one nite, and i still think the majority perfer regular. I enjoy having regular pasta when i go out. As far as bread, i suggest just some nice fresh crusty italian loaves, with an offering of either regular or garlic butter. No toasting not fuss no muss. Salad, simple, maybe a choice, regular tossed, or cesear, again dont go gourmet, i doubt anyone is expecting it. Desserts can be a few large slab cakes, maybe a chocolate and and vanilla, covers most basis there. The one thing you may want to try is to make sure they are peanut free. I was involved in a spaghetti nite when i was in grade school, many moons ago, i remember it like yesterday, so simple and so fun. Have a great time and good luck

        1. I might use Ronzoni half whole wheat pasta but not all ww since many people do not like it and it's much more expensive, since it is a fundraiser and you want to keep your costs down. Costco sells Ronzoni in large packages but I'd probably just use white pasta for the price and it's what most people are used to. A baked ziti would be much easier than spaghetti and sauce--you could do one w/ meat, one w/out. The problem w/ spaghetti is that you'd have to add oil so it doesn't stick and sauce won't stick--plus it's more work to serve. Do garlic bread, wrapped in aluminum foil. Big salad, dressing on the side. Brownies for the dessert would be easy (you can do low fat by using half applesauce--try the King Arthur Whole Grain Cookbook for their brownies--ww costs more than white flour, though). Keep it as simple as possible and make sure everything can be done in advance.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chowser

            Baked spaghetti... easier to serve and tastier imo. Who doesn't love a cheesy meaty scoop of spaghetti or shells???

          2. Thank you all so much!! It is hard sometimes, being a foodie, to remember to keep it simple.

            I happen to have access to a large roaster- perfect for keeping the sauce covered balls warm...That is a great idea.

            The bread options are great too- I wanted to bake and then dunk in garlic'd butter- but not economical/not too healthy- will make a compound mixture that we can spread and then bake into. I may just chose to serve brown and bake rolls too, for the kids who prefer plain bread.

            Baked spaghetti? Wow- great idea. It just so happened I have w/w penne and Hunts mushroom sauce- so I gave it a try this afternoon and par-baked a batch- with smoked mozzarella and a little sharp chedder. I am going to bake it off here in a few- and see how it tastes- and if we like it- I might try and fine tune a baked pasta dish that can be converted to mass production. Baked "spartan" spaghetti sounds great!

            Had a friend suggest that each volunteer that is helping me that night- provide each with a pre-packaged bake yourself goodie- than have them all make and bring night of spaghetti bake and, voila, dessert.

            I knew I could count on the Chowhound crowd.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JalamaMama

              Let me suggest an even simpler way.
              Once upon a time, for several years I was in charge of a college spaghetti dinner for about 150 people. I followed the lead that had evolved over time. We bought frozen quarts of spaghetti sauce from Shoneys. (Throw bricks now, I can practice ducking). It was unremarkable. And in that blandness, was the advantage that nobody hated it. (And you'll be feeding children, so mushrooms are going to be yucky for some.) What I like and what I served are very different,
              A large tossed salad with dressing options (and you can sell unused gallon bags of salad at the end of the day if you over toss.)

            2. I would highly recommend getting your hands on the book "Food for Fifty" by Mary Molt. It's a classic guide that can help with figuring out ingredient quantities, timing for large-scale cooking, etc. The recipes are very simple, nothing fancy, but that may work to your advantage in this case.

              Chances are there's a copy at your local library if you don't want to purchase. Good luck with the fundraiser!

              1 Reply
              1. re: 4Snisl

                I'm just wondering what state you're located in? Our Boy Scout troop is planning it's 1st spaghetti supper and would like more info on how to go about it. We will be having a lot of people in attendance and just need some basics. The ideas you offer here are excellent, but just a little more info for us would be extremely helpful. Thanks!