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Chowhound challenge: a light meal for 150 with very little prep

I would love advice or ideas about what to serve for a confusing event.

We will be hosting a 6 pm ceremony. There must be food served afterwards. Here are some facts about it:

-We will not know the date of the ceremony until the day before (e.g. we'll find out on Monday if it can be on Tuesday)
- All food served must be vegetarian/dairy (fish such as salmon or tuna is okay, shellfish is not)
-Nothing needs to be fancy or even a full meal, but we're planning on more than chips and salsa or hummus and veggies.
- We don't know exactly how many people will be there, range is from 100-200, but 150 is my current working estimate
-We have a reasonably large commercial style kitchen, and most necessary equipment available for our use.
-We plan to shop at Costco, and also have easy access to bakeries, and to a fabulous produce store
-We can't spend a fortune on this, but understand that feeding people costs money
-We'll probably have about 3 hours of prep time, with 3 people working (this does not include shopping time)

The fact that we won't know far in advance when this will take place just overwhelms me, as does the time of day. If it were in the morning or even lunchtime, we'd serve bagels/lox/cream cheese/veggies/fruit/cookies.

So, who has menu and/or execution ideas for me?

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  1. What about vegetarian lasagna? Make a couple now in large foil pans and freeze them until you get the call. Pop in the oven and add toss salad and garlic bread.

    1. How about:
      -cups of white and red gazpacho
      -caprese skewers
      -a nice array of cheese, crackers and fruit- people can serve themselves

      This is a start- perhaps you're thinking more variety is needed. Is food going to be served or is is all self-serve? How long is the event going to last?

      1. Costco's ready-to-bake pizzas are very large and have generous toppings. Those plus a big tossed salad with a choice of dressings. Cookie assortment for dessert.

        Costco's platters of roller sandwiches if they have a tuna version, or tuna salad, vegetables, hummus, flavored cream cheeses, and sliced cheese for people to make their own sandwiches, along with potato salad and coleslaw. Grapes and other finger fruit for dessert.

        1. The idea that 3 people can pull together something for 150 people in 3 hrs TOTAL is crazy to me. BUT, actually... can probably be done.

          Any simple pasta dish, like alfredo, tomato sauce would be easy peasy.

          Chili: I'm sure you can get together an assortment of prepared or frozen vegetables and put this together with minimal prep.

          Eggplant parmigiana: skip the frying

          Baked potato bar!

          And finally, I'm thinking something with frozen puff pastry.

          Sharpen your knives. I hate when my knife slows me down.

          1. - if you can get good salmon at Costco, poach with some white wine, shallots & dill.
            - strata and gratins are also pretty easy to throw together and will feed a lot of people. you can assemble the night before, and all you have to do is pop them in the oven the day of the event.
            - for desserts, think large-batch preparations: big pans of brownies, large sheet cakes, or a couple of different types of cookies or mini cupcakes. and i always serve some sort of fruit (in this case simple platters would be best) for those who can't or don't eat the baked goods.