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Buffet Menu for 70 People

We are planning a holiday party for 75 people, served buffet-style. The main dish that I have in mind is boneless chicken breasts in a morel cream sauce. I'd normally serve that with buttered egg noodles, but am thinking that the buffet requires something that holds better and is possibly more colorful. The potato gratins that I've used on buffets seem wrong with a cream sauce on the chicken. Any suggestions for some great accompaniments?
Thanks in advance.

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  1. You don't say whether the guests will be eating while standing and circulating or if you have tables for them to sit down to eat. If you don't have seating for everyone, chicken breasts can be a real problem because they require a knife and fork and two free hands.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Caroline1

      Sorry I didn't specify. Some will be seated while others mingle. I envision using chicken tenders and serving manageable bite-size pieces.

      1. re: btnfood

        With some people eating while standing, mashed or chunk potatoes of some sort get extra credit - noodles and rice are more likely to slip off the fork, and with sauce on them that can mean soiled clothing.

        1. re: greygarious

          Agree about the mashed taters.

          A barley or rice dish might be a nice pairing with that, too. I love barley and mushrooms together!!

    2. Simple mashed sweet potatoes, rather than a gratin, would be a colorful alternative to noodles or regular mashed potatoes. Pioneer Woman's Crash Potatoes are also delicious and have a lot of visual appeal (google that one or search on this board). I'd go with dark green vegetables - spinach and/or broccoli.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        crispy sweet potato cakes were in my head and will hold for hours. nice textural contrast too.

        i'm guessing you already have a veggie side?

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          or a grit cake would be lovely too

      2. You could do a nice roasted vegetable rice pilaf: roast off some shallots, celery, garlic, diced winter squash (butternut or acorn squash and maybe even some brussels sprouts) Toast the rice in a little olive oil then add chicken or veggie stock; stir in the veggies at the end with some dried cranberries and maybe some fresh spinach & toasted walnuts. Colorful and a perfect match to chicken

        1. Roasted red potatoes would be very nice, tossed with olive oil and rosemary, and not very labor intensive.

          1. Red or purple rice is what I go for when I need a long-holding dish with color, and I usually add some diced red onion that's been sauteed until tender and translucent, sometime add julienned yellow bell pepper as well. I've found the red and purple rice at Whole Foods and Wegmans before.

            Another idea (but I can't vouch for how well it holds for such a big crowd) would be noodle cakes -- cooked pasta like thin spaghetti or angel hair -- mixed with a little egg and melted butter and herbs and sauteed onion, and put in a rimmed sheet pan to about 1" thick and baked then cut into servings.

            1. I'm personally a huge fan of simple buttered noodles with cream dishes (and with just about anything else, actually) so for more visual appeal, there's always tri-colored rotinis.

              Especially for the mingling folks, those will pick up plenty of sauce and be easy to get a fork into.

              1. I like to use Pappardelle or tagliatelle (ribbon shaped pasta) with meat or poultry in gravy or sauce. The large bold shape stands up to the gloopiness of the sauce. Trader Joe's carries them.

                1. Wild rice with leeks and carrrots would go well and look great.

                  1. Your menu sounds nice, just be sure to have sturdy plates and good utensils. I'm thinking of the people that are standing and having to juggle and talk with a plate of food. I might even offer small wide bowls so the food is secured and easily eaten with just a fork.
                    I recently steamed some med small yukon golds, then smashed them and cooked them with garlic, parsley, onion, butter and olive oil. OMG, these guys were good. They had a little crunch and the potoates are so creamy and good. I think they'd be great with your chicken dish. They'd hold well in a chafing dish too, and no all that expensive. I might scatter some fresh spinach in there as well for color. A gathering of 75 you really want to make this easy on yourself.

                    My other though is a chicken breast with a tomato cream sauce served with rice. You have so many rices to choose from, yelllow rice with leeks, or wild rice, etc. This dish is always a winner and fairly simple to prepare.
                    Good luck!

                    1. Thanks to everyone for the excellent suggestions, which have inspired several dishes to go on the buffet. There will be lots of great colors and textures now.