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1 pot/pan Lunch/Dinner for 20 custodians

I'm a teacher and every year I like to do a christmas meal for the 20 or so custodians who work at my school in 2 shifts (10 in the afternoon, 10 afterschool). For 6 years now, I've made a giant pot of chili, but i'm bored and want to try something new and I'm looking for suggestions.

Here are the parameters:

1. The ages range from 22-65, mostly men...they are not salad-y kinds of men.
2. They're not the most experimental foodies and won't go for something truly "out there"
3. It's north jersey, and many of them have Italian moms, wives, and grandma's who can make a better italian classic than I can.
4. Dish can stay hot in a crock pot, though will have to be re-heated in the microwave if not crock-worthy
5. I'm on a budget and would like to spend less than $40 for the meal

Any suggestions/recipes are welcome

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  1. I did a coed baby shower at the office a few years ago and served pulled pork sandwiches. I purchased the meat and sauce from a local bbq joint, but If you have access to a Costco, they sell a tub of smoked pulled pork that's reasonably priced, you'll just need a bottle or two of sauce, buns and maybe some coleslaw or chips on the side.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gmm

      Love the pulled pork idea. I have made my own in my crockpot many times. And you can do it ahead of time then just warm up in the crockpot for serving. Along with a little home made slaw and you are good to go. Love that you are thinking of these unsung people.

      1. re: gmm

        One more vote for the pulled pork. I buy the "Pernil" cut and do it in the slow cooker...always a hit at any event I go to. I buy club rolls and slice them into thirds for a slider-sized sandwich. I usually buy premade coleslaw to serve alongside.

      2. How nice of you to do something special for these guys, who probably are taken for granted by many! How about a pot or two of hearty soup? I'm thinking New England clam chowder for one, perhaps split pea with ham for the other. Purists will insist that the chowder should not have thickener, but your manly men will prefer a thickened soup. It's less drippy, too. Accompany them with oyster crackers plus assorted crackers and pretzels. IMO, Snyder's Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Nuggets are great with pea soup. Maybe some assorted sliced cheeses too.

        1. King Ranch casserole, maybe with some extra jalapenos on the side.

          1. Jambalaya........

            Enjoy!

            1. Hearty lasagna can be made in a crockpot and garlic bread foiled up. Plate of Italian cookies; see the local bakery guy about your good intentions on the bread & cookies-they might assist!
              And, kudos to you for such a thoughtful, consistent act of holiday spirit!

              1 Reply
              1. re: HillJ

                http://www.oprah.com/food/Crock-Pot-L...
                here's the most recent crockpot lasagna recipe I've seen demonstrated.