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Ideas for some economical main course at a 50th Anniversary party for at least 100.....

The problem is my sister and I are both pretty good cooks, our two sister in laws aren't, but they will want to pitch in to help. We will have a kitchen available at the club where my parents have chosen to have the party, but won't be able to get in to use the kitchen and decorate until 3 hrs prior to the start time of the party, so the food needs to be prepared in advance if possible. Since they have taken so much time deciding where they want to have the party, we are now down to less than a month and a half to plan it. We have a keg steamer/cooker that we can cook a large amount of food in over a propane burner if we come up with the right thing to prepare. We've cooked chili, jambalaya, and low country boils in it for large crowds before, but that's too casual for the occasion to me.

Here are some idea's we've come up with so far......

Lasagna, Ziti, or Spaghetti and meatballs (none are my mother's favorite but she will eat them if not given a choice.)

BBQ (my sisters idea of cooking pork loin in a roaster for hours with store bought sauce, that's not BBQ in my opinion, and awfully casual for a 50th celebration! We always do BBQ on the smoker.)

Coq Au Vin (our idea, but my sister say's it's too "frou frou")

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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  1. Well, I don't know your family, but from my vantage point a low country boil and jambalaya would be totally great for big party like this! Festive, delicious and you guys totally know how to cook it, I don't see any downside. Upscale it maybe with some bubbly and cloth napkins. I think it would be a blast and certainly something your whole family loves.

    Other option is an afternoon tea/cocktail hour, which my in-laws did. Lots of tasty hors d'oeuvres, passed and also dips and shrimp, etc. and finger desserts, with passed wine and bubbly.

    A 50th is a FUN occasion, I'd go for all the good fun stuff to eat and I'm sure it will be so memorable.

    Interested to know what you end up with, so do please share the final menu!

    1. What are your parents' favorite foods? That might be a good jumping off point for a menu.

      1. When/where is the event taking place? Because I think the weather will also dictate what you cook. If you are in Chicago and it's 25F outside, a dish such as braised beef or lamb stew with mustardy mashed potatoes served on the side with some roasted vegetables would be appropriate.

        But if you are in Miami and it's 70F outside, then you'll want to serve lighter fare.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SeoulQueen

          We're in central Florida, so there is no telling what the weather will be in February. Two days ago, it was in the 80's, tonight, we're having freezing temps.

        2. Coq au vin is not frou-frou. Perhaps whoever made that comment simply doesn't understand. It's a hardy dish cooked in a pot. Perfect for your crowd.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Steve

            I agree completely, and tried to tell them that. My parents have even had Coq Au Vin here before and loved it. Maybe I should tell them it's chicken stew, and it would be better accepted. ;-)

          2. Perhaps whole roasted sided of salmon would work. They are economical, and almost universaly accpetable while providing some amount of spectical and occassion. They would cook quickly, but are acceptable to eat after it's been chilled a bit. Maybe cedar planked salmon sides, pickled cucumber salad, pasta salad, lemon-dill cream.