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Entress that keep well in chafing dish

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I am having a birthday party for 50 people and looking for ideas of foods that can be prepped in advance (but not necessarily cooked in advance) and keep in a chafing dish around an hour or be served at room temperature. It doesn't have to fancy, but I am trying to avoid things like Italian beef and pasta with red sauce.

My ideas so far:

-Braised beef
-Stuffed peppers
-Italian sausage with red wine/grapes
-Braised/brined chicken (though white meat still might not do well)
-Braised/pulled pork (though was hoping to avoid sandwiches)
-Pork/chicken scallopini marsala (though these are lean meats, I think with the liquid and not overcooking to start with,, it might work).

I make a really good lemon shrimp pasta, but I think the shrimp would maybe get too dry.

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  1. that's a lot of different types of meat and a lot of items to fuss over, assuming you'll be having sides -- veggies and starches -- too?

    i'd narrow the list to 3 proteins. the beef will keep very well in a chafer, so will the peppers. chicken does just fine at room temp. i serve it that way at parties all the time. as for red wine sauce or marsala, i try not to serve anything too drippy, especially with buffets.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      LOL...those are just ideas. Ultimately I will have 2 or 3 main dishes only along with sides.

    2. Swedish Meatballs. Lovely for a party.
      We do our Italian Sausage with peppers and onions. Can put in a red sauce or not.
      Stuffed cabbage.
      Chicken francais, marsala, piccata, all catering classics for a reason, people enjoy them and they stay well.
      A fish that sits in a sauce will also do well.
      Have you seen the bag of small, multi colored peppers? They are excellent for stuffing and a perfect small serving size.
      You could do your beef braise either as tips or as sliced thin in brown gravy.

      Jerseygirl111

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jerseygirl111

        I've decided I probably should have a chicken dish. In the past I did a piccata chicken scallopini. It held up pretty well, but I am wondering if bone in chicken in the same preparation would be better. It would be harder to eat, but stay moist better.

        1. re: michaeljc70

          No white meat chicken unless it's cold/room temperature. It's very very unhappy being kept over heat..... For keeping over heat, dark meat only.

          The best chicken cold/room temperature is either fried chicken or Cornell chicken (especially if marinated in the basting sauce overnight before grilling).

      2. You said that you arre avoiding pasta with red sauce. Does that include lasagne? I think that lasagne is a great buffet food because it can take a lot of heating and standing around, yet is still moist and flavorful.

        Chili is another dish that takes prolonged heating well and most people like it.

        How about mac 'n cheese? It hold up to prolonged heating and warming and just gets crustier (which is good), as time goes by.

        4 Replies
        1. re: gfr1111

          Mac and cheese would be awesome with pulled pork too. Buns or rolls are nice but not a must.

          1. re: gfr1111

            Love the mac n cheese idea! It's a great way to sneak in a cheaper, filling starch that stretches the food for a crowd.

            Jerseygirl111

            1. re: gfr1111

              I actually saw mac n cheese cupcakes on a website and thought that could be interesting. A crust forms on the outside, but the inside stays cheesy and moist.

              It is a major birthday, so I am trying to avoid things you'd eat everyday. I'm not looking for fancy, but want to try and make it a little more special than stuff I'd serve at normal meal.

              1. re: michaeljc70

                i've made mini cupcakes of mac and cheese. put a suitable sized piece of deli ham in each tin and pour the mac in that to bake. bite-sized and always a hit.

            2. Polenta holds well - it would be a good starchy alternative to pasta or potatoes.

              Chicken cacciatore with boneless thighs - easier to eat than whole/bone-in pieces, and moister & more flavorful than boneless breasts.

              Pork stew with white wine & artichokes, or red wine, tomatoes & olives.

              Veal or pork braciole with tomato sauce.

              1. Steal some ideas from catering menus -

                Beef & mushroom Stroganoff

                Tortellini Alfredo

                Smoked salmon

                Roast turkey with stuffing

                Teriyaki Chicken

                1. How about some scalloped potatoes to go with the main?