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Mar 8, 2013 01:49 PM

special casual make ahead luncheon for 30 people

I have been a member of a group of volunteers that visit migrant camps a few times a year. We bring a hot meal and gifts and clothing that can make them a little more comfortable. We visit about 5 different camps each trip and the volunteers cook, pack, transport and serve the meals to about 300 mostly men. I stay behind and feed the returning volunteers. They are very tired and very hungry. I usually serve a meal that I prepare the day before and bake the day of like; lasagna, chicken marsala, pot roast, etc. I always have two soups , at least one salad, and a couple of desserts. This time, I would like to make it more casual. I've been thinking of several kinds of burgers like; classic hamburgers, lamb burger/ pita sandwiches, and perhaps one or two others. my problem is, I am never sure of their return time,( even when they report in to let me know how close they are to finishing.) Any suggestions about what to serve, how to keep it warm and fresh, what to serve on the side? I always try to make it special because of their hard work and dedication to this ministry.

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  1. How about different kinds of tacos? You could have the chicken and steak cooked....and just reheat it. And you could grill some fish at the last minute. All of the other "fixings" could be prepared. Rice and beans on the side. Maybe a nice salad.

    1. What a wonderful ministry. Would the volunteers enjoy a crockpot full of sloppy Joe filling or pulled pork, with buns on the side? You could serve cole slaw, fruit salad, broccoli salad, baked beans, chips, potato salad, and / or pasta salad.

      1. I like both of the ideas. This is our 22 year of serving these men and women and I have to admit that I have run out of fresh things to do. I have served pulled pork in the past but never tacos or sloppy joes. I was thinking of shish kabobs ( beef, pork, shrimp) with a rice pilaf and a greek salad, but am afraid that most of it would have to be a last minute thing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: oldfoody

          Perhaps you could have soup and salad ready for the crowd when they arrive, so that they could eat that immediately, Then if your kebabs were already completely assembled on the skewers, you could pop them on the grill (or under the broiler) as soon as the crowd arrives. Kebabs should not need more than 5-10 minutes to cook, so they would be coming off the grill pretty quickly as the salad and soup were being finished. You might consider some sort of rice or grain pilaf salad, served at room temperature, rather than warm rice pilaf, so that it too could be ready in advance. Or, perhaps potato salad as an alternative or in addition to the rice.

        2. What about a crockpot of chilli? With fritos, cheese,onions tomatoes etc... They could add themselves.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

            Thanks for all of the suggestions, I think I will go with the chilli with lots of garnishes and a big salad and a fruit salad. I think I will serve homemade corn bread too, dessert will be flan ( made by my Cuban friend).