Christmas Dinner Party for 22 people

Joined Dec 25, 2006
I'm in a need of a little advice! I'm a gourmet chef who loves all kinds of foods, who is cooking for a group that wants simple, down home style food. It's a holiday dinner party for two construction companies. I moved from the city to a small town and I'm adjusting to their palettes.

They were particular about having meat, preferably beef. When I suggested twice baked potatoes, she said how about mashed and then she said she likes green bean almandine with roasted red peppers since it's the holidays. Also 7 out of the 21 people want Salmon, which is fine. I have a great simple recipe for Salmon. They don't want any rich sauces or anything spicy! Normally, I like making sauces and cooking with spices so I'm a little out of my element. It is going to be buffet style and there are going to be 14 hungry constructions workers out of a total of 21 poeple. I'm a little concerned with the budget and doing it buffet style but that is the way it's going to be.

So the question is, what kind of beef should I prepare? I think steaks would be too expensive. A roast of some sort would be best. I'm not confident with doing a Rump Roast because I'm not sure the quality of the meat will be that great and I don't want to serve tough meat. Prime Rib (Choice) is on sale for $4.98lb right now. If I do this, it will be one slice per person and this may be hard to control. I will not do a carving station. Should I do it for $25 per person? Does anyone have any other ideas that will cost less? Non beef suggestions that would be suitable for a Holiday Party would be great too.

Budget: $525 for 21 people

The potatoes, green beans and popovers should not cost more than $25-$30.

My time along with one other helper will cost about $300.

So I have about $200 to spend on meat/salmon, hors d'oeuvres and dessert. If I did Prime Rib and Salmon that would be $100 and then only $100 left for the rest. What could I make that would be hearty enough for these men?

Thanks for any and all advice!

Joined May 5, 2010
Hi Yanny:

I'd like to offer a perspective if I may...

You actually have $225.00 to spend on food.

That's $10.714287 to spend on food.

That's quite enough to feed 21 people, even construction workers.

You need not go with rump roast but could very well afford...say top sirloin butt or even eye of round.

There's no way that potatoes, green beans, and popovers are going to cost $25.00 to $30.00 to prepare.

Did you do a costing beforehand?

Can you purchase your food through a purveyor?

Even at retail prices, you will still be able to do this.

Do some homework.

As for the a Chef you will find that not all palettes go for fancy food and that it's not the bells and whistles that make a good cook, but the ability "to do what you can with what you have where you are."
Joined Aug 11, 2000
A big part of coming up with a menu is listening to your clients and helping them through the budget-menu process.....Red and Green are important to them....

Ap suggestions

Spinach-Artichoke dip with red and green tortilla chips

Bet Ranch is huge around there, so ranch flavored cream cheese roasted pepper, artichoke or green something cracker spread

If not that, then red and green veg with ranch dip....celery, radishes, tomatoes,red peppers, carrot curls (oldschool)

Shrimp aaaaaa.....use tiny shrimp

Dessert...if you bake a bouche de noel is always appropriate or I'm making bananas foster for a crowd and it's very reasonable.
Joined Sep 8, 2003
I just did a similar meal and cooked pot roast, mashed pot, sweet pot, roasted veggies, apple sauce and cranberry sauce.  I have never seen such a happy crowd!   Another day this week for 70, (and also today for 100) I did roast pork with stuffing, mashed, b'nut, green beans, apple sauce.  Also a crowd pleaser.

I think where you could insert your personality would be in dressing up the sides a little.  Chutney instead of apple sauce, compound butters for the rolls, dried fruit in the stuffing.....

I love the positive feedback I get from serving something familiar and satisfying as much as when I do something out of the ordinary.  The lower stress level is a nice change too!  Good luck!
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Try mixing the chutney with the applesauce.//// Sometime it is cheaper and better to shop/ Costco Or/ Sams then it is wholesale purveyors., Plus you do not have to buy cases.
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