Fresh out of ideas for dinners for 150

Joined Sep 8, 2003
I do a dinner once a week for 125-150 senior citizens for short $$.  It is always one entree with sides and dessert.  I've done beans and ham with slaw, stuffed peppers, baked ziti, manicotti, meat loaf, chicken pot pie, roast pork...  I'm sitting here on Sunday morning trying to place my orders, and I can't think of a thing to serve them on Tuesday.  I've been swamped for the last month, and am fresh out of ideas. 

There are a couple of issues with cooking for this crowd.  I have a small kitchen- standard elect oven/stovetop and a convection oven so cooking a lot on the stovetop is not possible.  Oven things work better.  I do weddings for at least this number of people, but it's usually buffet style, grilled onsite, with a variety of items.  This group has only the one entree with sides so cooking is a challenge. It's transported hot and served cafeteria style from steam tables.

I was thinking of Sweet and Sour Pork served over rice, but beyond that, I'm a total blank slate.

Any ideas for this Tuesday?
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Pork Loin stuffed with Sun Dried Cherries, Spinach, and toasted Walnuts, oven roasted and topped with a Port and Sun Dried Cherry Sauce

Turkey Breast stuffed with Spinach, Apples, and Bacon, oven roasted and served with an Apple Brandy Sauce
Joined Sep 18, 2008

If you have MasterCook v8+, there is a cook book, "Food for Fifty" that has about 600+ recipes. That might give you some ideas.
Joined Dec 9, 2010
Chicken breasts or thighs, bnls, sknls, in citrus (read o.j.) with herbed rice and carrorts or zucchini. Talapia about 50 different ways, I just did a demo project for local head start with it covered in a mix of tomato and sour cream. Worked great and held a long time.

Pulled pork, pork & kraut with boiled potatoes.

How old are these folks?
Joined Sep 8, 2003
All good ideas!  Tomorrow,  I'm doing baked ham with raisin sauce (yuck!) with pasta salad and green beans nicoise -basically green beans with sauteed onions and tomatoes, black and white trifle- (chocolate cake, vanilla pudding) and rolls.  I still have 6 weeks of these folks, so your menu ideas will come in handy.  I've been doing them for a couple of months now, and have decided what won't work either because of my kitchen capabilities or their palates.

They're supposed to  be 55 and older, but I'm guessing much older!

Someone mentioned Salsbury steak.  What kind of meat do you start out with?  I know it cooks for a couple of hours, so I'm assuming it's a cheap, tough piece of meat.

The pot roast would work.  I hate to admit this, but I use a kayem product that people love.  I think it would be a too expensive for them, though.  They're paying $6pp, so I have to keep the cost under $200 per meal.
Joined Sep 18, 2008

Someone mentioned Salsbury steak.  What kind of meat do you start out with?  I know it cooks for a couple of hours, so I'm assuming it's a cheap, tough piece of meat...
I believe you are thinking of Swiss Steak, Salisbury Steak is seasoned ground beef, at least in my book/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif And it doesn't take long to cook.

Swiss Steak, on the other hand, is more of a braised dish, although the liquid is more of a gravy rather than a stock. Many use round steak but I would think chuck would work as well, it doesn't have to be expensive.
Joined Sep 8, 2003

I was calling it Swiss steak and was told I meant Salisbury steak.  Either way, I meant the braised steak you mentioned.  Is it done by browning on the stove top and then cooking it in gravy in the oven?  I'm starving and this sounds so good!

Just got back from serving them the ham, pasta salad, gbeans and they loved it.  Ham seems to be what the majority of them like best. A few weeks ago, I did spiral ham and baked beans- canned baked beans with additions- bacon, bbq sauce, and onions baked until thick and delicious and one man told the coordinator that he hadn't had "real" baked beans like that since his mother died......

justin thomas

Just comming off my job in the retirement home.  If you go for sweet and sour, get the commercial premade stuff, my residents called for blood over the "real" sweet and sour.  That said they dig soy sauce based "stir-fry."  I've had great responses from swiss steak, crab cakes, and entree type salads (shrimp/salmon/chicken caesar, and mandarin chicken salad).  BBQ's a hit, use a Kansas style sauce, they like sweet stuff.  Pork is tricky, they complain about the toughness.  Braise the chops and slice roasts reeeeeeaaaalllly thin.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Lentil, those comments make it all worth it.......

10+ years ago a 90 year old farmer said the same thing about soup I'd made at the market.....his sister had passed the winter prior and he'd just been eating Campbells.  

I'm tearring up thinking about it.
Joined Sep 8, 2003
Chicken Cacciatore!  That sounds like next Tuesday's dinner!  Great idea.

About lasagna...  mine always slides apart when I make it in hotel pans.  Why and/or how can I fix this?  Too much sauce, not enough set up time?

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