30 answers

How to Cook for a Large Party

I am planning a large party in June, and am wondering what to do for food. My thoughts range from trying to do it all myself, to having it catered in full. It will be for approximately 100 people... maybe even 150. I think I will order fried chicken from walmart, but other than that, I'm clueless. I was thinking about trying to make some large hams and turkeys ahead of time, and then slice them for cold sandwiches, but I am not even sure how to cook them. I also don't have a lot of fridge room, so I am getting nervous about where I will store the food that I try to make a day or so ahead.

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There is a solution! Join Moose International. Any member has the choice of various sized lodges in the area for a fraction of the cost of any other facility. Catering can be arranged at a very reasonable price. The area accomodaes the crowd, and clean up can be left to the maintenance of the lodge. It's casual enough for picnics or can be elegant enough for a wedding. And proceeds go to a great cause Mooseheart. If this doesn't sound good as a solution, definitely go to a pro, there are many reasonable party planners. One I know of is Toni's Party& Event Planning ###-###-####. It's best all around and it's less hassle for you. Enjoy!

Cuomo catering. Lots of GOOD food, great prices. www.cuomocatering.com. I have used them dozens of times and never had even one disappointment. Good luck!

Hi we used Joey buonas for my son's second birthday and house warming we had 125. I think we paid $9.00 a person. we only ordered food for 60 and had plenty it came with a salad, italian beef, pasta and a chicken dish. they set it all up and even bring paper goods. I couldn't have done it myself. good luck

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Hi Party M.! I found a website that I used when I had a party for 50 people. It scales the recipes UP so that you can at least get an idea of how much cooking & ingredients are needed. After checking out this site you'll know for sure whether catering may be the way to go. I actually had to scale these recipes DOWN for 50 people so it should help you make a decision.


You can do a search in the recipe box for the type of food and drinks you may be interested in trying. I did a Tex-Mex theme and their Spanish Rice recipe was awesome. My entire party thought I catered everything!!! Good luck! Cooking is fun but stressful getting the timing right even when re-heating. Judy

1 mom found this helpful

I have cooked for large gatherings, had them catered and a combination. If it's June and the weather would cooperate, there is always something as simple as making a chicken salad (you can purchase the chunks already prepared); some mini muffins in a variety of flavors, some greens and some fruit. Although this does not take a lot of fridge space, if you are worried about space, catering may be the route. I frequently use Corky's. I have also used a slice of Italy in Streamwood. No complaints about either one of those. Most times when I shop for parties or large quantities. I go to the GFS(Gordon Food Service) They have everything and at lower prices.

Also if you are looking for some wonderful desserts, EJ's Cookies is wonderful. You can email her at ____@____.com luck!

Dear party mom, that is alot of People!! I think the chicken is a great idea. Maybe get 2 or 3 can hams. They are already cooked so just have Jewel or wherever you buy them to slice it for you. Buy some cheeses and roll the ham and have a ham and cheese platter. Maybe make a huge tray of mostagoli. Alot of Salads like pasta salad, italian salad some jello etc. If you have some nice neighbors ask them if you can put some of the items in there fridge. Good Luck!! You are a brave woman.

I have cooked every year for our BBQ in June for 8 years now, it is easy and fun if you plan it right. I usually do pulled pork in a crock pot you can start it before you go to bed on low and when you get up you drain the water and pull it and put bbq sauce and let it sit on warm for the party. You can refrigerate it if there is a lot of time before the party, but pull it first. I also to a pasta salad, deserts, chips, salsa, chicken kabobs, that I cut and season the day before and my husband bbq's the day of. I also had people offer to bring sides before, which isn't a bad idea if you are up to it. Keep an eye out for deals on your meat. It is expensive to cater a party that size. Planning and a little help from a friend or family and I am sure you will be able to pull it off. We have grown from 30 people the first year to 175 last year and always seem to have plenty of food and compliments, the most expensive thing I found to be were the drinks, the meat and sides cost around $3-$400. I have also tried meatballs from GFS in a crock pot and they were delicious. Good luck, you have some good advice already!

My BIGGEST suggestion is what ever you decide, avoid things that can't sit out like recipes with mayo in them, you don't want your guests to get food poisoning and dishes with mayo in them can only sit in the heat for about a half an hour before spoiling!

Dear Mommy K, My suggestion to you is to go italian. Pasta is easy and cheap. I do it all the time. My church group does food for hesed house and we always do baked mostaccoli. You need the noodles, hamburger and pasta sauce and some mozz to melt on top. you can make it early in the day and keep it in warming trays (they sell those at the party city cheap) then do salad and bread and cake. tada your done. you can always fancy it up with some trays of veggies and dip and fruit cooking for the masses is not as hard as it sounds as long as you keep it simple. its when you try to go to many different directions that it gets dicey. we had about 150 for each of our kids graduations parties. the chicken and the mostaccoli are huge hits. if you go with catering mikes place in north aurora or elmers dog house (both same family owned) are both great.

I would go the catering route. If you want to check out prices, I've used these 2 places and they have their packages listed on their websites. http://www.salinaspizza.com - I ordered for 50 and had wayyy to much food leftover - like extra pans of everything.

The other place is http://www.frankiesbeef.com/
I think their food is even better. I'm actually having a party catered from there this weekend. Both places are in Tinley Park. I live in Joliet/New Lenox area and they both deliver hot food.

Best of luck!

Hi There!

We did a food for about 80 people for my son's first birthday last fall. We went SUPER casual and just did hot dogs,chips, fruit, and veggies. We boiled the hot dogs a few hours before the party. Then we put them in buns and wrapped them in foil (you can get a package of pre-cut foil sheets at Sam's Club for cheap). Then we placed them in a few large steamers (kind of like a crockpot but there is a holding tank for water underneath) and let them be. It was easy, cheap, and we still got to enjoy the party.

If you decide to do something like this, make sure you rotate the hot dogs in the steamers about halfway through the party so the ones on the bottom don't get crusty (learned that the hard way)!

Enjoy your party!

Hi Mommy K..
with a new baby girl you are thinking about feeding 150 people?? gee.. we had 140 at my daughter's wedding and they had an entire staff to take care of the guests.. I hope you have some help.. maybe you could hire a few teens to help you out with serving or assign some family members some tasks like that..

I would definitely think your guests could offer to help bring things and help seeing how you just had a baby!!
But I'm glad you asked this question.. we are having a grad party for maybe like 50 people and I'm freaking OUT..I mean its not just the cooking.. its the cleaning and getting all of the serving pieces together..all the drinks.. table wear.. chairs.. tables set up.. HUGE undertaking for you with 100 plus people..are you doing this in your home or are you renting a hall??

I love the suggestions people have posted. I have to say. I have done both.. cooked and catered and BY FAR.. DO THE BULK OF THIS MENU WITH CATERING.. !! make a few sides..(you said you are limited on refridgerator space..)

have family bring some appetizers.. desserts and cater the main entree.. it really isn't THAT much more expensive having the main entree catered.. AND YOU WILL STRESS YOURSELF OUT if you don't...yes.. I heard costco has nice cakes at a good price.. I should get a cosco card.. but I always seem to end up buying more things in those kinds of places..

We had rosati's pizza cater our son's basketball party.. worked out great..we did sausages.. meatballs.. pasta.. someone brought a veggie tray.. stuff like that..

may do it for this upcoming grad party too.. we have done bagel sandwiches and salads from the great american bagel.. they cut the bagel sandwiches in half.. and that helps them go a long way.
good luck.. be good to yourself and have some of this catered.

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