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Old 02-17-2014, 03:44 PM   #1
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Cooking for a church

Good Afternoon,

I have been asked to cook dinner for our church anniversary. I need help in planning the menu for about 125 people. The church usually goes with a $500 budget per service, which there will be 2. In the past years it has always been fried chicken, green beans, salad and fruit punch. I would like to do something other than that menu! If you any suggestions, recipes to share that would be great!

Thank you!

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Old 02-17-2014, 04:08 PM   #2
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You could do an Italian dinner. Salads, bread and pasta, dessert. The pasta can be really easy if you use penne instead of spaghetti. You can have plain tomato sauce, garlic butter sauce, or sauce with meat (or meatballs). That has always been a popular dinner at my church.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:20 PM   #3
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Jabbur's idea is a good one. Even a huge pan or two of lasagna.

My dad was our town's fire chief, the firemen would do a pancake breakfast/brunch for our town, pancakes, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, syrup, and other stuff that I don't remember.

I also remember huge church potlucks, everyone bringing some type of hotdish or salad. It was always well-attended, and very tasty.

Another thought would be turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, the whole Thanksgiving thing.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:33 PM   #4
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I hope you have help. A neighborhood church just had its 79th ! annual Ham Dinner. Some years I go, sometimes not. They never seem to change the menu from year to year. They do get a crowd.

Glazed sliced Ham, Swedish meatballs (homemade w gravy sauce), scalloped potatoes, green beans (canned) sweet potatoes ( plain canned, no imagination) good bakery rolls, carrots celery olives dill pickles. Choice of Pie for dessert. $11, $10 for seniors. Not sure if you are charging but I think this is a good deal, esp the meatballs.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:36 PM   #5
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Do you have access to a BBQ, wood burning pit?
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:52 PM   #6
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In this area ham loaf is still popular for church dinners.

I also like the lasagna idea.

Whatever you choose make it easy on you and your helpers, these dinners can be very stressful!

Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:58 PM   #7
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Yes, I couldn't imagine doing this without help.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:04 PM   #8
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Yes, I couldn't imagine doing this without help.

Delegate, delegate, delegate!

These events are great for teenagers to chop, stir, cook, serve, clear, seat folks etc...

Just having them help will increase the attendance if it is a fundraiser, all of the proud parents, grandparents etc...
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:10 PM   #9
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Delegate, delegate, delegate!

These events are great for teenagers to chop, stir, cook, serve, clear, seat folks etc...

Just having them help will increase the attendance if it is a fundraiser, all of the proud parents, grandparents etc...
Brilliant, AB! Our schools have Silver Cord programs, teens get points for volunteer work, and get a silver cord to wear upon graduation.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:52 PM   #10
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Here is an interesting and helpful website. If you scroll down to Main Dishes there are quite a few recipes which can give you ideas what to do. You can also get an idea of how much food you will need. There is a recipe converter which can convert any recipe to fit the amount of people you want to feed. Growlies BIG recipes Index recipes to serve 100 people or more
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:22 PM   #11
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Growlies is excellent, Rock!

I have done catering and also have worked on many church functions. I hope this helps.

Are you doing two services of approx 75 each, or two of 125? I presume it is the first one.

Pasta is actually a very easy and economical choice and people love it. All you need is garlic bread and salad and you are set.

Lasagna is very easy to do for a crowd. Does your church have a kitchen with the proper equipment? You would probably do 24 servings per restaurant/insert pan (that go in the chafing dishes). These are the full sized shallow ones. I would do 5 pans for the first service and four for the second (as you can use the leftover from the first if needed. You can just do 10 if there are a lot of big eaters. If you are making lasagna ahead, don't bake it. Wait until a few hours before service. People could bake them in their homes and bring them to you if necessary. Oh, if you don't have that many pans, you can get foil ones at restaurant supply stores.

Oh, make sure to ask for allergies and vegetarians and adjust accordingly. If you want to add mushrooms, make sure there is at least one pan without. You can even make one lasagna that covers all allergies and is vegetarian.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:33 PM   #12
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Growlies is excellent, Rock!

I have done catering and also have worked on many church functions. I hope this helps.

Are you doing two services of approx 75 each, or two of 125? I presume it is the first one.

Pasta is actually a very easy and economical choice and people love it. All you need is garlic bread and salad and you are set.

Lasagna is very easy to do for a crowd. Does your church have a kitchen with the proper equipment? You would probably do 24 servings per restaurant/insert pan (that go in the chafing dishes). These are the full sized shallow ones. I would do 5 pans for the first service and four for the second (as you can use the leftover from the first if needed. You can just do 10 if there are a lot of big eaters. If you are making lasagna ahead, don't bake it. Wait until a few hours before service. People could bake them in their homes and bring them to you if necessary. Oh, if you don't have that many pans, you can get foil ones at restaurant supply stores.

Oh, make sure to ask for allergies and vegetarians and adjust accordingly. If you want to add mushrooms, make sure there is at least one pan without. You can even make one lasagna that covers all allergies and is vegetarian.
I like this lasagne idea. And just salads and garlic bread will also make vegetarians happy.

With love,
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Old 02-18-2014, 06:48 AM   #13
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VC - My wife and I just put on a Valentine's Social to benefit our Youth at our church. We fed 130 people. We did spaghetti, salads, and desserts. We had the families of the youth to bring the desserts. If you are interested I can give you the details.

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Old 02-18-2014, 06:56 AM   #14
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Got to love it! One post and a disappearing OP.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:16 AM   #15
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It's possible that the OP can't find her original post. That has happened to me a few times when I first join a forum.

I have seen advertisements for church dinners in our area serving pork and sauerkraut. I don't know if that would fit the budget as well as pasta would.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:31 AM   #16
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So many possibilities for this type of thing it really depends on the church.

In my area fish is popular during lent, the old German churches still do sauerbraten, the Irish ones corned beef and cabbage, etc...
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:37 AM   #17
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Sea Pie is a popular one around here.. They call it Sea pie but it has pork, chicken and beef in it.....

It is a French Canadian invention from the Cipaille region. Pronounced "Seepie".
Here is a basic recipe

http://www.food.com/recipe/cipaille-pot-pie-269937
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:01 AM   #18
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So many possibilities for this type of thing it really depends on the church.

In my area fish is popular during lent, the old German churches still do sauerbraten, the Irish ones corned beef and cabbage, etc...

Fish is a VERY big thing for lent in my area. All the churches and fire halls have fish frys, and some restaurants who don't usually serve fish add a couple seafood choices on their menu.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:09 AM   #19
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Fish is a VERY big thing for lent in my area. All the churches and fire halls have fish frys, and some restaurants who don't usually serve fish add a couple seafood choices on their menu.
Same in this area. The Italian churches make a great baked fish with tomatoes, capers, olives, onions, celery etc...

In the spring the local volunteer firemen hold bullhead suppers.

Some of them are set up for takeout and or delivery. I usually go that route if I can unless I know some of the people involved. I'm not outgoing enough for the long elbow to elbow tables unless I know the folks attached to the elbows!
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:21 AM   #20
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I'm in the same boat. Mom has to bring food for her Sunday school class of 80. Others are bring stuff, but she asked me if I would cook it for her.

I recently made some homemade crescent rolls, with some ham and cheese rolled up in them, and they were awesome. She wants me to make those for 80. I think I'll just nap out Saturday afternoon, then pull an all-nighter.

Question for the bakers of the forum. The dough does a first-rise for an hour or so...then you punch it out, and roll it out and form the rolls. Then it goes through a second rise for another hour. Could I put the dough in the refrigerator or freezer after I have formed the rolls, so I could delay the second rise?

I'd like to be able to make all the dough, do the first rise and the rolling, forming and stuffing of the rolls Saturday night...then just wake up Sunday, pull them out and do the second rise and baking.

Also...besides ham and cheese...any suggestions on other fillings? Maybe a veggie alternative...like spinach and something.

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