Ideas for a (easy) meal for 20

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Badjak

Sous Chef
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
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I've been asked to do catering for 3 times dinner for about 20 people. All adults.
I got most of it sorted in my head, but still struggling a bit with day 1.
There are some limitations though.
- it needs to be made on the spot as there won't be any fridge or freezer space left
- no oven, no electrics
- there is not much in the form of convenience products available

Day 2 is full Indonesian and is the main event. Lot of dishes, fairly meat centric & obviously rice based
Day 3 is snack/finger food, think hummous, tzatziki, spring rolls, salads, paté, whatever, got a whole list ready

So day 1 needs to be fairly easy, not too much meat, no braai like I first thought of.
I don't want to do spaghetti bolognese or something like that as thats considered very low class here.
It gotta be different from day 2 and 3
I was thinking of chicken tikka masala, dal & a big salad, but open to more ideas
 
Same here - interested to see what others think.
I was going to suggest a fish/seafood based paella, but I noticed that you are using rice based dishes on day 2.
I like the idea of an Indian dish that features dal - seafood curry Indian style with a coconut and spiced dal would work.
I’ll keep thinking 🫠
 
OMG, what a project Badjak! Kudos to you, it sounds like you've got most of it under control.

I'm not understanding why you have no fridge, freezer space, nor oven.
Are you making all of this at home (or somewhere else)? Do you need to transport it any distance? Is this an over night stay for you?

Can you not use the fridge for the first day's meal and then bring in the 2nd and/or 3rd, once the 1st has cleared the fridge?
 
Perhaps a pasta base with a choice of fresh toppings: Primavera, Something garlicy or perhaps a pesto. Then you can have a choice of other things such as cooled grilled chicken or seafood or roasted veggies. Or cheeses. Just my two cents.
 
OMG, what a project Badjak! Kudos to you, it sounds like you've got most of it under control.

I'm not understanding why you have no fridge, freezer space, nor oven.
Are you making all of this at home (or somewhere else)? Do you need to transport it any distance? Is this an over night stay for you?

Can you not use the fridge for the first day's meal and then bring in the 2nd and/or 3rd, once the 1st has cleared the fridge?
No electricity.
I'll do most of the indonesian in advance and that will take up all the fridge space, together with all the snacky stuff for day 3.
I have a 12 volt solar fridge & afreezer on inverter

The place for the happening is close by, but they have no electricity at all.

On the weekend, we'll probably run genny's
Cooking is on charcoal and gas, which doesn't bother me at all, but I had to mention it ;)

All fish/sea food options are great, but we are landlocked and have no real nice fish except for boring tilapia :(
A fish curry would be an option. Just scared that some of this crowd are not fish lovers. I'll have to check.

Budget is pretty open.
It's not a young crowd. Sort of 45 to 75 years old
The guys tend to get together for some drinks and whatever and this is a sort of "thank you" weekend to their partners to be so understanding :)
 
I would do a Mediterranean mezze meal (love alliteration lol): Make kofte patties or skewers in advance and grill. Also grill a variety of vegetables, like zucchini, bell peppers and onions and slice them for serving. Have hummus and tzatziki for dipping; maybe also muhammara and baba ghanoush. Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Pita bread and focaccia.

Only the kefta and tzatziki would need to be kept cold and you could keep them in a cooler.
 
A salad Niçoise buffet with most of the prep work done and packed at home.

As others have mentioned, you could add some grilled chicken along with the more traditional tinned tuna or sardines.

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I would do a Mediterranean mezze meal (love alliteration lol): Make kofte patties or skewers in advance and grill. Also grill a variety of vegetables, like zucchini, bell peppers and onions and slice them for serving. Have hummus and tzatziki for dipping; maybe also muhammara and baba ghanoush. Fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Pita bread and focaccia.

Only the kefta and tzatziki would need to be kept cold and you could keep them in a cooler.
Mezze/tapas/finger food is planned for day 3 :)
 
I keep coming back to seafood/fish because it seems like you have a meat based menu on day 2.
But if you don’t have access to great seafood, perhaps a chicken dish (chicken amatriciana tray bake? Hit me up for the recipe if you’re interested).
Aside from that, you could do a pasta making party where everyone makes their own fresh pasta and you then do the sauce to go with it?
 
I like that pasta party idea!
Not for this group though.

Reminds me of a sausage party long time ago.
We were all asked to bring some "stuffing' and this one guy had a sausage stuffer.
We ended up with some very weird sausages though :)

Currently thinking of Basque chicken with a big salad
Or fish curry with trimmings
Coq au vin maybe
Or good old oxtail (my version is pretty similar to boeuf bourgignon)...
 
I've been asked to do catering for 3 times dinner for about 20 people. All adults.
I got most of it sorted in my head, but still struggling a bit with day 1.
There are some limitations though.
- it needs to be made on the spot as there won't be any fridge or freezer space left
- no oven, no electrics
- there is not much in the form of convenience products available

Day 2 is full Indonesian and is the main event. Lot of dishes, fairly meat centric & obviously rice based
Day 3 is snack/finger food, think hummous, tzatziki, spring rolls, salads, paté, whatever, got a whole list ready

So day 1 needs to be fairly easy, not too much meat, no braai like I first thought of.
I don't want to do spaghetti bolognese or something like that as thats considered very low class here.
It gotta be different from day 2 and 3
I was thinking of chicken tikka masala, dal & a big salad, but open to more ideas
BBQ.
Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken, coleslaw, potato salad....
Dressed up or down.
Good luck!
 
Mezze/tapas/finger food is planned for day 3 :)
Whoops. By the time I read to the bottom of the thread, I had forgotten! 😁

I don't know if Mexican ingredients are available to you, but a taco bar could be fun. Corn and flour tortillas, chicken and beef fillings, refried beans, Mexican rice, and all the toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, pickled red onions, and cheeses.
 
Yeah, I like that idea!

My first idea was pizza's and I was hoping that I could find a mobile wood fired pizza oven ;)
No luck though and doing small ones, one by one in my uuni will take forever.

But tortilla's could work. I can even do tgem on the braai (bbq/grill for most of you)
 
Taco bars are generally good for feeding lots of people, and you can have several different protein options. I do Toastmasters and when we have large district training meetings, often times we have done sandwich and taco bars. (Served as Logistics Manager twice.) But we're on a strict budget, so there is that.
 

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