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Looking for inexpensive recipes that serve many.

3979 Views 27 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  kissedazombieandlikedit
I'm looking for foods that are inexpensive, easy to make, filling, and serves a lot of people. Yes I'm aware that I'm asking for a lot?. The issue I have is the recipes I have meet some of the criteria but when I double the recipe to accommodate a lot of folks at my party, it runs into a ton of money. I usually have 50+ people for our party (all with healthy appetites) so sometimes I may even have to triple it in order to have enough. Any and all recipes or ideas welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance, Marc V.
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So 50 people (or so) with inexpensive Halloween themed food..... Whats your budget?

Dish Food Cuisine Ingredient Baked beans
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pasta is probably the cheapest

1 box of penne pasta
1lb of hamburger meat
1lb of spicy breakfast sausage
pasta sauce
mozzarella cheese
cook the pasta, cook the meat, mix with the sauce, bake for about 20 minutes or until everything is hot, spread the cheese on top and bake till melted. you can mix more cheese into the mix if you want. 2 batches would cost around 25.00

big pot of Chili & beans
have corn chips, cheese, crackers, onions

Tacos will go a long way
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We make a couple pots of White Chicken Chili and I make a bunch of mini cornbread muffins too. Most of the time my Mom will also bring crock pots full of meatballs & red sauce (she buys frozen meatballs from Costco, then we use our own sauce), and we have rolls for meatball sandwiches. You can stretch these recipes by adding more beans & actually pureeing beans into the broth for the chicken chili - beans are filling.

With the meatballs, you could do a large side dish of spaghetti noodles.

One year for my DD's First Birthday, we did a big pasta bar - we offered 3 kinds of cooked noodles in pans, then had a variety of sauces kept warm in crock pots. We had garlic bread & salad on the side. It was a pretty easy & inexpensive way to feed everyone. We used big containers of red sauce, meat sauce & alfredo sauce, then had smaller bowls of pesto sauce, garlic & olive oil, and offered parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella, peas & chopped spinach as add-ins. Everyone seemed pretty happy with it.

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we usually do all the food, which is themed. This year, I need to back off on spending and running out of time, so I have made it a contest for the spooky food. I have guests sign up with what they are bringing and I will fill in the spaces. We usually have 50-75 guests. Not everyone will eat. In the past, we have had 3 kinds of wings (bat wings) macaroni and cheese using bow tie pasta (look like bats), queso dip (vomit), salsa and chips (blood clots and bone chips) red velvet brownies (blood brownies) cupcakes frosted like a brain, meatballs (zombie eyes) little smokies (witches fingers), also I put cream cheese in a brain mold and cover with raspberry chipotle sauce (you can find at Costco) served with crackers (brain hemorrhage) and veggie tray (monster fingers). Pinterest is a good place to start as well. Now I just need to figure out prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place food. Also deviled eggs are good. add a sliced black olive to make it look like an eyeball.
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Finger foods, finger foods, finger foods!

Finding large meal-type recipes for parties with a lot of people is usually difficult, and the prep-time + inconvenience/mess of serving them is not worth it most of the time. There's a couple great ideas above, and I'd like to add these.

Food Cuisine Dish Ingredient Baking

Finger Green Hand Still life photography Plant

Pumpkin Carving Calabaza Yellow Vegetable

Dish Food Deviled egg Egg Ingredient

Dish Food Cuisine Ingredient Produce
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Maybe a lg pot of spaghetti could be done or with a salad bar and some french bread. I could also second the pot luck idea. Great way to fill everyone up without cashing you out! And it gives a really nice variety for different tastes.
I have a large party every year and one of the easiest items served is also the least expensive... As other's have said PASTA is cheap and easy. Mine is what I've dubbed lazy man lasagna and I make it in the large steamer sized pans (with the little burner pots under) after upwards of 60 people eating their fill there's usually still some leftover's for the next day to save me cooking. It really is easy and not horribly expensive since I do not even put meat into the actual pasta but pile it on the top like intestines.
Here's how I make it
1 box of pasta anything except long strands like spaghetti
2 family size jars of your favorite pasta sauce
1 - 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes NO seasonings (I just go to Sam's and pick up the giant can since I will use it for blood)
1 large container of cottage cheese
1 large bag of shredded mozzarella
spices of choice
Long Italian sausage left whole

The day before the party I combine the dry uncooked pasta, 1/2 the giant can of crushed tomatoes, cottage cheese, and up to 1 jar of pasta sauce in the pan I will bake it all in. Your looking for a mix that has some extra sauce but not swimming in it. Cover with aluminum foil and put into the fridge overnight
Party day allow a couple of hours before the party to bake it up, carefully remove the foil but save it to replace, stir and if it seems dry add a bit more of the pasta sauce and or crushed tomatoes, plus stir some of the shredded mozzarella in. While the pasta is cooking you can cook the Italian sausage, I like to boil mine because it more closely resembles intestines that way. Recover with the foil and bake in a 350 until bubbling, remove foil, sprinkle with more cheese and return to the oven. Once the cheese is melted and lightly browned remove from the oven and place the cooked sausage on one side of the pan.
I also make a bread stick rib cage for this dish that I spoon some tomato sauce on and sprinkle with Parmesan. It's a hit every year and I have some big guys come who go back for seconds and even thirds.
Good luck!
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I made puff pastry inestines last year, filled with soy protein (you can use minced beef too of course if you don't want to use soy), texmex styled spices and corn, because hey, corn doesn't digest properly ;)
Here's the link to the recipe:http://www.instructables.com/id/puff-pastry-intestines/
And here's how mine looked (and if it doesn't come across too boastful, I'd dare say mine looked better!) I used red and green food dye after cooking to paint some details. It tasted absolutely amazing and it got eaten super fast even the guests were a tad grossed out by the visuals haha!
Food Cuisine Dish Ingredient Bratwurst
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I was going to suggest a chili bar too. Inexpensive, feeds a crowd, perfect fall food. Bar cookies and brownies for dessert.
This is not my pic, but the best thing ever to serve this many people is my $19 roaster oven! I make the chili right in it, then set it on warm to serve out of.


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Macaroni and Cheese and a Tomato Bread Stuffing. You can use day old bread in the stuffing and canned tomatoes. I usually have all the ingredients on hand in my pantry.

1 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoon Flour
2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup grated cheese

Put butter in sauce pan and melt over slow heat. Add salt and flour and mix well but do not brown. Add milk and cook until it thickens. Add Cheese and stir in well.

When we ate the macaroni and cheese we put the tomato stuffing on top of it.
Macaroni and Cheese:
Use additional cheese when layering in casserole dish.
Italian Breadcrumbs to cover top of casserole
Pats of butter for top. (5 or 6)

Cook macaroni, (3 Cups) in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and rinse well. Add to cheese sauce and mix. Butter casserole dish. Layer noodles, then a layer of Cheese, Repeat until all noodles are gone, layer a final layer of cheese, Sprinkle top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake 1/2 hour at 375.

Tomato Bread Stuffing:
2 Cup can of tomatoes
3 slices of bread sliced in strips or cut in large 2 inch long pieces
Sugar, Salt and Pepper to taste.
If you like onion you can add 1/2 Cup of diced onion.

Butter casserole and put mixture into casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs and dot with butter.

Bake 1/2 hour at 375. (Can be baked at the same time as the macaroni and cheese.
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Also, If you do not want to make mac and cheese from scratch, you could do Crock Pot mac and cheese. Not as good in my opinion but easier.

I usually do chilli beans or chicken stew. Both are yummy and don't break the bank.
some prety cool ideas here. I might have to steal some.
How are your BBQ/smoking skills? You can feed a lot of people with smoked pork shoulder and it's cheap. Depending on where you are, you can get Boston butts for as cheap as $1.?? Per pound. I made two 5 pounders weekend before last and they cost me less that $20.
You can't go wrong with lasagna for a crowd. So many variations. You can make your own sauce or use commercial for convenience. Bulk it up with mushrooms, veggies, etc. The only expensive ingredient is the cheese but you can use as much as you like or can afford. People can choose their own serving size. Filling, hearty and delicious. I don't know many people who don't like pasta. Add some herbed garlic bread (whip 2 sticks of butter with minced garlic, salt and pepper then add about a tablespoon of parsley then whip again. Cut slices into a French bread loaf - but not all the way through - slather butter on each side of each slice and spread any remaining over the top. Cover in foil and bake in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes or until piping hot). Again, you can make as many loaves as you need and it will go far.

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