Help Me Feed 50 People

I’ve been elected social chair of my rugby club for the second year. After every game, the teams get together to eat and have a few beers. The beer is the easy part, and already taken care of by our sponsor*. Now I’ve got to plan meals for our home games. We’re not a picky bunch, and there’s never been food left over. The only requirements are that I feed about 45 rugby guys, so I usually plan for 60 people. My budget is plus or minus $150. We did burgers and brats quite a bit last year, so I’d like to stray away from that this season. Easy and low prep time are huge bonuses.

Any ideas?

Hawaiian style pulled pork and rice. Get some pork roasts from costco, toss them in a crock pot (or three) overnight. Throw in some red salt and liquid smoke. Grab a big bag of jasmine rice, cook that up and salt it. Done, and freaking delicious.

Make your own tacos, or taco salad or even fajitas–you could grill steak or chicken breasts, then slice and serve with sauteed veggies.

Baked ziti or other large baked pasta dish.

What kind of equipment do you have available? does the food have to be prepared in advance, or can it be done on site?
The answer is going to vary a bunch depending on if you have a commercial kitchen or a double burner Coleman stove set on a park bench.

I really like the ideas so far. We’ve got a few games, so keep 'em coming!

What we generally do is take care of all the preparations on Friday night. If anything needs to be baked (we’ve done enchiladas in the past, for example), we’ll distribute the pans to 3 or 4 guys, and they’ll pop them in the oven before they go to the game, and they’ll be done by the time everybody shows up to the social.

We can take care of heating anything in pots in a similar fashion. The only actual cooking we ever do on-site is a large propane grill.

See if you can find a copy of “Cooking For Crowds”, a wonderful cookbook written by a lady who had to make regular dinners for large faculty events. Tons of recipes with an emphasis on ease of preparation for big groups. Everything is written so that you’ve got amounts to feed 10, 20, 50 and 100 people.

I’ve fed about 30 people with chili - make a couple big stockpots full ahead of time. Stretches easily with extra beans and tomatoes. Add in a simple salad and some chili fixings (shredded cheese, diced onion, cilantro, oyster crackers, french bread, etc) and you’ve got a hearty meal. Chili, like most stews and soups, is easy to make although you need to allow adequate simmer time, but it reheats well and it’s a one-pot deal.

Catch a few episodes of “Dinner: Impossible” on the Food Network (before it goes off the air due to the chef lying on his resume) - while not everything will be suitable you may find some great ideas that you can use. They have to prepare gourmet meals for very large (hundreds to almost a thousand) people on about 6 hours notice, often with limited kitchen equipment.

I second the chili idea–it’s really filling and easy to make! Recipes are really flexible, so you can work around proportions of stuff with whatever you’ve got. Ground beef/turkey is a good start, saute with onions/garlic/green peppers/whatever, then chili beans, tomatoes (from a can–diced or whole peeled), spices (lots of chili powder and some cumin, cayenne, and whatever strikes you as tasty), and then simmer for a while. That’s the most basic recipe you can use–there are tons of variations and it’s hard to screw up. I’ve seen people put pasta in it toward the end (chili mac) or serve it over pasta (Ohio thing, maybe?), and you could do that if you wanted. Make sure to have chili toppings on hand, as Valgard said above. Yummy. Just what 50 hungry rugby guys ordered!

Chili - thirded.

Chili it is for tomorrow’s game. If the mods don’t mind, I may bump this thread for fresh ideas (I especially like the taco salad, pasta bake, and getting a copy of “Cooking for Crowd” ideas for future use.)

Pot luck.

You’ve got 45 guys, approximately, so divvy it up. 15 bring main dishes, 15 bring sides, 8 bring desserts, 7 bring drinks.

Sorry, got a bit caught up at the end of the Day in the off board Mafia game. I meant to say:

I may bump this thread for fresh ideas on Fridays before our home games for our next couple games.

When my soccer team used to do this, we would go with a pasta and salad. Spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna work great, and are relatively easy. Plus, it’s always good to carb load during the season.

Lasagna is an excellent idea for you next game. Buy disposable steam table pans and the crimp on aluminum covers.
A day or so before, build the lasagna in each pan, cover and stick in the fridge. the reason for the crimp on aluminum covers is they will allow you to stack the pans, aluminum foil won’t.
Pass them out the night before to be cooked. (or if you have a large enough oven do it your self.)
Place the hot cooked pans in a large ice chest (minus the ice of course) and cover with towels to keep in the warmth. You can heat up a brick, or a large rock, then wrap in a towel to help keep the cooler a warmer.*
Buy a cheap disposable steam table frame (cheap frame, large pan to fill with hot water, and a couple of Sterno cans) place the first pan on board and start serving.
Add to this a tossed green salad, and they will think you are a cooking god.

*If you don’t have a great big cooler to be used as a warmer, use 1/2 size steam table pans instead. Same idea, it will just take twice as many.