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Thread: Ideas for casual lunch for 20 people

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Ideas for casual lunch for 20 people

    My Mom just asked me to help her figure out what to make for 20 people she is having over for a casual lunch on Sunday. She is open to try anything that won't be too time consuming and she would prefer to prepare most of it the evening before, if possible.

    Do you have any ideas that I could share with her?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Is it still cold enough that something like a large vat of soup/stew/chili would go over well? Or a curry for a more adventurous crowd? For 20 people that's where I would be leaning, and then fill it out with smaller dishes--because those are the sorts of meals that A make a lot and B tend to taste better the next day. Maybe some bread that could rise overnight in the fridge and come out of the oven the next day near lunchtime? If it is cold enough where you are (but not too cold) it could rise in the garage or something like that, since I know space for lots of loaf pans would be an issue for me in my fridge. Maybe a veggie tray? For 20 people I would lean toward simple, but I am not the most experienced hostess for those kinds of numbers!
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  3. #3
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    Some ideas off the top of my head:

    Pulled pork, chicken or beef sandwiches in the crockpot; let everyone make their own. Serve with a few different salads.

    A taco bar where everyone can make their own tacos.

    I hosted a Christmas party for 10 and did a tostado bar which went over really well.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    Some ideas off the top of my head:

    Pulled pork, chicken or beef sandwiches in the crockpot; let everyone make their own. Serve with a few different salads.

    A taco bar where everyone can make their own tacos.

    I hosted a Christmas party for 10 and did a tostado bar which went over really well.
    Ooooh, something like a taco bar is a great idea also--and more seasonally appropriate too. You could have baked potatoes out too, for people who don't like tacos (many of the toppings can be had in common).
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I would second the soup idea. CL has some great ones, my favorite being their Cheddar Chicken Chowder. Then maybe make some assorted finger sandwiches to go with it. Maybe something a little outside the ordinary if she doesn't want to make it too plain? Curried chicken salad? Little Monte Cristo's? That kind of thing. I would then make some biscotti and cookies and serve with decaf and regular coffee.

    Kristi
    co-founder
    Planet Marshmallow
    www.planetmarshmallow.com

  6. #6
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    I have done a baked ham and roasted sliced turkey served with rolls for sandwiches, condiments, fresh salad, and fresh fruit salad for dessert. Not too time consuming, simple.
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Dorval (suburb of Montreal), Quebec
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    Here is a recipe that can be totally prepared ahead of time. The original recipe feeds 50 as part of a buffet, but I have scaled that down to 20.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Breast of Chicken Venus

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 20 (original 50) Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Entree To be Tested

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    6 pounds chicken breasts -- boneless, skinless
    3/4 bunch tarragon
    salt and pepper
    3/4 cup vegetable oil -- for cooking
    3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
    6 3/8 garlic cloves
    6 sprigs fresh thyme
    2 pounds cremini mushrooms -- stems removed
    4 3/4 red peppers -- oven roasted and cut in lg dice
    4 3/4 artichoke hearts -- blanched
    2 bulbs fennel -- thinly slivered, sprinkled with lemon juice
    1 5/8 bunches fresh basil -- shredded
    1 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
    1 5/8 bunches broccoli -- florets only, blanched

    Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces, removing fat and tendons. Sprinkle with tarragon, salt and pepper.

    Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken in batches and cook over high heat for approximately 10-12 minutes per batch, until seared and cooked through. Or, put the chicken on an oiled pan and bake in a 400º oven for approx. 20 min. Remove to a large mixing bowl.

    Preheat the oven to 400º. Pour 1 cup of olive oil into a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Lay the mushrooms on top, gill side down and sprinkle with remaining oil. Roast for approx. 10-12 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the pan.

    Toss the mushrooms and their liquid with the chicken in the bowl. One by one, add the peppers, artichokes, fennel and basil, tossing after each addition. Toss with the balsamic vinegar and taste for seasoning. Add the broccoli just before serving.

    Description:
    "Boneless chicken pieces tossed with fresh and roasted vegetables make a simple yet impressive entrée for a large gathering. This dish is delicious warm, cold or a room temperature."
    Source:
    "The Buffet Book, Carole Peck with Carolyn Hart Bryant, pg 133-134"
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Serving Ideas : Serves 50 as part of buffet

    NOTES : Planning Ahead: The peppers and mushrooms can be roasted and the artichokes blanched up to 4 days ahead. The chicken can be cut into pieces up to 2 days ahead. The whole dish can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Add the blanched broccoli just before serving.

    Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Miche

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    800
    I did a shower a couple of summers ago and served:

    shrimp cocktail
    spring mix lettuce with vinaigrette
    tomato pie (basically pie crust, cheese, tomatoes and some herbs - can be made ahead. I found the recipe on the Food Network site)
    sourdough rolls

    Everything was made ahead and very easy. Once my guests were ready to eat, all I had to do was warm the rolls and toss the salad.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2003
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    Thank you so much for these ideas! My Mom was over last night and I read them all out to her. What I didn't realize earlier is that these people coming over for lunch are going to be planning a Mexican Fiesta for their church, so she really liked the idea of doing a taco bar for lunch.

    So far, this is what we have figured out:

    Taco bar:
    Taco seasoned ground beef and onions kept warm in the crock pot
    Shredded lettuce
    Diced tomatoes
    Grated cheese - cheddar and monteray jack
    Sour cream
    Tomato-based salsa
    Hard taco shells and soft flour tortillas

    Avocado salsa
    Corn tortilla chips
    Mexican black beans and rice
    Cucumber and mango salad

    Potentials for dessert:
    Strawberry cheesecake trifle
    Fruit skewers with fruit dip
    Hummingbird cake
    Warmed apple sheet cake with vanilla ice cream

    If you have any other ideas for dessert or can think of anything we might have missed that would go nicely with the above items, please feel free to share! Thanks again!

  10. #10
    As a vegetarian, I really like the taco bar idea - it would give everyone something to eat based on their preferences!

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I think it looks great! I love Cilantro on my tacos, so i'd add that.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    In my heaven on earth
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    I agree, the taco bar sounds perfect but in addition to the cilantro I would also add lime slices. I just don't touch tacos without lime anymore.

    I like the idea of something fruity for dessert. There were some key lime squares posted here at one point that were really good. I'm thinking it was around May of 2005?


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    I think it looks great! I love Cilantro on my tacos, so i'd add that.
    Oh most definitely! My mom is also a cilantro fanatic!

    I will also suggest lime wedges. Great idea! Thanks!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyn1007 View Post
    I like the idea of something fruity for dessert. There were some key lime squares posted here at one point that were really good. I'm thinking it was around May of 2005?
    Key lime would be really nice with that meal. I'll see if I can find that recipe and send it to her.

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