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Marmish

Lunch for 40

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We are cooking for our staff of teachers on Tuesday, about 40 people, about 2/3 women. The boss suggested a taco bar type deal, so the plan is:

carnitas

chicken

rice

refried beans

assorted toppings: pickled red onions, lettuce, cheese, crema, etc.

salsas

chips

tortillas of course

Any suggestions on how much pork butt and chicken to buy? I planned to use boneless thighs and breasts. That worked well for me in the summer when I did a similar meal in the summer, but I was only cooking for 8 then.

Also, any advice on prepping and holding the tortillas? There is only maybe 10 minutes to do any last minute prep, not counting passive reheating. I do have a couple of staff who do not really need to be at the morning seminar who may be able to do a couple of simple tasks.

Does this menu need anything else?

Thanks for the help.

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Of course. I forgot to list it. I haven't yet made January birthday cakes, so I think I'll make them for Tuesday. Or brownies. Haven't decided yet. Or chocolate chip cookies.

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A thought on the chicken... are you thinking ground, or shredded? Ground might be "faster", although shredded tastes better :)

These quantities should give you generous servings

100 gms (3 oz) of chicken per person (40 x 100 gms = 4 kg, or just over 1 3/4 lbs/1 lb, 12 oz)

200 gms of pork shoulder per person (40 x 100 gms = 8 kg, or about 3 3/4 lbs (3 lbs, 12 oz) [since the shoulder shrinks]

5 lbs of rice

1 quart of salsa

4 lbs of chips

2-3 tortillas each, if they are about 6"

Last time, I warmed the tortillas, wrapped in foil packages of 2 dozen, in the oven. Then served in a pre-heated ceramic casserole dish w/ a lid (don't heat the lid!) A chafing dish would possibly also work...


Karen Dar Woon

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In my experience people will disproportionately choose chicken over pork - so I'd cheat that up those proportions say 25% to cover that.

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Shredded chicken. I'm really nervous about not having enough. :( Do you think we could put the meat/chicken in the tacos and line them up in a dish, cover, and keep warm that way instead of heating the tortillas and meat separately? If they are tightly covered, they should be ok, right? I'm thinking that would control portion sizes and make the line go quicker. I do have a couple of staff members who could do that.

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I would say let people help themselves. If you have leftovers the teachers I'm sure will be glad to take some home, so i'd shoot for a little high than low. I agree about doing more chicken than pork especially since some religions prohibit pork yet everyone seems to eat chicken. I would say that be doing them separate from the tortillas you will allow people who just want a plate to get that without having to get the additional starch, carbs from tortilla's. Are you going to do some grilled vegetables etc for vegetarians etc? I would probably suggest something along those lines. That way the people who are on a diet etc can either do all protien vegetables etc or people can mix and match. I'm surprised your not doing flan to keep the theme consistent. You could also do tres leches.

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I would say let people help themselves. If you have leftovers the teachers I'm sure will be glad to take some home, so i'd shoot for a little high than low. I agree about doing more chicken than pork especially since some religions prohibit pork yet everyone seems to eat chicken. I would say that be doing them separate from the tortillas you will allow people who just want a plate to get that without having to get the additional starch, carbs from tortilla's. Are you going to do some grilled vegetables etc for vegetarians etc? I would probably suggest something along those lines. That way the people who are on a diet etc can either do all protien vegetables etc or people can mix and match. I'm surprised your not doing flan to keep the theme consistent. You could also do tres leches.

I dislike flan, so would not make it, although it did cross my mind. Tres leches would have been good although I've never made one. That hasn't ever stopped me before, though! We have 3 vegetarians who usually bring their own even when I accommodate for them, so I've stopped trying too hard. Grilled veg are a good idea, though. No religious issues amongst the staff, nor really picky eaters except one or two, and again, they take care of themselves, and not really a hardcore dieting contingent either surprisingly.

I cooked the rice in the oven and that went surprisingly well.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I do have about 2x's chicken than pork. I feel ok about portions. I wish I had another batch of cookies. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I'm going to pack up and go to bed.

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Also... if you're really intent on pickled onions, I wouldn't mention that. Most will love the extra acidic bite, and most to none of the extra squeamish will be the wiser.

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The pickled onions were a condiment they could choose, sliced onions, lime juice, a bit of oil and salt, lots of cilantro. I used two HUGE red onions and they were almost gone. I made 6 cups (dry) rice with lime and cilantro. There is a decent, but not huge, amount left over. The pork butts totaled almost 9 lbs pre cooking weight. The pork was all eaten. The chicken was somewhere around 10 lbs, not sure exactly. There was about 1/4 of it left over. I made a second pan of cookies this morning, strawberry jam bars. There are 3 bars left and no chocolate chip cookies (4 dozen).

So, all went well. No complaints, lots of compliments, and just enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow for the office staff.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments.


Edited by Marmish (log)

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Shredded beef is much better than pork...and cheaper. Use a good chuck roast and cook it in tomato juice with water and beef broth for about 4 -6 hours to make it good and easy to shred. Add salsa, at least medium to the meat, then serve it on the shells. Don't forget the sour cream. yum!!

Dessert: Make a Key Lime bars to keep with the theme.

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