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msphoebe

Deli Meat and Cheese Tray

15 posts in this topic

I'm providing lunch for a charity committee meeting and want to make it simple. However, I'm on a really tight budget so need to do a little of the labor myself.

I've decided to make a deli meat and cheese tray (for sandwiches) a simple fruit salad, potato chips and...in keeping with the simple theme...pudding cups for dessert! (Ease of transportation and throw-away containers.)

I need some advice on how much meat and cheese to buy. I have a nice platter to arrange the sliced meats, so will do that work myself. Does anyone know how many ounces per sandwich are normally figured? Or how many servings per pound of sliced meat/cheese?

Thanks for any advice.

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I think it entirely depends on the appetites of those involved... Are they big eaters, or just nibblers?

Personally I would allocate anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 lbs of meat per person, and somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 lb of cheese. That would fall in line with the way I see most people go at such trays.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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These folks are what I'd call normal (civilized) eaters. I've been to those company luncheons where people load their plates like they haven't had a meal in a week....and a lot of it ends up in the trash!

8-12 ounces of meat and 4-8 ounces of cheese per person? Holy Mackerel, that sounds like a lot, along with the other components of the meal! Maybe I'd do better to put the sandwiches together myself, and stack them on a tray, in order to control portions...would that be too cheesey?

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per person:

2-3 ounces of sliced deli meats

1 to 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.

woodburner

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I estimate 1/3 lb. combination of meat and cheese for a decent sandwich, heavier on the meat than the cheese. Will you need a vegetarian option? Home made pasta salad is easy to make and inexpensive. Lettuce, tomato and sprouts not only make good sandwich toppings but can also make a sandwich by themselves to satisfy the vegetarians.

Jim

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Thank you for your reply, Jim. There are no vegetarians in the group, but I do plan to have some leaf lettuce and sliced tomatoes on a separate platter. Sprouts in the center of the platter would make a nice presentation -- I'll do it!

And don't get me wrong, I don't want the sandwiches to be "skimpy"...but I do think often times people overfill their plates, then it goes to waste! Trying to be frugal.

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And don't get me wrong, I don't want the sandwiches to be "skimpy"...but I do think often times people overfill their plates, then it goes to waste!  Trying to be frugal.

You can make the sandwiches in advance and serve cut in half. I assume you will have several varieties of meat and perhaps tuna or seafood salad. This way, they can mix or match or just a half for the light eaters. Let people add their own lettuce and tomato toppings. Mustard and mayonnaise are inexpensive necessities, and perhaps some pickles if you are running under budget.

Jim

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I like the idea of building the sandwiches (meat/cheese) and cutting them in half. Not only allows portion control, but speeds the buffet line, too. I did pick up some mayo & Dijon, some pickle spears, chips and soda. Will put together a simple fruit salad and that, along with the silly pudding cups, ought to be enough for a lunch.

Thanks for your help.

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If you pre-assemble the sandwiches, I would leave off the condiments and place them seperately. That will avoid the bread getting soggy, and cater to those who dislike certain sandwhich toppings.

You might also want to set aside a certain portion of your meat/cheese if you have any low-carbers in attendance so they don't have to waste rolls to get to the fillings.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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When I worked in a deli ages ago, and we produced meat and cheese platters, the general rule of thumb was a quarter pound of meat per person, and about one pound of cheese for every five pounds of meat. Depending on your crowd, you can adjust that, but I've found that it's a good starting point when using this calculation for my own events.

The only thing to be aware of is that the quarter pound per person rule doesn't work for salami. People don't tend to put as much of that on a sandwich, and you get a lot of slices by weight.

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How many people are you serving? I belong to a group that frequently does meal service at our meetings (which range from 20-200 people per meeting, and are held throughout the US!) and I am a Hospitality Chair for some of the larger ones. Whenever we have a full weekend meeting, there is almost always one "make your own sandwich" meal; we are also extremely, shall I say, frugal. Here are some thoughts, though some may apply better to a group larger than yours:

1. Soup is inexpensive and goes well with sandwiches; you can serve it in a crock pot (but heat it elsewhere!) and people will eat less of the expensive cold cuts.

2. The most popular cold cuts tend to be the more expensive turkey and roast beef, less popular are ham, bologna, and salami. Sandwich pepperoni went over well at our recent gathering in Dayton, Ohio, but may tend towards the expensive side.

3. The most popular cheeses are cheddar and american, least popular is swiss.

4. You can offer variety and save some money with a big bowl of tuna salad, made from an industrial size can of tuna from SAMS, BJs, GFS, or a similar place (or chicken salad, using boiled chicken from making Chicken soup per #1, above).

5. If the size of the group will justify it, you can save money by getting meats and cheeses from Gordon's Food Service (gfs.com); their prices are outstanding for the quality, and they will slice whole items (full turkey breast (7-8#), full roast beef (8-9#), 1/2 ham, 10# cheese block) for free.

Don't forget to supply a full range of condiments (ketchup, mustard, lite and regular mayo, hot sauce) and salt/pepper.

Hope at least some of this is useful to you. Let us know how it goes!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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Wow, the great information continues to flow!

This is for 12 people. I went to Costco and purchased:

1.62 lb. Black Forest Smoked Ham

1.27 lb. Emmbers Top Round Roast Beef

1.71 lb. Foster Farms Browned Turkey Breast

1 lb. Tillamook Sliced Cheddar

1 lb. Bel Gioso Provolone

1 lb. Finlandia Muenster

*****************

(4.6 pounds of meat/3 pounds of cheese)

1 loaf (24 oz) Boudin French Sourdough

1 loaf (32 oz) S. Rosen's Rye

1 loaf (24 oz) Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat

Of course mayo, yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, horseradish, and pickle spears. Will have a tray of leaf lettuce and sliced tomatoes, the potato chips, and pudding cups.

Since I "splurged" a little on better quality meats/cheeses, I'm going to skip the fruit salad. I still think everyone will have plenty of good quality chow to eat (if you don't count the pudding cups...)

I love the idea of serving soup. Will try that next time.

Thanks for all the info. I'm copying everything into a file with other ideas for group luncheons (quantities, etc.) Next time should be much easier. Thanks, all!

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Sounds like a nice spread. Another idea to spruce it up a bit is to make or purchase some Olive Tapenade. It makes it look "gourmet" but really doesn't cost all that much.


Never trust a skinny chef

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Sounds like a nice spread. I suppose I overshot my estimates, but then again, whenever I cook/prepare lunch for a group I tend to always err on the side of too much vs. any chance of leaving people hungry. This is probably not the best solution when you are on a tight expense budget though ;).


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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