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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: intirb on June 03, 2016, 12:04:41 PM

Title: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: intirb on June 03, 2016, 12:04:41 PM
I have a budget (about $1200) to feed about 50-100 people as many times as possible in a year.  (Think student dorm).  I have two 8qt slow cookers, access to many many ovens and stove tops, and a good amount of storage space.  The cheaper I can feed people, the more times I can feed them.  If I could feed them 20 times ($60 per meal), I think that would be perfect, but I don't know if it's realistic (~$1 per meal).

What are some of the cheapest bulk recipes you can think of?  Preferably recipes that are filling and healthy, bonus points if delicious and vegan.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 03, 2016, 12:06:31 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 03, 2016, 12:08:57 PM
Indian stuff is good for this.  Dal and Chana Masala for example, can both be made very cheaply, and pair well with rice which lets you stretch them even farther.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: dreams_and_discoveries on June 03, 2016, 12:21:17 PM
Massive bag of rice, massive bag of beans/lentils/pulses, whatever cheap veg you can source and bulk herbs and spices.

Can then do beans and rice/chilli/curry combinations.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Midwest on June 03, 2016, 12:34:31 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.

Roadkill?
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 03, 2016, 12:36:09 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.

Roadkill?

It's time of year (spoilage problems mid summer) and traffic dependent.  By the time you complete your collection, take the time to clean the roadkill, then cook it I think that it would have been cheaper to get a temp job and buy some ingredients.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Midwest on June 03, 2016, 12:40:48 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.

Roadkill?

It's time of year (spoilage problems mid summer) and traffic dependent.  By the time you complete your collection, take the time to clean the roadkill, then cook it I think that it would have been cheaper to get a temp job and buy some ingredients.

Geese are very populace, meaty and you aren't required to swerve to miss.  Just keep a cooler in your car.

To add - I can't top the hunger games idea. That was very inventive.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 03, 2016, 12:42:56 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.

Roadkill?

It's time of year (spoilage problems mid summer) and traffic dependent.  By the time you complete your collection, take the time to clean the roadkill, then cook it I think that it would have been cheaper to get a temp job and buy some ingredients.

Geese are very populace, meaty and you aren't required to swerve to miss.  Just keep a cooler in your car.

To add - I can't top the hunger games idea. That was very inventive.

They're used to be protected under Canada's migratory birds act, but I see that this has changed as of 2011.  That's a pretty reasonable alternative.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Midwest on June 03, 2016, 12:45:30 PM
I'd dynamite a small lake and then skim the fish off the surface.

Alternatively, force the people to compete in gladatorial style games where the ultimate losers are cooked and then eaten.

Roadkill?

It's time of year (spoilage problems mid summer) and traffic dependent.  By the time you complete your collection, take the time to clean the roadkill, then cook it I think that it would have been cheaper to get a temp job and buy some ingredients.

Geese are very populace, meaty and you aren't required to swerve to miss.  Just keep a cooler in your car.

To add - I can't top the hunger games idea. That was very inventive.

They're used to be protected under Canada's migratory birds act, but I see that this has changed as of 2011.  That's a pretty reasonable alternative.

In the US they are protected, but I don't know of anyone who has been prosecuted for an accident....
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Yankuba on June 03, 2016, 12:47:21 PM
Pasta w/ bread and salad or veggie chilli
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Beriberi on June 03, 2016, 01:17:52 PM
This is why soup kitchens serve soup - filling and relatively cheap.  Some bread on the side and I bet you can come in under $1 per person.

Split Pea is great, Chicken Noodle, Beef Stew. 

The other thing is to think about what you might have access to that you can get much cheaper than usual - a bakery outlet store might mean that sandwiches are a good bet.  Also, you could plan parts of the meals around dollar store items - if you are good at putting things together, I think you can assemble some good ingredients there.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: AMandM on June 03, 2016, 01:22:21 PM
Spaghetti with tomato sauce
Chili on rice
Potato soup
Pea soup
Curried lentils on rice
Broccoli soup when there's a big sale on broccoli
Corn chowder
Hoppin John
Vegetable stew on rice
Beef -vegetable soup with dumplings or macaroni

If you have access to a warehouse store (Costco/BJ's/Sam's), you can buy a big tub of beef or chicken or veggie broth concentrate and use it as the base for several soups.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Bucksandreds on June 03, 2016, 01:22:28 PM
This is why soup kitchens serve soup - filling and relatively cheap.  Some bread on the side and I bet you can come in under $1 per person.

Split Pea is great, Chicken Noodle, Beef Stew. 

The other thing is to think about what you might have access to that you can get much cheaper than usual - a bakery outlet store might mean that sandwiches are a good bet.  Also, you could plan parts of the meals around dollar store items - if you are good at putting things together, I think you can assemble some good ingredients there.

You can often get ham for around 99 Cents per pound. Chop that up and put it in a soup with beans or any number of other ingredients and you would have a hearty soup at a very low price.  You could easily make a soup that would be difficult for most people to eat over $1 worth at a time.  Definitely soup and definitely ham, unless you can get chicken at that price.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Rosy on June 03, 2016, 01:35:00 PM
1. There are tons of a $ a meal recipes on the net. Pick those that appeal to you and test them.
2. Don't you guys ever get tired of rice and beans? What about grits, barley, spelt and bulgur? - great base for soups and stews.
 
3. Rule # 1 - find the cheapest source possible to purchase supplies in bulk. Boom
4. Rule # 2 - depression style cooking - can't ever beat that, look it up on the net.
5. Rule# 3 -  Turkish-Greek-Balkan-Meditteranean style cooking all relies heavy on vegetarian dishes. Think seasonal and buy cheap eggplant in the summer for lasagna. Easy to turn that into a $ a meal dinner.

6. If it's for college kids or kids in general, they all like Asian these days which relies heavily on vegetarian dishes - fingers foods are a favorite so fish tacos or pizza in any form is a winner. To be specific on just one thing - anything can be a wrap or a roll or a veggie pizza.
7. You are right - seasoning is everything and that comes with experience, so try out what you can yourself.
8. Seasonal fruit and veggies ... think out of the box from road vendors to flea markets to pick your own. You got a budget so make it work.

You can do this, it just takes a little planning.
Forget about the as cheap as possible and replace it with, I've got $1200 bucks, now let's see what miracles we can perform with this ... good food - good times and maybe find a way to squeeze in a luscious, fruity, little dessert.
Ask everyone you know about shopping in places like restaurant depot or costco or Aldi and get their tips on recipes for a crowd.

I love pancakes filled with all sorts of fruit - easy and delicious. Make a batch of cream cheese/whipping cream filling/frosting to go with it and you will see happy faces.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: little_brown_dog on June 03, 2016, 01:35:06 PM
Barley Stew - usually done with chuck beef, but you can sub in mushrooms to make it veg. There are a bunch of recipes on line, some more simple than others. Typical recipes use: carrots, celery, onions, meat or mushrooms, dry pearl barley, stock, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Throw everything in a slow cooker and simmer on low for 8hrs. It's really filling, so even though it may be a touch more expensive than other recipes, it makes up for it.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: lifejoy on June 03, 2016, 01:37:49 PM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: SnackDog on June 03, 2016, 01:53:02 PM
The two proven classics are spaghetti and pancakes.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Axecleaver on June 03, 2016, 01:56:33 PM
If you'd like to add meat, slow cooker pulled pork at $.99/lb is pretty good.

I run a couple of charity events on the regular. Consider going to the grocery stores or convenience chains near you and asking if they'd like to donate food to the event; you can offer some publicity in exchange. Many stores have a policy for charity. Write them a letter of thanks on your org's letterhead (or just make it up, if you don't have an org).  I'm currently running an annual volunteer event at Xmas that uses this strategy. We get donations from grocery stores, free refuse collection from the refuse company, free blankets donated, toys, whole bunch of stuff.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: NeverLost on June 03, 2016, 02:31:18 PM
I agree with the spaghetti recommendation.  Also, I had a big graduation party at my house (closer to 50 than 100) and did a taco bar, which was really economical.  You could do a scaled down version with tortillas, taco meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, and salsa for cheap.  Adding cilantro/lime rice on the side will make it go further as well.  We fancied it up with sour cream, chicken and a couple other types of salsa but that's unnecessary.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: bobechs on June 03, 2016, 02:58:53 PM
Lard, especially partly hydrogenated lard, is much cheaper per-calorie than pasta.  About half -or less- the cost.

But a lot of people will object if served a bowl of plain lard with lard on the side.  So, meet their objections by going half lard (at about 50 cents per 2000 calories) and half macaroni (at about a dollar and a half per 2000 calories) with yellow food coloring for ersatz mac-n-cheese or red food coloring for ersatz chili-mac.

It will be about a dollar a day per person or thirty-three cents a meal.

Oh- and far as eating the wounded:  factor in the forty-thousand-dollar-a-year college education they have yet to pay for and all the savings go right out the window.  Even boot camp after high school is going to make them an uneconomical food source.  Soylent Green, however...
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: newton on June 03, 2016, 04:00:16 PM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Bracken_Joy on June 03, 2016, 04:06:25 PM
Pancakes and chili were always the old standbys at my school. Not at the same time, to be clear.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Clean Shaven on June 03, 2016, 04:10:18 PM
If I could feed them 20 times ($60 per meal), I think that would be perfect, but I don't know if it's realistic (~$1 per meal).

http://www.amazon.com/Maruchan-Ramen-Noodle-Chicken-Flavor/dp/B00MHBX8AE

2 packs per person = 1 meal.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Jakejake on June 03, 2016, 04:12:05 PM
I've done this regularly, and a dollar a meal was more than enough for me. I had an all you can eat salad bar for a dollar a plate, and bowls of soup for 50 cents - and at that I ran a small profit (with all volunteer help - but mostly me, no labor or other overhead costs).  I had 6 crockpots (from salvation army, not bought new). Things that worked well in them: Lentil stew. Mulligatawny soup if you can deal with pulling the meat off the chicken once you cook it. Homemade hummus costs next to nothing if you start with dried chickpeas (or other white beans). If you plan on doing this past October, you can probably score a bunch of free pumpkins that people set out after Halloween (uncarved ones, the carved ones would be gross). Cook them down, do crockpot pumpkin pie filling - no crust needed, just let people take a scoop of the filling. You'll have to pay for the milk, eggs and sugar for that but if the pumpkin is free it's very low cost and a crowd pleaser.

Use more pumpkins and more dried beans and some oatmeal to make veggie burgers at almost no cost.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: lifejoy on June 03, 2016, 04:16:47 PM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!

Yessir!!! A coworker of mine asked me, "Why do you always eat oatmeal?" And I asked her, "How much do you think this lunch costs me?" When she responded, "$4", I knew I had an opportunity to educate! :D
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: KCalla on June 03, 2016, 08:04:44 PM
You have received a lot of great suggestions.  I'd recommend keeping it as simple as possible the first few times.  Oven recipes, like baked pasta, that can be assembled early and spend the last hour or so in the oven can reduce meal time stress.  Consider pasta shapes other than lasagna noodles (such as rigatoni).  This can save on cost.  Here are two great online resources:

http://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/health/school-lunch/vegan_quantity_recipes.pdf
http://theveganasana.com/vegan-cooking-for-a-crowd/   (probably would have to double these recipes)

Remember that recipe yields are "per measured serving", not per person, so err on the side of making more until you get a good sense of your needs.  Do you have freezer availability to save what is leftover?  If so, hold the last 1/4 in reserve, away from your public, to either serve if needed or freeze for a future meal. 
Don't feel that you have to "not repeat" meals.  You will develop favorites.  Indian, Mexican, Italian, Asian, all good themes.  So is "Breakfast for Dinner"
The suggestion above to check out a bread outlet is great.  Most French Breads, many Italian Breads and some Pita breads and tortillas (but not all) are naturally vegan.  Do consider the costs of bread toppings.  Vegan butter replacement, for example, can be very expensive.  Hummus, as pointed out above, can be very inexpensive but needs to be blended very smooth to be a great texture.

A great resource:   http://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/

You probably already know if you have any permits or foodhandler certificate requirements.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: startingsmall on June 03, 2016, 08:19:52 PM
My husband's family swears by baked spaghetti for church meals and other situations like this, because it's cheap, easy, and relatively appealing to large numbers of people with varied tastes. Buy cheap pasta and cook it, then add cheap sauce, cooked ground beef (from the little frozen tootsie-roll style packages), spices, and a layer of mozzarella cheese over the top. Then cook it. Kind of similar to lasagna, but way easier and cheaper.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: With This Herring on June 03, 2016, 09:13:27 PM
I've done this regularly, and a dollar a meal was more than enough for me. I had an all you can eat salad bar for a dollar a plate, and bowls of soup for 50 cents - and at that I ran a small profit (with all volunteer help - but mostly me, no labor or other overhead costs).  I had 6 crockpots (from salvation army, not bought new). Things that worked well in them: Lentil stew. Mulligatawny soup if you can deal with pulling the meat off the chicken once you cook it. Homemade hummus costs next to nothing if you start with dried chickpeas (or other white beans). If you plan on doing this past October, you can probably score a bunch of free pumpkins that people set out after Halloween (uncarved ones, the carved ones would be gross). Cook them down, do crockpot pumpkin pie filling - no crust needed, just let people take a scoop of the filling. You'll have to pay for the milk, eggs and sugar for that but if the pumpkin is free it's very low cost and a crowd pleaser.

Use more pumpkins and more dried beans and some oatmeal to make veggie burgers at almost no cost.

Is this for actual college students or is this a charity?  If it is for a charity, you might be able to get local businesses to donate food.  If not, people usually end up with too many zucchini during the summer, so that could be another source of free food.  Post on CraigsList that you are willing to take any and all zucchini, then make savory fried zucchini patties.

Whatever you do, DON'T buy canned beans and "instant" rice.  Dried beans are SOOO much cheaper, as is rice that has not been parboiled (a precooking process that makes it "instant").  Definitely make a very small test batch of each recipe before it is made on a large scale.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Jeremy E. on June 03, 2016, 09:50:21 PM
Almost all of my meals cost less than $1... You can make tons of meals for $1ea, for meats choose chicken or pork for $1-$1.80/lb, and only serve 4-6 oz of meat per person per meal, which costs about $0.50 (note, 1lb of raw meat is generally only about 12 oz cooked). Sides are generally much cheaper, some ideas for sides are potatoes, rice, beans, broccoli, peas, corn, salad, rolls, etc. I generally buy frozen vegetables because they are much cheaper.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Mrs. S on June 03, 2016, 10:44:54 PM
This is something I do a lot to keep the costs down but still have variety when you eat essentially the same thing again and again.
1. Stay away from any kind of flatbreads/pancakes for lasrge numbers they are really time consuming and will eat away your time as you stand there and cook them.
2. look into cold noodles pioneer woman has this recipe which I have used repeatedly and it is as simple as boiling noodles mixing a few soya sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. pair these with different veggies or a good serving of stir fry and you are done. Same for fried rice, when you change what goes in it the taste changes.
3. Indian dishes as someone said earlier are well suited to feeding huge numbers for cheap. Try some daal(there are a good varieties of these as well) or make a lentil soup if your charges would like the sound of that better. pairing it with any subzi (dry or gravy) should be cheap. We prepare simple potatoes in 100s of ways.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: SimplyMarvie on June 04, 2016, 06:45:09 AM
YES, I totally get sick of beans and rice. On the other hand, I grew up on it, so I'm sort of used to it as a comfort food -- and if I had to feed a lot of people very cheaply, that's where I'd look to do it. (Dal + rice and pickle/chutney, soups, chili, curry, etc.) If you're looking for variety, you've probably got to be willing to put more work/planning into the cooking.

I would plan your menus around the loss-leaders in the supermarkets, as well. Usually there are big sales on protein and veggies, especially during the summer, to get people into the stores. Stock up -- especially with anything that can be frozen or dried or stored for later use. Meat can be used more like a flavoring than as a main dish, especially if you want it to stretch.

Do you have community gardens near you? Or U-Pick farms? You could ask for the 'scratch and dents' or o pick through the abandoned plots in the community garden for vegetables -- especially tomatoes and zucchinis and watermelons/pumpkins.

Try shopping outside of normal US grocery stores. Scratch and dent stores and restaurant supply stores are great places to get oils, spices, etc. cheap. As are asian and indian grocery stores, especially for lentils and pulses, spices, noodles and sauces and sometimes yogurt. It's probably worth keeping a price book so you can stock up when prices get low.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Peacefulwarrior on June 04, 2016, 07:20:03 AM
Mashed potatoes. Should be doable at $1 per meal/person. You can make it look a bit more sophisticated by putting all kinds of vegetables on top. Tomatoes for example works pretty well.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: MsPeacock on June 04, 2016, 03:18:10 PM
Baked potato bar with cheese and stuff for toppers.

As others have mentioned, chili, pasta, and beans are cheap.

Budget bytes is a good source of ideas Andy break down on costs.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Choices on June 04, 2016, 04:16:48 PM
You can make great black beans and rice in a crock pot. Add in tortillas and chips and salsa and you're in business. Most of this is available super-cheap at Costco.

Spaghetti w/ garlic bread is also good, and I second the mashed potato idea. You could make it as a salad bar with cheese/onions/bacon bits/gravy.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: horsepoor on June 04, 2016, 04:31:31 PM
Baked potato bar with cheese and stuff for toppers.

As others have mentioned, chili, pasta, and beans are cheap.

Budget bytes is a good source of ideas Andy break down on costs.

Yes, I was scrolling through this thread looking for the love for the humble Russet potato!  Super cheap, especially if you can get big bags of them.  Chili makes a good topping to make it even more filling, and you can keep that vegan if you want, and leave some dairy-based toppings on the side for those who like them.  Towards Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes often go on sale for like 39 cents a pound, so that could be a way to change it up throughout the year.

I think for a project like this, I'd go in for a large bulk buy of beans, rice, onions, potatoes, canned tomato products, cooking oil, flour and yeast (if you're down for making bread), and maybe pasta, and then purchase smaller quantities of needed ingredients for each event so you can get the best price on your non and less perishable staples.  For perishable stuff, try to be flexible so you can take advantage of a bargain or giveaway that might come up right before the event and change your menu up a bit to use that cheap ingredient.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Cassie on June 04, 2016, 04:40:43 PM
I have faced this task a few times and always make my homemade spaghetti sauce with meat which is delicious and then serve bread or rolls with it. Most people like it and it is very filling.  I had 4 slow cookers and made it a month in advance and froze it.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Goldielocks on June 04, 2016, 11:32:44 PM
Potato pie.

Google it.  lots of variations including vegan.  Many types of vegetables can be used with it, but onion, spinach, carrots, or sweet potato all are good.


nice variation from just mashed potatoes or rice, or bread all the time.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: FIRE47 on June 05, 2016, 05:32:53 AM
I've got another coupl suggestions but they may or may not be possible given the context of whatever it is exactly you are doing.

Is it possible you can charge a small amount to recover some of the costs? If you're making meals for a dollar even a quarter or accepting donations of change will go a long way to stretch things out and most people would think this to be very cheap for a prepared meal.

Also what about donations or food that is about to be thrown away? Given that there is a large audience of people some grocery stores could be happy to give you some food that may be about to spoil etc for some recognition.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: MandalayVA on June 05, 2016, 06:07:46 AM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!

If I lived on oatmeal, rice and beans I'd weigh 800 pounds and have rotten teeth.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 06, 2016, 06:07:28 AM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!

If I lived on oatmeal, rice and beans I'd weigh 800 pounds and have rotten teeth.

I don't follow.  None of the things you mentioned are damaging to your teeth or (with the exception of white rice maybe, if eaten in huge quantities) particularly good for weight gain.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Mr Saver 2000 on June 06, 2016, 09:07:09 AM
BBQ - pulled pork make from pork butts are about $2.25 per lb at sam's costco.  If you don't have a smoker you can cook them in the over.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Jessamine on June 06, 2016, 09:27:11 AM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!

If I lived on oatmeal, rice and beans I'd weigh 800 pounds and have rotten teeth.

I don't follow.  None of the things you mentioned are damaging to your teeth or (with the exception of white rice maybe, if eaten in huge quantities) particularly good for weight gain.
Scurvy from lack of fruits?
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: MgoSam on June 06, 2016, 10:16:26 AM
I live off oatmeal, myself. Make it hot with cinnamon, fruit (like craisins or baked apple) and hot water. Or cold with milk and berries and nuts and coconut.

Not sure if people would like it but it sure is cheap! And healthy! And vegan!

+1  Live off oatmeal.  Literally a few cents a serving!!!

If I lived on oatmeal, rice and beans I'd weigh 800 pounds and have rotten teeth.

I don't follow.  None of the things you mentioned are damaging to your teeth or (with the exception of white rice maybe, if eaten in huge quantities) particularly good for weight gain.

I'm guessing that he/she is referring to Quaker and other commercial oatmeal that has a ton of sugar and other crap in it.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Bettis on June 06, 2016, 12:05:49 PM
Ruh roh, I typically get Quaker Old Fashioned... well actually the Price Rite store brand.  I confess to not reading the label but it's hard to beat $2.39 for the big cannister (2lb or so).  Is there a healthier alternative at a comparable price?  I typically pour some coconut milk in with the oats, a heaping TBSP of peanut butter, and microwave it for close to 3 minutes.  Grapes on top work well too to sweeten up the bland flavor.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: dougules on June 06, 2016, 12:13:23 PM
A question that needs to be asked, what are their food tastes?  Are they going to like Indian or do they want more meat and taters American?
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: wenchsenior on June 06, 2016, 12:15:20 PM
Ruh roh, I typically get Quaker Old Fashioned... well actually the Price Rite store brand.  I confess to not reading the label but it's hard to beat $2.39 for the big cannister (2lb or so).  Is there a healthier alternative at a comparable price?  I typically pour some coconut milk in with the oats, a heaping TBSP of peanut butter, and microwave it for close to 3 minutes.  Grapes on top work well too to sweeten up the bland flavor.

I think that's just oats, so you're ok. The previous poster likely meant the flavored instant packets.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: HipGnosis on June 06, 2016, 12:30:30 PM
You don't say if you have refrigeration or freezer, but..
We buy meat in bulk, ground beef in 40#-60# batches and chicken breasts in similar sized lots from Zaycon. 
I also buy bulk things from azure standard, a big food coop that has drop points all over the western U.S.  40# bag of oatmeal costs about $20 and will last us a couple of months and makes cheap, filling breakfast.  I also like their bulk frozen fruits
eggs, since they are cheap protein.
Soups aren't something my family has been real excited about, but they're cheap.  If you bake your own bread, then soup, bread, and salads are cheap and filling meals. 
The crockpot is your friend for making tasty bean meals.  Chili and cowboy grub are big hits around here, and great budget-stretchers.
Cabbage is Amazing for making big meals dirt cheap.  Google "egg roll in a bowl" recipe.    it's a super cheap skillet meal. 
Salads with hard boiled eggs and some nuts for protein are great.  Homemade dressings are cheap and yummy.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: MandalayVA on June 06, 2016, 01:01:06 PM
Ruh roh, I typically get Quaker Old Fashioned... well actually the Price Rite store brand.  I confess to not reading the label but it's hard to beat $2.39 for the big cannister (2lb or so).  Is there a healthier alternative at a comparable price?  I typically pour some coconut milk in with the oats, a heaping TBSP of peanut butter, and microwave it for close to 3 minutes.  Grapes on top work well too to sweeten up the bland flavor.

I think that's just oats, so you're ok. The previous poster likely meant the flavored instant packets.

Um, no, I meant all oats, thanks.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 06, 2016, 01:07:08 PM
Ruh roh, I typically get Quaker Old Fashioned... well actually the Price Rite store brand.  I confess to not reading the label but it's hard to beat $2.39 for the big cannister (2lb or so).  Is there a healthier alternative at a comparable price?  I typically pour some coconut milk in with the oats, a heaping TBSP of peanut butter, and microwave it for close to 3 minutes.  Grapes on top work well too to sweeten up the bland flavor.

I think that's just oats, so you're ok. The previous poster likely meant the flavored instant packets.

Um, no, I meant all oats, thanks.

Can you expound on the teeth rotting and fat producing properties of oats please?  This is not a concept I've run across before.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Goldielocks on June 07, 2016, 08:31:20 PM
Ruh roh, I typically get Quaker Old Fashioned... well actually the Price Rite store brand.  I confess to not reading the label but it's hard to beat $2.39 for the big cannister (2lb or so).  Is there a healthier alternative at a comparable price?  I typically pour some coconut milk in with the oats, a heaping TBSP of peanut butter, and microwave it for close to 3 minutes.  Grapes on top work well too to sweeten up the bland flavor.

I think that's just oats, so you're ok. The previous poster likely meant the flavored instant packets.

Um, no, I meant all oats, thanks.

Can you expound on the teeth rotting and fat producing properties of oats please?  This is not a concept I've run across before.

LOL  I should post a picture of myself!   Turns out these three items (especially beans) cause me to inflame and retain a lot calories and store the wrong kind of fat.  Took a naturopath to point out that the MMM diet was NOT working with my gene pool...
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 08, 2016, 06:39:29 AM
Ah, a naturopath.  "Doctors" who don't believe in evidence based medicine, and treat their patients via unscientific notions and give unproven diagnosis.   That sheds some light on the matter.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Goldielocks on June 08, 2016, 12:51:22 PM
Ah, a naturopath.  "Doctors" who don't believe in evidence based medicine, and treat their patients via unscientific notions and give unproven diagnosis.   That sheds some light on the matter.

Yeah,  but the regular system I tried first really sucked.  As I did not have cancer and they told me the internal specailists and other doctors were too busy with important stuff to deal with me....  at least the naturopaths here (some) have licenses and university training with the medical system.

If it helps,  I think she "fired" me as a client when I kept asking "why"... and "Don't you know canola is a very important export for Canada...?"  I am pretty sticky about GMO's and my opinion that they do not cause any health issues, in general... (one may have environmentalist reasons, but no proof for health reasons...)  Well, a different viewpoint from the naturopath's, anyway...  that topic could derail this thread quickly....

At the end of the day, even people with views you don't agree with, may still have some science based medicine, and there is trending now a whole lot of genetic science that says that people from different backgrounds may tolerate foods differently.   Lactose intolerance and Celiac disease, both, vary across genetic populations, for example, that is pretty widely accepted scientifically.


Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: GuitarStv on June 08, 2016, 01:25:00 PM
The recognition of naturopathy as anything other than quackery is one of the most shameful things that Canada has ever done.  Someone who studies it is as well suited to help you with a medical problem as someone with a doctorate in theology.  It is a very profitable business full of lies, wild and unsupported claims, and guesswork.  It's common for practitioners of this pseudo-science to mix current scientific information with the gobbledygook that they make up in an attempt to sound more legitimate.  Don't confuse naturopathy with science.  They are not intersecting fields.  Don't confuse a license as any sort of legitimacy.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Goldielocks on June 08, 2016, 03:54:54 PM
The recognition of naturopathy as anything other than quackery is one of the most shameful things that Canada has ever done.  Someone who studies it is as well suited to help you with a medical problem as someone with a doctorate in theology.  It is a very profitable business full of lies, wild and unsupported claims, and guesswork.  It's common for practitioners of this pseudo-science to mix current scientific information with the gobbledygook that they make up in an attempt to sound more legitimate.  Don't confuse naturopathy with science.  They are not intersecting fields.  Don't confuse a license as any sort of legitimacy.

So,  do you have a opinion, then?

I was in your camp, until the naturopath was the only medical doctor to provide me with some actual help.   Then she fired me for not believing in naturopathy.

:-)
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Kouhri on June 21, 2016, 12:16:12 AM
until the naturopath was the only medical doctor to provide me with some actual help.

A naturopath is NOT a medical doctor.

Anyway back on topic I totally plug for a Shepard pie type thing that I often make in winter. Really flavored veggie mince, generous  on the stock and spices and slap some mashed potatoes on top. I lov8e it and really yum.

Also pasta bakes depending on how cheap you can get the pasta.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: HappyHoya on June 21, 2016, 06:51:42 AM
There are lots of Italian dishes that would be great for this. It doesn't have to be all about carbs and cheese, either. Think a simple pasta with a garlic and olive oil sauce, escarole and beans (or be flexible with the greens and mix escarole, spinach--whatever is on sale and in season or that you can pull from the garden). Optionally add  sausages on the pasta or on the side with peppers and onions.

Enchiladas can be intimidating to learn to make but well worth it for meals like this and easy once you get it down. I like the enchilada sauce recipe from the Budget Bytes blog. Tortillas are inexpensive anyway, but you can get great deals when they are on sale and they freeze well. Since recipes usually call for shredded meat it makes the pricier ingrediants stretch further. I like to do a mix of black bean, spinach, and maybe sweet potato enchilada and a chicken and cheese enchiladas. Making your own taco seasoning is also really easy and inexpensive and for whatever reason seems to impress people. Serve a few trays of enchiladas, rice and beans, and a simple salad with romaine, tomatoes, and red onion, and that's a great meal.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 21, 2016, 06:55:27 AM
Feed them to each other.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: Trudie on June 21, 2016, 02:12:47 PM
Breakfast for dinner - eggs, roasted potatoes, pancakes (all cheap)
Burrito bowls -- black beans (cook your own in the slow cooker), rice, bulk shredded cheddar (from Costco if possible), a few spices, salsa
Soups

Do you have an option to buy local veg?  Any opportunities to take a load of abundance off a farmer and make beautiful food?  (like tomato pie in tomato season?)
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: seathink on June 21, 2016, 04:36:24 PM
Find an international grocer and stock up on bulk spices: Paprika, Curry, Italian, Poultry, etc. Use these to season all the beans/rice/lentil/barley/oats/pasta etc. meals that you will make meals out of by adding to them in-season produce from a wholesaler, or farmer's market leftovers at the end of the day. Go the last 1/2 hour, ask about taking their stuff. Is this for a charity? They may give it to you.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: intirb on July 04, 2016, 11:19:39 PM
Wow - thank you all so much.  These posts are amazing.  I've heard a lot of the standard advice, and of course done a bit of googling, but you folks took this all to the next level - exactly what I was hoping for!  And some of these "basics" are things I've forgotten about - it's true that really simple things like potatoes and oatmeal are great staples for when you get sick of the rice and beans routine.

To answer some questions: it is indeed a non-profit of sorts - charging people wouldn't really be an option, but I might have found someone to donate some fresh vegetables during the year.  For now though, I'm going to focus mostly on making my dollar stretch as much as possible - there are groups that need the donated food in our city way more than we do.  And as for tastes - I don't think anyone here is super picky, though I personally have had a bit of a personal bias against pork products.

Anyway, thanks again!  I'm definitely going to have to get a spreadsheet going and see how many of these I can pull off.
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: CindyBS on July 05, 2016, 03:42:11 PM
If it is an actual non-profit with a 501c(3) status and a tax ID - there are several places for free food.  I have gotten the end of day bagels and sweets from Einstein Bros bagels for a non-profit (like a hundred of them).    Pair that with fresh fruit and some eggs and that would be a cheap meal.  Some restaurants and bakeries also do this.

Depending on how much help you have - visiting a U pick place for produce or even getting "seconds" (produce that is ok to eat but cosmetically bad) from a farmer may be a good option to look into.   
Title: Re: How would you feed 50-100 people for as cheap as possible?
Post by: bryan995 on July 05, 2016, 03:54:51 PM
Hmm, with $1200 I would buy:

80 x 50lb bags of rice ($15 each)
22700 grams * 130cal/100gram = 29,510 calories per 50lb bag
29,510 x 80 bags = 2,360,800 calories

Or a more flavorful no-effort option:

800 x Costco Hot Dog + Soda ($1.50 each)
900 calories x 800 meals = 720,000 calories.
+ unlimited refills! =)