As many of you know, I went on a construction mission trip last year down to the Dominican Republic. I wasn't able to go again this year, but I wanted to help the team going raise funds for building supplies, so a friend and I decided to host a spaghetti dinner.
I wanted to share my tips for cooking for 30 people and staying organized….
1 – Pick something easy and that is cost efficient. I picked pasta because it took almost the same work to make it for a huge group vs. a small group. Also, I was able to plan ahead and buy sauce and noodles on sale since they kept well. I started about 2 months before I was planning on hosting and capitalized on store BOGOs and Super Double Coupons.
2 – Add a simple homemade touch. I picked simple items to add to store-bought sauce, such as ground beef and veggies. Make the items going into the sauce the evening before.
Here is how I did this:
-For meat sauce, I browned the meat and refrigerated it in a Premier (seen in 2nd photo on left of stove)
-For veggies sauce, I sauteed onions, tomatoes, and zucchini.
That way, the day of, I was able to toss the ingredients plus store-bought pasta sauce into the microwave in a 14 cup Premier to get warm since the stove was fully used for different pasta types. Since I work until 5pm, this was really helpful in saving time.
3- Give a range of time for people to stop by. This minimized the seats needed, because people came over a 3 hour span of time. Also, if the weather is good, utilize inside and outside seating so that people can spread out.
4- Provide a "on the go" option for people in a rush or with other commitments that wanted to support yet couldn't sit for awhile. We sold 3 dinners this way by putting them in TakeAlongs.
5- Provide a shoebox or other box for silent donations, so people are able to freely give what they would like. For this purpose we suggested the amount you would spend on groceries or eating out on a weeknight.
Overall, it was a great success. Let me know if you have any tips for organizing fundraisers for future ones!