Do-it-Yourself Catering

July 1, 2008 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

This past weekend, I hosted my extended family for dinner. There were 18 of us. I debated between hamburgers, or soup, or sandwiches for the main meal – I didn’t want to spend tons of money. At this point in my life, I don’t even consider sandwich trays or similar items found in grocery stores or bulk stores, since they still seem pretty expensive to me. I ended up making Poppy Seed Ham & Cheese sandwiches. They can be made ahead of time, which is important to me when hosting a meal. The sandwiches cost me less than $20 and by doubling the recipe, I had four 9×13 inch pans, which I knew would be plenty.

We also had spinach salad ($6), small veggie tray ($2), cheese puffs ($1.60), tortilla chips ($1.60), salsa ($1), homemade banana layer cake ($3), homemade raspberry sorbet ($3.65), and hand-squeezed lemonade with oranges and limes ($4). Some guests offered to bring items, which I gladly accepted. It made less work for me and helped to keep the cost down. Items brought: fruit, vegetable dip, German potato salad, iced tea, and ice cream sandwiches.

I won’t tell you it wasn’t a lot of work to prepare these items, but I did several things ahead of time, and I was even able to take an hour break in the afternoon to play my video games. It’s definitely worth it, to gather people together in your home and enjoy each other’s company.

$43 is the approximate cost of this meal. And I had an entire pan of leftover sandwiches, and several other leftovers. So for approximately $2.39/person, I feel very successful in making a good meal and not spending too much money.

Poppy Seed Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
2 packages of party potato rolls (24 ct for appetizer, 12 ct for meal)
1 lb deli ham (sliced or chipped)
1/2 lb cheese (enough to cover sandwiches)

Assemble ham and cheese sandwiches: slice rolls, lay bottom half of rolls in pan, place ham on rolls, top with cheese, place tops of rolls on top of cheese.

Sauce:
1 cup butter
2 T poppy seeds
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T Dijon mustard (can also use regular yellow mustard)

Melt butter in saucepan, add rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour sauce over sandwiches, covering all tops of sandwiches. Slice sandwiches (if you haven’t already). Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Yields: two 9×13 inch pans
This recipe can be made ahead of time. After assembling the sandwiches and pouring the sauce over them, just refrigerate them until you are ready to bake them.
Martin’s Party Potato Rolls are highly recommended.

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Entry filed under: Food, Hospitality, Recipes. Tags: , , .

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