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We have church dinners every Wednesday night. We do this and charges 4.50 for adults and 2.50 for kids up through 14. We do this to raise money for the children. Things like game nights, Vacation Bible School, summer trips and day trips all come out of what we raise on Wednesday night dinners. We are doing something wrong when we have 65 people show up and only make 30 dollars.
Please help give me ideas for cheap, healthy, good meals that everyone will like and get our food budget way down. I would like to come in at under a 100 dollars for the whole meal, including drinks and desserts.
Thanks so much!!!!
macaroni and cheese - with stewed tomatoes and dinner rolls.
haluski (cabbage, onions and noodles) and applesauce or side salad.
chicken leg/thighs - baked and removed from the bone. make a chicken casserole with chicken - celery - hardboiled eggs - onions and different sauces. do a search online you can find a lot. Also use the chicken with wild rice casserole and side salad with bread.
spaghetti and meatballs always are a money maker.
Try and find someone who has done this for church dinners - ask them for advice.
Watch your local sales....chicken on sale....maybe chicken ala king, creamed chicken over dumplings, rice, noodles or potatoes, chili with crackers, shredded cheese, sour cream....whatever toppings you can think of. Sloppy Joes w/chips & raw veggies. Scalloped potatoes w/ham chunks. Baked beans w/cut up hot dogs & brown bread. Does anyone at church have access to commercial foods that they could buy with an employee discount? GFS, Costco, Sam's Club have large casseroles....church should be able to save with a tax-free letter....GFS has an ocassional coupon of $5 off w/$50 purchase. With summer coming & home gardens producing, maybe some members would bring in extra veggies/salad makings? Trying to feed a crowd with a $100 budget & hoping for a profit is going to be difficult in today's economy. Maybe you can get a lot of the food donated?
you said you have a budget of $100.00 to feed 65 people. That isn't too bad but I think you can do better and spend less and make a bit more.
When pork roast is on sale (it is always cheaper than beef), buy a large one and grind it up (I bet the church kitchen has a meat grinder), maybe get enough to freeze enough for another meal. Make enchiladas, Instead of beef use fried ground pork and stretch it with cooked pinto or kidney beans and some cooked rice (some tomato sauce) to get more volume. Fill tortillas and heat in large casserole pans in oven with enchilada sauce on top and during the last few minutes melt some cheese on top. It is very filling. and good too.Serve a salad with it, even if it is only lettuce with a few shredded carrots added for color and a home made dressing. Jel-O with a bit of fruit for dessert.
When the climate is colder make a split pea soup, with with a bit of diced ham in it, sere with crusty French bread.(buy the frozen dough and bake bread to serve fresh and warm.) A small bowl of apple sauce and a small, sweet bran muffin for dessert.
I loaned out my Italian cookbook but there is a recipe for a cold chicken-rice salad that is a whole meal and very economical. A good meal in summer when it is hot.Serve with a green veggie like string beans, peas or on a big bed of lettuce. Fresh fruit for dessert.(some stores sell discounted before they pull it and toss it) You can send me your e-mail to
Send me your throw-away e-mail addy to firstname.lastname@example.org and when I get the book back next week I can e-mail you the recipe for the rice-chicken salad..
Another cheap dessert is vanilla pudding made from scratch and poured over a little fresh fruit, bananas or whatever is cheapest on sale or canned pineapple.
Can't your pastor go to some stores and ask if they would donate some discounted meat or produce when it starts to lose it's good looks and before they pull it and throw it. If not free they they may give him a good discount on something they would toss the next day or two (they can write it ff as a loss tax deduction at full price).
Can you find a wholesale place where you can buy in bulk, like a 25 or 50 lbs sack of rice, dehydrated potatoes, split peas, beans and such. Go to restaurants and ask for used food grade plastic 5 gallon buckets to store your bulk in a cool place.
If you have a "dented can" discount store near by you can find real bargains in heavily discounted canned foods, oil, juices, coffee and all minds of goodies.
Instead of buying Jel-O in a store buy some BULK unflavored gelatin (it goes a L O N G way even if it is fairly high in price by the lbs but MUCH cheaper than buying it in Knox small packets or as flavored Jel-O. That way you can buy a large bottle of apple juice at discount and use it to make apple jello. The syrup from any canned fruit can be stretched by adding water and a tad of lemon juice and made into jello (you can add the fruit or put a bit on top for decoration.
Thank you so much! These are great ideas! I am so sorry it took so long to get back to you!!!
We have had 3 deaths in the family in the last few months and so my church cooking had been put off while we were out of town helping family.
I am back now and I love, love, love the ideas that you have!!!
I am going to feed a lot of hungry people very well AND make money for the youth program!!!!
my email is email@example.com
Warehouse clubs are a good choice. Things that come to mind are:
Fried chicken (oven fried)
Chili with cornbread
Our supermarket doesn't sell day old bread but we do have a bread outlet. Maybe make your own breadcrumbs for dishes.
Texas sheet cake makes a lot
Do breakfast for dinner like pancakes
Sounds challenging and fun!
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May I make another suggestion. A bake potato bar. They'll love it if you like potatoes. We have done this for Women's Ministries.
You don't have to use the large baking potatoes. If you can get large ones at a very good price , fine but (this was a tip from a resturant owner that does this) Use 2 potatoes and cut one end off of each potato and kinda press them together when you bake them in foil. Of course now match up the size of each so it will look like one potato. When they are baked just slice down the middle and again kinda mash them together and no one really will know the difference. Anything you would want on a bake potato, cheese, bacon bits (opt..$), sour cream, broccoli,, chilli (opt..because of $) , what ever you want that's economical . Serve a dessert..maybe ask some ladies to donate a dessert but just one kind. Oh yeah don't forget some men like to be ask also. When you serve, as you already know, more than one dessert people will take several and then the ones at the end of the line gets nothing.
I don't know what size church you have but it seems there is always someone that knows someone that will donate $$ for your mission by telling them what your needs are. Knowing someone that knows someone always brings you thru...its a God thing.
For spring and summer, a salad bar, when the vegetables are at their lowest price.
sometimes you can ask for donations of different sorts and people will give just for the advertisement. But be careful you don't want to lose your connections . Some people will give and ask that their name not be used. Get a volunteer to send thank you notes for anything you get .
Oh how I would love to help you. I mean that from my heart. We are having a program and spagetti dinner at our church this month for Veterans. Veterans eat free but we are selling tickets for $10 and that is to make money for the Honor Flight Program, if you are familiar that. We are decorating the santuary and social hall. We are having guest like a Congressman, well my mind has gone blank., sorry but officials anyway. The Gov. is sending someone since there is a conflict of schedule, Ok I have said enough but God bless you and your wonderful service to your church.
Since it is winter time, why not serve soup. Only serve 2 or 3 kinds. Bread and a desert.
Stew is always inexpensive and crowd pleasing. We served stew to 500 people one year in my community. I was stirring so needless to say, I never want to eat stew again lol.
Or spaghetti with meat sauce. add some garlic or white bread, and a caesar salad and your good to go.
Bake brownies and top with ice cream
Pancake supper, pancakes, a few sausages and you've got some smiling fed people.
Our church has a casserole supper, where each member brings a different casserole and it's served buffet style.
I don't like it but corned beef and cabbage is cheap.
stores will often donate flats of soda so ask around.
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