Let’s make sure everyone is on the same page. We’ve found the dining room table, made a guest list (and invited them, right?), we have a soft menu plan, and if you’ve never even roasted a chicken that’s on the to-do list, right? Also, if you’re anything like me, you may need to put away all the stuff that has already found its way to that recently cleared table.
Ok, today grab a pen and paper start figuring out the final menu. To do this, you need to know how many people are dining and a rough idea of their usual appetite. The list below accounts for average people. If you are serving teenagers or relatives you already know are greedy increase the estimates. I increase the dessert estimate just because it’s a holiday for Pete’s sake. These estimates work best for a formal meal where everyone sits down and eventually people get tired of passing items. If you’re serving buffet style, definitely increase the gravy.
- Whole turkey* – 1lb turkey for each guest up to a 14lb bird. Anything larger, estimate 3/4lb per person. (The skeleton of the turkey weighs less proportionally in large birds).
- Bone-in turkey breast – 2/3 lb per person
- Boneless turkey breast – 1/2 lb per person
- Dressing – 3/4 cup per guest
- Gravy – 1/3 cup per person
- Mashed potatoes – 1lb of potatoes for every 3 guests
- If serving two kinds (roasted and mashed) estimate 1lb for every 4 guests
- Cranberry relish / sauce – 1lb of berries for every 5 people
- Vegetables, including sweet potates – 1/2 cup per person of each type
- Dessert – 1 – 2 servings per guest
Some of the very dedicated choose to serve both turkey and ham. In that case estimate one pound of ham for every four or five people and 3/4 lb of turkey.
*If you love leftovers, as I do, increase your turkey estimate by 50%.
I’d also love to hear from those of you with a lot of experience serving large holiday meals. Do you think these estimates are on target? If not, let me know.
Also, Bobbie brought up an interesting point, what many of us refer to as dressing or stuffing is called filling in Pennsylvania. Have I now covered all the terms for this side item? It’s hard work appropriately tagging recipes when no one knows what everyone else calls them.
I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. The Sunday confessional will be back next week -I took it easy this weekend, but I don’t feel one bit guilty about it.