One of the challenges associated with planning a party is determining how much food you need to serve for the amount of guests that will attend. One way to plan ahead is to prepare a cold-cut tray that serves the 65 guests who RSVP ahead of time. Then when the party starts, simply remove the platter from the fridge, uncover and serve.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume between 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein per day, depending on gender and age. Research conducted in 2009 by the USDA found that Americans consumed an average of 175.7 pounds of meat per year; this equals about 8 ounces per person daily. Therefore, Americans are consuming about 2 to 3 ounces more than the Recommended Daily Intake. Using the high-end of the estimate based on consumption, if you provided half the average daily intake, it works out to roughly 4 ounces per person. Multiplied by 65 people, that equals to 16.25 pounds for the entire platter.
To avoid the growth of harmful bacteria, follow the two-hour rule with the cold-cut platter. Discard any cold-cut meat that sits out longer than two hours. If you are attending an outdoor event where the temperature is pushing 90 degrees Fahrenheit, discard the cold cuts after one hour. In order to keep cold cuts closer to the recommended 40 degree Fahrenheit storage temperature during service, place the platter on top of a large bowl filled with ice.
Consider dividing the large platter into two smaller platters if you are serving longer than two hours. The second platter stays fresh in the fridge until it is needed. Additionally, if you are hosting a group that has been known to bring along a healthy appetite, buy a few extra pounds of cold cuts. Keep them in the fridge already set up on a small back-up platter.
For guests who are vegetarian or vegan, provide substantial vegetables that serve as the base for sandwiches. For example, grilled portobello mushrooms, eggplant and roasted red peppers all lend themselves nicely to serving as the "meat" to any sandwich. Offering an array of other vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions and bean sprouts provide a nice complement for guests to add to both meat and meatless sandwiches.
Whether it's cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, Manchego or Parmesan, an array of cheese options gives guests another way to create the perfect sandwich. The serving size of cheese is usually 1 ounce. Using that as a guide, create a platter made up of various cheeses that contains about 100 slices. This not only gives vegetarian guests another option for the base of their sandwiches, but provides plenty of cheese for the rest of the 65 guests.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images