I've learned that they love fresh food (but they will eat just about anything I cook) -- this is FOUR pounds of baby carrots roasted with fresh thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. They ate almost all of the four pounds -- maybe a sandwich baggie full of leftovers.
I found a recipe for "make ahead mashed potatoes" that can be reheated for about 3 hours in the crockpot. The recipe was to feed 10 so I doubled it. Yes, I cooked 10 pounds of potatoes. 10# for 18 people was too many potatoes (good to know!). I think I could have used 6-7 pounds and it would have been enough. I almost always try to have a few left-overs because that is what Mark and I eat on for the rest of the week. Just FYI - by Thursday night, I'm tired of left-overs!!
I made Mississippi (does anyone else say M I crooked letter crooked letter I crooked letter crooked letter I hump back hump back I to spell Mississippi???) - I made Mississippi Pot Roast and it was really delicious. This was about 10 pounds of eye of the round roast (10# raw). The recipe recommended a different cut of roast and I would like to try it with the "fattier" cut of meat they recommended. The gravy/au jus was delicious. We had enough left over that Mark ate salad with roast beef on top for two nights and I had a lunch and a dinner. That was about the perfect amount of leftovers!!
When cooking for a crowd, I usually find the recipes I want to use and double or triple them. The tricky part is the spices. I oftentimes have to add the original amount and taste and increase accordingly. You can usually increase the salt and pepper the same amount (double or triple) but some spices add a bitter flavor, etc. when increased too dramatically.
We also had a big bowl of tossed salad and rolls and dessert.
So . . .just in case you ever wondered . . .how much food does it take to feed 20 people??