I have this dilemma every 3 months or so, and I still haven't figured it out. We take turns cooking for a crowd of 100 every Sunday, and the budget is $200. That's including the extra cost of buying organic ingredients.
The crowd is mostly older Koreans who are not that adventurous. Their idea of a good meal is a big fat bowl of spicy red soup overloaded with salt and garlic. Most groups cook a big batch of rice (already provided and not figured into the budget), a big batch of soup, and some Korean side dishes. Our group is younger, and we've been trying to experiment with other types of food.
Last time we did a Mexican-style rice with poblano peppers, and it wasn't very popular. Other dishes that have worked are vegetarian chili and shepherd's pie (with kimchi on the side, of course).
With such a limited budget, 4 cooks, and 4 hours of prep, the food needs to be easy to make (preferably one-pot with a salad on the side), neutral in flavors, easy to reheat and serve buffet style, and fitting for the Korean palate. Ideas we're toying with are a white bean tomato stew, mabo dofu, jambalaya, and lasagna.
Any other ideas? They would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.