Tips and Recipes for Feeding a Large Crowd
This past summer I had my family and extended family here at my home for several days (over a week). My brother-in-law was getting married and so family had come for the occasion. It was at least a larger than what I normally feed. I had about 8 people and extra family for a few meals. I have fed larger groups in the past for a few days at a time so I did not really see this as a huge challenge, but something that needed to be well thought out. Perhaps some of my ideas will help you if you are in need to preparing for guests.
One of the most important things to do when you have guests coming is to PLAN!! I had my recipes chosen and my menus worked out for all the meals. I also chose foods that I could easily double or triple in order to make plenty. Planning is a must and of course doing all the shopping ahead of time. My goal when I have guests is to make their stay as enjoyable as possible and as simple for me as possible. I don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen and miss out on the visiting and fellowship; so planning well and doing as much prep work ahead of time is the key.
For this particular visit I first planned ahead on breakfast. Most all breakfast mornings were ‘continental’ meals. Meaning I had no cooking to do in the mornings. I was able to enjoy the visit time and not spend all my time in the kitchen.
Before they arrived I made a quadruple batch of my granola. That filled 4 one gallon jars. Then I made 3 dozen bagels (half cinnamon raisin, half plain). I bought plenty of good quality yogurt and had fresh fruit available. I just laid all this out with cream cheese and homemade blackberry jam for everyone to help themselves. I did have one planned pancake and sausage breakfast during their stay.
Lunches were either leftovers from the dinner the night before or sandwiches or wraps (made with organic whole wheat tortillas). I made 12 loaves of my bread ahead of time and put that in the freezer to insure we would not run out.
Dinners were planned and I knew what I needed to do each evening to prepare for the next days meal, such as meat to pull out or beans to get ready for the next day, etc.
Here are a few of the meals I made:
Stuffed Shells (similar to lasagna, only I used whole wheat pasta shells)
Italian Beef (crockpot meal) served over brown rice
Orange Chicken – Chinese noodles
Chili – homemade, tortilla chips and salsa
Since it was summer time I planned 3 BBQ’s over a 2 week period:
On the night that I had extra company I made shish-ka-bobs, potato salad (I made a HUGE bowl of potato salad that we ate on for the next couple of days), deviled eggs, chips and salsa, and a fruit salad made with cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon.
The second BBQ I served steak, bratwurst, macaroni salad, homemade baked beans, and watermelon.
The third was hamburgers with all the trimmings.
Each meal usually had a green salad along with it so I made sure I had plenty of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and such in the house. I made up 2 quart jars of salad dressing. One was Ranch the other was Italian (I had to double or quad the recipes to get a quart of each).
As I plan these meals I think of what I can make that will stretch the farthest, be filling (with good quality foods.) and to try and be cost effective. Foods like whole grain pastas, beans, brown rice, whole wheat bread are very filling and easy on the budget.
As for staying on a budget when feeding extra people, I budget in the extra money needed ahead of time. I stick with recipes that are what I would normally feed my own family and then just double or triple the amount.
Recipes Ideas (other than what I have mentioned) for feeding lots of people:
© Crystal Miller, 2007 All Rights Reserved