My mom and my aunts great at easily preparing a meal for a large group of people. They make healthy, fresh food that tastes great and feeds as many people that come through the door. I always follow their lead and I think you should too if you need to prepare dinner for friends or family!
This past week, on vacation, everyone was in full cater mode. We often had 20+ people for lunch and for dinner. One night we even had over 50 people for a cookout.
Here are a few tips for serving 6 or 60. I follow these whenever I have a small dinner party or a large celebration.
Ask yourself a few questions before you menu plan.
Who are you having?
What season is it and, where you will you be serving your meal?
How may people are coming?
Are there any special dietary guidelines to follow?
Then set your menu and figure out how much you will need to make. Make a detailed grocery list before heading to the store.
Make up anything you can so that you will have less to do when guests arrive. This includes making the marinade for a meat or tofu, cutting fruit or veggies, making
the dressing for the salad, the salad itself – without dressing, and anything else that can sit for a few minutes. You will have more to do than you realize so making as much ahead is always a good idea.
If there is something simple that you can make ahead and reheat in the oven, do it. This will save you from having to wait for things to cook for an hour and will allow you more time out of the kitchen with your guests. This will also prevent any food from being undercooked or taking too long to cook while people are ready to eat!
If you are having 6-60 people for dinner, let someone help you. If a guest offers to bring something, say thank -you and let them bring it. Think about it. You like to bring something when you go to someone else’s house, so they probably feel the same way.
Also, if people are nearby and want to help, let them. Give them a job that you don’t mind giving up control over. Whether it’s rolling silverware or slicing onions, any little bit helps!
When in doubt, make more.
If you are not sure if you have enough of something, just make more. Having too much is not usually a problem and people are often happy to take a little bit home. Worst case scenario, you have your lunch already packed.
It’s a horrible feeling to be hoping that you have enough of something as you watch some guests take seconds before others have had any at all. Don’t let that happen and just make a little more.
Stick with something you know.
When feeding a large group of people, it’s best to cook something you know how to make and have made many times before. This will make it easier to know if you need to or can adapt it all and also assures that it will taste good and feed your crowd.
If something does not go as planned, just relax, have a sip of wine and take a deep breath. Things will be fine and people are not nearly as critical of you as you are of yourself.