Serious Recipes for a Crowd

breakfast tray

Hospitality at my house does not look like this.

I was looking for recipes for a dinner we were hosting for the college students at our church and found this site of recipes for a crowd. Wowza.

Other tips and ideas:

~Plan ahead, then sit down and look over your plan carefully and:

See what you can eliminate.  Simplify.

What can be done by somebody else (if people offer to help, accept it)

What can be done ahead of time.  Many dishes will be improved by preparing them in advance and then cooking them on the day of your party.

~When possible, plan buffet style and let guests serve themselves. However, place some items in several smaller containers around the tables and rooms for easier access and smoother servings.  Examples: gravy, jams, butter, salt & pepper, baskets of rolls, canisters of parmesan if you’re serving pasta, snacks or hor d’ourves for nibbling before the meal…

~ If for some reason it’s important to you to keep serving plates and bowls warm, you can use the dry cycle of your dishwasher for a few minutes, or you quickly run them under very hot water and dry them off right before serving.

~ Clear away the knick-knacks and doo-dads, if you have any, from flat surfaces so your guests have more room to put their cups and plates. If children are coming, look things over and put away toys with small parts, many little pieces, and anything else that will distress you if the kids get the stuff out and toss it around.

~ Empty your sinks.  Put a tray or cutting board over one of them to make extra ‘counter’ space.

~ For drinks-

buy paper cups and set out a permanent marker so people can write their names on them and use them more than once.

for ice, set a colander or large sieve over a pan or a large bowl and fill the colander with your ice.  This way when the ice melts, the water drips out and into the bowl, and the ice won’t end up in one giant frozen chunk. The cubes will stay separate.

Make lemonade or punch in advance and freeze it in ice cube trays and clean water bottles or two litre bottles. Freeze them.  When getting read for guests, cut off the plastic and put the frozen lemonade in your pitchers or other drink dispensers- this way melting ice won’t dilute your drinks.

We make lemon-ade with lemon juice, stevia, and sometimes mint leaves. Even people who don’t like stevia much don’t mind it in lemon-ade. The flavors compliment each other.

~ Make sure you have large garbage bags in easily accessible places so guests can dispose of their paper goods with little trouble.

~ I think it’s a waste of time to clean the floors before you have a large crowd over, but you should always clean out your fridge ahead of time. This will assure that you have enough room for leftovers or for things your guests might bring.

~ Have on hand some jars or ziplock bags so you can send home leftovers with any young singles who may not cook for themselves often, or young couples who might welcome an extra meal they don’t have to plan and buy that week.

~Make sure the bathroom is clean, well stocked with toilet paper, and, what’s really important, plenty of hand-towels.  Check the bathroom periodically and replace wet hand-towels with dry ones.

~ consider putting the coffee, the drinks, or desserts in different parts of the house so that everybody doesn’t congregate most in one crowded location.

~ If you are going to be serving several things, it helps to plan ahead what serving dishes you will use, too- use stick it notes ahead of time to label the dishes with the food that should go in them so later you don’t have to think about it or try to remember what you planned.

~ Use folded newspapers for trivets

~ to make a salad ahead of time, tear and cut up the ingredients, but store them separately- salad in a bag lined with a paper towel will keep crisp better than salad in a bowl with diced tomatoes.  Pasta salad can be made ahead, but keep the sauce separate, and add it just an hour or so before serving.

~ Relax and enjoy your guests.  Make no apologies, and this is why.

 

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