Meals to Feed to a Large Crowd

Meals to Feed a Large Crowd
At the beginning of soccer season each Fall, I have the honor of feeding our York College ladies soccer team 5-6 meals.  Why?  Because they come to campus a week before classes start for intense training and practices.  The cafeteria will feed the team, but they tend to charge a hefty amount, which eats (literally) into the limited soccer budget.  I’m able to feed the team for a fraction of the cost, so the head coach is always happy for me to take this challenge on.  (My husband is one of the assistant coaches.  And yes, we are reimbursed for the food we purchase.)

I was so excited to find these plastic plate packs on clearance for $0.75/4!
I bought 13 packs, giving us 52 plates for $9.75.

Think of what we’ll save on paper plates!  Plus, they are BPA free and dishwasher safe. ;)

 

This year, there are around 43 ladies on the team.  Therefore, including coaches and our four boys, I’ll be feeding around 50 people one meal each day for an entire week in mid-August.

I always thoroughly look forward to and enjoy this, and without a doubt, I’m always relieved and exhausted by the end of the week.  ;)  The ladies on the team really enjoy my home cooked meals.  I have found that they feel blessed and loved on by my efforts – making all the hard work well worth it!

 

I still don’t have a finalized menu plan for this year, but decided instead to share my brainstorming session with you and ask you to please participate!  This large crowd meal planning brainstorming session is even more important than before because

 

Beyond the week of soccer team meals, Matt and I have also recently committed to hosting our church’s High School Youth Group each Sunday evening (for at least one year).  Our oldest, Asa, will begin high school this year (yowza), so having this group of his peers in our home each week will be a fantastic way to help nurture, guide and be involved in the spiritual growth of these teens.

 

There is typically a meal involved in these group meeting times, and usually between 30-40 teens show up.  ;)  They each pitch in $2 to help cover food costs.  I’m also pretty sure I’ll ask several of them to “bond” with me as we tackle the dirty dishes after each meal.  Youth mentoring at its finest, eh?

 

Now, don’t any of you leave a comment saying how great we are and what a super woman I am and all that silliness, because it simply isn’t true.  Hospitality is a gift Matt and I share and it comes from God, not us.  Plus, I guarantee that you are gifted by God and are blessing others in ways we never could.  I love how God created His body of believers to all meet different needs for His people.

 

I would now like to share some ideas we’ve come up with so far for feeding large crowds of people.  Our goal is to keep costs down and to keep the meals simple, while at the same time treating the soccer team and the youth group to some great food served with love.

 

Now your turn!  Please share in the comments any and all of your ideas for cooking for a crowd. What are your favorite dishes to make for company?  What dishes work well to make for large groups of people?  If you have recipe links, share those too.  Thanks all!

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Comments

  1. Melodya says

    I love making Taco Chili! Everyone has loved it.

    You make your ground meat like you would taco seasoned meat, onions and garlic, with chili seasoning also. Add Rotel (tomatoes w/ green chilies) some red pepper flakes, already cooked black beans, and corn (I use frozen). Top with the same things you would a taco and or chili. We like ours with sour cream, black olives, fritos or tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and for me… LOTS of fresh cilantro! It works on a plate or if you add more tomatoes/sauce- in a bowl. :)

    This is so tweakable, it’s amazing.

    Other things I like to make is Lasagna. I put chopped up brocolli in with the cottage cheese, works really well together.

    I have also done a few parties with “Make Your Own Pizzas” set up. I make the pizza crusts ahead of time, personal size. Line up the ingredients, (meat having been kept warm) have the oven pretty hot and throw in just enough to heat it all together and melt cheese.

    If it’s winter I have made mega pots of cream of tomato basil soup and/or butternut squash soup with ham cheese sandwhichettes made with hearty bread. People still rave about my tomatoe soup which is ironic cause I really have never had any other tomato soup I liked.

    Fellowship= Fun!

    [Reply]

    Linda Baese Reply:

    I would love to have your tomato basil and butternut squash soup recipes. Thank you so much and God Bless!

    [Reply]

  2. Melodya says

    And I know you are a Diva of Desserts, but one that can go far is homemade strawberry shortcake. I make a lemond pound cake, cut it thin, thawed frozen strawberries, cool whip! It’s easy to portion control…. well, unless you’re the cook. HA!

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  3. Micki Hawkins says

    My favorite “big-group” meal is Hawaiian Haystacks – easy – everyone can add what they like and leave off what they don’t like! Set out all the fixins and let ‘em go! (don’t be afraid of the pineapple and coconut – sweet/salty – YUM!!!)

    Rice, chicken gravy, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, black olives, green onions, soy sauce… whatever else you think might be good!

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  4. Cathy B. says

    I’ve never fed a crowd as large as you will be feeding, but one thing I like to make when feeding a group during warm weather is Chinese chicken salad. If you want to make it ahead, you can use shredded cabbage; otherwise, romaine works great. I make a salad dressing that’s a knockoff of a restaurant dressing for a similar salad, and then to the greens I add chopped chicken, toasted sesame seeds, oranges (fresh or canned mandarin oranges), toasted almonds (can put these in a bowl on the side in case of allergies), and green onions. It’s fresh, full of flavor, a little chicken can be stretched further this way, and cabbage is inexpensive. It’s great served with a quick bread or rolls. If the weather is cool, I like to make white chicken chili and serve it with sourdough rolls and a green salad. Yum!

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  5. Justin Hunter-Jones says

    i have been online for hours looking for ideas of how to feed a large group, and you were the only helpful person that I have come across.THANKS!!! keep up the good work! Peace

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  6. heather rinker says

    beans beans……and more beans!!! They are cheap and OH SO good!!! That’s how I feed a crowd!

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  7. Step says

    I am sure I may repeat some ideas, but I am going to just list my go-to crowd meals. I’ve done quite a bit of crowd cooking for church and family functions serving 30-200.

    *Baked potato bar (chives, bacon, sour cream, cheese, chili, salsa, etc.)
    *taco soup with tortilla chips, corn muffins/bread, fritos
    *mini meatloaves, mashed potatoes, veggie
    *kielbasa, cheesy potatoes, salad
    *any kind of soup with salad and bread
    *baked chicken drums, dressing, veggie
    *macaroni and cheese
    *oven baked beef stew, bread
    *breakfast casseroles, fruit
    *burger and dog bar (summer months)
    *stuffed shells (Italian style or taco)
    *baked chicken fingers

    [Reply]

  8. says

    No wonder those girls love your homemade cooking. Sounds yummy! I just have 2 ideas-

    Meatball Sandwiches – Make mini meatballs in advanced and when the time comes for dinner, heat them in tomato sauce in a crockpot – Serve sauce an 3-4 mini meatballs in a bun-type bread (maybe costco hot dog buns would work) sprinkle a little parm or mozzarella.

    Waffle Night with several fresh fruit toppings and garnishes (chopped nuts, whipped cream, peanut butter, honey, etc)-yum! Maybe too much sugar though, haha

    I can’t wait to see what you serve. Also, if you could do an estimate of the cost – I know you are getting reimbursed, but just to see how affordable it can be to serve 50 people. :)

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  9. Dione says

    We have a group of missionaries who have come the past 2 summers that I have been blessed to feed 3 meals a day as they work on our church building. I make a oven baked blueberry french toast with homemade blueberry syrup that is always a hit. Lasagna and taco bar is always a hit, so is the icecream bar for desert. Enjoy your time with them, I always do. I will pray that you get a day to sleep in when it is over, I am still behind on my sleep.

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  10. karen says

    How about breakfast for dinner? Baked oatmeal, quiche, muffins, sausage/bacon, breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, yogurt & granola. Humm, make your own breakfast burritos?

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  11. says

    Pork tenderloin and sauerkraut. Lay sauerkraut in bottom of pan, top with the pork roast, season and cover, bake til cooked. Other options are topping with bratwurst or even dinner franks. I’m not a fan of sauerkraut but baked like this (and almost crispified) makes it taste much better :)

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  12. says

    Hi! I have been searching for some good BPA-free plates to use that are also dishwasher safe! Are yours and do you like them so far? If so, where did you get them? I love your blog, and appreciate all you write about! Thank you! Have a wonderful Monday!

    ~Ashley :-)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, they are BPA free. I got them on the clearance aisle of Walmart! :)

    [Reply]

  13. Bernadette says

    We have started opening our home on Sundays after church (and thus feeding about 20 people) our pastor always encourages us to go and break bread together after the service and we have 3 small kids who nap and don’t do well at restaurants, not to mention that we don’t like eating overpriced “junk”. We have been able to feed everyone who comes for about 35.00 per week (feeding a family of 5 at a sit down restaurant normally comes to about that) some of our menus have been:
    Pizza (dough was resting on counter when everyone arrived and we stretched them together and cooked them as the crowd finished “making” them, toppings we pre chopped and in jars we ate as they came out and all were fed in 1 hour) desert was brownies
    -vegetable beef soup. (Huge stockpot made beforehand and put on stove while everyone arrived) desert was salty chocolate Carmel bar (not healthy at all but a crowd pleaser!)
    Stuffed peppers (made night before and put in oven on warm during church) I doubled the rice and 1 lb of beef fed 13 people! Desert was cake.
    Hope that helps!

    [Reply]

  14. Pam Reynolds says

    I help to organize the meals for our high school show choir. I suggest meal ideas for the host families and then help to get parents to donate food either cooked or not. I found your ideas very helpful. We try to include a vegetarian alternative along with a meat choice. One of the meals that I have served or suggested and is a big hit… is a combination of mac and cheese and meatball sandwiches. Then we have a meat choice and a vegetarian choice. Both ideas were mentioned above, but not together in one meal. They go well together and feed a lot of people. We also fed the Iowa Luther College Band students while they were on tour in our town, and they loved it because it was different and wasn’t their usual pasta dish.

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  15. Marie Gennaro says

    I fed 25 kids for $50.
    Chicken tenderloins:
    50 of them. Spread out in casserole pans, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle heavily with granulated garlic and LOTS of paprika. Toss them around in it. Add some more. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

    Green Beans:
    5 pounds (5-16 oz bags)
    Cook down, season with salt, pepper garlic etc. I use Tones Garlic Pepper Seasoning (from Sam’s)
    After they’ve cooked down, drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with raw sugar, stir it in.

    Macaroni & Cheese:
    Prepare as the Velvetta box says.

    A lot of our foods are “snacks”. This is a “meal”.

    [Reply]

    shamrockettes Reply:

    Loved this! Going to try for softball team this afternoon!

    [Reply]

  16. Dotti Hartman says

    I have feed my sons football team three meals and two snacks for a week during camp. One meal that the boys really liked was Teryaki chicken. I bought the chicken at a restaraunt supply store fairly cheap. Then poured Teryaki sauce, purchased at Sam’s, over the chicken and baked. With that I made a large box of minute rice. When it was cooked I added a bag of frozen peas and carrots along with some of the Teryaki sauce and stirred together. I served the rice with chicken on top along with canned corn(water mostly drained with butter) and canned green beans(drain water and replace with beef broth) and rolls.

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  17. Joyce Dreger says

    I serve 35 senior people a chicken breast dinner. I used 6 oz breasts (about 22) cut in half. Make a bread stuffing (similar as in stuffing for a turkey), moisten with chicken broth, layer in large foil pan, in which I serve the chicken. No dishes to do after. The breasts are seasoned in a creamy ranch dressing and then in fine bread crumbs. Layered on the stuffing, and put in the oven for about an hour. I had many compliments on this dish

    [Reply]

    Deanna Perez Reply:

    Hi there Joyce. This sounds easy and tasty. Do you alternate layering stuffing and chicken or do you put all the stuffing on the bottom and all the chicken on top?

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    Barb Reply:

    Thanks you for sharing this simple idea, Deanna. I am feeding 20 men at a shelter and this sounds easy enough for me and delicious for them.

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    Theresa Reply:

    Joyce, the chicken breast sounds great. I am feeding a crowd for a funeral . Would like a recipe if you could . Really need soon

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  18. Chelsea says

    There’s some great suggestions on here! I have somehow found myself in need of making two meals that will feed approx. one thousand people each for a giant church function! My budget is $3500. Any suggestions?

    In the past we’ve done jumbalya, meatball sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, things like that, but I’ve never cooked for anything nearly this large before. Also, food that won’t make a huge mess and can be eaten without utensils would be ideal.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    [Reply]

    Kris Mays Reply:

    I would some kind of a taco bar, where people can assemble their own meal. This is always a hit for us, especially with the guys.

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    Kristina Reply:

    Our church does awesome spaghetti dinners, and it’s fairly inexpensive for a large crowd. Salad, spaghetti (with meatballs if you want), garlic bread, and a sheet cake for dessert (if you want dessert). We had salads at the tables, lines for spaghetti, and served cake to the tables. It works out well :)

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  19. says

    I noticed one breakfast idea. How about another? :->

    *Crust-less Quiche (make ahead)
    *Mrs M’s Grits – Waterless Grits (make ahead)
    or Roasted Potatoes (can prep ahead)
    *Fresh Salsa (make ahead)
    *Sliced fruit (make ahead)

    Using the Deep Dish Quiche Lorraine Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, I make as many recipes of this in rectangular 9×13 pans. I DO NOT make a crust. Why work harder??? The beauty of this is it can be made up to three days prior to the event, refrigerate and after chilled, cut into squares.

    Prior to event: place squares on a greased cookie sheet, and rewarm in a 350 degree oven, for ~10-15 minutes (depending on your oven), prior to serving.

    8 ounces bacon, preferably thick-cut cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
    2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
    1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 1/2 cups whole-milk
    8 large eggs, PLUS
    1 large yolk
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

    Directions

    1. FOR THE DOUGH: Process flour and salt together in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of large peas, about ten 1-second pulses.

    2. Mix sour cream and 1/4 cup ice water in small bowl until combined. Add half sour cream mixture to flour mixture; pulse for three 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and process until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, three to five 1-second pulses.

    3. Turn dough out onto work surface and flatten into 6-inch disk; cover disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours, before rolling. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature 15 minutes before rolling.)

    4. Cut two 16-inch lengths of foil. Arrange foil pieces in round 9 x 2-inch cake pan so they are perpendicular, pushing them into corners and up sides of pan; press overhang against outside of pan. Spray foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

    5. Roll out disk of dough on generously floured work surface to 15-inch circle (about 1/4-inch-thick). Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into cake pan. Working around circumference, ease dough into pan by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into pan bottom with other. Trim any dough that extends more than 1 inch over edge of pan. Patch any cracks or holes with dough scraps as needed. Refrigerate any remaining dough scraps. Refrigerate dough-lined pan until firm, about 30 minutes, and then freeze for 20 minutes.

    6. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375°F. Line dough with parchment or foil and fill completely with pie weights or dried beans, gently pressing weights into corners of shell. Bake on rimmed baking sheet until exposed edges of dough are beginning to brown but bottom is still light in color, 30 to 40 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and pie weights. If any new holes or cracks have formed in dough, patch with reserved scraps. Return shell to oven and bake until bottom is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove shell from oven and brush interior with egg white. Set aside while preparing filling. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

    7. FOR THE CUSTARD: Cook bacon in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from skillet. Return to medium heat, add onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Set onions aside to cool slightly.

    8. Place cornstarch in large bowl; add 3 tablespoons milk and whisk to dissolve cornstarch. Whisk in remaining milk, eggs, yolk, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne until mixture is smooth.

    9. Scatter onions, bacon, and Gruyère evenly over crust. Gently pour custard mixture over filling. Using fork, push filling ingredients down into custard and drag gently through custard to dislodge air bubbles. Gently tap pan on countertop to dislodge any remaining air bubbles.

    10. Bake until top of quiche is lightly browned, toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, and center registers 170°F on instant-read thermometer, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to wire rack and let stand until cool to touch, about 2 hours.

    11. When ready to serve, use sharp paring knife to remove any crust that extends beyond edge of pan. Lift foil overhang from sides of pan and remove quiche from pan; gently slide thin-bladed spatula between quiche and foil to loosen, then slide quiche onto serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

    Makes one 9-inch quiche serving 8 to 10
    Notes

    To prevent the crust from sagging during blind baking, make sure it overhangs the pan’s edge and use plenty of pie weights (about 3 to 4 cups). The cooled quiche can be served warm or at room temperature, or refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated. To reheat the whole quiche, place it on a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of a 325-degree oven for 20 minutes. Reheat slices at 375°F for 10 minutes.

    Why this recipe works:
    The success of our streamlined deep-dish quiche Lorraine recipe depended on the right ratio of eggs to liquid, plus gentle, even heat. To add the quiche’s fillings without affecting our perfect custard, we whisked a little cornstarch into the dairy component of our custard. This kept it glossy and rich and allowed us to bake our quiche Lorraine recipe longer, which firmed our custard. Finally, we found three ways to add insurance against leaks and tears in the crust of our quiche Lorraine.

    Source: Cook’s Illustrated #105, Jul/Aug 2010
    Author: America’s Test Kitchen

    Mrs M’s Grits *Waterless Grits (make ahead)
    This is the single recipe, I usu triple/quadruple it for a crowd. It is also great for sauteed shrimp, roasted pork or other meats.

    1 stick unsalted butter
    1 Tablespoon minced garlic
    1 1/4 cups 5-minute grits
    3 cups chicken broth
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

    1. In microwave or in a separate pan, warm the chicken broth.

    2. Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat.

    3. Add minced garlic and stir continuing to cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 90 seconds (if you cook garlic at a higher temperature, the garlic will burn and taste bitter. Garlic is normally sweet). I have used Garlic powder when I didn’t happen to have fresh garlic but I don’t measure the amount :-/ Sorry

    4. Measure grits into stock pot and stir to warm and coat the grits.

    5. Pour near boiling chicken broth into stock pot containing the butter coated grits and stir

    6. Increase heat while continuing to stir until it seems too thick. Add the heavy cream now, turn off heat and stir.

    Grits can be served at this point, however, for a large crowd, I would stir in three large whole beaten eggs until they are evenly distributed in the mixture.

    Grease a large, rimmed cookie sheet (you may need more than one rimmed sheet depending on the size of your sheet) and spread the hot grits mixture onto it. Refrigerate until firm.

    To reheat: Cut congealed grits into rectangles (squares do not reheat as well as rectangles), place on a greased cookie sheet, and reheat in a 350 degree oven for ~10-15 minutes

    Roasted Potatoes

    The day ahead, wash and cut potatoes into same sized cubes and put in iced water into refrigerator.

    When ready to cook:

    Toss with some olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, onto a rimmed cookie sheet. Make sure the potatoes are in a single layer.

    Cook in 450 degree oven (do not use convection mode for this recipe) for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.

    *Fresh Salsa (make ahead)Use your favorite recipe and store in GLASS, days ahead of your event. On day of event, pour into pretty NON-METALIC dish and serve

    *Sliced fruit

    These fruits work best ie. Granny smith apples, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, grapefruit, pears, not quite ripe peaches and plums. These, in my experience, tend to get mushy if made >24 hours ahead; strawberries, bananas, raspberries, ripe peaches.

    Make ahead and put in GLASS, not plastic nor metal, gallon container.

    Cover the fruit in the glass containers with orange juice. The orange juice keeps the fruit from oxidizing and the orange juice will be extra fruity when you strain it off the fruit.
    Serve both separately, chilled :->

    Thanks for your site! I have a “not so small” small group that meets at our home. Love to cook for a crowd and was searching for some new ideas when I stumbled upon your site. Thanks!!!

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. M.

    [Reply]

  20. says

    In my searching for more ideas, I came across the US Armed Quartermaster File http://www.quartermaster.army.mil/jccoe/publications/recipes/cover.pdf (You will need a PDF reader to access this).

    Soooo, if the idea of the US Military Recipe Index exites you… here’s the link http://www.combatindex.com/recipes/recipes_home.html

    Personally, I can’t wait to try some of these out!

    Sincerely,
    Mrs. M.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    That’s a great list, but…you’ve obviously never ate in a chow hall….lol Just kidding. I never thought of looking this up! Thanks.

    [Reply]

  21. Mindy Scott says

    My group serves as many as 250! One favorite is “King Ranch Chicken”, recipe found on the Ro-tel tomato site. It is layers of corn tortillas, a stir together sauce of cream of chicken/Ro-tel tomatoes/cumin/onions, cheese, and boned deli chicken. Deli chickens only cost a dollar or two more tan raw chickens, but you can save money roasting whole chickens or chicken leg quarters yourself. We like to sub sour cream for some of the soup, and add some cilantro or parsley.

    [Reply]

  22. says

    we do 100-150 crowds once a month at our home after revival service

    top fav:
    1.fried chicken (from walmart), baked beans and homemade coleslaw
    2. pulled pork sands
    3. chili, rice and cornbread
    4. nachos
    5. chicken pasta salad (with speghetti sauce and tortillin noodles)
    6. enchilada (both green and red) can be done ahead and are actually better reheated
    7. little hamburger sliders on tiny buns with 2 pickles! (my kids say the pickles make it)
    thank you for your fun brainstorming and I love the combat site for cooking large batches!

    [Reply]

  23. Christine says

    Hi Laura I am getting married on Sunday, I a m having the rehearsal dinner at my house and am cooking for 30 people. I thought the taco bar was a great idea, but can’t seem to find the recipe. Please help! I am so overwhelmed with last minute preparations and I really need an easy inexpensive meal.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Congrats! There’s really no recipe – I just prepare a buffet of chips, taco meat, cheese, and all the taco fixin’s. People can go through the line and fix their plates however they like!

    [Reply]

  24. Liz says

    Very helpful, thanks. I’m planning a dinner for 40 vball players. 2 are vegetarians, one has a gluten allergy and one is allergic to milk…so I am going to do a baked potato and salad bar.

    We did one last year and provided large baked potatoes, cheese, broccoli, scallions, sour cream, butter, chili, ham, gravy, etc. It was a big hit and everyone put whatever they wanted on it.

    [Reply]

  25. says

    I was so excited to find your blog and this page! My husband and I host a young adult group in our home every Tuesday night and I am ALWAYS looking for some new recipes. Poppy seed chicken is a great hit at our house, as well as Pizza Spaghetti and the Pioneer Woman’s lasagna. I also watch for pork tenderloins to go on sale and we grill about 7. I usually serve with green beans (canned cooked with ham bouillon in the crock pot all day . . .lots of pepper and a little olive oil) and hash brown casserole. I also make a Big Wheel Sandwich – large sandwich made on round Hawaiian bread, baked and then sliced into pie wedges. Another huge crowd pleaser is oriental slaw. I have many of these recipes on my blog and have started trying to highlight a recipe every Saturday. Your blog gave me some new ideas!

    [Reply]

  26. Kate says

    I regularly cook large church dinners for anywhere from 75 to 130 people and also cook for our youth group.
    Tri tip is popular and not too expensive at costco or sams club. How about lasagna or chili and cornbread? The chili is a great meal that is pretty cheap to make and very filling.

    [Reply]

  27. Courtney says

    Hi!! I am so glad to “meet” you!! I have never met someone/a family that functions so closely to ours!! I love it! My husband is a youth pastor and a high school varsity basketball coach! I feel 30+ teens 2 or 3 times a week. People think we are crazy but I love it. Strangely I have not made the breakfast casserole yet even tho they are a favorite.
    I want to share 2 favorite recipes. One and old family secret – Kalua pig (hawaiian style barbque). You need a large pork butt. A bottle of liquid smoke 4 whole bananas and sea salt. Trim the fat off the pork, put it in the crock pot. poke it a bunch with a fork. Pour the liquid smoke all over it. Liberally Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt Over it. Lay the WHOLE BANANAS minus the stickers – on top of the meat. Cover with the lid. Cook on high 45 min per half a pound. When it’s time to eat take the whole (gross now brown colored) bananas out and throw them away. Remove and bones as you shred the meat.
    Super with rice!!!!
    Second- 5-6 lbs of thawed chicken breast into the crock pot. Pour a large jar of the GREEN salsa. Cook on high till easy to shred and serve like tacos on tortillas or chips!!

    [Reply]

  28. Kate says

    Your recipes sound so good. I may try the pork one at home. I don’t cook pork at church suppers as there are some of our members who won’t eat pork. My next meal is going to be enchiladas but I may have to adapt your chicken recipe. It looks so nice and easy to do.

    [Reply]

  29. Alice Cowgill says

    When I have to feed a crowd I like to make shredded chicken sandwiches, cole slaw and throw in a couple of different kinds of chips for them to choose from.
    If we are having a family get together that requires a pot luck then I usually make a chicken casserole, which consists of chicken cooked and cut into chunks or shredded, homemade dressing/stuffing(i have used stove top) and noodles of your liking all mixed together and warmed in the oven till warmed through and top is browned in a 350 degree oven. I usually have it in the oven for about an hour or so.

    [Reply]

  30. Sandy Taylor says

    I don’t feed huge groups that often, but with all these great ideas I may start. People love getting together and aren’t really fussy about the food. A big part of our group is seniors that don’t get up and down all that well. Any suggestions for letting them fix their own at the table without passing large containers around?

    Thanks (to everybody) for all the great ideas.

    [Reply]

  31. Kate says

    Hello. What a blessing to be able to serve seniors. I do this at my church. What we do is set up buffet style and have them come down the line. We have servers to give them what they want and also to help carry plates if need be. Our seniors are a wonderful bunch and like to get their food themselves.

    [Reply]

  32. Kathy Bradley says

    My husband and I generally don’t serve food to large groups but we do have a couple of standby recipes that can be made ahead, frozen and then thawed. One of them includes Paula Deen’s Taco Soup recipe (found on Food Network) that my sister tried in desperation one night and now the whole family fixes. My husband tweaks this by adding a can or two of garbanzo beans (chickpeas). The original recipe serves 12-16; we always double it and cook it in our big electric roaster, serve half and freeze the rest.

    Another recipe that is a favorite of my mother’s to keep on hand: twice baked mashed potatoes. She will wash then poke holes in 20 pounds of large baking potatoes. She bakes them (DO NOT need to wrap in foil) at 350 until done. She pulls the potatoes out of the oven and scoops the insides out of the shells into a large(!!) bowl. Mash the potatoes with sour cream and evaporated milk, seasoning to taste. She then puts the mashed potatoes into casserole dishes, sprinkle liberally with shredded cheese, cover with foil and freeze. To serve, thaw, and bake in 350 oven until warmed through and the cheese has melted. This serves about 15-20 kids so adjust as needed.

    All the comments mention using chicken – try getting a couple of boneless turkey breasts and roasting those. Turkey breast will substitute straight across for chicken in casseroles, tacos, etc.

    Tips for those who serve meals to people with gluten and milk allergies: There is now some very good gluten-free pasta available that will hold up to recipes such as macaroni and cheese. You might want to make a special dish of whatever you are serving just for those dealing with allergies since that pasta is a bit on the pricey side. Also, I have discovered that cooking with Lactaid (brand name) is very similar to cooking with regular milk so it adapts really well to sauces. In addition, Kraft cheese (shredded and block, but not Velveeta) are lactose free. There again, a little pricey but if you make it up in a separate casserole for those who need to use it, you should be able to keep costs down.

    Just as a caution: Find out what type of gluten and dairy allergies these players are dealing with. My daughter is lactose intolerant but others are allergic to other enzymes in milk so other types of products (such as almond milk) will need to be used. Same with gluten.

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  33. Renee says

    Very cool to run across you on Facebook , the first thing I saw was York college which is where my parents went to college and my great uncle mabrey and aunt Madge Miller ministered for years. Love your ideas! We do a soup kitchen once a month at our church and also have home groups once a month and even family gatherings are 20-70 people so these will help a lot. Thanks

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    Laura Reply:

    Oh Mabrey and Madge. Loved them and miss them so much!

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