Cooking For a Crowd

KitKat

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Having a family birthday party for 12 people at my home. What do you cook that is easy? I am sick of baked ziti, lasagna, meatballs, sausage. Seems like everyone makes that. In the past, I have had it catered but do not want to spend $$$ for this at this date in time. I do not want my guests to prepare anything as I don't want it to be potluck, it's a birthday. I am thinking Teriyaki Chicken cutlets, veggie fried rice, a pot roast, jasmine rice and broccoli. Some will be here earlier due to traffic challenges. I will get a platter of croissant sandwiches, potato and macaroni salad, pickles and a salad for those. Please tell me what you make for a crowd that is EASY and delicious. No taco bars or potato bars. Half of them are BIG eaters. Thank you in advance.
 

karadekoolaid

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With you on the Chili. You can make it a day before and it´ll taste even better. You can accompany it with a plate of beans, refried of just with Mexican spices; fresh tortillas, pico de gallo, baked potatoes, a cheese dip, grated white cheese (what ever you can get your hands on), fresh salads, etc. quesadillas to start - all sorts of flavours.
Ot you could make a moussaka - again, make it the day before and cook it in the oven on the day. Acoompany with rice, or baked potatoes, a Mediterranean veggie stew, and start off with hummus, tzatziki, taramasalata, pita bread.
 

caseydog

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With you on the Chili. You can make it a day before and it´ll taste even better. You can accompany it with a plate of beans, refried of just with Mexican spices; fresh tortillas, pico de gallo, baked potatoes, a cheese dip, grated white cheese (what ever you can get your hands on), fresh salads, etc. quesadillas to start - all sorts of flavours.
Ot you could make a moussaka - again, make it the day before and cook it in the oven on the day. Acoompany with rice, or baked potatoes, a Mediterranean veggie stew, and start off with hummus, tzatziki, taramasalata, pita bread.

Try chili con carne with cornbread sometime. People here crumble up cornbread, and pour chili over it, as you might with rice (more common in SE Texas where rice is grown and very popular).

CD
 

Backbay

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Pork shoulder or butt / brown or grill it for color and throw in a crock pot on high. Six hours later take it out and shred/pull it add some BBQ sauce and wa...la.. pulled pork sandwiches with some Kings Hawaiian buns. Some tater salad, cole slaw, melon and you are good to go.
 

ElizabethB

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My Mother had her 90th birthday on August 11th. We had a party planned for her extended family and friends August 14th. 75+.
Well the resurgence of Covid nipped that in the bud. We did not want Mother's birthday party to turn into a Covid Soup.
We did have a gathering of the immediate family - Mother's children, their spouses, grandchildren and spouses and great grandchildren - 18 people.
Baby Brother smoked a pork shoulder roast and a brisket for pulled pork and brisket sliders. We had coleslaw, baked beans, Brother's homemade BBQ sauce and potato salad. Homemade Lemonade, tea, wine and beer. August 14th was also Baby Brother's 55th Birthday. Youngest Sis baked an Everything Lemon Lemon Cake for Mother and a German Chocolate cake for brother. She also made homemade ice cream. Sis has an electric Ice Cream Maker. She made a couple of batches of Ice Cream 2 days in advance. Brother and three sisters participated and contributed food. Two other Brothers provided Beer and Wine. When it comes to family gathering that is how we roll.
Our gathering was outside so the casual food was perfect.
Soups, stews, Chili, Gumbo - anything that can be cooked in a big batch, served with a veg salad or potato salad, bread, cornbread, tortillas or rice. Dishes that can be cooked in advance.
For desert so many supermarkets make really great cakes. Shop around and taste. Yes you can and should be able to taste. Fresh fruit and ice cream. IDK where you live but Blue Bell Homestyle Vanilla Ice Cream is a good option.
KISS, big batch meal that can be prepared ahead of time. Limited, simple, easy sides - prepare ahead. Simple, store bought desserts. Limit alcohol to wine and beer. Skip or limit finger food. Two easy things are homemade Hummus with tortilla strips and a crudité platter with dill aioli or blue cheese dip. Rely on good company and companionship to make your party perfect.
 

caseydog

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EB makes a good point on gumbos and other soups/stews. They often taste even better the day after you cook them, making them perfect to make a day early. Things like potato salad are definitely better after a night in the fridge.

That means less to cook the day of the gathering.

CD
 

Mountain Cat

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I went Tex Mex. And part of my issue was that I was cooking for: vegetarians, true omnivores, gluten-free, dairy intolerant, and legume allergic people, along with nightshade-limited. There were 15 or 16 of us.

The date was also the fifth of May, on a Saturday a few years back, which helped Cinco de Mayo. (Yeah, I put a jar of mayonnaise in the guest bathroom sink... Corny... Oh well.)

I made a basic salad, to which people could add tomatoes at whim.

I made a vegetarian chili - yes, it had lots of beans. You could opt in or out of the cheese or sour cream or the hot sauce. BUT... I had a make it yourself soft taco station, where I'd cooked up chicken, beef, refried beans, and all the fixin's.

I have to say my obligate "omnivore" LOVED the vegetarian chili.... She even took some home with her after. My legume-allergic person was happy with the taco bar, and had enough to eat without caring about the chili offering.

For dessert, I had a gluten and lactose-free chocolate "cake" which was rich beyond belief. This wasn't Tex-Mex, but no one was counting.

Just one suggestion.
 

Mountain Cat

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I will note, that my chili included 3 types of beans, AND winter squash, onion, and the appropriate seasonings (yes, including peppers and tomatoes). This can certainly be made in advance. (My nightshade leery person could eat some nightshades, and was able to pace herself appropriately.) In case she could not deal with any - I had plenty of taco making material for her to chose from. She did do some chili and didn't add any nightshades to her salad.

Hopefully everyone can eat everything you are going to serve. I asked in advance what people could or could not eat, which helped me a lot.
 

ThatDude

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You've ruled out a few "bar"options, so I hope they're all not off the table (bad pun).

Fajita bar? Grill up some steaks (something like a marinated london broil) sliced thin and tossed with cumin roasted peppers, onions with some cliantro, think of a big tossed meat and veggie salad, can be served hot or room temp....same method for some chicken and or shrimp. Rice, beans, guac, sour cream, queso fresco, etc... all the fixings in bowls and a pile of tortillas for hfolks to load up. Nice bowl of roast corn and black bean salad, or something cheap and cheerful with a South West touch.
 

KitKat

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I know what people will or will not eat. Driving me crazy. I am loving all your ideas. Please keep them coming. The more I can prepare ahead of time, the more relaxed I will be.
 

karadekoolaid

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Caracas, Venezuela
OK - heré´s another wild idea. This is not for the entire do, just a sort of sideshow. Fondue - you can make a classic cheese fondue, a meat/ chicken fondue ( all you need is chunks of meat & chicken) and a shrimp fondue.The creative part is all the different sauces you can make to impress your guests.
Downside? You need three fondue dishes!
 

GadgetGuy

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Having a family birthday party for 12 people at my home. What do you cook that is easy? I am sick of baked ziti, lasagna, meatballs, sausage. Seems like everyone makes that. In the past, I have had it catered but do not want to spend $$$ for this at this date in time. I do not want my guests to prepare anything as I don't want it to be potluck, it's a birthday. I am thinking Teriyaki Chicken cutlets, veggie fried rice, a pot roast, jasmine rice and broccoli. Some will be here earlier due to traffic challenges. I will get a platter of croissant sandwiches, potato and macaroni salad, pickles and a salad for those. Please tell me what you make for a crowd that is EASY and delicious. No taco bars or potato bars. Half of them are BIG eaters. Thank you in advance.

Try a potluck or a one-pot meal. I think that it would help cut down on the amount of work that you do.

I used to do that, but back when I did it, I was much younger. I'd be setting myself up for too much work from beginning to end. But whatever makes you happy, then by all means, do it. :whistling:
 
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