By Brandy, Contributing Writer
When it comes to feeding a crowd, I need look no further than my own kitchen. And when it comes to social gatherings, I'm usually not the least bit intimidated about the large amounts of food needing to be prepared.
So many times, we think it's much easier, and therefore really tempting, to simply grab ready-made food from the store. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are many homemade foods that can be whipped up in a snap that are far superior nutritionally than any processed foods.
Next time you're the head chef in charge of feeding a crowd, consider the following options to help you serve healthy, homemade food.
Also known as "big pans of food" at our house, casseroles can be anything from chicken spaghetti to lasagna. The sky is the limit with filling big pans with piping hot food to fill up a crowd. Serve with a big salad and bread for many dishes, or chips, salsa, and guacamole for Mexican dishes.
Crock Pot Meals
Meals in the slow cooker make it so easy. You may need one or two crock pots filled with food, depending on how large your group is, but for our family of ten, one crock pot roast with potatoes and carrots feeds everyone, and we often have just enough left for lunch for one or two people the next day.
Other crock pot meals to consider:
Buffet Style Meals
One of my favorite ways to serve a crowd is to offer a big buffet of food with many choices. Including a wide variety of food gives even the pickiest guests some options they'll be happy with.
Great foods for including in a buffet spread:
- vegetable tray with homemade ranch dip
- cream cheese appetizers like raspberry chipotle cream cheese dip or peppered cheeseball, served with crackers
- hummus and vegetables and/or pita bread
- shredded chicken lettuce wraps, with quinoa
- taco theme buffet including taco meat, black beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, chips, salsa, etc.
- chicken fajitas with guacamole, sour cream, chips, and salsa
- a variety of soups, stews, or chili with cornbread and rolls
- chicken salad with croissants
- fruit salad or fruit tray
My favorite spring and summer meals are always the grilled version. Once the grill is loaded down with steaks, burgers, chicken, and veggies, it's easy to toss a big, fresh, green salad together and pan-roast a few pounds of red potatoes. Fresh fruit and raw veggie trays with homemade ranch dip make the perfect light side dishes, too.
Easy, Healthy Desserts for a Crowd
What are your favorite meals for feeding a crowd?
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