Simple Solutions for Feeding a Crowd

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Simple Solutions for Feeding a Crowd

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

When you have a big family, it doesn’t take much for word to spread and a simple Sunday dinner to become a table for twenty. So whether your feast is carefully planned dinner party or spur of the moment affair, these simple tips will guarantee your big meal will be a big success!

Keeping Down the Cost
Don’t overextend your budget just to impress. Your guests are not there to nit-pick your menu! They came for a fun time and good food, so don’t feel like you have to serve a four-course meal. One pot wonders, casseroles, and even hearty salads are great for these occasions. A recipe like Paula’s Chicken and Rice Casserole includes all your major food groups. Add some dinner rolls and a pitcher of iced tea, and you’re all set!

Make Ahead
If you are expecting a gaggle of guests, make sure not to trap yourself in the kitchen with recipes that need constant monitoring or have to be made-to-order. Pick dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and either combined or baked right before your meal. That way, you’ll spend more time with your guests than your recipes. Lady and Sons Lasagna can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, or made well ahead and frozen!

Expandable Recipes
Not everyone understands the importance of an RSVP. When your guest list grows, make sure your dishes can grow with it! Stay away from individual dishes like crab cakes or cupcakes, and instead choose dishes that can be divided into more servings. While this Bacon Rubbed Beef Tenderloin would be perfect in thick slices for an elegant dinner, it can easily be sliced thin and even made into delicious sandwiches in a pinch! For dessert, Never Fail Pound Cake is rich enough for each guest to be satisfied with a thin slice. Spruce it up with some berries and whip cream if you have them!

Also look for recipes that are easy to double. Simple pastas and salads are great: the sauces and dressings are often for multiple dishes, or can be increased with just a few ingredients. This Caesar Salad can easily be doubled with just extra lettuce and tomatoes!

Above all, stay cool! No matter how big your crowd, the basics still apply. Have a plan, but be willing to move around some chairs and some serving sizes! And don’t forget to smile!

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Reader Comments:


Love love all Paula's recipeas

By Judy marmer on March 02, 2014


I am just thrilled to know you are coming back. Everything about you makes me feel so good. I am from Arkansas and have moved to Kansas so I do miss my south a little and when I watched you on tv it just made me feel less homesick!! Really happy to see a comeback with you Paula!!Bless your heart.

By Yecedrah Higman on March 01, 2014


Paula, Not many chefs print recipes for large crowds - like a church social. For years I have done my best to come up with things we could cook for a big church supper - 75 up to 200 people. My Daddy catered and I have his recipes to guide me, but he's gone and I didn't pay as close attention as I should have. Consider a cookbook for church socials - not all are covered dish. Thanks

By Lara Johnson on March 01, 2014


Thanks for hanging in there... your family and true friends will always be there for you--don't worry about anyone else!

By Tehachap on February 28, 2014


Paula, love, love, love your recipes and tips. Been a fan of yours for many, many years. Keep up the good work and Keep your HEAD UP Darling. Luv ya girlfriend, Marie

By Marie on February 28, 2014


Hi Cindy Colston, Perhaps you would like to get some ideas from these articles, such as Paula's Southern Brunch Recipes or Recipes for a Spring Brunch. Sprintime Sippers has an assortment of drinks you can make for your girls. Thanks for visiting, here at Paula's we encourage y'all to keep on trying our recipes!

By Anonymous on April 23, 2013


YUMMY! I ate a Chicken Pot Pie the very first night I came to Saqvannah at Laqdy & sons. it took me about an hour to devour that meal! That CPP was big enough to feed 5 people in one sitting! it was DE-LI-SIOUS!

By Shirley Walkowicz on April 18, 2013


when i have a large crowd they like my rice pizza large baking dish cook enough rice to cover bottom of pan I jar of pizza sauce sliced pepperoni i large red or green pepper sliced thin and layer over top 1 large onion sliced thin and layer over top 1 pkg. mixed crated cheese pop into oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 min serve with spoon. kids and adults love this simple and easy to make

By athena on April 18, 2013


I've having the girls over for a Saturday Brunch/Passion Party, I have a small budget not over $40.00 would like to be under this if possible, approx 12 girls. What would you serve including beverages(non-Alcohol)? I am excited to have this brunch. Any ideas would be appreicated. Thank You Paula and Co.

By Cindy Colston on April 18, 2013


You are a very good cook, thanks Paula you are a sweet and kind woman......

By Christine Roberson on April 18, 2013

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