Cooking for a Crowd Large Batch Recipes

Cooking for a Crowd: Large Batch Recipes to Impress Your Guests

So, you’ve got a big crowd coming over, huh? Maybe it’s a family reunion, a backyard BBQ, or just one of those weekends where everyone decides your place is the place to be. No worries! Cooking for a crowd can be a lot of fun, and with the right recipes, you’ll have everyone coming back for seconds (or thirds, who knows?). Let me share some of my favorite large batch recipes that are perfect for feeding a whole bunch of hungry folks.

1. Start with a Friendly Greeting

Howdy, y’all! Let’s dive right into this cooking adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, I’ve got you covered. These recipes are gonna be a hit, trust me. And hey, feel free to tweak ’em to your liking. After all, cooking’s all about making it your own, right?

2. The Mighty Pot of Chili

First up, let’s talk chili. It’s hearty, it’s flavorful, and it feeds a ton. Plus, it’s super customizable. You can go spicy, mild, meaty, or veggie. The sky’s the limit!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground beef (or turkey for a lighter option)
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 bell peppers, diced (mix up the colors for a pretty presentation)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, jalapenos

Instructions:

  1. In a huge pot (seriously, get the biggest one you’ve got), brown the ground beef over medium heat. Drain off the fat.
  2. Add the onions and bell peppers to the pot. Cook until they’re softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or so. (Garlic always smells amazing, doesnt it?)
  4. Dump in the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth. Give it a good stir.
  5. Sprinkle in the chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least an hour. The longer it cooks, the better it gets. Trust me on this one.
  7. Serve it up with your favorite toppings and watch it disappear.

Pro tip: Chili is even better the next day, so dont hesitate to make it ahead of time.

3. Crowd-Pleasing Pasta Bake

Pasta bakes are awesome because theyre easy to make in massive quantities, and everyone loves ’em. This one’s cheesy, saucy, and oh-so-comforting.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds pasta (penne, rigatoni, or ziti work best)
  • 2 jars (24 oz each) marinara sauce
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Grease a couple of large baking dishes.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but stop a minute or two before its fully done. You want it al dente since itll cook more in the oven.
  3. In a big bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, half of the mozzarella, and half of the Parmesan.
  4. In another bowl, combine the pasta with the marinara sauce and cooked sausage, if you’re using it.
  5. Spread a layer of the pasta mixture in the bottom of the baking dishes. Top with dollops of the ricotta mixture. Repeat the layers until everythings used up.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan on top.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil for a pop of color.

Tip: This dish freezes well, so make an extra batch for those lazy nights.

4. BBQ Pulled Pork

Nothing says “feeding a crowd” like a big ol’ batch of BBQ pulled pork. Its tender, smoky, and goes great on sandwiches or just by itself. Grab your slow cooker, ’cause we’re going low and slow with this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pork shoulder or butt (about 5-6 pounds)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sandwich buns, coleslaw, pickles for serving

Instructions:

  1. Place the onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Rub the pork with the brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. (Get in there with your hands, its messy but worth it!)
  3. Place the pork on top of the onions. Pour in the apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the pork is falling apart tender.
  5. Shred the pork with two forks. Stir in the BBQ sauce. (Add more if you like it saucy!)
  6. Serve on buns with coleslaw and pickles. Yum!

Pro tip: Leftover pulled pork makes killer tacos or nachos the next day.

5. Giant Batch of Guacamole

You can’t have a party without guacamole, am I right? It’s creamy, zesty, and a total crowd-pleaser. Here’s how to make a ton of it.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ripe avocados
  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: diced jalapenos for some heat

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. (Pro tip: Save a couple of the pits to keep the guac from browning.)
  2. Add the lime juice right away to keep the avocados from turning brown.
  3. Mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher to your desired consistency. Chunky or smooth, its up to you!
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, and jalapenos if using.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Give it a taste and adjust as needed.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning, and chill until ready to serve.

Hint: Serve with a big bowl of tortilla chips and watch it disappear in no time.

6. Dessert: Giant Cookie Cake

No party is complete without dessert. A giant cookie cake is not only delicious but also a real showstopper. Plus, who doesnt love cookies?

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C). Line a large baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, forming a large circle.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and set. Let it cool on the pan.
  8. Once cooled, decorate with frosting, sprinkles, or whatever you like. Slice it up like a pizza and serve.

Sweet tip: Customize your cookie cake with M&Ms, nuts, or even candy pieces for extra fun.

7. Beverage Station

Don’t forget the drinks! Set up a beverage station with a variety of options to keep your guests hydrated and happy.

Ideas for Drinks:

  • Big Batch Lemonade: Mix fresh lemon juice, water, and sugar to taste. Add some sliced lemons and mint leaves for a refreshing touch.
  • Iced Tea: Brew a large pot of your favorite tea. Sweeten it if you like, and serve with lemon slices.
  • Sangria: For the adults, mix red wine, brandy, orange juice, and chopped fruit. Let it chill for a few hours for the flavors to meld.
  • Infused Water: Add slices of cucumber, strawberries, or citrus fruits to pitchers of water for a fancy, refreshing option.

Note: Make sure to have plenty of ice on hand and maybe some cute paper straws to add a fun touch.

8. Setting Up for Success

Now, let’s talk logistics. Cooking for a crowd isn’t just about the recipes its about the setup too. Here are some tips to keep things running smoothly:

Plan Ahead:

  • Make a shopping list and get everything you need a day or two in advance.
  • Prep as much as you can the day before. Chop veggies, marinate meats, and make any dishes that taste better the next day (like chili).
  • Set up serving stations to keep the flow moving. One for drinks, one for mains, one for sides and desserts.

Stay Organized:

  • Label your dishes so guests know what they’re getting. This is especially helpful for any dietary restrictions.
  • Keep extra serving utensils handy. There’s nothing worse than hunting for a ladle when you’re ready to serve the soup.
  • Have a plan for leftovers. Stock up on disposable containers so guests can take some home, or have a game plan for storing and using them yourself.

And there you have it, folks! Cooking for a crowd doesnt have to be stressful. With these recipes and tips, you’ll be the host with the most. So go on, get cookin’, and enjoy the company of your friends and family. Cheers to good food and even better memories!

P.S. If you try any of these recipes, let me know how they turn out! I’d love to hear your feedback or any tweaks you made. Happy cooking!

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