It can be tough to plan dinner for the family, but when you have a large group, meal planning takes on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, you have to shift from thinking about what your family loves to looking for easy meals for a large group. This can be true even if you have a large extended family — in that case you will need easy meals for large family gatherings.
And believe it or not, the type of meal you choose can mean the difference between an easy meal and a difficult one. For instance, you can create a taco bar and ensure that everyone’s meal is to their liking while also reducing cleanup. And prep time? Make it easy by prepping any veggies in a food processor like the Ninja™ Professional XL food processor.
A taco bar is one of the best inexpensive meals for large groups. You can customize your bar to suit your budget and everyone’s taste. Imagine crisp taco shells displayed on a colorful plate and surrounded by bowls of chopped onions, peppers, garlic and shredded cheese. You can add beef, chicken or fish to make the tacos protein-rich. Don’t forget to add the accompanying bowls of sour cream and salsa to complete the meal.
Pasta makes for easy group meals, and if you add meatballs to the mix, you will ensure that all of your guests walk away full and happy. The pasta and sauce are inexpensive, so the cost of making the meatballs probably won’t bust your budget. All you need to do is scale the meatball recipe to however many people you need to feed.
To serve pasta to a large group, display the pasta and meatballs in a large serving bowl and offer each of your guests a plate. Allow them to use tongs or a serving spoon to pile the goodness on their plates. Add some bread to the meal so your guests will have something to soak up all the sauce goodness.
If your guests appreciate an international meal, cook a butter chicken. The delicious combination of chicken and curry will satisfy even your most difficult-to-please guests. And don’t forget to add a cool drink such as coconut water or mango lassi to cool their senses after eating the spicy curry.
Looking for meals for large groups that will stay warm and don’t require a lot of dishes? This lasagna is the the perfect way to go. All of those noodles, tomato sauce and cheesy goodness will fill up your guests with less. And speaking of your guests — they’ll love this fun and unique twist on a traditional lasagna!
Whether you make a chili rich in meat or go the vegetarian route and make a bean chili, you can cook up large amounts with little effort and that makes it the ideal dish for big groups. To add a little something to make the meal more memorable, cook up some cornbread and serve it with room-temperature butter so it will spread smoothly over the top.
If you’re looking for meals for large groups, pizza stands out as one of the best. For starters, you can make the dough in multiple batches and then separate it to make several pizzas. You could even have a build your own pizza station for everyone to lend a helping hand.
You can also mix up the toppings so everyone in your large group gets a pizza they like. You can make pepperoni pizza, ham and pineapple, cheese, vegetables or anything else your crowd will love.
Another great dish for large crowds is baked pasta. Everyone loves baked macaroni and cheese, but you can mix things up and bake spaghetti, fettuccine or many other types of pasta. For the best success, think pasta, tomato sauce and cheese. Who doesn’t love that combination?
If you’re having an outdoor event while serving a large crowd, skewers could make a great meal. And it’s easy to assemble. Put meat or seafood, onions, peppers and pineapple on a skewer and cook it in no time. You can even involve others to help assemble the skewers.
If you want a meal that features an easy meat dish, roasted chicken is a great choice. You can roast the chicken by itself, or you can add vegetables to the pan and roast them together. Serve this hearty meal with rice, pasta, couscous or quinoa. When cooking with chicken, make sure you follow all safety standards.
What do you get when you combine tortillas, cheese, meat and a delicious sauce? Enchiladas! This hearty Mexican food is a great way to serve a large crowd and make sure that everyone is l satisfied. If you want to add some fun to your meal, throw in some margaritas.
If you want a lighter meal to serve your big group, why not incorporate dumplings? You can make the dumplings and put them in a soup — chicken soup and dumplings, anyone? Or go with an Asian menu and stir fry them with vegetables, lemon grass, peppers and onion.
Sliders are a meal option for when you need to serve a large crowd. You can use small buns and stuff them with shredded pork, chicken or even portabella mushrooms if you want to skip the meat. Make them unique by blending some ricotta cheese and spices and spreading a large serving on the bun. You’ll have people begging for seconds!
A great way to impress a large crowd is to serve stuffed bell peppers. You can stuff the peppers with rice and vegetables or a combination of meat, vegetables and rice. To impress your crowd, add a special sauce to the stuffing to enhance the taste and make it unique.
Everyone loves nachos, and that’s why it’s a great choice when you have to serve a large crowd. Start with a large platter and fill it with chips. Add cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, onion and anything else you please. Nachos are one of those dishes you can customize and make your own.
If you don’t mind putting in a little work, making chicken pot pie for your large group will make a great impression. Instead of making indiviual pies, this pot pie is made all in one pot for ease. Your guests will love this cozy homey meal. As they dig in, they will appreciate all the effort you put into making sure they were fed well.
If you want to cook a Cajun-style meal, dirty rice is a great option. You can add Cajun-style fish or pieces of beef or pork and the spices you want to make it your own. This dish can also be served with any type of meat or even seafood.
If you’re willing to put in a little work prepping your meal, a stir fry is a great option when you have to serve a big crowd. For instance, this beef noodle stir fry cooks in about 30 minutes in the Ninja Foodi NeverStick Premium Hard Anodizes 11-inch Wok.
Another great meal to serve a large crowd is cheeseburgers. You can set up a grill station outdoors and cook the burgers to order. Ask your guests to bring you their buns and meat patties, cook them while they wait and direct them to a table where they can pile on the fixings of their choice.
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
A meal that almost everyone loves is tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. The combination of tomatoes and hot cheese is pleasing to just about anyone’s palate. Be sure to cook enough sandwiches for seconds because your guests will likely ask for them.
Use Your Imagination to Please the Crowd
When cooking for a large group, it’s important to serve them food that fills them up and pleases their senses. And when you use your imagination to put your own twist on a recipe, you can’t go wrong.