Planning what food to serve for a large party is easy once you know your theme, preparation time available, and approximate number of guests. You want to enjoy the party as much as your guests, so keep the food menu simple with items everyone likes. The nice thing about parties is that the more you have them, the easier it will be to know what you need.
Casual get-togethers and formal celebrations call for different menu items. If you are having friends over to watch a championship soccer game, you want to serve snacks and other easy foods. Chips, dips and salsa can be set out in advance. Cut up some meats and cheese, arrange them on a platter and refrigerate until your party starts. For a Quinceanera, choose foods that appeal to the age group. You will want to have some hot foods available for older guests; younger guests always enjoy appetizer items. Warm sliced hot dogs and egg rolls are easy to prepare for a large party and easy to eat.
A crock-pot or two will become your best friend when you are planning for a large party. If you do not have all day to cook, get the ingredients ready the night before the event. In the morning set up a crock-pot to do the cooking for you. Meatballs in a barbecue sauce are a great choice for making ahead of time. Shredded chicken and beef can be cooked and refrigerated in advance. Use food warming trays to keep hot foods ready during your party. Bring out taco shells, shredded lettuce and freshly chopped tomatoes and your guests can create their own tacos.
Determining the amount of food you need for a large party is not difficult if you follow some basic guidelines. If your large party involves close family and friends, you already have a good idea of your guests’ likes and dislikes. Plan to have plenty of favorites on hand and add in some new, easy to prepare dishes. If you are short on ideas, you can find numerous recipes online. When you estimate the amount of food you need, purchase and prepare extra. You can always enjoy left-over’s the next day.
Keep your pantry stocked with nonperishable basics if you have to get a large party organized at the last minute. Cans of olives, beans, corn, and tomatoes are good items to keep on hand. Dried pasta and an oil and vinegar dressing can be turned into pasta salad. Packets of Ranch dip and onion soup mix can be used to make dips, the soup mix is also a great addition to hamburger for quick seasoning.