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Jan 16, 2008 09:19 AM

Dinner for 20-25 people - what to make?

I have foolishly volunteered to cook dinner for a bunch of 20-25 people. By the time the date of this event comes around, I'll have a 6-week old baby, so not heaps of time.

Any suggestions for what works well cooked in bulk for main course? Dessert and nibbles I can deal with.

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  1. Yikes! Do you already have the baby? Either way - I suggest lasagna several ways. You can make Bolognese, different vegetable or all cheese options. Plus - you can make them in advance if you haven't actually had the baby yet and stick them in the freezer!

    Sides are easy - just a big salad and yummy bread. The last time I did this I made two 9x13 pans of lasagna for about 12-15 people. So probably 4 would be plenty.

    1. I would suggest something like a braise because they are not very fussy and the bulk of the prep work is done ahead of time so you can actually spend time with your guests. I know you said you have your nibbles handled, but you could also consider making some appetizers ahead of time and freezing them so all you have to do the day of is reheat. This works well with so many recipes.

      1. Do you have a slow cooker? Williams Sonoma has a great Tuscan Chicken slow cooking sauce. All you need to do is brown chicken thighs and add apricots along with the sauce. It takes about 4 hours to cook in the slow cooker. Just FYI, the chicken turns into shreds. Looks beautiful and tastes fantastic. Can be served with quinoa or couscous.

        1. WOW! I am impressed (and sadly sounds like something I would do, too!) If you are going a little more "upscale", I would recommend Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon or Coq au Vin, as they are both elegant, delicious, and can largely be made ahead of time. (cookbooks: Mastering the Art of French Cooking or The French Chef - other variations can be found on the internet)

          If you are going for more casual and/or buffet-like how about: taco bar; lasagna; pasta "stations"; roast turkeys; prime rib/ standing rib roast; selection of gourmet pizzas; grilled steak sandwiches with chimichurri sauce (I love to do this b/c you can use a lesser-grade steak [like flank] and marinate it in chimichurri... it is sooo good. Serve on a high-quality crusty sandwich roll)

          1. What kind of event? Fancy? Casual? What time of year? Winter? Spring?

            Must it be hot food? Budget? Do you have enough oven space to reheat all at once?