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Jul 2, 2011 09:19 PM

first time cooking for 30 people during vacation

Hi, I am going to be sharing a beach house with 30 friends at the end of july. I have volunteered to prepare a dinner one night, but have no idea what to prepare. My cooking skills are not extremely advanced, but I knop my way around a kitchen. Any suggestions would be so appreciated! Thanks

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  1. Wow, that must be some huge house to hold 30 people! I would say you certainly need to plan ahead and consider doing mainly cold or room temp dishes...what do you have for refrig capacity? If you have availability of fresh produce that will make a big you have a budget and do you have others who will help you?

    1. If I had to prepare a hot meal for that many people I would either 1. sort of chicken out and cook burgers and hotdogs on the grill with chips and raw veggies/dip (a drawback to the burgers/dogs is that you will likely have had them already on your beach vacation) or 2. make something ahead like and enormous kettle of chili or maybe a bolognase sauce and then boil about 6 pounds of spaghetti in two batches in a 12 quart kettle. A few bags of salad and a few loaves of French bread would round it out. An electric roaster like this would be useful:

      Another idea might be to make a big batch of seasoned beef taco meat and all he fixins for tacos and ket everyone assemble their own. The good thing about this is that because there is a protein and vegetables, a side dish isn't really necessary, just don't run out of food.

      1. Not sure what money restrictions there are, if any,but you could always do a huge clam bake if money is not an issue. Otherwise, I'd do burgers, dogs, sausage, chicken & steak and/or skewers a huge salad and another cold side/salad like an orzo salad or gazpacho

        1. Or...if you're near a Costco...some big salmon fillets on the grill are always good...and will go a long way. And you could also do sausages....another Costco find in big proportions. The important thing is not to stress...and make sure that you enjoy yourself. Certainly people will volunteer to help. Pour good wine!

          1. I'm concerned that a vacation rental probably doesn't have a lot of refrigeration space or oven capacity.

            How about getting 6 or 7 rotisseried chickens and shredding the meat. Toss it with taco seasoning and lime juice. Get a load of tortillas. Then make a vat of pico de gallo for assemble yourself soft tacos (take an aliigater chopper along to make quick work of chopping veggies). Serve it with a salad of black beans tossed in a cilantro dressing with frozen roasted corn (Trader Joe's) and currant tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes.

            Only thing left to do is make vats of guacamole and margaritas. ...and be glad someone else will do the next day!

            Oh, and for dessert, a street food at Los Angeles' original village, Olvera Street, is wedges of fresh melon or pineapple splashed with lime juice and sprinkled with a bit of ground chili powder.