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Lake house cooking for a crowd!

I'm spending a week at a lake house with a crowd that I need to feed. I'm looking for easy, yet interesting, ideas; cold salads, make ahead, etc. What would you do? THANK YOU for sharing!

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  1. How much of a crowd are you feeding, and what is the kitchen in the lake house like?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Euonymous

      10 people daily and it is an average size kitchen

    2. Good question about the number of people that must be fed asked by Euonymous. If it is as hot where you are as it is here, think buffet. Shop for different kinds of breads, cold cuts, ready made salads, baked goods, desserts, and libations. Cooking may be out of the question depending upon kitchen space and equipment.

      1. here are a couple recent threads on the exact same topic, perhaps you might find some inspiration:


        1. One great make-ahead that will avoid having your to use the oven during the day there is to roast a turkey, a round roast of beef, and a ham and maybe a few meatloaves. Of course quantities depend on the number of people coming, but it's a super way to have healthy delicious cold cuts on hand for a lunch or dinner sandwich board. Round that out with some sliced salami and a good selection of cheeses and mustards and other condiments, and at least several lunches are totally covered. If there's a farmstand or even a nice market around, count yourself among the blessed, and remember that a sharp knife and good fruits and vegies equal almost-instant salads and crudite. Other make-ahead ideas are to do the prep. for the add-ins for a large potato, rice, orzo salad, or slaw: separate baggies of diced celery, pickle, onion, etc. for the potato, etc. for the rice and orzo; shredded carrots etc. for the slaw. Most everyone loves 3-4-5 bean salad (numbers varying by recipe.) You can make a tomato pasta sauce, and just boil the pasta there and make a salad, and there's an especially simple dinner. Kabobs are universally popular, and you could prep. the components ahead, i.e. beef cubes in a teriyaki sauce, and put them in a double-sealed ziplock; just assemble them there and then make an awesome pilaf and veg. stir-fry. Try bringing premade pizza dough and having a do-it-yourself pizza night, ditto a taco bar. And don't forget big pans of the universal favorites: macaroni and cheese, sweet/savory bean casserole, cheesy mashed potatoes, ratatouille or caponata served at room temperature, baked marinated chicken, oven-fried chicken, herb-stuffed pork tenderloin roasted and thinly sliced, served with grilled bread and garlc mayo.........the list goes on, but the gist is that it mostly depends on the foods available to you there, what you plan to bring, and the equipment you'll have, but anything you can do at home, you can do at the lake house, with some advance planning. Certainly none of these are fancy, but people like 'em and they're very little work for the cook.
          Mainly, enjoy your vacation and family and friends, that's the most important thing. And consider, if you have teenagers coming, asking them to volunteer to be "chef for the night."
          such a nice way to help them feel included and completely appreciated. Cheers to y'all.

          1 Reply
          1. Just returned from a week at the outer banks- and there were 25 in our house. We brought two crock pots along, and they were great to use for appetizers ( chicken buffalo dip, homemade clam chowder). Also used for pulled pork. We had a taco bar one night, rib eye steaks on the grill, deep fried turkey, shrimp and chicken kabobs, and of course, hot dogs and burgers on the grill. For sides, we had lots of green salad, potato salad, pasta salad. The selection of frest vegetables was fantastic, so every day we picked up what looked great at the farmstand. On the last night ( fried turkey), we used any leftover vegetables to make a wonderful fried rice. For starches, we used rice, rice pilaf, cheesy potatoes and pasta salad. have fun.

            4 Replies
            1. re: macca

              Would you share the crock pot pulled pork recipe?

              1. re: edinaeats

                here you go- we use more than one pork butt- but we are feeding an army! If we are feeling particularly lazy, we add the reamining liquid after shredding the pork, and leave the crock pot on simmer until we are ready for dinner. Enjoy

                2 onions, quartered
                2 tablespoons brown sugar
                1 tablespoon paprika
                2 teaspoons salt
                1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
                4-6 pound boneless pork butt or shoulder roast
                3/4 cup cider vinegar
                4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
                1&1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
                1&1/2 teaspoons sugar
                1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
                1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
                1/4 teaspoon cayenne

                Preparation Instructions


                Place quartered onions in stoneware. Combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt & pepper; Rub mixture into the pork roast. Place the roast on top of the onions in the stoneware.
                Combine the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, dry mustard, garlic salt & cayenne. Stir to mix well. Drizzle about 1/3 of the vinegar/spice mixture over the roast. Cover & refrigerate remaining vinegar/spice mixture.
                Cover the stoneware & cook on low for 10-12 hours (or high 4-6 hours). Drizzle about a third of the remaining vinegar/spice mixture over the roast during the last 1/2 hour of cooking.
                Remove the meat & onions, drain them and then chop or shred the pork and chop the onions. Discard the vinegar/spice mixture from the stoneware.
                Serve the meat & onions on buns. If desired, top the meat with coleslaw. Use the refrigerated vinegar/spice mixture to drizzle over the sandwiches.

                1. re: macca

                  I made a copy for future use, thanks for sharing macca.

                  1. re: JEN10

                    We use this every year- we get up in the morning, load up the crock pots, and head to the beach for the day.this year, the two grocery stores near us did not have pork butt, so we had to sub pork loin roasts ( we needed 4 roasts!). We just cooked it on low and it was fine- not as good of course, but hey, we were at our ocean front rental- with two pools, a hot tub, theatre and game room,cabana bar, so life was still good!!

            2. that asian cole slaw goes over really well. Flank steaks and fixins for fajita night. Summer to me is salad in a pita pocket too. One of those french toast breakfast vasseroles go over nice in the am. Pulled pork is easy in the crockpot too. Make ahead roll ups are great for quick lunch or make a few muffelettas to slice up later (best if made ahead)

              1. For a party once, I did a salad bar, where each ingredient was in a separate bowl or divided bowl, with several dressings. It was a hit at the party and would be good for non-parties esp. cause the leftover ingredients can be put away in individual zipping bags and you won't have soggy salad a day or two or more later.

                1. Will crock pots keep cheese fondue at the right temp? That would be lots of fun and easy to do.

                  Antipasto platters, bread, and a pot of soup. (Depends on where you'll be, I suppose. Too hot?) If soup is out, just make a meal of the meats, cheeses, olives, add some spreads, bread.

                  Tomato sandwiches and sweetcorn.

                  Any riff on pasta primavera, using what's great at the market.

                  Marinate some butterflied chickens and use the grill. I like to place the chicken and whatever I'm flavoring it with (lemons, garlic, etc) in a freezer bag as soon as I get it home from the store. Pop it into the freezer and it's ready to pull out on the morning you plan to use it. It marinates as it thaws! Learned that trick here on Chowhound.

                  Asparagus Mousse, bread, salad. Give them a really good fruit and pastry dessert this night.

                  Pea salads.

                  Down home macaroni salad with peas and tuna, served nice and cold.

                  Shrimp salad, chicken salads, egg salad with dill...

                  Italian sausage with peppers and onions. Not gourmet, but hearty and can be done ahead.

                  I have a pasta with Italian sausage, peppers, and basil that I want to find for you. It's delicious.


                  That watermelon, feta, olive and mint salad is awfully good.

                  I used to make a tomato salad that had different colored tomato slices sort of overlapped/layered with very thin slices of lemon. Can't remember how I dressed it but I would think just olive oil, s&p might be enough, or a very simple vinaigrette. It was very good, quite pretty, and refreshing.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: AnneMarieDear

                    The recipe uses 2 skillets so that things brown rather than steam, but you decide if you have large enough pans to do it all in one.

                    btw, only the ingredient list is copied word for word. :)

                    Pasta with Sausage, Bell Peppers, and Basil - Bon Appetit Orange book
                    Serves 12 (so they say...)

                    1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
                    3 lbs sweet Italian sausage, bulk, or with casings removed
                    5 c sliced onion (1 1/4 lbs)
                    2 red bell peppers cut into strips
                    1 1/2 c dry white wine

                    2 lb short pasta
                    1 1/2 c freshly grated parm (4 1/2 oz)
                    2 c thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
                    Additional fresh parm

                    Use 2 skillets, divide the oil between them. Heat skillet and cook 1/2 of the sausage in each until browned. Remove cooked sausage to a large bowl using slotted spoon. Next, saute the onion in the skillets until golden, 10 min. Add bell peppers and saute another 5 min or so, until tender. Pour the wine into the 2 skillets and let cook 5 min or so. Add the sauteed vegetables and wine to the dish of browned sausage.

                    Cook pasta in salted water to al dente. Drain, add to sausage & vegetables. Toss to combine, then toss in 1 1/2 cup each of cheese and basil. Salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle remaining cheese and basil over top and serve. A bowl of grated cheese to pass is nice. This is very flavorful, hearty, but also fresh tasting because of the basil. We love it.

                    1. re: AnneMarieDear

                      I'm spending way too much time here today...current addiction. Anyway, I just thought of slow-cooker carnitas.

                    2. I assume you're in NH. A big pot of haddock chowder. A shore dinner w/ clams, corn, & lobster cooked out side in a big pot or 2. Bean hole beans.