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What are your favorite large group recipes?

Any suggestions for two dinner ideas and a lunch for 40ish ;) people? The group is mostly adults with a few children, I know this group isn't a fan of exotic or spicy. Thanks all!

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  1. Lasagna's always a good call. If you like biscuit crust, you can make a modified chicken potpie using that; people love it. A taco bar doesn't need to be at all spicy. A soup buffet might be nice for the lunch; say 4 different soups and a garnishes/sandwiches table; or baked potatoes w/ a toppings bar. And there's always good old oven-baked chicken: teriyaki, bbq sauce.....

    2 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      I am a big fan of the soup idea. I find a lot of people will go back 2 or 3 times when there is a good soups.

      1. re: cacruden

        We just did a soup luncheon for my mom's birthday for about 30 people (but there was enough soup for probably 50) Italian Wedding soup, cheddar corn chowder, black bean, tomato were the soups we did. We also had fresh homemade baguettes and corn bread, an assortment of different crackers and croutons, and toppings like guacamole, shredded Mexican cheese, salsa and sour cream for the black bean, crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar for the cheddar corn chowder, and some chopped herbs (cilantro, basil, chives and scallions). People loved it and it was easy to set up in slow cookers, plus, we could freeze and avoid throwing out leftovers, unlike the usual salads, etc for pot;ucks.

    2. I often oven poach a whole roasting pan of boneless chicken breasts (or fish, or a whole side of salmon). It can be served at room temperature and you can offer a number of different sauces - pesto, red pepper, peanut/satay - whatever you like. If you slice the chicken breasts for service you can also offer the option of rolls for those who would like a sandwich.
      I've also made huge pots of mussels in red or white sauce (or one pot of each) - they are pretty inexpensive and cook quickly.

      1. Spiral ham and roasted turkey. I'd use the leftovers for sandwiches/wraps.

        1. In addition to good soups.... Chili with bread (you can have spicy and non-spicy versions) - I don't think it would be considered to exotic. Curry? (can make it mild - then have a bottle of Siricha (sp?) sauce and chopped chilies for those that want to spice it up ). Meatballs with rice (I know I loved it when my mom made it). And of course the standard roasted turkey and stuffing (although you would probably have the turkey cold since it would take several birds for 40 people).

          1. BBQ Sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers with soups and salads.

            1. Brisket. Baked tortellini with tomato or meat sauce - similar to lasagna, but easier.

              1. Maybe Paella or a seafood boil?

                1. I made slow cooker porchetta:


                  For our Labor Day party of 20 people and there were leftovers. It was seriously delicious and very versatile.

                  1. The soup/chili idea is good, and easy to set up with slow cookers. A variety of quiches and a salad works with that. The spiral-cut ham is also a good idea, maybe with mac n' cheese or pineapple bread "stuffing". Something Italian is always a hit -- regular lasagna and maybe a veggie/white lasagna, baked ziti, chicken parm. Lunch could be slow cooker pulled pork or sloppy Joes -- both could be made well in advance, frozen, then heated and served in a crock pot.

                    I think you need to consider how meals will be eaten and served -- will these be buffet-style? Will people have seats at a table or will they be balancing stuff on their laps?

                    1. Maybe an upgraded Taco Salad (w/avocado and shrimp for instance), for a blast back to the 70s?


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                      1. Chicken marbella if the crowd is not adventurous. Pulled pork if they're really picky.

                        1. Pastitsio is my go-to. I think that it's close enough to lasagna that it wouldn't be exotic. A nice greek or caesar salad. Crusty bread.

                          Sweedish meatballs, thick egg noodles, veggies and/or salad.

                          Roasted whole turkey breasts- traditional sides

                          Bratwursts, hotdogs, polish dogs, german potato salad, cole slaw,

                          1. I like the soup for lunch idea and one meat and potato type of meal and one pasta. I would go with mac and cheese for the pasta meal. The baked kind and have a one or two pans with meat, ham or kielbasi, and one or two either plain or with mushrooms and broccoli florets. Add a salad and you're in business. As for the meat meal the spiral ham idea sounds easy and good and you would have leftover ham for the mac and cheese and possibly a bone for soup. Or you could do a meatloaf and mashed potatoes- not hard for forty people.