Author Topic: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18 - UPDATE Post #41  (Read 7379 times)

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rose red

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2012, 04:31:05 PM »
I'm always a fan of a build-your-own-taco-thing bar for big groups in outdoor weather. 

I was going to suggest chili with choice of toppings, but deleted my post because I thought the weather might not be right.  Tacos is such a great idea and not as hot and heavy as straight chili.

jpcher

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2012, 06:28:53 PM »
(I've only read page 1, but I wanted to post this before I forget.)

Thanks for answering, WillyNilly.  Yeah, I don't think bocce will work well.  Frisbees and croquet might, though.  Our yard is level, slope, level, so croquet will probably be fun.

Croquet is a lot of fun for the older kids, however, if you have toddlers running around the back yard, the wickets (is that the right term?) are hard to see and could cause a tripping hazard.

I suggest wrapping the wickets in a bright colored (red) crepe paper and/or tying a big red bow of some sort to the top of them . . . just so that little kids running around can see them easier.



(going back to read the rest of the thread.)

jpcher

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2012, 07:41:22 PM »
For the drinks, coolers are the way to go. You can buy several (cheap) styrofoam coolers: 1 for beer, 1 for soda, 1 for kiddie drinks, etc. One poster mentioned marking them . . . great idea! Especially for the kiddie-safe cooler, draw some balloons (or use actual balloons) so the kids don't go digging through the other coolers.


If you really want to go the hamburger route and don't have a grill, I've had great success with hamburgers in the oven (not quite the same as grilled, but it works for large quantities.) Simply mix your ground beef with your choice of hamburger spices, etc. then press into cookie sheets, about 1/2 to 3/4 way up the sides. Use the deep cookie sheets with a 1 inch side (there will be grease, so don't pack the cookie sheet all the way full) . . . you can use the cheapy throw-away tin-foil type.

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20-40 min . . . (sorry, it's been a while, I don't remember exactly how long it took to bake through. Check for doneness at 20 min.) Then cut the burger meat into serving-sized portions. True, your burgers will be square, but with two trays you can get 24 burgers (depending on the size of your trays and how generous you want to be with portions.) . . . It's kinda like cooking really skinny, flat meatloaf served on a bun.

If you want cheeseburgers, a few minutes before it comes out of the oven throw on slices of cheese. 

Side note: when doing burgers like this, get the leanest ground beef available.

While the burgers are in the oven you can also steam or boil hot dogs.


Side dishes? The world is your kitchen . . .  ;D


Things to entertain the kids with? I love the time-capsule idea. Along with:

you got some great ideas.

for the kids - when i had a house with yard, i would just pick up some yard toys from a dollar store/sale items at dept store - things like beach balls, jump ropes, frisbees, paddles etc and let the kids play. Also - if you are OK with this - sidewalk chalk and bubble things.

for the cold drinks - as someone else suggested - an inflatable pool filled with ice.



Yeah. That's all you need. Simple stuff.



Good luck!

The best advice I have to offer is don't stress about being the hostess with the mostess . . . enjoy your friends, have fun, go with the flow and RELAX! ;D

blarg314

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2012, 09:09:07 PM »
Though it seems to buck the norm, I typically stay away from grilling meats for larger groups, as I find it to be a time-intensive and time-dependent activity.  It can end up being you (or another) stuck at the grill flipping burger after burger, and then you factor in the timing of the done-ness....well, it can get tricky. 

I find that too.  You need a big grill, and someone who is happy to spend a good portion of the party standing in front of it for this to work. Something like sausages is easiest, as they cook quickly and aren't to sensitive to doneness - you could put out a variety of toppings.

I find the key to large groups is to have most of the stuff prepared ahead of time. Make a couple of big sturdy salads that keep well - a vinegar based coleslaw like 7-day coleslaw is good, as is a vinegar based potato salad, or pasta salad, or a greek salad.  Veggies and dip work well, as they are cheap and can easily be replenished from the fridge. Tortilla chips with salsa and hummus, chips and dip. For desert, go simple - squares and cookies, or ice cream cones or bars, a fruit tray.

For drinks you can use any sort of bucket to hold ice, but for non insulated containers you'll need to replace the ice more frequently. The idea of labelling the coolers is a good one - so people know which one to root through.


Ehelldame

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2012, 04:13:51 AM »
Large group entertaining is my forte!   

If this is your first time hosting a meal for a crowd, I suggest going simple first. That means easily prepped foods that will not tax your ability to serve it.  My menu suggestion:

BBQ shredded beef - Made the day before (or even weeks before and frozen) and heated in a crock pot.
Chicken salad -Made the day before
Rolls/Buns for BBQ beef or chicken salad
Side salads such as potato salad, green salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, carrot salad, cole slaw (I have a non mayo version)
Baked beans (made the day before but reheated)
Deviled eggs
Kettle chips
Dessert can be brownies (one activity we do to keep the older kid guests preoccupied is helping with cranking old fashioned ice cream), cake, fruit dessert.

I serve beverages by the can or bottle in a large cooler filled with ice but I also have either a 3 or 5 gallon beverage urn with spigot with ice water or I add ice and water to a 5 gallon insulated beverage cooler with spigot.   

If you notice, every food item on the proposed menu can be made the day ahead and beverages several hours before so the hosts are free to mingle with guests and it eliminates a lot of stress associated with preparing food for a large crowd.   Over the years I've segued from fancy schmancy meals back to simple again because often the effort needed to execute the more formal meals creates more stress than I care to have.   

Kid activities:  Always have side walk chalk on hand for the littler ones, Nerf football



StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2012, 10:31:47 AM »
All these great ideas!  Like Oh Joy said, I'm going to have a hard time reining myself in.   ;D

I've seen a couple of suggestions for BBQ Beef or pulled pork that are made or heated in a crockpot.  Would someone mind sharing their recipe with me?  I have a 3-quart and a 5-quart crockpots. 

Ehelldame, if you don't mind, I would also love any recipes that you have for the non-mayo coleslaw or salad. 

Thank you!

Ehelldame

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2012, 08:37:07 PM »
All these great ideas!  Like Oh Joy said, I'm going to have a hard time reining myself in.   ;D

I've seen a couple of suggestions for BBQ Beef or pulled pork that are made or heated in a crockpot.  Would someone mind sharing their recipe with me?  I have a 3-quart and a 5-quart crockpots. 

Keep it simple with the Beef BBQ. I buy 2 large pot roasts and cook them in the crock pot a day or two earlier.  When cool, I shred the meat with forks, put it in a large ziplock baggie, add a lot of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and close up the bag.  Into the fridge or freezer it goes.   How much BBQ sauce you use is dependent on your tastes and how "wet" you like it.   Put it in a crock pot several hours before the party on low and there you have it.   
Quote
Ehelldame, if you don't mind, I would also love any recipes that you have for the non-mayo coleslaw or salad. 

Thank you!


No Mayo Cole Slaw

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper, coursely ground
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2/3 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 green pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 pound bag of shredded cabbage/cole slaw mix
1 small onion, finely sliced

1.  In saucepan, combine sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and celery seed.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and stir well.  Wait for it to cool…about 15 minutes.
2. Layer green peppers, cabbage and onions in a glass bowl.  Pour dressing over all and mix.  Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2012, 10:18:02 AM »
All these great ideas!  Like Oh Joy said, I'm going to have a hard time reining myself in.   ;D

I've seen a couple of suggestions for BBQ Beef or pulled pork that are made or heated in a crockpot.  Would someone mind sharing their recipe with me?  I have a 3-quart and a 5-quart crockpots. 

Keep it simple with the Beef BBQ. I buy 2 large pot roasts and cook them in the crock pot a day or two earlier.  When cool, I shred the meat with forks, put it in a large ziplock baggie, add a lot of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and close up the bag.  Into the fridge or freezer it goes.   How much BBQ sauce you use is dependent on your tastes and how "wet" you like it.   Put it in a crock pot several hours before the party on low and there you have it.   
Quote
Ehelldame, if you don't mind, I would also love any recipes that you have for the non-mayo coleslaw or salad. 

Thank you!


No Mayo Cole Slaw

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 teaspoon black pepper, coursely ground
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2/3 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 green pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 pound bag of shredded cabbage/cole slaw mix
1 small onion, finely sliced

1.  In saucepan, combine sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and celery seed.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and stir well.  Wait for it to cool…about 15 minutes.
2. Layer green peppers, cabbage and onions in a glass bowl.  Pour dressing over all and mix.  Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.

Thank you! 

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2012, 01:08:42 AM »
We use coolers, too.  We keep them on beach towels to absorb drips.  Good coolers are not expensive, and you will find plenty of uses for them during their very long lives. See if you can borrow coolers if you don't want to buy.

Send somebody for one big bag of ice per cooler on the day of the party.  Right after you get the ice, dig some out and keep in a bowl in the freezer for drinks.

Target has inexpensive drink dispensers if you want to serve a signature beverage (as soon as you buy it, test the spigot with water to make sure it opens and closes securely).  I do fruit tea.  You could do strawberry lemonade, mint tea, fruit punch.  Make ahead and keep in gallon containers that you keep cold in the fridge, so that it's easy to refill.  Keep a towel under the spigot for drips.

workingmum

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2012, 05:12:15 AM »
I seem to have a problem differentiating between cooking for 10 and cooking for 30  ;) I usually do a tray or two of enchiladas, a potato bake (with bacon, onions and cream), a lasagne and then salads and some kebabs done on the BBQ. Depending on how many people are coming, I add some marinated chicken (can be cooked on the BBQ or in the oven), some small bread rolls and not to forget the trays of munchies. If space is at a premium in the fridge and the weather is hot, some aluminium trays filled with ice are great for putting trays of munchies (and salad) on to keep cool.  Oh - I also use foam eskies for drinks (though once for a big party I filled the outdoor spa with ice and used that  ;) )

As for entertainment - lots of music .. kids (especially the small ones) love to dance! I POD the other posters that say have a comfy sitting area for older teens and maybe a game of two for younger kids. If the weather (and your area) allows.. a fire with toasted marshmallows keep the tweens hapy for a while  :)
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Sterling

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2012, 10:43:57 PM »
Horse shoes is another game that you can play that doesn't matter if the yard is sloped.

I am doing a Cinco De Mayo party next weekend for 30 and I am serving build your taco, nachos and fajita bar.  So much of the prep can be done ahead of time.

We use large coolers for drinks and instead of buying ice we make our own using any container we can.  I use the largest Tupperware type containers we have filled with water to make block ice and then slam in to the ground while in a plastic grocery bag to break it into smaller chunks.  Works really well.
93 93/93

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Entertaining A Large Group - New Question in OP and Post #18
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2012, 07:59:19 PM »
Thank you to everyone!  The party was a big success.  I served the following menu:

- BBQ Beef (a combination of Ehelldame's recipe and BBQ sauce that I found - really yummy)
- Buns for the BBQ beef
- Chicken Fingers (baked)
- Coleslaw (Ehelldame's recipe - very tasty)
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Potato Salad  (store-bought)
- Various chips and dips and pretzel sticks for snacks
- Mini cupcakes (store-bought) for dessert
- Salad (store-bought)

We also bought lots of cheap toys for the kids, from balls to bubbles to arts and crafts, and the kids had a blast.  The older kids ended up watching Indiana Jones, which was fine.  The weather fortunately cooperated so a lot of time was spent outside. 

Thank you again for all your help and encouragement.  We're doing a similar party in August, so I'll be putting all these tips to good use again!

jpcher

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I love it when a plan comes together! ;D

I'm glad that you all had a great time (keeping the kid's occupied with toys, etc., Good job! ;D)

It's nice to know that you're already looking forward to your next party. That, alone, says that your guests were well hosted.


Kudos! ;D