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Inviting your loved ones over would be so much fun, except for the responsibility of feeding everyone. It’s challenging enough to cook for yourself and your immediate family. Extended family and friends might add too much stress to your hosting plans. The good news is that some recipes are much easier than others. Try making these easy meals for large groups whenever you want to host a party.
1. Custom Taco Bar
Taco bars are almost always crowd-pleasers. They’re the heart of wedding receptions and graduation parties for a reason — 86% of Americans love Mexican food and tacos are easy to customize.
Get a mixture of hard and soft taco shells to give your guests options. Next, you only need enough table space to present the various toppings people love, such as:
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced tomatoes
- Sour cream
- Black beans
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Hot sauce
Next, make enough ground beef to fill at least two tacos per person. Once it all cooks and you drain the grease, you can mix it with taco seasoning packets to spice up your dinner. Everyone can make their plates exactly how they want so even the pickiest eaters will love every bite.
2. Crockpot Pulled Pork Sandwiches
People also love sandwiches, but cold sandwiches aren’t exactly an inspiring party meal. Make them a bit fancier without the extra work by putting a four-pound pork roast in your crock pot. It only needs five to six hours on low or three to four hours on high with these ingredients:
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup of your preferred barbecue sauce
You’ll have plenty of time to prepare for your dinner while your pork cooks. Clean the house, set the table or set up background music before people arrive. As long as you set up sliced buns and some chips next to your crock pot, everyone can serve themselves when it’s time to eat.
3. Baked Chicken and Spaghetti
Pasta is another key ingredient in easy meals for large groups. It’s as budget-friendly as rice or beans, so you won’t need to overspend to feed everyone. Your guests will love a chicken and cheese casserole with spaghetti as a base.
One pound of spaghetti feeds roughly four to six people. Calculate how much pasta you need and boil it to al dente perfection while chicken breasts cook in your oven. Make enough so everyone gets at least half a chicken breast per person.
In a separate pot over medium heat, combine these ingredients to make your sauce:
- ½ cup diced yellow onions
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups marinara sauce at a minimum (or a half-cup per person)
- ½ cup heavy cream, with more to your sauce-consistency preference
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
Once you combine and warm your sauce ingredients, mix it into a 9×13 casserole dish with the spaghetti. Shred the chicken and mix it in as well. Cover everything with a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15–20 minutes.
You may need to repeat this process in a few casserole dishes if you’re serving a party with eight or more people. It’s a quick and affordable way to feed people that only takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
4. Roast Beef and Provolone sliders
Sliders used to be a more popular party food, but they’re coming back around. They’re a delicious twist on a classic cold sandwich platter and super budget-friendly.
Get enough slider buns for at least one sandwich per person, then line the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with the bottom halves. Top each with a few slices of roast beef and one slice of provolone. Place the top of each bun on the sandwiches before getting butter out of your fridge.
Melt enough butter to brush over the top of the sliders and mix the following ingredients into it:
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
Use a basting brush to gently cover the bun tops with the butter and seasoning mixture. You want to use enough to have the butter running off the sides but not enough that the sliders are sitting in a butter pool.
Warm them in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until the provolone slices melt. You can serve them with a spatula along with sides like chips, salad or French fries.
5. Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
You can also serve a classic dish for a big group of people by making spaghetti and meat sauce. All you need is ground beef, tomato sauce, spaghetti and a packet of Italian spices.
This is an excellent recipe choice for anyone struggling to find time to cook on their big event day. You can easily make this ahead of time by browning your ground beef and mixing it into your room-temperature sauce with Italian spices. Keep it in your fridge for a few days or freeze it.
The sauce will warm easily in your crockpot or on the stove over a low heat. Just make the spaghetti right before it’s time to eat and your meal will be ready whenever everyone gets hungry.
6. Shredded Balsamic Beef and Mashed Potatoes
Fancier occasions like holidays or milestone celebrations may call for an elevated meal like shredded balsamic beef and mashed potatoes. If it sounds time-consuming or complicated, don’t worry — there are a few ways to make this easy meal.
The fastest way is to get boxed or pre-made mashed potatoes from your local grocery store. They warm up quickly on the stove or the microwave, depending on the packing’s instructions.
You could also make fresh mashed potatoes by getting two potatoes per guest. Peel and cut them into one-inch cubes before boiling them in a Dutch oven for 12–15 minutes. After draining them in a large strainer, you can use an electric mixer to turn them into mashed potatoes with a few splashes of milk, 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 teaspoons of salt.
The balsamic beef is much easier than you might expect. Get a five-pound chuck roast and put it in your crockpot. Add the following ingredients before cooking everything on low for six to eight hours:
- 1 cup beef broth
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy or Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon black or red pepper
- 3 minced garlic cloves
Remember, the internal temperature of cooked beef is 145 degrees Fahrenheit for a rare degree of doneness. If a thermometer reads that number after six to eight hours, your meat is ready to shred, but you can continue cooking it if you prefer a medium to well-done beef serving. Use two forks to separate the meat in the crockpot and serve immediately.
Easily Feed Large Groups With These Recipes
Invite all your favorite people over for a meal — these dinner ideas will delight everyone while you catch up between bites. Make one of them ahead of time or just before your guests arrive. You’ll host the best party of the year due to the delicious food and easy hosting duties.
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