Cooking for a crowd?

When my husband first came on the trail as a drill sergeant, I was used to cooking for our family. Occasionally we had guests, but overall, I topped out at a crockpot full of chili. A couple pounds of meat, doubling my usual recipe, and I called it good!

But with drill schedules — in other words, 24-hours a day — there were regular signup sheets to bring in meals. The guys worked round-the-clock, and provided meals were greatly appreciated. Of course, I COULD have ordered in; picked up some Chick-fil-A nugget platters or sandwich trays from Panera. But that felt like cheating.

I wanted to provide them with some comfort of some home-cooked meals. All 20 of them.

To learn how to do this, I got on Pinterest. I learned about portion sizing (and then added a bit since we were dealing with grown/hungry men), and I dug out my other crockpot. (Luckily we had two!)

My first go-round, I cooked with a friend and we made it way too complicated. Lasagne. It was delicious (or so we were told), but it took ALL DAY.

Next time, I wisened up and made pulled pork. Followed by tacos (meat and rice with fixins on the side,) spaghetti, and so on.

I learned that it doesn’t so much matter what is made, so long that it’s 1) pretty straightforward (in other words, I couldn’t mess it up) and 2) easy to recreate. While it might not be hard to make one lasagne, it’s extremely time-consuming to make four lasagnes.

Create a Pinterest board that offers tips and favorites for big crowds. You can also learn about cooking for hungry eaters (lots of meat, full-fat everything, carbs, and more; this is the OPPOSITE of a diet.)

When cooking for several eaters, you can easily recreate a favorite without overdoing it on the effort side.

What are your favorite dishes for potlucks or FRG get-togethers?