In my book, nothing’s better than breaking bread with friends and family. I’ve been hosting meals for both ever since I moved out of my college dorm. (It’s hard to entertain when there’s one oven for more than 50 girls.)
Not all of these were executed perfectly. Many of them were poorly done, for that matter. I once hosted an Italian family-style dinner for six as a sophomore in college. The outcome was a sad plate of chicken Parmesan, with servings that were rare in the middle and burnt outside. We ended that meal with a little wine to forget about the mishap. When I was 22, I opted to take over hosting duties for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Stressed to the nines, I spent hours creating a spreadsheet to time out all 10 dishes … and fell asleep shortly after dinner, from sheer exhaustion.
There’s a balance in cooking for crowds: Execute wisely, don’t take it too seriously. Here are five tips for entertaining eloquently, and an easy brunch menu that would feed 15 hungry guests.
- Have a snack your guests can munch on as soon as they walk in the door. This Hot Buttered Yum Chex Mix only takes 15 minutes to make.
- Choose one-dish recipes that are simple and can be prepared beforehand. Double the recipe for the Monte Cristo Rollwich, bake on one pan, and you’ll easily feed a dozen guests.
- Map out cooking requirements for your chosen recipes in advance. Choosing two breakfast bakes that cook at 300 degrees and 400 degrees will not bode well.
- Try to minimize recipes you’ve never tackled before. With familiar ones, your mind can be simultaneously in the kitchen and engaged in conversation with your guests.
- Stock your kitchen with to-go containers, like this 10-piece storage set.
Make two loaves of Maple-Bacon Monkey Bread, which covers both sweet and salty.