Feeding a group on the cheap
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Large Group Meal Ideas:Menu Concept:Topping/food ideas and tips:
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Baked Potato BarPotatoes are cheap and easy to prepare in advance. Cook and serve them straight from a crock pot. Have a wide variety of toppings to choose from.Bacon, cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, green onion/chives, onion, parmesan cheese, velveeta cheese, bleu cheese crumbles, chopped olives, chili, broccoli, broccoli cheese soup. Serve with corn bread and salad.
BBQ with cheaper meats (hot dogs, burgers, chicken thighs and wings)You provide the burgers, dogs, buns, and condiments, have your guests bring a side, drink, or dessert to share.Consider providing a few veggie and turkey burgers.
BYOMeat BBQYou provide the grill, sides, buns, condiments, and drinks, everyone else brings their own meat and even a side to share. You offer to cook everyone's meat, or let them do it themselves to their liking.Tomato, cheese, pickles, lettuce, onion, relish, mayo, mustard, ketchup, chips, salad (pasta, green, fruit, any kind), veggie tray.
Dessert PartyGreat for late-night get together's. Provide drinks and a few main desserts, as your guests to bring a dessert to share. Toss in a veggie tray for the healthy eaters.Make things mini. If you make brownies or cookies, make them bite-sized. Consider doing cupcakes (even mini ones) or cake bites rather than serving full slices of cake. Try to stick with things that you can eat with your hands.
Dip PartyAsk everyone to bring a creative dip to share, you provide all the dipping items.Dipping items: Crusty bread, pretzels, apples, pretzel rods, pita bread, veggies, chips, crackers, fruit (for fruit dips and chocolate).
Hawaiian HaystacksYou provide everything you would need to create a Hawaiian Haystack, ask your guests to bring a side, dessert, or Haystack topping. Plan the toppings in advance with your guests to avoid duplicates.Rice, chow mein noodles, chicken and gravy, tomatoes, celery, green peppers, green onion, pineapple chunks, grated cheese.
Pasta BarProvide a few types of pre-cooked pasta, sauces, and toppings. Ask your guests to bring breads or green salads. Avoid if children are at your party, unless they will be seated at a table.Serve 2 or 3 types of pasta: Long pasta (fettucini, spaghetti) and short pasta (rotini, macaroni, rigatoni). Serve a red sauce and a white sauce. Toppings/sauce alternatives: meatballs, parmesan cheese, pesto, flavored olive oil. Provide seasonings: italian, garlic, crushed red pepper.
PotluckProvide the drinks and a dish or two, and have everyone else contribute a dish. You can specify whether you need them to bring a main, side, or dessert.Make the food easy to scoop, serve, and eat. Soup at a potluck is not the best idea.
Salad BarHave everyone bring a salad to share OR provide different kinds of greens and have everyone bring a salad topping and build their own salad, like a conventional salad bar. Provide drinks, breads, soup, mini sandwiches, or some other side.A salad can come in many forms: Pasta, fruit, jello, green, orzo, veggie. Get creative.
Taco BarWho doesn't love a taco? You provide everything you would need to build a taco. Ask your guests to bring a side, dessert, or taco topping. Plan the toppings in advance with your guests to avoid duplicates.Ground beef, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, tomato, guacamole, avocado, black/pinto/kidney beans, olives, onion, cheese, salsa, chips, spanish rice, peppers or jalepenos.
Taco Soup BarGreat for winter months. Avoid if children are at your party, or if your guests will not be seated at a table. You provide the soup and soup toppings. Ask your guests to bring a side, dessert, or soup toppings. Plan the toppings in advance with your guests to avoid duplicates.Make taco soup. Toppings: cheese, onion, sour cream, avocado, chips, shredded lettuce, olives, green onion, chopped bell peppers, jalepenos.
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