Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Cook for a Crowd (part one)

A few weeks ago, my husband's fellow regional directors, all flew to Chicago for a few days of meetings. Hosting a ministry retreat like this in our home is something I really enjoy. We had eight people for parts of three days. (I realize that for some of you, cooking for eight people is not a crowd, but I am used to cooking for two.)

My hospitality style is to do as much work ahead of time so that I can enjoy our guests. Here are the steps I took:

STEP ONE:  a plan  ~ Once I got the meal schedule from Dave, here are the things I considered.

     1. Choose items that can be mostly made ahead  
         and then cooked or assembled later.

     2. Consider the dietary restrictions of our guests.
         (one vegetarian, one diabetic and one who 
         cannot eat spicy food.) Note: In the casseroles
         that I fixed, I made one end of each vegetarian.
         I purchased sugar free desserts for the diabetic.

     3. Choose a few super simple meals.

     4. Choose a few more complicated meals.

     5. Choose a few meals out - Chicago specialties.

STEP TWO: a menu 

Linking with the lovely Soli Sisters. Thanks for hosting, Jen.


  1. Aren't you the one, Glenda!!! So organized! Tell us how it's going...or went!

  2. Wow, so organized! My problem is keeping it simple. I tend to make too much and always think I must serve lots of dishes. I like your style!

    Have a great day!

  3. Thanks you because I am switching back and forth...when the adult kids, who live in town, come to eat I have 10, but day to day is I am trying to adjust. Thanks...I need to simply more and that will make it more enjoyable.

  4. Glenda, I need you. You need to come here and help me organize all areas of my home. :) You've given some great insights into cooking for diabetics or vegetarians. Thanks! And thanks for your encouragement!! Are you coming to She Speaks??

  5. You are so kind and thoughtful your attention to detail in your hospitality pursuits and thanks for your comment on my blog.

  6. this makes me want to cook! maybe have a little get together. There is something about cooking for others that is loving them. Such a practical and needful thing to feed people, for people to eat. This has me thinking about sharing Jesus with people through just feeding them. When people in other countries are literally is a necessity of life and can be a building block for a relationship.
    I'm so happy that you are getting to show your love for people through your cooking and hosting. What JOY:) as always - thankyou for your prayers and thinking of your daddy..isn't that tomorrow?

  7. I have to admit that, even though I entertain often and love it, I still get befuddled trying to accommodate food needs of different diets. I also like to be able to do most of the preparation ahead of time so as to spend time with my guests. What I'd really like is a couple of sous chefs, a serving person and most certainly a dishwasher!!


  8. You're such a considerate hostess, putting all that work into meal planning. You have such a kind heart!

  9. Excellent ideas...your hospitality shined through and through!

    Mrs. M.

  10. hey, glenda! wow, are organized!! and i thought I was!! i stink at cooking for crowds, i feel like i never make enough.
    thanks for your sweet words today :) i HAVE been busy with orders and i would LOVE another copy of the article, if you're willing to part with it ;)

  11. I love how you give such practical tips. It's like life served on a silver platter for those of us who freak out about such hospitality things!!

  12. Such great tips! I'm learning that hospitality is best when it's simple. So many times I think everything needs to be perfect, but serving even a sandwich in love speaks volumes.

    Thanks for this reminder.


  13. Ok, where did you go for your Chicago specialties? I must know. A couple weeks ago when I was home (Chicago), I tried this little pizza place in the suburbs called Fat Ricky's. Obviously, it was good since here it is two weeks later and I'm still day dreaming about it.

  14. So fun! I got excited when I saw 'cooking for a crowd' but realized that our idea of crowd is different. :) There are 8 of us here on a regular basis--that's what happens when you have 6 children. Nevertheless, I do something like this at Christmas when the extended family is in town and I'm cooking for 25 for several days. The menu is simple, food is prepped in advance (and frequently frozen before baking!), and I make efficient use of crock pots and timed cook so that I can enjoy our guests as well.

  15. I can't survive without menus when guests come. I once had a Christian, Jew (not Kosher) and Hindu at a meal which took very creative planning. The dear Jewish lady blessed our bread in Hebrew and it was a beautiful time of fellowship.

    My mother makes menus but also lists the linens and dishes she'll be using as well as the amount of high chairs, etc. It makes it easy for those of us helping her.

    Snatched a couple ideas from your menu. Was the pizza Lou Malnatis?

  16. Great ideas although around here I'd have to leave out numbers 4 and 5...grin.


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