4 Ways to Cater for a Crowd with Kick Arse Meals

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Coming into the warmer months and racing towards Christmas are 2 damn good reasons to throw open the doors to your house or backyard/balcony and cook for friends.

 

Trouble is, most people really struggle and stress themselves out when cooking for a crowd, especially the volume of food we as Crossfitter eat!

 

Here’s 4 ways to cater for a crowd with kick arse meals

[Plan - Prep - Scale - Serve]

 

1. Plan

That old chestnut “fail to plan and you plan to fail” is super ripe in this food context (and yep, I just chucked in a coupla good ol food puns – no more Dad!)

 

  • How many people can you fit at your place (will you need to get tables, chairs, plates, indoor or outdoor or both)

  • Lunch, dinner or mid arvo bash?

  • Will you cook everything or ask people to bring a type of dish (you must say “Rich bring a salad” or “Sammy bring a dessert” otherwise you just end up with 4 crunchy asian noodle salads that lost of people default to)

  • Chuck in a RSVP – people commit more when they say yep I’ll be there

  • Grab some recipe books or get googling (Paleo Party Food etc) – your goal here is “share meals” and dishes that can be prepared beforehand, cooked in a larger batch on a BBQ or oven.

2. Prep

No one wants to be still dripping with sweat when the first guest arrives early, and one always does. You want to be chilled, organised, relaxed and in control.

That my friends comes with preparation.

 

As mentioned above, meal selection is the key, you want a couple of salads that you can prepare that morning or the day before (don’t add dressing until you serve it – it will go soggy)

  • Slow cook a big chunk of meat the day before or marinade some steak, chicken thighs, lamb cutlets or fish steaks in those Ziplock bags the day before, label them with what it is and if you are BBQing, grab them from the fridge and cook them as you serve the other food.

  • Make sure you have enough plates, cutlery, glasses, bins and serving plates or platters – you can buy all of this pretty cheaply online or at larger chef outlet places – try to minimise the volume of stuff left at the end of the night for you to clean.

  • Write out all of the dishes you will be making in a single list then you can do a mental check to answer the #1 dinner party question “Will we have enough food?” actually I think it is #2, #1 is usually do we have enough grog!

 

3. Scale

This is a really simple yet essential point.

  • Can you easily ramp up the volume of the food you are making?

  • Quinoa salad with roast veggies is easily increased in size. slow cooked meats can be served with cold salad, in a lettuce leaf with spicy guacamole, with a robust veggie dish or served on a bed of blitzed Cauliflower rice or puree/mash.

 

Trick here is to not get too fancy by having to serve up individual portions – this will come in time when you are a real master in the kitchen on how to time things

 

4. Serve

Last up is feeding the crew.

This is just organisation of plates, platter, cutlery, serving utensils (tongs tongs tongs) and order of food…put the meat selections together, the salads together and the other stuff such as crispy sweet potato chips and maybe some delicious dips or sauces you whipped up the day before.

Have the salads already on the table and cover all the hot stuff so you can reveal it all at once.

 

OK, pretty sure that is the easiest way for you to get on the phone now and ring up 9 friends and have a party in the coming few weeks.

 

Cooking is mean’t to be fun.

Eating is mean’t to be shared.

Learn to cook with more confidence and you’ll find you become the hub for amazing gatherings and also have no worries in cooking for crowds.

 

Enjoy

Karl.

 

 

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