For some of us, it’s not just a matter of putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table. It’s also feeding the same large visiting crew for the entire weekend. If you’ve got a crowd staying for several days, you want meals that you can whip together quickly (or make ahead!) You also want things that are tasty and guest-worthy. Can we make a few suggestions on what to feed them?
Don’t go for things like pancakes, unless you really love standing in front of the stove, flipping hundreds of hotcakes, and not getting to sit down and eat anything yourself. Go for something you can make in bulk, like Barb’s scrummy Pumpkin Muffins, or her equally yummy Pumpkin Granola (both make-ahead-able.) Or make a large pan of Baked Oatmeal–it’s delicious, and very rib-sticking for those hungry hordes. A fun treat is Caramel Pull-apart Buns, and another family favorite for us is Pannekoeken (shown here with eggnog), served up with either a fruit syrup or warm apple sauce on top. Or, you could go with your basic potluck-style Egg Bake. For a super impressive (but very easy and completely scrumptious) make-ahead, try Barb’s Miniature Egg-Cheese-Bacon Soufflés.
For lunch, you could do a baked potato bar (with various toppings: sour cream, salsa, cheese, chopped scallions, canned chili, etc.) Or make it a sandwich bar (include PB & J options, as well as a few kinds of lunch meat and cheese, with condiments.) The virtue of doing a buffet/choice style meal is that you can cater to a variety of tastes without CATERING, if you know what I mean.
Or you could serve up a large pot of soup–an easy one to throw together is Italian Meatball Soup, or you could go for our Auntie Shirl’s Golden Pepper Soup.
A perennial favorite for both Barb and Laura’s families for large-crowd meals is White Chicken Chili–very easy to prepare. Put it together in about 30 minutes, or throw it in the crockpot in the morning, and forget about it until dinner time. A dish that I (Laura) like to serve guests, which is easy, but does take a bit of time, since you have to stand and stir it throughout, is Risotto. You can do endless variations, depending on what you have on hand, and you can just use more rice if you want to stretch it for more people. If you are looking to go a little lighter, try Barb’s Wild Rice Salad, or my friend Leah’s Pasta Salad, or my friend Mary’s Curried Chicken Pasta Salad,. (These can all be made the day before.) Another crockpot possibility is Slow-Cooked BBQ pork or beef . Or you could try some African Chicken Peanut Stew.
For more meal ideas, check out our tags at the right side of the page, or give us a holler via email. If you have any fabulous ideas of what to serve guests, please add your comments. And watch for Barb’s post on things to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, because there’s no reason not to incorporate them into your feeding-guests plan.