Cooking for company can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t done it before. If you are used to cooking for a family of four, cooking for ten or more people can be very different. However, by following these simple tips, you can cook for large groups of people with confidence
Know Your Menu
When cooking for a crowd, it’s important to select a menu that isn’t intimidating. Choose simple appetizers so that you can focus on your entree. Some easy appetizer ideas include cold foods like raw fruit or vegetables. Olives can be stuffed with cream cheese and herbs. Stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers also make great appetizers as they can be put into the oven to cook while you’re attending to your other courses.
Remember to ask your guests if they have dietary restrictions before creating your menu. This way you can choose a dish that works for everyone, rather than having to make multiple dishes to fit different people’s needs.
When it comes to cooking, timing is everything. It’s important to devise a cooking schedule beforehand. Be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare everything. Keep in mind that some foods should be served right away while other foods, like sauces, can be left to simmer. You don’t want to realize last minute that dinner is starting in ten minutes and you don’t have any oven space for the potatoes.
Consider a Buffet
The most important part of a meal is the food. How it’s served is insignificant. Keep your focus on the cooking and opt for a buffet-style meal, allowing your guests to serve themselves. This will also allow them to choose their own portion sizes. This way you don’t have to worry about arranging the food onto the plates.
Ask for Help
If you have two courses that need attending to at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with asking a friend to assist you beforehand. In fact, sharing the experience with someone can make cooking even more rewarding. If it’s family members that you have visiting, they will probably be more than happy to help as well.
Have the Right Equipment
If you’re planning to cook for large groups often, you’ll want to invest in high quality equipment. Choosing the right oven is important. A double wall oven is a great timesaver, allowing you to bake or broil twice the amount of food. You can also use it to keep food warm while cooking other courses. In addition, a good set of pots and pans can make a big difference as can a high quality knife set.
Cooking should always be fun. Don’t let the kitchen stress you out. Once everything is finished cooking, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal with pride.
Next time you have family in town or are having a party, don’t be nervous. Forgo the restaurant and cook yourself. With some basic tips and planning ahead, it’s really not as hard as it looks. Bon Appétit!