A few years ago I planned the menu and helped cook and serve meals for Bible School. We fed about 100 people each night that week. With VBS season coming up, I thought you might be interested in the menu and recipes we used that are perfect when you’re cooking for a crowd.
We did 4 nights of cooked dinners and ordered pizza for the last night. We needed to keep the cost down, so I shopped sales for the meat. I also cooked the hamburger and chicken at home and froze it. Doing so really cut down the amount of time we needed each night to prepare dinner.
Cooking for a Crowd – Night by Night Menu and Tips
Night One – Sloppy Joes
We used 20 lbs. of hamburger and 6 tall cans of Manwich (or the store brand). This turned out to be more than we needed. 15 lbs. would have been enough. To go with it, we bought 100 buns, potato chips and 3 big bags of baby carrots. Because the meat was already cooked and frozen, we just needed to microwave it to begin to thaw it, then mix with the sauce.
Night Two – Baked Spaghetti
We used the same recipe that I have posted here on Eat at Home, only 12 times the amount. It made about 5 of the very large industrial size foil pans, because they’re so easy when you’re cooking for a crowd and don’t want to spend too much time on the clean-up afterwards! You’ll need:
- 5 lbs. hamburger
- 6 lbs. spaghetti
- 12 Hunt’s spaghetti sauce
- 12 15oz tomato sauce
- 2 bags mozzarella cheese, shredded (8 cups per bag)
We served this with salad and garlic bread (12 loaves, the bakery will slice this if you call ahead). Don’t forget the salad dressing.
Night Three – Baked Potatoes and Salad
This is an easy meal to prepare when you’re cooking for a crowd and people like it. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the potatoes to bake. We served them with butter, sour cream, shredded cheddar and bacon bits. These items were set out for people to fix their own. Squeezable butter/margarine and sour cream helps the line to move faster.
The next night we had some leftover potatoes and fixings. We split the potatoes in half and put them in a single layer in a foil pan. Then we added all the extra toppings that were left over on top of the potatoes and stuck them in the oven to warm again. That was a huge hit and it was very fast to do.
Night Four – Chicken Pot Pie
Again, this is the basic recipe I’ve shared before, but with a few changes. For 5-6 large foil pans (the industrial size), you’ll need:
- 25 cans of cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (or some of each)
- 25 regular sized (15oz) cans of Veg-All
- 12 pie crust packs, 2 per pack
- the meat from 5-6 chickens
I cooked the meat at home and froze it. Instead of using chicken broth in the sauce, use the juice from the vegetables. Just mix the veggies and cream soups together and divide among the pans, with the chicken divided in the bottom of the pans. If it looks too dry, mix up some chicken bullion and pour over the top. Place the pie crusts on top, cutting to fit. You don’t need to make it look pretty, just try to get most of the top covered.
We served this with applesauce and fruit cocktail.
I haven’t had to cook for so many people for several years. Although it’s a lot of work, cooking for a crowd is kind of fun too. What about you? Will you be cooking for a large group of people this summer? Or do you regularly cook for a big group? I’d love to hear the types of foods you make and any tips you might have.