Christmas catering for the masses(16 Posts)
We'll be having a couple of days in December where we host each side of our family for a get together (though not on the day itself)... my side of the family will total 23 people including us and am starting to get a bit when I think about catering for that many people (at least 8 hungry teenagers in that number).
So...any ideas for food and drinks we can serve without breaking the bank / leaving us crying in the corner gratefully received!
I do trays of lasagne, garlic bread and salad.. Then they bring puddings
Forgot to say I make them up then cover them and in the fridge, then cook on the day
Big pan of chilli, garlic bread and salad with jacket potatoes?
do things like lasagne, macaroni, curry that can be cooked in advance, frozen then reheated on the day
These are all great, thank you!
Any other ideas for some festive dishes alongside these? I thought about doing a Christmas ham (which the salad would also work with)...
I think a massive Christmas ham and maybe another joint of meat, served cold and sliced. Then you could do lots of crusty bread and different bowls of salad with some dauphinois potato or lots of small salad potatoes. Stock ip on jars of beetroot and pickles to go with.
Cocktail sausages cooked in the oven with honey and mustard are fab to nibble on also!
I would go down the christmas buffet route, a huge ham, sliced turkey, huge pot of new potatoes (cook in batches and re-heat) cranberry sauce, crusty bread, pickles, quiche, cold pigs in blankets, cheeses, filo stuffed parcels ( ready bought) olives, salami, smoked salmon, tons of salad, prawns, parma ham, smoked sliced venison, stuffed pitta pockets.
I think it's nice to serve festive style food at christmas time
If you look at the Nigella Christmas book she has a range of suggestions for exactly this eventuality. I agree a ham is the way to go.
Also, - we had a huge ham for 17 people, last year- I bought it in November, ASDA and Tesco both have great deals on big pieces of meat at this time of year. I bought a huge one and stuck it in the freezer.
Am about to order Nigella Christmas so will be taking some tips from there. .. Thank you all for the suggestions, I feel much less now! to all of you!
When we have done Christmas dinner for 21 we always put all the soft drinks, beers, white wine etc just outside on the back door step. It is so cold outside it keeps it all cool and you can keep the fridge space for food.
On the day we put a bin next the door step and let people get their own cold drinks and put empties straight in the bin. Works very well with teenagers on soft drinks and people on beer. Then a few big jugs of diluting juice where people can see them for younger kids.
If people can deal with their own drinks it means you can focus on food.
Could you ask a couple of people to bring a desert or ice cream or cheese and biscuits. If we go to someone house as a family for a meal we are always happy bring things like that along.
Stock up on disposable plates and cutlery. For one day it saves a lot of effort.
If we have a pile of younger kids we put a picnic rug on the floor and the kids love a picnic inside. Means all the seats can be kept for adults.
Have nibbles ready for their arrival - especially the teenagers. Bags of crisps/tortillas to empty into bowls, and some salsa, tub of crème fraiche or sour cream with chives snipped into it, and hummus, tend to work well for dipping. I usually have plenty of carrot and celery and sweet pepper sticks for dipping too.
Big pot of curry or chilli, or a few large lasagnes are always great for catering in large numbers. Thai red curry can be nice and made mild. Spag bol is usually eaten by everyone. What I often do for large groups is cook rice for everyone, and then serve 2 options - a spicy dish (curry or chilli) and then a creamy dish (chicken and mushrooms in white wine and cream sauce, beef stroganoff etc). Spicy is not too spicy, but should appeal to lots.
Alternatively, a buffet of a side of salmon portioned up (or just steam darnes of salmon altogether - soooo much easier both to cook and serve already portioned up), with a tub of crab claws and a tub of prawns used for garnishing (and eating), and some lemon wedges, is nice. Or platters of cold meats - but while that's do-able, I tend to avoid that one, as I never have enough leftovers and don't feel like cooking more joints (although supermarkets/delis will do them for you, and often present them already sliced up).
Garlic bread or just fresh crusty bread sliced up (butter beside it for those who want it).
A couple of big bowls of salad - a mixed leaves, tomato (cherry tomatoes, or cut up large tomatoes), coleslaw, potato salad and something like broccoli and hazelnut or grated carrot. Maybe 3-4 salads in total. And a dressing on the side.
If you are not asking others to bring deserts, I'd suggest:
A large bowl of mixed berries or fruit salad
A bowl of jelly (ostensibly for the kids, but lots of adults tend to dig in too!)
Bowls of whipped cream and ice cream
Perhaps a plate of meringues (plain, to put together pavlova type deserts as pleased) or an actual pavlova (but then don't overdo the fruit bowl) or a roulade thing
When catering for SUCH large groups, we tend to not bother with cheese course, but if we do, I have 2 boards going around.
Tea and coffee, with a large box of chocolates (after eights, or we like Butlers chocs in our family, or Leonidas if someone has been particularly nice in the purchasing Department!!).
Oh, while you are not having too many TYPES of salad, I would do plenty of QUANTITY of each, to replenish the table when the 1st runs out.
Potato is always popular, so 2-3 of that.
Mixed leaves usually popular too so 2-3.
Tomatoes - 1 large bowl might be enough.
Grated carrot or broccoli/hazelnut etc - 1-2 bowls of that.
Coleslaw - probably 2 of that
Mostly, we tend to put the food out on either the kitchen worktop (my house, my parents' house) or kitchen table (my Aunt's house). Stack up the plates, roll cutlery in paper napkins in basket on the side if its not laid on the "eating" table (summer get togethers may find people scattered throughout dining room/garden, winter are more formal at the table). Let everyone serve themselves and head into the dining room/dining side of kitchen-diner. And hostess/helpers replenish serving bowls as they get emptied out. The bowls do get passed around the table later for seconds, if desired, but it is a LOT easier for initial plating up to walk around serving yourself than passing along the table for larger numbers.
(The bowls to replenish are usually kept to one side, out of sight if possible - my Aunt has a garage with a picnic table holding them, I keep them in plastic tubs stacked in the fridge, my Mum has space in her utility room to leave in serving bowls.)
And a large clean bucket, baby bath, basin etc can be used to hold ice for cooling drinks rather than the fridge. I tend to buy 1 party bag of ice for cooling and a second for a bowl of ice to put into drinks if needed (with some of that 2nd bag kept in freezer for later, and rest added to the cooling basin).
Am impressed at some of the stuff on here, will be glad to make it through each day without ending it rocking in a corner! Thanks all
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