I have to be honest. While I love hosting, I don't love spending hours in the kitchen prepping gourmet food. I'd rather spend time with my guests! Frequently I find myself feeding fifteen to twenty people in our home, so I needed some easy meals that would expand to feed a crowd without spending the whole time in the kitchen.
7-Can Soup ~ The Pioneer Woman
We recently visited Ree Drummond's Mercantile and my kids decided they wanted to try out some of her recipes. My daughter found this 7-Can Soup recipe and it was incredible! My nephew called it "queso soup", and for a boy that loves his queso, that was high praise!
You could even keep the ingredients for this easy meal in your cabinet as an easy solution to feeding a crowd in a pinch. Play around with the ingredients to make it your own! Serve it with fresh cornbread to make it a memorable meal!
Spaghetti & Meatballs
This really is one of the easiest crowd-pleasers. I love using my instant pot to cook the meatballs and sauce early in the day, and then when mealtime comes, I only have to boil the noodles and warm some bread.
Sure, store-bought sauce may not be as magical as homemade, but stir in a jar of pesto and your company will be raving about the flavor!
The beautiful thing about this option is that it's such a comfort food it is sure to please a crowd. Grab some gluten-free pasta if you need to accommodate food allergies and easily offer that option for your guests.
Ways to expand this meal if you don't have extra noodles:
- Serve it with salad
- Toast some bread & sprinkle with garlic
- Beef up the sauce...extra protein will help your pasta go further
Taco Salad Bar to Feed a Crowd
The best thing about a taco bar is that your meat will feed more. I also love to create options for guests who have diet restrictions so that they can not stress out. My true reason for creating "choose your own adventure" meals is that often I find that when people make their own plate, they love it. When the crowd is pleased, my work is done!
This microwave tortilla warmer is a quick and easy way to heat up a stack of tortillas. (It's also great for reheating pancakes in the morning if you want to make a batch ahead of time!)
Stock up your taco bar with these options:
- Ground beef
- Grilled chicken
- shredded lettuce
- shredded cheese
- diced tomatoes
- tortilla chips
- black beans
- flour tortillas
- guacamole/sliced avocado
Egg Roll in a Bowl
If you'd like to feed a crowd with an Asian twist, this Egg Roll in a Bowl is a great option. It is super simple and it is so fast. With a big bowl of rice, you can expand this meal to feed more
I also love that this meal is primarily vegetable which keeps the nutritional value on a positive note.
Baked Potato Bar
At the end of the week, you can pull out those leftovers and add a few extra elements to give your guests more creative license with their meal with a baked potato bar! I love to use my instant pot to cook russet potatoes or sweet potatoes.
If you have a large crowd, you might need to bake your potatoes in rounds. I like to wrap the potatoes in foil and then place them in a cooler until we're ready to eat. This keeps them warm and allows you to have enough potatoes for everyone to eat together at the same time.
Potato bar topping ideas:
- The 7-can soup from earier in the week would make a great cheesy topping!
- Leftover taco meat
- Pulled pork (we get this from Costco and it heats quickly in the microwave)
- Sour Cream
- Grilled chicken
Bonus Tip: Set Up a Snack Bar for Hungry Teens
If you are like me, it is very possible that the teenagers that visit need more than just three meals a day. They could eat all day long! To keep those kiddos calm, I set up a little snack bar zone where they knew that they could come and munch any time of the day.
Enjoy your crowd without worrying about what meal comes next!
What are your favorite meals that stretch to feed a crowd?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.