Is it Thursday already? When did time start going so quickly? Does that mean I’m getting old?
It’s time for another4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage topic. This week we’re sharing some of our tips for feeding company.
Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read what they have to say:
Probably my best tip for feeding company is to have a food plan.
We have several set ‘company’ menus that we regularly serve when we invite guests for dinner. This solves the “What are we going to serve” dilemma and gives us more freedom to invite guests without without worrying about food planning.
Having some regular company menus allows us to quickly inventory and shop for any special food items and gives us plenty of practice preparing and getting the meal on the table efficiently. Since everyone is familiar with the meal, preparation is a snap as the children all know what we serve with each meal and can easily look at the table (or the buffet) and know what else needs to be put out.
We have a variety of basic company meals for different types of situations; nice, sit down family-style dinners, buffet food for when we have a really large crowd and meals that are super quick and easy to prepare for those times when our week is just too crazy to add in additional food prep time.
In order to make it into one of our basic company meals a recipe will have all or several of these characteristics:
- Taste appealing to a wide variety of people and ages
- Is served with or over pasta or rice (This makes it easy to stretch for when you’re not certain how much food 37 people will eat.)
- Can be prepared ahead of time or cooks in a slow cooker
- Doesn’t make a huge mess to prepare and doesn’t smell up the house
To create some of your own company meals, start by picking a main dish that everyone in your family enjoys and that can be prepared ahead of time or that cooks in the crock pot. It really is a good idea that everyone in the family enjoys what you pick because then you know it will appeal to a wide variety of tastes and you won’t have to deal with a child who decides to be obstinate about eating something that is not his/her favorite.
Next, choose a couple of simple side dishes. In our home we almost always choose steamed vegetables with a little butter and/or a big green salad with simple ingredients. Of course a fruit salad is always a nice treat and everyone loves fruit.
For a super simple fruit salad option, I try to keep a can of peaches in the pantry. Then I simply cut up any fruit that I have on hand, chop the canned peaches and pour the peach juice over all. (The juice from the can of peaces keeps the apples from turning brown.)
Next, consider whether you’d like to serve some type of starch with the meal. Back when I was consistently making homemade bread we always added a loaf or two of bread to every meal, but nowadays I need to plan whether I want bread with the meal or would like to add potatoes, rice or pasta.
Last, think about dessert. If you still have all young children consider something simple like ice cream or skip dessert all together. Now that I have big kids who are able to help with the cooking, we like to have more options.
We have one company rule in our home and that is that the first time that we have someone over for dinner, we don’t allow them to bring any part of the meal, they’re ‘company’. However, after the first meal they’re ‘family’, so anything goes. 😉
Of course all of these tips are for the best case scenario when you’ve invited someone to dinner and have time to prepare. I’m not necessarily talking about hospitality, when you unexpectedly have a houseful of guests to feed and no time to prepare. In those cases, just take a deep breath, relax and rejoice in the knowledge that God has given you the opportunity to grow His kingdom with a meal.
Once when we added 12 people to our guest list at the last minute (literally, we were at church and invited some extra people home with us) we served Cranberry Pork Roast with Spaghetti and Meatballs. Not something I would normally have planned, but everyone was fed and we had a wonderful time of fellowship.
For a list of my recipes that are available online visit the Raising Olives’ recipe page. Cooking for a Crowd has more company feeding tips and a large list of recipes that are suitable for feeding large groups. Ami also shares some of her ideas for hospitality.
Visit the other moms of many to read their thoughts and ideas:
The 4 Moms upcoming December topics:
- 23 – Questions for the Four Moms
- 30 – Teaching children to do their chores
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.