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Fairly easy, tasty recipes for a crowd - inspiration please!

(27 Posts)
Witzend Thu 09-Jul-20 10:57:14

Towards the end of the month we’re going to a BiL’s place in France. It’s very large, there are often a lot of people staying (not so sure this time) and we take turns to cook the evening meal. In the past I’ve cooked for 18 and 22 is not unknown.

I have a ‘curry in a hurry’ recipe I’ve often made, works very well and not too much faff - should add that dh has never really cooked and is hopeless for suggestions - if I ever ask he’ll usually say ‘shepherd’s pie’. !

There has often been an element of what I can only describe as ‘competitive cookery’ - some people taking all day over an impressive meal. I’m nearly always single handed (though dh will harvest and cut up rhubarb for a crumble!) and I’m not bothered about ‘impressive’ as long as everybody enjoys it, but I really don’t want to spend most of the day in the kitchen.

Another thing I’ve done for a crowd when there were children as well as adults, is a big pasta bake with a homemade tomato/veggie sauce, lots of cheese on top and finished in the oven, plus lots of garlic bread.

I’ve sometimes taken necessary ingredients, e.g. fresh ginger/coriander and a particular sauce for the curry - neither often available in the local supermarket - but once forgot to label the sauce PLEASE DO NOT USE! - so when I came to make my curry it was half gone. Won’t make that mistake again!
Any suggestions to make a change from the usual gratefully received.
Should add that there’s often a lot of fruit that needs to be used, plus rhubarb in the garden, so crumbles are often the order of the day for pud, though I’ve also made a couple of king-sized clafoutis when cherries were in season.

kittylester Thu 09-Jul-20 11:05:25

Nothing wrong with shepherd's pie imo. It's my go to at new year when there are often loads of us. I make it with red wine, anchovies and redcurrant jelly.

Or chicken chasseur, coq au vin type things. Beef Stroganoff, paprika chicken?

Any fruit roasted in anything alcoholic and served with ice cream. Cherries roasted with Marsala and rosemary are lovely.

Or Eton Mess!

Good luck.

Riverwalk Thu 09-Jul-20 11:09:26

What about something like Potatoes Boulangeres & a Chicken Tray Bake. Both can be prepared well ahead and just go in the oven.



I wouldn't like to be presented with a pasta bake and garlic bread!

JessK Thu 09-Jul-20 11:10:02

Chilli con Carne is usually my go to recipe and it's really easy to do. I either serve it with rice or jacket potatoes.
A pasta bake is also a crowd pleaser and you can use any vegetables and meat you have to hand.

Tangerine Thu 09-Jul-20 11:14:10

I think most people like cottage pie. If vegetarians or vegans are present, I think I'd do some kind of pasta dish for them or a mushroom risotto.

tanith Thu 09-Jul-20 11:16:23

I did a sausage and veg stir fry the other day that went down well with my granddaughter. Just a mix of any veg in the fridge chopped or sliced cooked good sausages chopped with some onions and tomatoes with some chilli sauce and purée, fried up in a woke and served with crusty rolls.

It was surprisingly tasty

Sunlover Thu 09-Jul-20 11:32:52

I love a pasta bake and garlic bread. Curry is always a good standby. We have been using Spice Tailor kits bought in Waitrose. Really good and saves buying all the different spices. So easy to keep in the cupboard for emergencies.

Witzend Thu 09-Jul-20 11:32:56

Many thanks for suggestions.

I should have added that there is often a wide mix of non-Brits among the guests, so it’s not a given that they’ll like cottage/shepherd’s pie. I did make it once at someone’s request and a Dutch couple clearly weren’t keen. I know BiL would always appreciate it though!

I’ve never had to cater for veggies/vegans, thank goodness - TBH there wouldn’t usually be time or oven/hob space for extra dishes - they’d have to see to themselves.

Elderflower2 Thu 09-Jul-20 11:47:02

Who doesn't like shepherds/cottage pie...that's a crime ;)

Many decades ago I used to make pasta with a mayo dressing along with sliced frankfurters, peas and diced peppers. Also garlic bread and coleslaw.

Curry is fantastic, both mild and hot, as someone mentioned, chilli is usually a winner. One-pot dishes really. There is a delicious Spanish dish called 'Cocido' which contains garlic, carrots, potatoes, chorizo and all sorts of meats, all thrown into a pot with some chick peas. When done, the stock is separated and some tiny pasta is added and cooked and that is a soup to be eaten with French bread. Absolutely yum.

Fennel Thu 09-Jul-20 11:58:18

Spaghetti bolognaise?
Also there's french or spanish dish which they used to offer at village do's. Paella. I've never made it but the locals liked it.
Based on rice with summer veg, chicken, mussels and other shellfish.

Elderflower2 Thu 09-Jul-20 12:01:17

Paella is a fantastic dish, I usually go for the chicken version as I don't like mussels and the like. Great for a crowd, good suggestion @Fennel

Aldom Wed 15-Jul-20 15:08:47

Witzend Your mention of rhubarb and Dutch people reminded me of my time in Holland, 50 years ago. We hadn't been there long when I invited a new friend to lunch. For pudding I had made rhubarb pie. When the Dutch lady put a spoonful in her mouth she looked as if she might be sick. She then explained that in Holland, rhubarb is only eaten as a vegetable. Hence her shock when being presented with it inside a pie, as a pudding.

TheFrugalPiggy Tue 21-Jul-20 20:55:06

Lots and lots of wilted spinach in shallow dishes, laid at the bottom, sprinkle over prawns, flaked fish, pour over cheese sauce and top with grated cheese. Make sure that the prawns are "dry" when you pop them on the spinach. Likewise, pre-book the fish and make sure it's not watery. You can make this in the morning and pop it in the oven later. Serve with baguette and a fresh green salad. For dessert - summer fruit pudding with cream. Another dish which you can even make the day before. Easy peasy.

TheFrugalPiggy Tue 21-Jul-20 20:57:01

I meant "pre-cooked". smile

Joelise Tue 21-Jul-20 21:15:23

Tray bakes with potatoes, sliced , tomatoes, red onions , crushed garlic, peppers , courgettes , chunks of Toulouse sausages, salt pepper and olive oil. You could vary the protein part wIth fish or chicken . Cut veg to similar size and bake in the oven. A popular salad with my family and friends, comprises , tomatoes, red onions , avocados ,basil , tossed with a balsamic, garlic and olive oil dressing. Great with BBQ food . Nectarines, cut in half , sprinkle with brown sugar and bake , serve with creme fraiche.

geekesse Tue 21-Jul-20 22:00:47

Try soy and ginger salmon fillets, served with a fresh green salad. It’s delicious, a bit showy, and dead easy to make. Most of the prep can be done in advance, and then it only takes 15-30 mins to cook.

Recipe here: You can multiply the ingredients to feed however many are there. I make enough sauce for a couple of meals in advance and store in a jam jar until ready - you could even make a jar-full and take it with you. Despite what the recipe says, you can use any decent non-stick frying pan for the frying bit, and then just transfer the fillets on to a baking tray for the oven part of the recipe.

If you want the full recipe with my annotations, pm me.

Curlywhirly Tue 21-Jul-20 22:41:28

Coq au vin, with tiny boiled new potatoes in their skins tossed in a little olive oil and some green veg (green beans/broccoli/peas). To make this dish easier (as you are cooking for so many) instead of pan frying the chicken legs and thighs, you can simply roast them until the skin is crispy; in the meantime make the wine, shallot and mushroom sauce separately and simply pour over the chicken pieces when they have browned and bung the lot back in the oven. I have cooked it both ways, and there is no difference in taste.

Callistemon Tue 21-Jul-20 22:57:00

Chicken(s) roasted for an hour or so, then add small potatoes, diced butternut squash and slices of chorizo with chilli (to taste), red onions, sage and garlic. Roast for remaining time for the chicken, check times with BBC Good Food recipe:

Roast Chicken with Butternut Squash, Chorizo and Chilli

I've eaten it at someone's house but never cooked it myself but it was lovely.

Easy, all in one and you could serve with a salad or green vegetable.

GagaJo Tue 21-Jul-20 23:14:49

If it's hot, Spanish tortilla is good. Uses up onions and potatoes. Great with salad and some bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping. For that many people you'd need to make probably 4 of them, but it would be one great big mixture divided by 4 to cook.

Again, for hot weather, a great big Greek salad slathered in olive oil with crusty bread and maybe some pate or other cheese on the side.

For less hot weather, a fish pie with spinach stirred in JUST before putting it into the baking dish.

Callistemon Tue 21-Jul-20 23:20:55

I want to try some of these recipes.
I admit to being in a bit of a rut with cooking.

If there are fresh mangoes around a mango chicken curry is nice, made with coconut milk. Not too hot.

Lolo81 Tue 21-Jul-20 23:25:11

During lockdown I subscribed to HelloFresh as we were struggling to begin with getting delivery slots and I must admit some of the recipes I’ve chosen and since made have been lovely. Like many I think I got stuck in a bit of a rut cooking wise and it’s been really nice to explore different cuisines.
Some of these recipes on this thread have also been noted so many thanks to all!

NotSpaghetti Tue 21-Jul-20 23:35:05

I've posted this before but a super simple delicious dish is Spanakopita.
Here is the easiest to follow YouTube video.
I don't weigh anything. It looks and tastes delicious and is great with a good salad or salad potatoes or whatever you fancy.

Callistemon Tue 21-Jul-20 23:38:20

Can I use the bag of frozen spinach which has lingered in the freezer since January, unloved, or does it need fresh spinach??

NotSpaghetti Wed 22-Jul-20 00:05:17

I haven't used frozen - I'd definitely let it defrost well and drain or it will be soggy. I'd give it a go if I had some frozen spinach to use up maybe.

Alternatively you can defrost it and use it in a spinach with ricotta/cottage cheese pasta dish.

Another way to use up frozen spinach is to whizz it up a couple of icy lumps at a time, into soups. It makes leek and potato soup a glorious green if whizzed in at the end.

Callistemon Wed 22-Jul-20 10:05:08

I might try the soup instead as I did wonder if it could be too wet. Thanks NotSpaghetti.

The idea was to eat it with poached eggs instead of bread or with salmon instead of potatoes but it's still in the freezer 6 months on!