13 easy meal ideas for entertaining large groups
Cooking for large groups can be intimidating, especially when you’re on holiday and in a kitchen you’re not used to. Sure - you could get a takeaway but think about how memorable a home-cooked meal would be! Impress your guests with these easy but mouth-watering meal ideas for large groups.
Cereal and toast don’t quite cut it when you’re celebrating an occasion. Start your day right with something that will satisfy you for a full day of activities. Here is some breakfast inspiration that would be perfect for large groups:
1. This cheesy French toast with serrano ham & grilled vine tomatoes is easy to make in bulk and adds a twist to the classic breakfast dish.
2. Avoid waking up early on your holiday and prepare this brioche bake the night before, so all you have to do is pop it in the oven in the morning. Enjoy with a cup of coffee as you plan your day’s activities.
3. Step out of your comfort zone and try something a little exotic with these spanish baked eggs. Serve with crusty bread or sourdough - it’s sure to become a house favourite.
On group holidays, it's often lunch that attracts the least attention, especially if you're out exploring the countryside or visiting a museum. You need something quick and easy to prepare, simple to carry around and delicious. And that’s exactly what these ideas are:
4. Impress your guests with these French pressed sandwich bites. They look fancy but are deceitfully cheap, bursting with flavour and super straightforward, even your children can help out.
5. You can make a number of variations of these picnic skewers. Go for manchego and chorizo, or prosciutto and mozzarella depending on what’s available in your local area.
6. Getting kids to eat salad can be a nightmare, but this Thai mango salad might just tempt them. Packed full of flavour, it’s a well-balanced, bright and healthy addition to any picnic.
Don’t compromise on quality just because you’re cooking in quantity! The evening meal is a great way to unwind and talk about the highlights of your day. Tickle your guests’ taste buds with these dinner ideas for large groups:
7. Feeling adventurous? This seafood paella is irresistible and, although it’s a little more expensive, there’s no doubt that it has the potential to be a showstopper. If you really want to impress your family and friends, invest in a paella pan and save on washing up.
8. If you’re worried about dietary requirements or just plain old fussy eaters, keep it cheap and cheerful and make your own pizzas. Buy some pizza dough in bulk and a variety of toppings and let everyone design their own perfect pizza!
9. For large groups pasta is always a sure-fire recipe for success. This spaghetti aglio olio is the perfect dinner for when you might have other evening plans. This 5-ingredient dish can be prepared in double-quick time and will leave your party contented for the evening’s entertainment.
10. You can’t go wrong with a classic like a big pot of homemade chilli. This can be left to bubble away for a couple of hours leaving you free for pre-dinner games. Turn it into a Mexican feast by adding nachos, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.
Vegetarian meal ideas for large groups
In a large group of friends or family, there are bound to be some vegetarians (or additional dietary requirements) that you will need to cater for. If you’re not used to cooking vegetarian meals, these ideas are a quick cheat sheet to help you make your stay memorable for everyone:
11. Try this 7-ingredient mushroom, spinach and blue cheese lasagne. It’s low on cost but bursting with flavour. The rich flavour combination of mushroom and blue cheese will leave even ardent meat eaters with smiles on their faces.
12. A simple red lentil curry is perfect for when you’re on a budget and will fill the kitchen with mouth-watering aromas. Add rice, naan bread and a side of yoghurt for those who prefer a milder spice.
13. Go the extra mile with this five bean chilli with cornbread. This hearty meal is sure to leave everyone in high spirits. Any leftover cornbread can be used for picnics the next day (although it’s so good there might not be any leftovers!)
These cheap meal ideas will help you cut down on your holiday spending, so that you can use that extra cash for fun holiday activities. However, cooking meals for large groups can add up, so it’s important that you budget properly. Download our free budgeting spreadsheet and make it easy to plan your holiday down to the fine details.