When you’re feeding a lot of people, it can be tricky to find meals that don’t cost a lot to make. I have a handful of meals that we rotate through that are filling, inexpensive and, of course, delicious.
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My husband and I have a lot of family nearby and we regularly get together with them for family dinner. This usually means 20+ people that need to eat. When we host dinner at our house, we are in charge of the main dish and with 20+ people to feed, that can get expensive! Check out these 5 easy recipes that can be scaled for just your family or bigger groups.
Baked Potatoes and Chili aka Baked Potato Bar
We love making baked potatoes and chili! It is truly one of the least expensive meals to make and it serves so many people. You can either make homemade chili or buy canned. Topping are also pretty inexpensive: butter, sour cream, salt, shredded cheese and bacon bits. We usually cook the potatoes in our crock pot rather than the oven so we don’t have to heat up our house. We have two big 8-qt crock pots that are perfect for the job. Here’s how to do it:
- Wash potatoes.
- Wrap them in tin foil.
- Place them in the crock pot with 1/2 cup of water.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours on high.
- Poke with a fork to check if done.
It only takes 5-ingredients to make this yummy chicken and rice casserole. Odds are you already have everything you need to make it. One of the (many) great things about this recipe is that you can scale it to feed just your family or make a couple pans of it and add more chicken. Anytime we have this chicken and rice casserole, there are rarely any leftovers (although those are delicious too).
A few years ago, I bought some country style ribs at a BOGO sale at my grocery store. I had no idea what to do with them or how to cook them but I found a simple recipe for making them in in the crock pot. Since then, I’ve adapted the recipe and it’s pretty good if I do say so myself! It tastes great plain or on a bun/roll and the leftovers reheat really well. If this isn’t enough to convince you to try out making BBQ country style ribs in the crock pot, maybe this will help: this recipe won 3rd place in a contest at our local grocery store (Smith’s/Kroger) and the recipe was featured in the store. Additionally, it’s almost always one of the top 5 viewed posts on my blog every day.
Pork roast is almost always cheaper than a beef roast, which makes it a great choice for feeding large groups. Since posting this recipe almost 3 years ago, it’s consistently in the top 3 viewed posts on my blog every single day. Besides tasting delicious, I love that it’s basically a one pot meal because you include the potatoes and carrots in with the roast. Everything comes out moist and full of flavor. And because this is a crock pot dish, you can make it any time of year without heating up your house.
This crock pot minestrone soup is hearty, filling and, of course, inexpensive. Pair it with rolls and a salad and you have a delicious meal to serve. Minestrone soup is a great broth based soup and because it doesn’t have any meat, it’s a good meatless meal alternative. I will usually start this soup in the morning and let it cook all day (about 8 hours). My house smells amazing and my family always gobbles this minestrone right up.
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite meals are for feeding large groups!