Cooking for a Crowd of Teenagers

After a number of months of having 10-50 teenagers invade our house every Friday evening, I’m racking up a repertoire of food options. But I need more. While I am a creature of habit, I also crave creativity. (Nice alliteration, huh?) I also crave speed and ease.

Here are the meals that we’ve served so far, with comments:

Nachos – my personal favorite for ease and enjoyment. I stick my nose up at canned nacho cheese, but…use it anyways.
Cinnamon Rolls – I was inspired by the wife of a visiting youth pastor who has baked like 400 cinnamon buns every Friday for 20 years. It was fun, but not that fun.
Minestrone Soup – I get the most out-of-context compliments from this one. “Yeah, Mom, can you get the recipe from Leilani?”
Taco Soup and cornbread – my new favorite soup
Grandma’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Ice cream (that’s considered at meal when you’re 14)
Great-Grandma’s Berry Dumplings with ice cream – nobody had ever had berry dumplings before, but I noticed that they licked the pot clean
Pizza – that was the night we scorched three pots of beans.
Baked Potato Bar – Too much scrubbing for my fragile arms. But I may try it again on a day when Devo is home to do the scrubbing.
Macaroni and Cheese – homemade
Spaghetti – my least favorite. I have a thing against pre-sauced spaghetti. I like to have my noodles and my sauce separately so that I can monitor the sauce-to-noodle ratio. You can just call me Sally. I’ll have what she’s having.
Cornbread – this was another surprise favorite with the kids. Just cornbread, butter, and honey. And now that I’ve found Marie Calender’s ‘just add water’ mix in bulk, I’m as happy as a honeybee.

Meals for the future:

Baked ziti – I have no problem with ziti pre-mixed with sauce, just spaghettti.
Lasagne – using my mom’s excellent mostly-tofu recipe
Mom’s enchilada casserole – could I have that recipe, please?
Chili
Hotdogs
Tacos/soft tacos
Burritos
Haystacks

So now that you know what ideas I have, can anybody give me some more? Maybe breakfast foods? Variations on a theme? The only criteria are that there is no broiling involved and everything can be pre-made (no standing over a stove while people are here). Oh, and that it’s vegetarian.

I found this great site with large-sized main dish recipes. Just in case one of you needs to cook for a bunch of hungry teenagers.

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12 thoughts on “Cooking for a Crowd of Teenagers

  1. Tomato soup and grilled cheese (sandwiches can be made ahead of time and thrown in the oven, covered with foil, to keep warm)

    Ravioli/Shells (I know…more pasta..)

    Vegeburgers (kinda expensive, though..)

    Some-sort-of-potato casserole (you know, with the frozen hashbrowns, cream of mushroom, cheese, sour cream, onion, etc, etc..)

    Taco salad!

    Chicken rice casserole & biscuits

    Ok.. I think I’m done.

  2. I have an awsome recipe from Great Gramma Kemmer for make ahead mashed potatoes – you can make them, put them in the freezer, then just bake them day of. I’m trying to think of things they would go well with. I also have a chicken enchilada soup (can of this, can of that) I just don’ t know how it would taste meatless, or if you would want to substitute something tofu-chicken like.

  3. Maybe pancakes? You could keep them warm in the oven. Waffles would work this way too. Ice cream sundae bar?

  4. I don’t about making 12 panekoek for each teen, but you know what would work really well? Vet Koek!

  5. Leilani, I can’t believe how creative you are! I’m humbled. 😀 I usually keep the Friday night crowd down to about 12 (which is I guess 17 counting us), but I am not nearly as adventurous. I’ll tell you what my tried-and-trues are: soups. I make two big pots of soup, in case somebody doesn’t like one kind, and a couple of loaves of homemade bread and something to put on it. There may be crackers, hummus, salad, etc. but that’s the basic menu–bread and soup. It’s so totally easy. I usually do lentil soup (cheap and easy, and I throw in whatever I need to use up that week) and one other one, maybe Fri-Chik noodle (cook pasta and carrots/spinach/whatever, add diced Fri-Chik and the Fri-Chik juice to the soup, and use chicken style seasoning to supply any other needs). Potato soup, blackeyed pea soup–it’s endless, cheap, easy and always devoured by the starving cafeteria-weary natives.

    I’ve also done biscuits with pina colada gravy, which was also marveled about (i.e. “Really? You’re kidding!”) but scraped clean. Good for hot days when people don’t feel like soup (which may be the difference between TN and CA).

    Good luck! Have fun!

    Nicole

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  8. You are making my laugh! Your hallway looks JUST like my garage with all the shoes. I have been blessed with having all my daughter’s friends come over once a week after going to the beach. Add some sand to your house and wet towels with those shoes and you know what my house looks like!

    I am looking for the same thing you are but I am just starting. Most of the kids are boys so if I use meat, I will be broke! Last night I made peanut butter and jelly with chips and cookies along with slices of water melon. Salsa is another good thing to make. I make my own with corn and black beans. The kids LOVE it.

    I have ordered pizza and also made chicken salad on croissants. We cooked hamburgers too. Obviously, living in FL, soup is just too hot on a summer night. I will let you know if I come up with anything else.

  9. Andrea, what fun! PBJ, what a great idea, I’ll have to keep that in mind. Nachos ended up being the favorite summer meal here. Enjoy the beach days!

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