15 tips to save time and stress when cooking for a large crowd

The thought of hosting a large dinner can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it less stressful.

Learning a few cooking tricks can help turn your preparation from dreadful to fun.

Whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner party or happen to have a large crowd throughout the year, here are 15 tips that will help save you time and stress.

Use your crock-pot for desserts.

While crock-pots are often used to make stews and hearty meals, they can also be used to make scrumptious sweets.

The crock-pot will cook decadent desserts for you while you prepare your other dishes, keeping them at the perfect temperature until they're ready to eat.

Click here to check out some crock-pot dessert recipes »

Make large dishes that can easily be doubled.

Roasts, soups, stews, and casseroles are fairly straightforward and simple to double or triple, depending on your number of guests.

Whether it's a potato gratin casserole, green beans, or tender meat stews, your guests will be happy to go for seconds.

Opt for miniature versions of your favourite dishes.

Sometimes going smaller can actually simplify your cooking process. Use muffin tins to easily create individual portions of pot pies or dessert cakes that are as fun to look at as they are to eat.

Instead of peeling potatoes, simply boil them and slip the skin right off.

If you plan to make mashed potatoes, don't waste valuable time peeling them one by one. Simply take a knife and cut a horizontal line down the middle of the potatoes, boil them with the skin on, run them under cold water, and the skin will come right off.

Instead of struggling to mix butter into your pie dough, freeze your butter and grate it for easier distribution.

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For pies, cakes, and cookies, freeze butter ahead of time and use a cheese grater to mix the butter into batter with ease.

That way, you won't have to worry about having large clumps in one part of the dough and butter-less flour in the other.

Serve sliced ice cream for an easy and tasty dessert.

For an easy dessert, grab a tub of ice cream and run it under warm water for 15 to 30 seconds.

Next, slice the carton like you would a loaf of bread and remove the paper for perfect portions of ice cream.

Go ready-made with your appetizers.

For appetizers, go for ready-made products you can dress up with elegant silverware and plating. Hummus, charcuterie and cheese platters, and pre-cut fruit all make for satisfying starters.

Cook rice in the oven instead of on the stove.

Cooking rice for a large group is much simpler when done in the oven. Simply place your rice in a deep baking dish, add the boiling water, salt, and oil, and cover it with foil.

With this method, you can make rice for as many as 50 people in about an hour.

Click here to check out the recipe »

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