campfire cookingA few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend time with my husband’s family. Our visit seemed to fly by and everyone enjoyed themselves. Several individuals were part of this gathering, and I noted with great interest how my mother-in-law (head chef and menu creator extraordinaire) kept tabs on everything while cooking for this crowd. A few quick tips I learned from this gathering that I intend to put to use when I next cook for a crowd:

  • Get creative with menu planning and enjoy the process, keeping in mind what your friends or family (the crowd) enjoy eating.
  • After planning meals, put menus for each day on separate pieces of paper for easy reference.
    TIP: Write the cookbook title and corresponding recipe page number next to each dish on your menu so it can be easily found when it’s time to put on an apron.
  • When preparing your grocery list for this cooking adventure, use the aforementioned recipe lists as your guide.
  • Take a  few minutes to organize your list in advance of the grocery trip. Doing so will be a huge time saver, and you’ll thank yourself when you’re in the middle of Krogers, Buellers, Safeway, Shaws, Shop ‘n’ Save, Schnucks, Dierbergs, Stop ‘n’ Shop, Aldi, Petrini’s, Mollie Stones, “Whole Paycheck,” Wild Oats, the farmers’ market, or wherever you may shop.
  • Once you and your groceries arrive home, place them in easily identifiable spots in the kitchen or pantry.
  • Before the activities begin each day, take a look at that day’s menu items. What can be prepared in advance? How can you involve those around you? How long does dinner take to make, and what time should you start cooking?
  • Relax and enjoy the process. Bon appetit!

* Photo by Jason M

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