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Home Cooking 72

Help with menu planning--hosting a BBQ with 15-30+ guests

nothingswrong | Feb 22, 201512:06 PM

You know the drill:

Looking for a cohesive menu that can largely be prepped ahead of time (day before would be ideal). It will be just me prepping and cooking (except my man will be at the grill). RSVPs are trickling in (we're at 14 so far, with spouses possibly attending as well). It's looking like this will be one of those parties where stragglers will be wandering in, as the invite list is sort of open. So I'm anticipating anywhere from 15-30 or more guests.

It is sunny and nice here so we are planning on using the grill for proteins. I'm a little anxious about how much food to buy, particularly the more expensive stuff that needs prep work, like the meats. Any ideas??

Tentative plan:

Mains:
-A few racks of smoked and grilled baby back ribs (not enough for everyone by any means, but just another option, as I know a lot of these people don't eat pork/meat)
-BLSL chicken breasts with homemade BBQ sauce
-Maybe we should have a few packs of hot dogs/sausages in the fridge in case a ton of people arrive?
-I believe several vegetarians will be in attendance--do I need a "main" for them, or can it be just sides? What if I include some baked beans or a chili or something?

Sides:

I am the queen of side dishes. I like to have a huge variety. Looking for mostly healthy, veggie-based dishes that can be prepped ahead-ish and left at room temp for most of the party.

I make an incredible mac and cheese which might go well with the BBQ. Easy to make a huge pan, and it always disappears. I tend towards things like roasted or grilled veggie salads/platters, braised green beans, roasted and marinated asparagus, and even just delicious fresh and loaded mixed green salads. Maybe stuffed roasted tomatoes or a bruschetta appetizer? I'm really open to anything, though please know corn on the cob is crap here still. People always clamor for my roasted potatoes, but I don't want to be chained to the oven when people are here.

I also bake a ton of homemade breads so some bread suggestions would be nice too (grissini? Butter rolls? French bread/baguettes for crostini? Biscuits?)

Desserts:

I am a baker. Open to anything. I'm totally drawing a blank. Preferably 2+ items plus fresh fruit (probably one should include chocolate). And preferably things that are easy to serve or can sit out at room temp the whole day. I don't want to fuss with fridge space (or the leeching of smells into frosting or whipped cream) or having to cut and serve a big cake, for instance.

Please help! You all are so amazing every time I've needed assistance. This will be the largest party I've ever hosted. Thanks!

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