how to cook for a crowd without losing your sanity

As I type this, I’m sitting in Kentucky. My children are asleep & my husband is in class. By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Tennessee with a group of awesome teens from my church. We’re heading there (along with another church from IL) to help run a Family Fun Day as a community outreach.

Over the past month, I’ve been brainstorming to try to figure out meals for the trip. There are a few extra details that make things extra fun:

  • we will not have access to a stove/oven for lunch {but we will have a fridge!}.
  • there are 35-ish people to feed.
  • my 3 littles will be with me. {which is oh-so-awesome!!! but also means I won’t be prepping food alone}
  • each of the team members are staying in host homes and will eat breakfast there, so I can check that off my list!

With those things in mind, I came up with a game plan. My main plan?

freezer cooking

Oh yes, my friends. Freezer cooking. Before we left for Kentucky, we bought and cooked meat until it was coming out of our ears. Ew. Sorry about that mental image I just gave you. Quite picturesque, eh? Sometimes I pretend to be Canadian since my brother-in-law is. Runs in the in-law blood.

Since I’ll have access to a stove/oven for dinners, I planned and cooked all I could, then popped the food into freezer appropriate containers – either freezer bags or foil pans. We’ll take some massive coolers with us and pray we don’t break down in the middle of nowhere for so long that the food thaws out. Here’s what’s on the menu for dinner:

Smoky BBQ pulled porkslow cooker smoky BBQ pulled pork

Chicken Pot Pie


Hamburgers {plus this post is all about freezer cooking tips}

hamburger patties

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Barspbchocchipbarstext

Salad Tacos


I asked several of my teen girls to make some desserts {like those awesome bars above} that would freeze well, so I know our desserts will be amazing!

Since we won’t have access to a stove/oven for lunch, I’m planning to do a big “make-your-own sandwich/wrap/salad” bar with bread, tortillas, salad greens, meat, cheese, tons of veggies, and fruits. I’m rather excited about it, even though I foresee a lot of chopping in my future. Oh, and that’s another thing I need. A good knife. I’ve thought about bringing my favorite knife {#3 in this list}, but
1) I don’t have a case for it, so that seems like a safety hazard &
2) I really don’t want to lose it.
So, the jury’s still out on that decision. I know you’ll be sitting on pins and needles until I let you know what I decide.

If YOU ever need to cook for a large crowd and don’t want to lose your sanity, I urge you to give freezer cooking a try!
Urge. Such a good word, eh?

One comment

  1. Kathryne says:

    Hope you have a great trip! We know that church in TN and the pastor and his family are the sweetest! I know you will be a blessing to them!

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