I find that my freezer is my best friend when I'm planning a party or an event with a lot of food prep. In a week I will be hosting a number of house guests, for The Weekend and even more friends and family for a lunch on Sunday. This Weekend of fun is preceded by a week of Vacation Bible School at our church where I am organizing all the snacks. (You can see where this is going can't you!)
I started by making my menu. I planed to have quick breads on hand for breakfast and then the two larger meals for the masses would be Fajitas and Beef Brisket Sandwiches with assorted salads as side dishes.
I decided to do as much prep work as I could to avoid the chaos of cooking while I have a house full of people. Here's some of the prepped items that have made it to my freezer:
*Quick breads: I made double batches of three of my favorite breads, one would be breakfast for the current week I baked, the others went to the freezer to have on hand for The Weekend. I was working on using up last year's squashes from the freezer so I've made Spiced Applesauce Bread, Blueberry Bread (with all those fresh blueberries we picked) and a healthified version of this Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Zucchini Zucchini bread (which I will post soon).
*Potato Salad Prep: I cleaned, peeled and chopped and boiled potatoes as if I were making the Potato Salad, then instead of making the salad -I threw them in the freezer. Once they're thawed, I can mix up the dressing and make the potato salad and nobody will know (except my mom, because she helped, and maybe my sister in law because I think she reads this sometimes!)
*Beans: I also cooked up black beans and portioned them to the freezer, planning one portion to be used with Fajitas.
Having the menu prepared ahead of time also made it easy when folks asked what could they bring. I could assign someone a pasta salad and someone else baked beans and know that there were two less things that I needed to prepare. I also planned a little bit of flexibility into my menu. I knew I wanted to do a BBQ style sandwich, but waited to see what was on sale for meat: brisket or pork.
With some planning you can shave your costs for large parties and gatherings as well as saving yourself a lot of work while you're trying to visit with family and friends.