Entertaining Weekend Guests: Menu


I'm recovering now from a two night, three day party for fifteen people at my house. We planned for 17 but due to illness only had fifteen show. For the third year in a row my husband and I have hosted a weekend birthday party/reunion for friends from college. Every year we acquire extra guests or extra kids and we have a great time visiting, catching up and reminiscing old times. Between late nights, good wine, and my house that looks like it was hit by a bomb, I'm utterly exhausted and it may take me a couple years to recover. However, I'd like share our menu for the weekend because every big weekend party we host, I learn a little bit about what works and what needs improvement.
Breakfast Items:
Bagels, cream cheese, muffins, and fruit
Lunch Items:
Lunch meats, a tray of cheeses, bread, fruit....all packable items so people could bring it with them to the snow.

Friday Night: Homemade Pizza
Pizza night was fun. I bought 8 bags of pizza dough, sauce, cheese and various toppings. I made a list of pizzas on some scrap cardboard which proved handy later as a menu. Willing guests cut vegetables, spread sauce, sprinkled cheese, and cut pizzas.

Vegetable Pizza
Tomato Sauce, shredded pizza cheese, sliced roasted peppers from
Trader Joes freezer, sliced eggplant and zuccini blend
from Trader Joes freezer

BBQ Chicken Pizza (my favorite)
BBQ sauce, shredded pizza cheese, chopped chicken breast,
green onion, carrots, pine nuts

Jalapeno and Tomato Pizza
Tomato Sauce, shredded pizza cheese,
canned tomatoes (squeezed out), sliced jalapenos

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Pizza
Wheat pizza dough, goat cheese, pine nuts
onions and mushrooms saute'd till
caramelized (45 minutes) and goat cheese

Saturday Night: Pulled Pork Sammies
So Saturday around ten, (the time till I wish I could have slept), we put pork (pork sirloin tip roast from Costco) into two slow cookers with water and chicken bouillon and turned it on low till 5:00. After a day of skiing and snowboarding, or shopping while kids all stayed at home with sitters, we came home to a very stinky garage. I always slow cook in the garage cuz I'm not real big on my curtains smelling like meat.

After bringing in the stinky meat (I'm not sure why, but sometimes it smells like arm pit), we drained the water, shredded the meat, and divided it into thirds. Two of the thirds were returned to the slow cookers on low and one into a pot on the stove.

Three types of sauce (bought at Buffalo Wild Wings) were heated and added to the different containers of meat. Honey BBQ was perfect for the kids and as a non spicy alternative. Mango Habanero was a favorite and Spicy Garlic was okay, but a bit salty.

The pulled pork was served next to rolls and a large undressed salad with a variety of vinegars and oils for people to top their lettuce on their plates.

My kitchen table was moved aside to make room for two children's tables and chairs. This room was dedicated to feeding the little guys. I also wrote each child's name onto plastic Valentines cups to be used for the entire weekend. We hired two babysitters to watch the kids from 4 - 7 on Friday night, and because we used them Saturday during the day, we opted to save some moola and watch them ourselves Saturday night.

Ideas for Next Time:

I really like the idea of each family/couple being responsible for one meal. This could be a dinner, breakfast, lunches, or perhaps the clean up of a dinner. Right now a friend (who lives close) and I buy all the food and drinks and put the receipts up on the board in my kitchen and we split it up at the end of the weekend. If everyone was in charge of a different meal, the receipts could be split for the drinks.

Many guests chose to buy lunch and so perhaps the responsibility of a planned lunch could be replaced with providing healthy snacks.

Spreading out the responsibilities of food prep and clean up can make time for healthier, higher protein breakfasts which is a great idea since most guests are taking off for a day in the snow.

Preparing for this party I chose to put a lot of toys up on high shelves in the closets to avoid toy overload and complete chaos. Looking back I wish I had stored more.

...And my number one recommendation for your big weekend party for multiple guests? DON'T HOST IT AT YOUR HOUSE. Rent a vacation house in a convenient and fun location. Or how 'bout camping?

Although in previous years I was all gung-ho about re-hosting this fun filled weekend, I think with seven kids under age seven, it creates more chaos then when they are older and more independent. If this isn't the case, please don't burst my bubble, I have to see a light somewhere.

Please post comments if you have suggestions on entertaining multiple weekend guests! I'd love to hear more ideas.