Easy Entertaining| How To Entertain a Large Crowd on Short Notice

Holiday entertaining
Holiday entertaining

Easy Entertaining for a Crowd

You just got a call from your friend who asked, "Hey what are you doing tonight?" You reply with "nothing". And then she suggests you all get together to "do something". Before you know it, you have 20 people coming over to your house in 10 hours for dinner and fun. What do you do...panic? No! You pull out your emergency party plan and put it into action.

My favorite way to entertain is outdoors. It is casual and relaxing. It is a great way to entertain, especially in a pinch. I have a standard BBQ grilling meal that I like to have when I entertain a larger group.This meal, including shopping, can be pulled off in about 3 1/2 to 4 hours and is great for anytime of the year that you can be outdoors...even if it is a little nippy.

For entertainment, you can set up Bocce ball for everyone to play on the lawn while you grill. Another fun lawn game is croquet. And if you have a large enough yard, maybe a spunky game of volleyball. For the less active, set up card tables with dominoes, cards, and scrabble. Or if games are not your cup if tea, you can just sit around in lawn chairs and chit chat. If there is a chill in the air, having an outdoor fire pit is a great way to warm up once the sun goes down. Making a wood fire will allow you to end the evening with everyone gathered round talking, laughing, and making dessert...S'mores! Who can resist this old fashioned favorite?

The Menu

  • BBQ Tri Tip soaked in Beer
  • Corn tortillas brushed with olive oil and heated (use like bread)
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Green Salad
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Chili beans

Appetizer- Tortilla Chips, fresh salsa, guacamole

Dessert- S'mores and/or Ice cream sundaes

Drinks- Ice Tea, Sodas, or your favorite adult beverages and coffee with dessert

entertaining for a crowd
entertaining for a crowd

Easy Recipes

Tri Tip Roasts (or you can make this with whole Chicken's cut in half)-

Take three tri tips and place each one in a large zip bag

Pour one beer- any kind- in each bag

Let stand for at least 1 hour in the fridge

Baste with "Garlic beer butter" sauce while grilling:

  • 2 cubes melted butter
  • 4 T Italian herbs - Fresh Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Sage chopped fine and blended (or dry is OK)
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 2 T garlic powder (not salt)
  • 2 T sea salt


  • Mash 6 to 8 avocados
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 T lime juice
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 small tomato finely chopped
  • 1/4 finely chopped sweet onion
  • Dashes of Tabasco to your taste

Mix all ingredients, cover and refrigerate til serving time

Fresh Fruit salad- prepare, cover and chill til serving

  • 4 - 6 cups strawberries sliced
  • 1 fresh pineapple peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 4 kiwis peeled and sliced
  • 2 bananas chopped
  • 2 oranges peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups purple seedless grapes

Green Salad- toss all ingredients and mix with a light vinaigrette dressing at serving time (my favorite is Girard's original)

  • 2 mixed green "bag-o-salad"
  • 2 boxes of pearl tomatoes or other small cherry size tomato
  • 2 green onions- chopped
  • 3 broccoli flowers cut into small bite size pieces
  • 1 large cucumber thinly sliced
  • 20 or so Kalamata olives (pitted) sliced in halves
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Chili beans - 3 large cans (or 6 small) of your favorite brand- just pour and heat

Corn Tortillas- brush very lightly with olive oil, stack and wrap in foil. Place on the grill or in a crock pot to keep warm.

Corn on the cob- you can get the frozen 1/2 ears or fresh and break in half (1 for each person). Place in a large stock pot about 20 minutes prior to serving time to boil on the stove top.

Entertaining as a couple
Entertaining as a couple

What's For Dessert? EASY Desserts

S'mores- you take 2 graham crackers, one marshmallow cooked over the fire, and a square of Hershey's chocolate and make a "sandwich". The hot marshmallow will melt the chocolate. Very messy and delicious!

if you don't want to have a fire pit and s'mores...you can have a sundae bar for dessert. Offer 3 kinds of ice cream 3 sauces for toppings, nuts, whip cream, and maraschino cherries. Finish the night off with everyone gathering round the TV for a good movie and sundaes. Throw lots of pillows and blankets around so everyone can find a place to plop down.

Easy Entertaining Tips

Use sturdy paper products to serve on. Never use the flimsy paper plates or styrofoam. Neither are good for this kind of meal. It will be best to use flatware, but if you don't have enough, use sturdy plastic ware (recycled if possible).

Don't worry about cleaning the house too much. Just make the guest bathroom nice and shiny with plenty of toilet paper and air freshner.

To make quick work of a messy house- take a laundry basket or box and go through the area that your guests will see and pick up all your clutter. Put everything in the basket and place in a closet or bedroom to sort later.

Sweep or vacuum but don't go crazy. With that many people, no one will see your floors!

Place sodas or bottled drinks in a large tub filled with ice and pour in water to make them chill faster. Place on the patio with a small towel next to the tub so guests can wipe off their beverage.

Have 2 large trash cans lined with black bags and mark "trash" and "recycle". Place in an obvious place for your guests.

What is your favorite easy entertaining tip?


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Comments 17 comments

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

BAGT - I liked your menu and the prep steps. Gus

creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thanks for the hub on how to entertain a crowd. great ideas, thanks for sharing. creativeone59

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Thanks for stopping by Gus and creativeone! I appreciate it!

The Rope profile image

The Rope 6 years ago from SE US

Hey Bay - excellent hub, loving the menu and hate to sound dense but what is a "tri tip" roast? I thought I knew them all but maybe it's abbreviated. (I'm not feeling very bright this afternoon). The recipe sounds wonderful and I thought I'd try it this weekend -just want to make sure I get the right meat. Again, thanks and keep 'um coming

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Tri Tip roast- uh oh...is this a California thing?

Here is what I found to help with the description-

"The tri-tip roast is a triangular section of the sirloin primal and comes from the point where the sirloin meets the round and flank primals" (Tri-Tip Steak By Derrick Riches, About.com)

I guess it did originate out here...sorry about that! It is a very fatty piece of meat which makes for an excellent BBQ meal. It is usually very tender too. Ask your butcher to cut it for you using the description above. If you have a Trader Joe's grocery store in your area- I know they usually carry them in the fresh meat section pre-bagged. I hope this helps. It really is very superior to any other roast for BBQ. If this doesn't work- opt for the chicken halves. The beer soak can also be substituted for wine - red/beef and white/chicken.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

One more thing- there are "Tri Tip steaks" and "Tri Tip roasts"- you want the roast for this meal.

Also- Thanks Rope for cluing me in! I had no idea all these years that it was a CA cut! Let me know how it goes!

lyricsingray 6 years ago

Now this is smart. Stuck before like this myself - wish I knew you then. Thanks! Kimberly

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

gejindermaakan0- thanks! I appreciate that!

lyricsingray- Thanks for your comment!! The great thing is you can modify the general idea so that you can also have most of it done the day before if you have time to prepare. It makes the day of the party a little easier!

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 6 years ago

Great tips. Enjoyed reading your hub although you forgot to tell me how to make that delicious looking cosmopolitan on your top picture.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

LOL Bail Up- that actually is a Pomegranate martini. One part Pomegranate martini mix and one part gin shaken with ice. Also very easy. Thanks for stopping by!

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Not my sort of thing but good I guess for warmer climates

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

Outdoor living is probably more popular in California. Thanks ethel for your comment!

Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

These are some really great last-minute ideas. It's funny, I just entertained some family members tonight and it was last minute as well. I kept it simple by baking some barbeque chicken, corn on the cob, and rice. I even got my neices to help me make the desert which I got off the back of a cereal box! It was really fun. Sometimes I think the best entertaining is the last-minute ones.

Godslittlechild profile image

Godslittlechild 6 years ago

Good ideas and recipes. Great hub!

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California Author

You are so right Veronica! I think we sometimes "overthink" and stress too much when we entertain. Everyone should have a fun time...including the host/hostess! Thanks Veronica for your comment!

akhilkarun 6 years ago

Wonderful Idea Dear! Thanks...

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

These are great tips, some I never really thought of myself, such as not spending so much time on cleaning your house. Because for me, I usually spend as much time cleaning as I do cooking. This one I will put to use the next time I entertain.

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