Even with big holiday meals, where you have plenty of advance notice, cooking for a mob requires grace under pressure. Here’s a few proven tips to make your guests wonder how you do it all without breaking a sweat.

1Choose appropriate meals for your guests.
You may be interested in trying some exotic new dish, but your guests may not be as adventurous. Stick with food you’re absolutely sure your guests will enjoy.

2Keep it simple.
A large gathering is not the time to attempt your first soufflé. You want fool-proof dishes, the kind you can execute flawlessly every time.

3Make it a buffet.
You have enough to do cooking for a big crew without messing with a dozen place settings. Let people serve themselves.

4Focus on the main courses.
You can always use ready-made foods, like baked beans, and instant mashed potatoes, for the side dishes. Not everything has to be made from scratch.

5Many hands make light work.
You’ve fed an army. Now march them into the kitchen and hand them some dish soap. You cook; they clean.

Little kids can be fussy. It’s good to have some options on hand in your kitchen: frozen chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly, muffin pizza fixin’s, and so on.

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