I spent my holidays as a guest at two different houses. One hostess in particular was amazing. In the blink of an eye she could prepare a big pot of chili or clean the entire kitchen. I took mental notes to try and figure out how she kept us all happy and full, and here are some tips I hope to take advantage of next time I have a house full of people.
Leave little bowls of munchies out. Nuts, M&Ms, trail mix, anything that is easy to munch on while watching TV or cuddling up with a book. This will keep your guests satisfied between meals.Wisconsin hostesses will love this gourmet cranberry trail mix.
Have a coffee maker that pleases everyone. Since this was a ski vacation I had frequent cravings for hot beverages. The Keurig machine saved the day since we didn't have to boil water on the stove for every cup of tea or cocoa. Our hostess had every variety of K-Cups so we could enjoy whatever drink we wanted in no time at all.
Two words: double dishwashers. Ok, so this isn't the easiest tip in the world since it involves major kitchen appliances and possibly even some construction, but holy moly, I love two dishwashers! Think about it- while one is running, you can fill up the other one. Since you don't have to unload as often, you can just take the dishes out of dishwasher one as you need them. By the time dishwasher two is full and done running, dishwasher one is mostly empty since you've been grabbing dishes out of it. This makes hosting especially easy because there is always a "dirty" dishwasher for guests to load their own dishes in.
Make a big pot of something comforting. One misconception about soup or chili is that you have to let it simmer all day. Wrong! There are plenty of short cut recipes out there that just involve dumping some cans in a pot and the results are amazing. My favorite cookbook is the Soup Bible. It's full of fast recipes with simple ingredients.
Don't be afraid to order pizza. If cooking and cleaning up after a house full of people becomes overwhelming, pick up the phone and order some pizza!