© Christina Holmes

Grab lots of candles, put together a killer playlist, and go big.

Christine Quinlan
November 01, 2018

When it comes to dinner parties, sometimes bigger is better. Think show-stopping dishes like a giant prime rib roast or polenta by the yard. Part of the reason people like going to restaurants so much is because they get to eat things they wouldn’t normally make for themselves at home. So take a page from that book with this menu of indulgent and surprising large-format dishes that are sure to wow guests. And all of the recipes are easy to double if you have a really large crowd. Grab lots of candles, put together a killer playlist, and go big.

Batched Cocktails

Choose a cocktail, make it in large batches before guests arrive, then let them serve themselves. Keep punch bowls or pitchers on ice instead of adding ice to the drinks directly so they don't get watered down. Making large-format drinks works with classic cocktails like a martini or Negroni as well as for more elaborate ones. We especially like this Tangerine Collins and this Sparkling Pomegranate Punch

© John Kernick

Super-Sized Starter

Dips, including these riffs on classic hummus, are ideal cocktail hour snacks. Extra-large bowls of these colorful versions, along with lots of options for dipping, provide great conversation starters. An added bonus: they can be made ahead of time and work best at room temperature.

© Christina Holmes

3 Festive Ways to Spice up Your Hummus 

Classic Hummus

Hummus Trio 

Polenta by the Yard

The ultimate self-serve buffet station: a polenta bar. Line a heat-proof table with butcher paper and pour the polenta right onto the paper. Add toppings and sauces, like sautéed mushrooms, shredded cheese and Bolognese, next to the polenta or in separate bowls and let guests go to town. 

Polenta by the Yard

Salad for a Crowd

This hearty salad, full of roasted pumpkin seeds, pecans and chunks of butternut squash, is incredibly satisfying and feels like two sides in one. 

Fall Harvest Salad

Centerpiece Roast

One of the best things about making a whole rib roast is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time tending to it. Season it properly, pop it in the oven and focus on everything else. This version gets a nice crusty exterior from a coating of soy sauce, ground chile, garlic and peppercorns.

Pepper-Crusted Prime Rib Roast

Over-the-Top Ending

These desserts take crowd pleasing classics–glazed donuts and ice cream sandwiches–and upcycle them into even more decadent, over-the-top dishes. We know, it’s a bit like gilding the lily. With all the time you’ll save from purchasing the main ingredients rather than making them from scratch, why not go ahead and make both?

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Espresso Whipped Cream

© Justin Chapple

DIY Ice Cream Cake

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