Welcoming a big family into your home -- and feeding them, no less -- is no easy feat. You have to design a dinner menu that can feed a large crowd and consider the often-picky tastes of children. Organize a dinner meeting for a big family and their kids with ease by serving up family-style dishes that will satisfy a crowd.
Create place settings for your family guests. If your dining room table isn't large enough to accommodate everyone, don't worry. Set up a number of tables for your guests -- you can put all of the adults in the dining room and the kids nearby in the kitchen. Or, you can mix and match and put together family members who don't usually interact or who haven't seen each other in a long time. Set place cards at each setting with the family member's name.
Design your menu. Think about dishes that you can make in bulk -- if you're having 20 guests, you don't want to have to make 20 individual entrees. Casseroles are an easy way to feed a lot of people with ease. For example, you can go Italian and serve a couple of easy Italian dishes, such as lasagna and baked ziti. Or, opt for a twist on an American classic by preparing a ranch flavored tuna noodle casserole. Throwing some hot dogs and burgers on the grill is another easy way to serve a big group, as you can often cook everything at once.
Opt for simplicity. Focus your cooking efforts on your entrees, and use premade items for other parts of the meal. Serve a salad with bottled salad dressing. Offer a variety of choices of dressings to cater to your guests' tastes. Or, cut down on the preparation time by using a salad kit. For dessert, choose something simple like ice cream and build a sundae bar with fresh berries and chopped nuts.
Let guests serve themselves. If you have to make a dozen or more plates for each family member, you might get overwhelmed. Plus, you don't know the tastes of everyone if you're serving multiple entrees. Set up a buffet on your kitchen counter or place your dishes right in the middle of the table, and let your family members serve themselves.
Bringing a big family together for a dinner meeting might not happen often. If there are lulls in conversation or bouts of awkwardness, speak up and keep the conversation going. If there are any rifts between family members, keep them separated -- unless the purpose of the dinner meeting is to resolve their issues, of course. Keep the conversation light to avoid creating any unnecessary family drama. As the host, you can ensure that your family members enjoy the meal.