What Should I Make for a Large Family Type Dinner?

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Family-style meals typically feature one main course with several dishes. This type of meal is different from formal dinners that feature several courses, such as an appetizer course, soup and salad course and entree course. The offerings at family-style meals are generally meant to be shared as a group, as well. If you are hosting a large, family-style meal at your home, you have many different themes to choose from when creating your menu.

Italian Theme

Serve Italian foods at your next family meal to save time, as well as provide a wide variety of foods. Some Italian foods, like spaghetti with meat sauce, are easy to make which saves you time and energy. Choose one or two main entrees, such as a pasta dish and pizza. Serve several side items, including garlic bread and salads. Choose salad dressings like creamy Parmesan to dress several types of Italian salads, such as Caesar, antipasta and green salad. Serve tiramisu or frozen gelato as dessert.

Mexican Theme

There are many different types of Mexican foods that work well as a family-style main course. Some examples include fajitas and enchiladas. Serve chips and salsa, guacamole or queso, as well as cut up jicama with creamy dip for your guests to munch on before and during the meal. Your side items may include Spanish rice and a type of beans, such as charro beans, refried beans or black beans. Serve tres leches cake, flan, churros or sopapillas as dessert.

Make-Your-Own-Dinner Theme

If you have a large group of guests that have unique tastes, serve a different type of family-style meal -- a make-your-own-dinner theme. For this type of menu, all you need to do is choose the main course and then create a serving area with many different types of condiment choices. For example, you could serve baked potatoes. Give your guests their cooked potatoes and then allow them to add what they want to them, such as bacon bits, grilled chicken, cheese, sour cream, salad dressings, chives and chili. Do this type of meal with mini pizzas, tacos and hot dogs as well.

One-Pot Meal Theme

Serve a hearty soup or stew as your main course for your cold-weather dinner party. Choose from a wide variety of hearty dishes including tortilla soup, chili, bean stew and goulash. Serve a casserole. a frittata or a savory quiche. Offer some easy-to-make side dishes such as a simple lettuce and tomato salad with creamy dressing and some form of bread, like tortillas, dinner rolls, French bread or cornbread.