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One of the easiest tips for entertaining—and maybe this holiday weekend, you'll be doing just that (or participating in a get-together hosted by someone else)—is to do a lot of a few things rather than a little of a lot of things. In other words, make a load of pasta salad and put it in 3 bowls; don't make 3 different types of pasta salads that each only serve 4. It's easier for you, and it's an equalizer amongst your guests: Everyone will get to have everything (there'll be no elbowing for the good side dishes).
Ideally, recipes you want to scale up should be almost as easy to make in a times-2 or times-3 batch as in the original quantity—the hardest part should be doing the elementary math (not trying to shove four baking sheets into a teeny oven).
Here's what I ask of my big-ole batch recipes:
- Do not require hours of chopping
- Do not require hours of standing in front of the stove, stirring, flipping, or baby-talking (hi, fried tofu)
- Do not take a toll on kitchen equipment (e.g. does not ask for 16 cups of greens to be liquefied in a food processor)
- Do not involve folding, assembling, futzing (sorry, dumplings; sorry, knishes)
- No rolled-out pie crusts
- No hand-shaped cookies
- No egregious use of freezer or refrigerator space (no must-be-chilled cheesecakes)
- No macarons—never any macarons!
So here's where that leaves us!
With 20 recipes that will feed all of your guests, no matter how many:
The sauce for this noodle salad doesn't have a small number of ingredients—mirin, bonito flakes, soy sauce, lemon and lime juice, kombu, rice wine vinegar—but once you've gathered them all, it's incredibly easy to stir together (and keep in a jar in the fridge).
Use your food processor to shred the carrots (or enlist helpers!). Also makes a happy home for your spring produce.
This recipe calls for 2 cups of chopped vegetables per 2-person serving, but they can be whatever vegetables you want (so think of it as a way to clean out the crisper).
Buy small potatoes and you won't even have to cut them up.
Buy pre-pitted olives (just this one time?) and then cut them using Joanne Chang's trick (which also works for cherry tomatoes):
Your food processor—or a sturdy box grater—will come in handy for the slaw.
More good contenders:
Double up on desserts, too:
Yes, doubling this one will require getting two spring-form pans (or unmolding the first cake when it's cool, then starting the second.
What's your best tip for doubling, tripling, quadrupling, heck—quintupling!, a recipe? Tell us in the comments!