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Fantastic, Stress-Free Activity Food

 

Here’s everything you need to have a fantastic, stress-free event with my collection of wonderful, easy, youth activity recipes, including: S’mores Pops, Tico Tacos, and many yummy large group Queso options.  I’ll also help you with how much food you need to serve a large group – without running out and without waste.  I add recipes here often.  Use the form on the side bar to sign up for the weekly AlohaDreams emails and get a front row seat as each new recipe is posted.

 

Quantity for a Large Group

But first, let’s talk a minute about quantity.   When feeding any large group there are two things you want to keep in mind:  1) Number of servings (and serving size) the recipe produces, and 2) the “uptake” of your guests (how much food the WHOLE GROUP will take).  So what does this mean for you exactly?  Well, let’s say you have a queso recipe that produces 100 (1/2 cup) servings.  That means if you’re serving 100 people, and each one takes exactly one 1/2 cup of queso, you’ll have exactly enough queso to feed the group with no leftovers.  But we all know that’s not what happens.  Some people take more than that.  But usually EVEN MORE people take less or none (especially if you have multiple food choices) so you generally end up with more queso than you need.  Sometimes WAY more.

My Experience

My experience with these Activity foods is you’ll usually have about a 75 – 80% “uptake”.  Which means that you can generally plan on a recipe which produces 100 (1/3 cup) servings actually serving about 120 people.  Since I’ve served each of these large group recipes multiple times (to rave reviews!), I’ll give you not only the number of servings and serving size, I’ll also tell you my experience on the amount the recipe “Should Serve”.  This means that a recipe which displays “Servings of 100 (1/3 cup) ” will also display “Should Serve” 120 people.

Your Choice

You can decide which which of the two “Serving” quantities to go with.  I will tell you that almost all of the time you can very safely go with the larger (120) number.  If it’s hot, if you have 2 or 3 other things for your guests to eat beside that one item or if you have a mixed crowd of young men and young women – all those things will reduce the uptake.  However, if you have a group of young men and men who have not eaten for a while or if you are not serving much else, then go with the actual “Servings” of 100.  One final note: my serving sizes (1/3 cup) are generous. It is the equivalent of 2 large serving spoons-full or 1 ladle-full.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Welcome to Aloha Dreams!

I'm so glad you dropped by.  I'm Betsy.  Here you'll find my favorite fabulous, trusted recipes - everything from delicious, quick meals for your family to wonderful classics made easy.

I'm also here to help you with large group recipes from 20 to 200.  So next opportunity you get to cook for a large group - Say 'Yes!'  Then relax. I've got your back.

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Savory Snacks

 

Beefy Taco Queso for 80

A real crowd-pleaser, which can be made the night before and will hold up well in a slow cooker.

Yield: 21 1/2 cups (this will fit in, and fill a 6 quart slow cooker)

64 (1/3 cup) servings

Should Serve 80 people

 

Taco Queso for a Crowd
Prep Time
20 mins
 

Yield: 21 1/2 cups (this will fit in, and fill (but not alarmingly so) a 6 quart slow cooker)

64 (1/3 cup) servings

Should Serve 80 people

Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 2 hours and 1/2 hours on LOW or 2 hours on HIGH, stirring several times.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds hamburger
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 (1 ounce) packets taco seasoning mix, mild I use Old El Paso
  • 1 (6 pound, a 11 ounce) can Condensed Cheddar Cheese Sauce
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans Rotel, Mild - don't drain
  • 3 (28 ounce) bags tortilla chips
Special Equipment
  • 6 quart slow cooker
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, over medium high heat fry the hamburger, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a potato masher or spatula, until no longer pink. Drain off the fat and pour in 1 1/2 cups water and 3 packets taco seasoning mix. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. In your largest bowl, mix hamburger, 2 cans Mild Rotel (un-drained), the Condensed Cheese Sauce and 2 cups water.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be made to this point up to 2 days in advance, covered and refrigerated. Increase cooking time to 3 hours on LOW if queso is cold from refrigerator.
  1. 2 1/2 hours prior to serving, transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 hours or until heated through or for 2 hours on HIGH, stirring several times.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can hold in the slow cooker for up to 4 hours on WARM. Thin with 1 cup hot water if desired.
  1. Serve with tortilla chips.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: It’s been my experience that 1 (28 ounce) bags of tortilla chips will serve about 25 people.

An Aloha Dreams Cooking for a Crowd Recipe

Buffalo Wing Queso for 80

Teens especially love this dip.  It has a bit of a kick, but not too much.   It’s easy to prepare, can be made the night before and will hold up well in a slow cooker.  NOTE:  You’ll need 6 cups of cooked chicken, which is 2 rotisserie chickens.  Or you can use my easy tasty Poached Chicken recipe.

Yield: 21 cups

63 (1/3 cup) Servings

Should Serve 80 people

 

BUFFALO WING QUESO for a crowd
Prep Time
20 mins
 

Teens especially love this dip. It's easy to prep, can be made in advance and holds well. It’s not too hot, super cheesy and really has that dynamite taste of Buffalo wings.  

Yield: 21 cups (this will require an 8 quart slow cooker)

63 (1/3 cups) Servings 

Should Serve 80 people

TOTAL TIME:

Prep Time: 20 min.  Cook Time: 2 hours and 1/2 hours on LOW or 2 hours on HIGH, stirring several times.

Servings: 75 people
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese - softened
  • 4 cups ranch salad dressing - this is 32 ounces
  • 1/2 to 1 cup Buffalo wing sauce - I use Frank's RedHot Original Sauce
  • 1/2 (6 pound, 11 ounce) can Condensed Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 cups shredded cooked chicken - this is 2 Rotisserie chickens or use my poached chicken recipe
  • 3 (28 ounce) bag tortilla chips
Special Equipment
  • 6 quart slow cooker (NOTE: If you only have a 6 quart slow cooker, then go with 3 cups chicken)
Instructions
  1. Shred or tear 2 rotisserie chickens (meat only, not skin) into 1 inch (bite size) chunks.  Set aside.

  2. In your largest bowl (or 2 medium bowls), mix well the milk, softened cream cheese, ranch salad dressing and wing sauce. Stir in the one-half of the can of cheese and mix well to combine.  Gently fold in the chicken.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Increase cooking time to 3 hours on LOW if queso is cold from refrigerator.
  1. When you are 2 1/2 hours from serving, transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker. Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 2 hours and 1/2 hours on LOW or 2 hours on HIGH, stirring several times.

NOTE: Can hold in the slow cooker for up to 4 hours on low.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: It’s been my experience that 1 (28 ounce) bags of tortilla chips will serve about 25 people.

To quickly soften an 8-ounce block of cream cheese, place the completely unwrapped cheese on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for 15 seconds. Just add 10 seconds for each additional 8 ounces of cheese.

An Aloha Dreams Cooking for a Crowd Recipe

Warm & Creamy Bean Dip for 70

A great change from the traditional nacho cheese dip. You’ll be making this one over and over again. It’s quick, easy, can be made in advance and delicious!

Yield: 18.5 cups

Servings: 56 (1/3 cups)

Should Serve 70 people

 

Creamy Bean Dip for a Crowd
A great change from the traditional nacho cheese dip. You'll be making this one over and over again. It's quick, easy and delicious! 

Yield: 21 cups 

63 (1/3 cups) Servings

Should Serve 80 people

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 80 people
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • 3 cans 16 ounces refried beans
  • 3 cups picante sauce
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 (28 ounce) bags tortilla chips
Special Equipment:
  • 6 quart slow cooker
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine everything EXCEPT the tortilla chips.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Can be assembled, covered and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.
  1. If cooking directly from refrigerator, start 2 1/2 hours in advance. If cooking at room temperature, start 2 hours in advance. Transfer to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours (or 2 1/2 hours if cold) or until heated through, stirring once or twice. Serve with tortilla chips
Recipe Notes

An Aloha Dreams Recipe

Bean Dip for 40

Another crowd-pleaser, which can be made the night before and will hold up well in a slow cooker.

Yield:  xx cups

Makes 32 [½ cup) servings.  (Plan on abou 80% of your guests taking some – so serves appropriately 40 as part of a food line up).

 

 

Bean Dip for a Crowd
Prep Time
30 mins
 
Yield: 16 cups 32 (1/2 cup) servings (plan on about 80% of your guests taking some, so it serves about 40) TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 20 minutes Prep: x min. Cook: x hours
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Betsy Edwards
Ingredients
  • ? Shredded lettuce
  • Sour cream mixed with?
  • Avocados
  • Black beans
  • Refried beans mixed with ?sour cream and ?cumin
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • x 28 ounce bags tortilla chips
Special equipment
  • x x x Aluminum Roasting Pan
Recipe Notes

Serve with tortilla chips. NOTE: It’s been my experience that 1 (28 ounce) bags of tortilla chips will serve about 25 people. MAKE AHEAD NOTE:

Basic Nacho Cheese Sauce for a Large Group

 

Serving Size

How much nachos your guests eat will depend on a lot of factors, such as:

  • Percentage of your guests who are men, young men or boys (or me)
  • Amount of other food you have
  • Temperature of the event (if it’s a hot venue they will eat less)
  • In general, a typical serving size of queso dip is about 1/3 cup (a little over 2 1/2 ounces), which is about 1 full ladle.

 

 

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1 (6 pounds, 11 ounce) can of cheese sauce + 3 cups water = 50 (1/5 cup) servings which should serve about 60 people.

 

How to Prepare

  • Even heated, the sauce straight out of the can is far too thick to eat, let alone serve effectively.  You’ll need to thin the sauce down with 3 cups (24 ounces) of water.  This will give you 60 (1/4 cup) servings.  NOTE: The instructions on the can indicate that you can thin it down with up to 32 ounces of  water plus 20 ounces of pepper juice.  Don’t.  Doing that would make it way too thin.  You could get away with 4 cups (32 ounces) of water if you want to stretch it a bit further, but that’s the most I would add.
  • As an alternative to the 3 cups of water, you can add 20 ounces of water and 52 ounces of picante sauce.  This will give you about 70 (1/3 cup) servings.

Chips

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1 (28 once) bag of chips = 25 (7-8 chip) servings

  • A typical serving size is 1 ounce (7-8 chips).
  • On average if you’re feeding 100 people for a dance or party, get 4 (28 ounce) bags of chips if you have other refreshments in addition to dip and chips.   If dips and chips are all you’re serving, then get 5 (28 ounce) bags of chips for 100 people.

 

Dip

  • Dip Serving Size = 2 Tablespoons
  • 12 Servings = 1 1/2 cups Dip
  • 24 Servings = 3 cups Dip
  • 48 Servings = 1 1/2 quart Dip

Will I have enough?

Yes.  Here’s why:

All these Dips are based on generous 1/3 cup servings.

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