Any goodhostessknows that a well-fed crowd is a happy crowd.
But preparing for a big dinner party takes a lot of time, effort, and planning, like, how much turkey should you buyfor your holiday dinner? Can youmake dinner sides ahead of time? What are the hacks you can use to make cooking for a crowd easier?
Plus, it can get pretty expensive (and not to mention wasteful) to stock up on thoseleftover containers, disposable baking trays, chaffing dishes,insulated portable food carriersand other rarely-used contraptions designed to serve a large group of people.
Fortunately, innovative solutions to the age-old problem of cooking for a crowd might lie withold-school kitchen gadgets.
From slow cooker mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts to mulled wine and caramel apple crumble, it’s entirely possible to make your holidays infinitely less stressful by cooking your entire holiday meal in a slow cooker.
Theseconnectable “entertaining systems” by Crock-Pot can be mixed and matched so you can find the perfect setup for your feast. Thedual 1-quart setupis ideal for dips and appetizers, while the2-quart systemis perfect for larger sides and finger foods. The3.5-quart hookupis big enough to cook a main dish, like a turkey or a roast.
If you’re the kind of person who would rather host than play guest, theseCrock-Pot hook upswill take your dinner parties to the next level. The bases can be used individually like standalone slow cookers orconnected togetherto create a hotel-worthy buffet in your own home.
Plus, they feature normal slow cooker settings, like warm, low and high. Though they are a bit bulky, they actually can be neatly stacked on top of one another for compact storage in small spaces.
“Absolutely excited to use my new crockpot. Crock pot Thanksgiving is on!!!”
″[T]hese things are great, just plug them together, regulate heat for each one and party.”
“An absolute must have if you like to entertain or have family over for the holidays. I have 3 of these in different sizes and they all link together. Genius!”
“I bought this...as a gift because my girl friend was always complaining that they made crock pots too big or too small. This one fit the bill for Holiday dinners for keeping gravy and other food items warm.”
“These things are great! I now have 5 to use for family dinners and will never have to deal with cold mashed potatoes again!”
“I have a set of these crockpots, I use for entertaining our family. The 1 quarts I used for gravy at Thanksgiving. My ham and turkey after they were cooked in the oven went into the 3.5 quarts pots, I had potatoes in the 2 quarts, and the pie on the warming plate....My food stayed warm for seconds [helpings], no cold meat, or gravy. I love them!”
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.