Cooking for a Crowd?

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Growing up, Meatball Lasagna was always reserved for special occasions, holiday times, and parties. Often it was served as a side dish along with a roast of some sort, a turkey, or a ham, but just as many times, all on it’s own.

Homemade mini meatballs are key, a little time consuming, but worth it! You can roll, and cook them ahead of time, stick them in a Ziploc bag in the frig, or freezer till ready to assemble. My meatballs will always have garlic, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley, egg, salt, pepper, and lots of grated Romano cheese.
I find that results are best if you use the dried or fresh noodles, not the no-boil type, layering as you go with a light homemade marinara sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, shredded, or fresh mozzarella, the mini meatballs, and more Romano cheese. Who can resist oozing cheese and dripping sauce and a bite of a tiny meatball? A definite crowd pleaser!!

Stuffed Shells are great for a party also, they’re individual and self contained, and easy to serve.
Here I made two different kinds, a meat mixture of ground round, chopped spinach, and grated Romano cheese, and your standard ricotta cheese mixture.

This was served as a side dish to our meal on Christmas day. Packed up and ready to go to my BIL, and SIL’s for dinner! Two huge pans! You think I went a little overboard??? I know, I have issues!!
We also had New York strip steaks on the grill, beer battered shrimp, shrimp scampi, assorted veggies, and way to much other stuff. Needless to say, everyone went home with a huge care package.

Next time you have a party you might want to try these!

Buon Appetito!!!
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  1. Lenita Day says

    Could you please tell me how many pounds of Rigatoni you would use for an electric roaster? For a reunion about 100 people. Thank you so much

    • Approximately 6 servings per pound, depending on the eaters as a main course, if it’s a side you would be able to feed me re per pound


  3. Yum! This is my kind of comfort food. I especially like the inclusion of the meatballs! That just takes them to the next level! 🙂

  4. Yes, Looks good! Our growing up seems to be very similar! Just these small changes or different ways, are fun to see!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a fantastic meal! Kind of disappointed in our Thanksgiving #2 type meal…

  6. Good God! This is no place to be when you’re hungry. You’re killin’ me, Marie!! I’m still a few hours from dinner and now my dinner doesn’t even seem appetizing! I need ricotta, I need meatballs, I need melted mozzarella and I need marinara! Now!

  7. I’m not huge on lasagna, but girlfriend this right here looks amazing! and i love ur recipe for meatballs, super simple but excellent! Happy New Year!

  8. These both look PERFECT, and I LOVE hearing about other families who also serve huge, cheese-filled rich pasta meals as side dishes. For me, the “side dish” was always the highlight of the meal! I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas, Marie!

  9. Happy New Year!

    I really hope that pasta exists in the afterlife because you make it seem like one can’t live without it. I can’t!

  10. for some reason I never think about making stuffed shells as my “dish to pass” and they are so good. Thanks for the reminder

  11. Hi Marie-
    I’ve been a little too busy lately, and eaten way too many calories to think about more food – But I gotta try this. Looks soo good!

  12. Lasagna is perfect for feeding a crowd Marie. I hope you have a safem happy and tasty New year. Roll on 2009!!!!

  13. Thats the best type of dish for a crowd. Hope the holidays were good and Happy New Year.

  14. Two of my favorites, Marie! They both look lovely. I hope you and your family have a happy New Year!

  15. It’s all lovely Marie! Happy New Year to you and your family!

  16. Marie, I made lasagna for Christmas too. I just haven’t had a chance to post.

  17. I love the idea of the little meatballs! That’s great! Have a happy new year Marie. Can’t wait to see your 2009 dishes! xox

  18. These look so good Marie, I hope your New Year celebrations are wonderful and I wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to another year of blogging with you in 2009, have fun, hugs, Kathy

  19. Meatball Lasagna! I never would have thought to put meatballs in lasagna!! All your dishes look wonderful !!

  20. Mmmm…this is mouth watering

  21. Our elderly cousin from Bari used tiny meatballs and baked them into a pasta forno.

  22. Oooooh Marie, we had this for part of our Christmas Dinner, exactly the same, my cousin Jo made it 😉

    We were talking about those tiny meatballs, I who has a gadget for everything, I told them about my tiny ultra mini ice cream type of scooper & how it makes those meatballs in a flash 😉

  23. Oh wow! The lasagna and the shells are spectacular! Boy, does this take me back! Your menu sounds just like what we’d eat when I was growing up. YUM, YUM, YUM! Man, now I’m hungry!

  24. Oooohhh…that is some good food you have there!! Everything looks great!! We had a party recently for about 40 people and I made trays of baked ziti and sausage and peppers…Italian food works great for a crowd!!

    (I’ve only had stuffed shells with ricotta, I am totally going to try your version soon!! Looks so delicious!!)

  25. Fabulous. Your meatball recipe sounds so similar to my grandma’s…which are to die for. Everything looks delicious, as always. Happy early New Year wishes!!

  26. I haven’t made lasagna with meatballs in a few years, but your photos remind me how much I LOVE it! I used to slice regular size meatballs and Italian sausage, but lately I’ve been making a spinach lasagna because it’s easier.

    My Italian hubby has been dying for some pannetone French toast! Seriously, he’s been talking about it for a month and even put it on the New Year’s Day brunch menu at the restaurant where he works.

    I just subscribed to your blog, because you are such a kindred spirit!

  27. Both look delicious and are perfect food for crowds.

  28. My crowd would love both of these dishes. I’m particularly fond of stuffed shells. So cheesy and rich, yum.

    Happy New Year wishes to you and your family, Marie.

  29. Both dishes are definitely crowd pleasers and crowd fillers! This year Christmas Prime Rib was the main dish at a family friend’s party, but Mr. Triolo cooked up 2 pounds of his infamous sausage and peppers pasta. Another great party dish. Happy new Year Marie-Ciao! Mangia!

  30. Oh Marie, you can never have too much food — especially for a crowd on the holidays! I can eat lasagna or stuffed shells anytime. Yours look delicious!

  31. Delish!!!

  32. Your stuffed shells look so nice & neat. Mine are quite messy, but tasty.
    I always love your new photos.
    Have you ever made homemade manicotti, using the crepes? I have that on my list and am looking forward to it.

  33. As the S-I-L, I had to put my 2 cents in. The food was great, but we had WAY TOO MUCH. And UJ wanted MORE steaks, he’s crazy! But spending the day with family is what it’s all about, even though we were missing 1 special person.

  34. Can I PLEASE just get an invitation – lol – looks amazing!


  35. I make a meatball lasagne with sliced regular sized meatballs, I like you mini ones better!

    I haven’t made stuffed shells in yrs, love the spinach combo.

    Re: shrimp scampi. You know I made one! Seems like there wasn’t enough food?
    Happy New Year to my favorite cook!

  36. Your menu’s sound just like mine. Growing up in a Sicilian family we always had lasagna or stuffed shells (along with the 7 fishes of course). Your meatball lasagna looks terrific! I make mini meatballs for soup, I never thought to put them into lasagna. Excellent idea!

  37. It’s only 8 o’clock in the morning here and I want some of your mouth-watering lasagna. I’ll have to wait until dinner though. Great blog.

  38. Hmmm-husband has been asking for stuffed shells for 2 weeks now. This may be my incentive!!! Susan

  39. lasagne is my fav..but i guess i will convert to stuffed shells…they look so cute!

  40. This is my kind of party food Marie…full of flavour & bursting with colour! have a wonderful new year my friend, filled with warmth, joy & loads of happiness! xoxoxo Deeba

  41. I sure do miss holiday food like this! Everyone here (Arizona) prefers the traditional Turkey and fixings. I miss the days of my childhood where pasta was in abundance and seafood was served also! I may just have to set the standard from here on in. I can get Polly-O ricotta out here and love it- is that what you use?

  42. Looks delicious! What kind of ricotta mixture do you use? I find mine always seems to “watery.” Maybe I use too many eggs?

  43. I had thought about making a lasagna for Christmas Eve, but went with a timballo instead. Oh, and we had shrimp scampi, too!

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