Crowd Pleasers

Sharing is caring!

Are you hosting any parties this summer?  Here’s a few idea’s to help you feed the masses! Perfect for Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, a casual buffet or a backyard barbecue.

My family always enjoys a big pan of sausage with peppers and onions.

I buy my favorite Italian sausage and cook it up on the grill, because, lets be honest, grilled sausage has the best flavor!
When it cools down I slice it into two inch pieces on the diagonal.
 Five pounds will feed a ton of people!

For flavor and convenience I always roast my peppers and onions on a baking sheet drizzled and tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper in a hot 425 degree oven, this way you can do large amounts and your stove doesn’t get all messy and splattered with grease, and personally, I think the flavor is so much better!
You can make this ahead of time, toss everything in a foil pan and heat it up right on the grill when you’re ready to eat for a few minutes just until warm.
Chickens marinated ahead of time in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and lemon peel tossed with parsley, oregano or any of your favorite herbs. I like buying half chickens and then after they’re grilled I just cut them across the center to separate the leg and thigh and wing and breast.

 Five chickens will yield you twenty quarter pieces.

Everybody loves a pan of Baked Mostaccioli and it compliments the chicken and the sausage so well! 2 pounds of pasta goes a very long way especially when you are adding ricotta, grated romano cheese and fresh mozzarella to it.

I always like to have some vegetable sides like this pan of zucchini that I roasted with a little bit of olive oil in a 425 degree oven with thin sliced tomatoes and onions.
 When it all cools down, drizzle all over with more olive oil and fresh basil, you can eat this at room temperature.
Try to find and use the smaller zucchini for individual servings or you can just cut them in half.
Eggplant caprese stacks are a wonderful side dish, honestly they’re so good you’ll see them disappear quickly!
You can prepare the eggplant the day before or early in the day, slicing into rounds then breading and frying until crispy, then all you have to do is layer one slice of eggplant caprese style with a ripe tomato slice, fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, then drizzle all over with olive oil. 
Place this mediterranean salad on a big platter and everyone will dig in! Tomato wedges, sliced fennel, red pepper strips, kalamata olives, red onion, crumbled feta cheese and drained canned cannellini beans, all tossed together with parsley, basil, lemon juice and olive oil, also delicious at room temperature.
And don’t forget nice crusty Italian bread to either make a small sausage sandwich or just to have it on the side.
Party on!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sharing is caring!

Italian Sauces My Way E-Book


  1. Thank you for the great ideas and recipes !

  2. Love your summer parties! All the food looks so good!

  3. Oh wow Marie.. I’m really loving those sausage peepers and onions!!

  4. Marie – You must be the most sought after hostess in your neighborhood and family. Would that you lived closer. Thanks for the tip on cooking peppers on a large baking sheet.

  5. Great food ideas. Peppers go with almost anything….

  6. I need to have a party now. I always love how you entice me with vegetable sides.

  7. These are brilliant party ideas. When it’s warm enough to have an outdoor party in AK, I’m returning to this post for ideas.

  8. You really know how to throw a party!

  9. Anonymous says

    And THIS is why Italian food is the BEST on earth!!!! I LOVE that you LOVE to make, eat, and share with others your wonderful foods. Marie–you’ll laugh at this–I am having a bunch of people here to see our new grandson and this is very impromptu. I literally will be gone for 3 days before & time is pressing. My dearest friend said–don’t worry, we all know how always put out so much so this time, don’t worry about any food. I said, are you kidding? If my brothers came to this house and there wasn’t a bunch of good food, they’d be in my refrigerator looking and then they commence to chopping and cooking up something themselves! So, don’t worry, the food will somehow be made. Thanks again for all that you do. It means so much to so many! Anna (Napolitano)

  10. I’m sure you’ll put out one heck of a spread Anna!

  11. Everything you made is perfect summer party food, Marie, and a welcome change from the usual hambugers or hot dogs that most people grill!

  12. I am sorry, but this food rocks big time, any time, all the time! Wish I was in Chicago on Sunday! 🙂 xpo

  13. Buono appetito! Beautiful Italian food celebrating the bounty of summer. Motto bene!

  14. I just love all of your recipe ideas—honest to goodness Italian fare the way I’ve been used to all my life! Your ideas for simplifying are brilliant, like the sausage and peppers. I will no longer make them stovetop thanks to you! All the best! Deni

  15. Perfect timing as I am about to have some people over – and some lovely ideas too – thanks. One problem – what happened to your font size? I am squinting at the screen from over here!

  16. That is some spread . . . I have learned to turn to your blog whenever I need a crowd pleaser, especially one like this, that so reminds me of being at my grandparents’ back yard soirees.

  17. Sally, Nothing has changed with my font size on this end, but I do know you can adjust it on your computer by increasing the percentage, use the help button on your browser.

  18. A great spread. Hard to go wrong with any of these, although personally I’d linger the longest over the sausages…

  19. Party On Marie! And pass those sausages over here!!

  20. Anonymous says

    You’re out of control, lady, and I LOVE it! Please file my adoption papers asap, I’m hungry.

  21. Or, maybe it’s a sign that I just need to get to an optician’s?


  23. I love that you have given an entire menu in one post…and of course, fresh produce is always the STAR.

  24. Hi Marie!

    I just wanted to pop by & say “thank you” for posting these wonderful ideas last summer. I saved the email of your blog post & ran across it the other day while searching for something extra tasty to make for a pot luck.

    My quilt guild is going to LOVE the huge electric roaster full of Italian sausage & peppers that I’m bringing to our Christmas dinner. It will be perfect for a big crowd & will the roaster will keep it hot through the entire meeting.

    Have a Blessed Christmas with your family, Honey & thank you for all the wonderful recipes you share here.


  25. Hi Proud Italian Cook! I’m thinking of making your sausage & peppers for a crowd of 50- as a side dish. Can you give ma a ballpark idea of how many pounds of pepper onion & sausage Ill need? TYVM!

    • Heather, Good rule of thumb, you get 6 five inch pieces to a pound, now if you cut them into smaller pieces, like in half you’ll get 12 pieces per pound and that size is better for a side dish, so just judge it like that depending on what other things you’re serving. Hope this helps!

  26. Marie, I have to thank you! We served some of your wonderful dishes at my son’s graduation party – spinach rigatoni, sausage, peppers and onion, and green bean salad with tomatoes and garbanzo beans among other things. The sausage dish was the big winner – we got 15 lbs from Caputos and it was almost all gone. We had about 50 people. Thank you so much for all of the great ideas, tips and recipes.

  27. Where can I find these recipes? I can’t click on anything or find them in the index.

    • Jacqui, I just have the ingredients listed below on each, sorry no exact recipes on this post.

  28. can I make the sausage and peppers the night before? What is the best method to reheat?

    • Yes definitely! I roasted the peppers and grilled my sausage, you can make it the night or day before and reheat low just until warm, no problem!

  29. Is there an Italian sausage that you recommend? Maybe one that I could find at a regular supermarket? 🙂 Thank you!

    • Traci, I don’t know where you live but try to find sausage that is close to being made by a butcher, also try to find one with fennel seed added.

  30. Gonna try Sausage, Peppers, & Onions! YUM

  31. I am thinking about making this for a Halloween party. I will be making them the night before, do you think I can put them in a crockpot to heat them up or to keep them warm? Or should I make them the day of?

    • Annette, are you talking about the sausage and peppers? if so you certainly can make it the day before and warm it in the crockpot to heat up

  32. Donna Krouse says

    Everything looks delicious! !! Are they real time consuming.?

  33. This looks amazing! I’m preparing food for 150 people for a high school football banquet Monday and was hoping to do Italian Sausage. I have to work Monday. Is the sausage and peppers recipe something I can do the day before and reheat??

    • Yes absolutely! Do it the day before just put it in a heavy disposable pan and heat it up the day of Dawn