Entertaining for a crowd in May - Looking for recommendations

I'm hosting an end-of-semester/beginning of summer party for my grad school cohort at my apartment later this month.

I kind of want to show off my cooking skills but feel nervous about preparing food for a large group (up to 14 people, probably more like 8).

Any recommendations on what to make that is budget friendly, good for a lot of people, and/or can possibly be made ahead of time to cut down on hectic pre-party scrambling?

I welcome thoughts on appetizers and mains.

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