HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Dinner party for 45- need suggestions

I have been asked to come up with a menu and prepare a dinner party for 45 people...Sit down affair, with two plates, main course and dessert (no alcohol will be served). I've never cooked for this many people before. The date is Dec. 1.
Any suggestions for seasonal dishes for that time of year and somewhat simple preparation (something in the oven, pork loins, mashed sweet potatoes, etc)?
Thank you.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dear rcburli,

    I think I can help ok but you must have sense of adventure and try something new what about middle eastern dishes since you will not use alcohol we never use in our dishes so let me give you some suggestions and the way to make each

    5 Replies
    1. re: dehka

      Wow. Thanks for all the recipes. They are a little out there for this conservative older crowd I'm cooking for, but I WILL use them myself at home.
      I think Karl's suggestions are more how I need to go.

      1. re: rcburli

        Your wellcome rcburli if you needed any other recipes please feel free to contact me at any time

      2. re: dehka

        dehka! I cannot believe how gracious you were to take the time and effort to key in all those gorgeous recipes!!!! I'm very interested in the cinnamon rice recipe and most of the others, my eyes are popping out at all of them...by "minced meat" I assume that either ground beef or pork or turkey would work? I'm not the original poster but I do thank you for the work you did to post these!

        1. re: Val

          Val it's no big deal at all trust me if you needed more recipes please let me know as for minced meat it should be beef never turkey it will change the taste completely as for pork as a Moslem I never tasted it and I'm not sure if it can be minced at all. Also Christians here in Egypt don't use it in this recipes not sure why may be cause it contains too much fats

        2. re: dehka

          I read all your recipies -- and copied them all. I was especially pleased to find the cinnamon rice recipe. My husband and I are just back from Egypt -- and had some wonderful food. We often had a white sauce that tasted like Tahina and something else -- do you know what that may have been? We also had lots of different okra dishes and loved them. Any tips?

        3. For a crowd this size, you need to think like a caterer: do things that can be kept at the right temperature without damage during the long time it takes to serve, et cet. That is very important. If you had a way to keep plates warm for that large a crowd, I'd recommend it.

          For that many people, you'd want good hams that only need to be warmed and can keep for a long while during service. Burger's Smokehouse is wonderful; I'd recommend the spiral-sliced city hams for this purpose. Lots of people love good ham, because it's something most people don't make at home any more and is hard to find at restaurants for some bizarre unknown reason.

          Steamship rounds of beef would be a second choice.

          Third choice, the most expensive, would be duck breasts, which are easy to prepare and hold for service. They are my default choice for catering.

          If you must do other poultry, I would stick to dark meat, which will hold up much better than white meat to being kept warm; tofu is better than chicken breast that's been subjected to the abuse it often takes...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            Karl's right--you need to carefully consider what you're serving to prevent overcooking/drying out/toughness (think about all those horrible baked-chicken-green-bean banquets you've endured over the years and the problems will be clear!).

            For a group this large, you might want to consider a soup course. Many soups are easy enough to prepare in advance and will stand reheating. A pureed fall veggie soup (say, roasted squash or sweet potato & andouille bisque) might lessen your day-of cooking burden.

            If your budget can stand it, roasted whole tenderloins are pretty fool proof and can be held for a while before slicing without too much wear & tear. You'd need to slice just before plating, and the slices could rest atop a gussied-up potato or root veggie puree. Of course, not everyone eats beef these days.

            Further recs for food would depend on the circumstances: how many tables will be used for the dinner? Will you need to plate everything at once & deliver to all tables at the same time? Will you have one waitperson/attendant for each table? These sort of logistics can impact what you decide to serve.

            As for dessert, don't do individuals of anything...they're a pain. Do a cheesecake, cake, or pie that can be sliced into pieces & plated ahead of time.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              Map out ahead the following (I do it on a spreadsheet):

              1. Linen, plates, flatware and drinkware for place settings. Flatware and glasses for dessert courses can be preset with the main place setting; plates and coffee/tea items need to be prepped to the side, as it were, and then replaced, et cet.
              Draw a picture of each place setting and you can easily delegate to Helping Hands to setup. Cook should not be doing this all him/herself.

              2. Same-day cooking dishes and utensils (mise-en-place; essential for sanity when cooking on this scale). Anything you can prep ahead of The Day is a savings in sanity.

              3. For each course, service dishes and utensils. These should be different than #2 above; you may need to go to Bed Bath & Beyond to pickup a scad of serving forks, spoons and tongs, et cet. (it's worth it to have extra, believe me; you can never have enough). Map them out specifically; this is the ruin of the sanity of many unprepared hosts. Again, having this written out will help Cook delegate to Helping Hands.

              4. Try to plan a menu that gives you at least a half hour breather before guests arrive; time to shower, catch a breath and regain one's composure to be Host(ess) rather than Cook.


              It's very difficult to be both Upstairs and Downstairs. And being in between is even harder, as Hazel Forrest Bellamy discovered.

              Try to recruit Eileen Atkins, Jean Marsh and Helen Mirren as Helping Hands for Cook...

          2. Appetizer

            Eggplant with cheese and parsley

            This is a different recipe of Eggplant from the regular recipes we know in the region. It is worth trying especially if you want a nice and different side dish for your ozouma.
            Cuisine Italian
            Main ingredients Eggplant, White cheese, Eggs, Breadcrumbs, Parsley
            Time of preparation 20 Minutes
            Time of cooking 30 Minutes
            Serving 5

            1 kg Eggplants
            2 tbsp Parsley ,chopped
            2 tbsp White Cheese
            2 Eggs ,beaten
            1/2 cup Flour
            1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
            Sunflower Oil Crystal ,for frying
            Salt and Pepper

            Directions 1. Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into thick slices. Fry eggplant slices in oil. Drain on kitchen paper.
            2. Cut cheese into very small cubes and mix with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
            3. Make a small cut in eggplant slices from the middle with the tip of a knife. Stuff 1 tbsp of cheese mix inside the cut.
            4. Dip each stuffed eggplant slice into flour and coat well. Then dip in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Fry stuffed eggplant in oil and drain on kitchen paper. Arrange eggplant on a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.

            please tell me when to stop

            1. Salad

              Baba ghannoug

              This delicious ans easy recipe is known in both Egypt and El Sham. It is also served as an appetizer. It can be eaten with a lot of fried meat and chicken dishes.
              Cuisine Shamy (Lebanon, Syrian and Jordon)
              Main ingredients Eggplant, Tehina
              Time of preparation 30 Minutes
              Time of cooking 0 Minutes
              Serving 6

              1 Eggplant ,medium size
              3 tbsp Tehina
              2 tbsp Yoghurt
              1 1/2 tsp Garlic ,crushed
              3 tbsp Lemon Juice
              2 tbsp Olive Oil ,or corn oil
              Salt and Pepper

              Directions 1. On a small metal dish, grill eggplant over medium heat. Turn on all sides so that they are equally grilled (about 20 minutes). Take off heat and leave to cool.
              2. Peel eggplant and take out the seeds from inside.
              3. In a medium bowl, mash grilled eggplants well with a fork. Add tehina, yogurt, and crushed garlic. Mix well with eggplant. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
              4. Remove to a flat serving dish and even surface with the back of a spoon. Add oil on top. You can garnish with a few parsley leaves and black olives.

              1. Beets salad

                This is a famous dish in almost all Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a winner in a lot of lunch and dinner parties as well as many restaurants' salad bars.
                Cuisine Other middle eastern
                Main ingredients Beets
                Time of preparation 15 Minutes
                Time of cooking 2 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                Serving 5

                4 Beets
                3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
                4 tbsp Lemon Juice ,or 2 tbsp vinegar
                1/3 cup Parsley ,snipped or chopped
                Corn Oil Crystal

                Directions 1. Boil beets in water for 1-2 hours. Drain and leave to cool.
                2. Cut beets tops and ends and peel with your fingers. The peel will come off very easily.
                3. Cut beets into cubes, strips or any other shape you like. Put in a bowl.
                4. Add parsley and season with salt, lemon juice and oil. Stir to mix ingredients together well. Refrigerate until serving.

                1. Appetizer

                  Grilled mussels

                  Grilled mussels are one of the most famous and at the same time elegant Italian appetizers. You can serve it with seafood meal or on an elegant cocktail party.
                  Cuisine Italian
                  Main ingredients Mussels, Lemon juice, Garlic, Chili peppers
                  Time of preparation 10 Minutes
                  Time of cooking 10 Minutes
                  Serving 5

                  500 g Mussels
                  2 tbsp Lemon Juice
                  1 Garlic Clove ,crushed
                  1 Red Chili Pepper ,small size, cut into very small pieces
                  Parsley ,chopped for garnish

                  Directions 1. Clean and wash mussels. Place in a deep pan of boiling water until shells open. Discard any unopened shells.
                  2. In a small plastic bowl mix lemon juice, garlic, chili pepper and salt. Set aside.
                  3. Open mussels and loosen flesh from shells using scissors. Return mussels into shell half and discard the other half.
                  4. Arrange mussels on a baking sheet and put about 1 tsp of lemon mixture in each shell. Place in medium-high heat oven for 5 minutes.
                  5. To serve, arrange shells in serving platter than garnish each one with chopped parsley.

                  1. Eggplants pickles

                    This pickle is really mouth watering, even if you have just eaten and you are full
                    Cuisine Egyptian
                    Main ingredients Eggplants, Green peppers, Garlic, Parsley
                    Time of preparation 35 Minutes
                    Time of cooking 0 Minutes
                    Serving 0
                    ! You must leave for three days before it is served.

                    1 kg Eggplants
                    1 Garlic ,head
                    2 Green Peppers ,cut into pieces
                    2 Green Chili Pepper ,cut into pieces
                    1 tbsp Salt
                    1 cups Vinegar
                    1 1/2 cups Water

                    Directions 1. Boil eggplant in salted water for 10-15 minutes or until tender (you can deep-fry it instead if you want).
                    2. Make a deep lengthwise cut in each eggplant from top to bottom. Put in a colander and leave to cool.
                    3. Meanwhile, in a food processor using a steel cutting blade chop garlic, peppers, chili peppers and parsley until finely chopped.
                    4. Stuff each eggplant with 2-3 tsp garlic and pepper mixture then arrange in a glass bowl vertically stuffing on top. Add vinegar.
                    5. In small bowl dissolve salt in water then add to eggplant. Cover bowl and leave in room temperature for three days before it is served.


                    Once you started to serve the pickles, preserve remaining in the refrigerator.

                    1. Kobebah Halabeya

                      Kobebah is one of the most popular Shamy dishes used as appetizers as well as main dishes. In this dish kobebah is served with a delicious white sauce and pine nuts.
                      Cuisine Shamy
                      Main ingredients Minced meat, Grit, Yoghurt, Garlic
                      Time of preparation 45 Minutes
                      Time of cooking 20 Minutes
                      Serving 4
                      ! Grit needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours.

                      1 kg Minced Meat ,with no fat at all (red meat)
                      1/2 kg Grit (Borghol)
                      2 tsp Garlic ,crushed
                      2 tbsp All Spices
                      1 cup Milk
                      3 tbsp Corn Oil
                      2 Onions ,medium size, chopped
                      2 packs Yoghurt
                      2 tbsp Corn Flour
                      1/2 cup Lemon Juice
                      Vegetable Oil ,for deep-frying
                      1/4 cup Pine Nuts
                      Salt and Pepper
                      1 tbsp White Pepper

                      Directions 1. Preparing meat stuffing
                      In a medium pan, heat and stir corn oil, onions, and half quantity of minced meat. Season with salt, pepper, 1 tbsp all spices.
                      Reduce heat, cover pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes. (If it becomes too dry, add 2-3 tbsp water). Remove from heat; stir in 1⁄2 quantity of pine nuts and leave to cool.
                      2. Preparing kobebah
                      Wash grit well and drain. Soak girt in a small plastic bowl with water for 10 minutes, and drain through a sieve. Spread grit on a flat dish and refrigerate for 2 hours until dry
                      In a food processor, using a steel cutting blade, process other half quantity of meat, grit, 1tbsp all spices, salt and pepper over high speed until mixture is consistent. Process once more to make it very fine.
                      Shape processed meat into oval balls. Hold each bowl in your hand and using your finger make a hole in the center of ball and add meat stuffing in it. Repeat until you finish all the processed meat.
                      In a deep pan heat oil until boiling the fry kobebah until brown.
                      3. Preparing sauce
                      Dissolve cornflour in 1⁄2 cup water.
                      In medium pan mix yoghurt, cornflour, white pepper, garlic, milk and lemon juice. Put pan over heat and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly.
                      To serve, arrange kobebah in a deep serving bowl and pour sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining pine nuts.


                      You can get frozen kobebah balls, fry them and just make the sauce.

                      1. Lemon pickles

                        Some people don't prefer lemon pickles for its bitterness, but still like to have it served just for its strong odor. However, if you like bitter taste, you will definitely love it.
                        Cuisine Egyptian
                        Main ingredients Lemons, Black seeds, Safflower
                        Time of preparation 40 Minutes
                        Time of cooking 0 Minutes
                        Serving 0
                        ! You must leave for 15-20 days before use

                        2 kg Lemons ,large size
                        6 cups Lemon Juice
                        3/4 cup Black Seed
                        1/4 cup Safflower
                        2 cups Water
                        4 tbsp Salt
                        2 tbsp Corn Oil Crystal

                        Directions 1. Make a deep cross cut at the top of each lemon. Set aside
                        2. In small bowl mix salt, black seed and osfur. Stuff each lemon with 1⁄2 tsp of mixture.
                        3. In glass jar arrange lemons and cover with lemon juice and water. Add 2 tbsp oil on top and close jar. Leave in room temperature for 30 days before it is served.

                        Note: lemon juice must cover stuffed lemons totally.


                        Once you started to serve the pickles, preserve remaining in the refrigerator.

                        1. Mussels in two sauces

                          This is a very delicious and rich appetizer. It looks very elegant and colorful, too. Suitable as an appetizer when you have guests or with a seafood meal.
                          Cuisine Italian
                          Main ingredients Mussels, Tomato basil sauce, Fennel cream sauce
                          Time of preparation 15 Minutes
                          Time of cooking 45 Minutes
                          Serving 6
                          1 1/2 kg Mussels ,shelled
                          1 tbsp Vinegar
                          3 Tomatoes ,medium size, diced
                          1 tbsp Tomato Paste Fine Foods Knorr
                          2 tsp Basil ,fresh and finely chopped
                          1 tsp Oregano ,fresh, chopped
                          2 tbsp Butter
                          1 Leek ,finely chopped
                          1 Fennel ,finely chopped
                          1/4 cup Double Cream
                          pinch Sugar
                          Salt and Pepper

                          Directions 1. In a deep pan, heat 1⁄2 cup water with vinegar over high heat. Add mussels and leave for 4-5 minutes until shells open, shaking the pan occasionally.
                          2. Drain mussels and discard any empty or unopened shells. Remove one half of each shell that is not attached to the flesh. Set aside.
                          3. In a saucepan, put tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until sauce thickens.
                          4. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add cream, salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Blend in a blender or food processor until smooth.
                          5. Arrange mussel half shells on a platter. Put about 1 tsp of each sauce alternately on top of mussels. Serve immediately

                          1. Makdousa

                            Makdousa is the most famous pickle in Lebanon. It is a totally different recipe for us and enjoys a totally different taste compared to traditional Egyptian pickles. I am sure you will just love it from the first bite.
                            Cuisine Shamy
                            Main ingredients Eggplants, Walnuts, Garlic
                            Time of preparation 25 Minutes
                            Time of cooking 0 Minutes
                            Serving 0
                            ! You must leave for ten days before it is served.

                            Ingredients 2 kg Long Eggplant ,small size
                            1 cup Walnuts ,semi crushed
                            1 Garlic ,head, crushed
                            4 Red Chili Pepper ,chopped
                            3 tbsp Salt
                            Olive Oil

                            Directions 1. Remove eggplants tops, place into deep pan, and cover with water then put over heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender.
                            2. Cut each eggplant deeply lengthwise from top to bottom. Rub inside with salt and put in a colander for 12 hours until it loses excess water.
                            3. In small bowl mix walnut, garlic, pepper and salt. Stuff eggplant with 1 tbsp of mixture then arrange in glass bowl. Cover and leave in room temperature.
                            4. In the next day, drain accumulated water from bowl then cover eggplant totally with oil. Cover and leave in room temperature for ten days before it is served.

                            1. Cinnamon rice

                              This is such a delicious recipe. Everybody that tasted this rice asked for its recipe. The wonderful flavor and taste of cinnamon is what gives it uniqueness and elegance. Perfect when you're having a dinner or lunch party, you'll get a delicious and eleg
                              Cuisine Shamy
                              Main ingredients Rice, Cinnamon
                              Time of preparation 10 Minutes
                              Time of cooking 45 Minutes
                              Serving 5

                              Ingredients 3 cups Egyptian Rice
                              1/4 - 1/3 kg Minced Meat
                              1 tbsp Margarine
                              6 tbsp Corn Oil Crystal
                              1/2 cup Almonds
                              1/2 cup Pine Nuts
                              2 tsp All Spices
                              2 tsp Cinnamon
                              4 cups Water ,boiling
                              Salt and Pepper

                              Directions 1. In a medium deep non-stick pan, heat margarine and 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add minced meat and stir for 2-3 minutes.
                              2. Add boiling water, salt, pepper, all spices and cinnamon and stir. Reduce heat, leave to boil for about 15-20 minutes.
                              3. Wash rice well under running water and drain. Add to water and stir to mix with minced meat.
                              4. When water is almost absorbed, cover pan, move to low heat and leave to cook for 20-25 minutes.
                              5. In the meantime, boil almonds in water for 15 minutes. Peel and split each almond in half. Fry almonds and pine nuts in oil separately until golden.
                              6. Serve rice on a flat platter and sprinkle almonds and pine nuts on top. Serve with plain yogurt, it tastes nice with that rice.

                              Note: You may need to put more or less quantity of water on the rice depending on the kind you use.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: dehka

                                That sounds delicious - and, being a HCCH, I actually have a bag of Egyptian rice - don't ask!

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  mmruth how did you get a bag of Egyptian rice (did you know that I'm Egyptian and I live in Cairo) by the way what's HCCH

                                  1. re: dehka

                                    I use (don't know that any one else does) HCCH to mean Home Cooking Chow Hound. I found the rice at a Middle Eastern market (now closed) in Washington Heights in Manhattan!

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Too bad that it's closed I could have teached you some great things to do with all Middle Eastern ingrediants

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Replying to Dehka - thanks! I plan on trying a number of the recipes you've posted - I have a slew of ME ingredients - some brought back from Jordan by my husband, some bought here - pretty easy to find in NYC.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          I don't have much of a chance to obtain Egyptian rice where I live...can someone suggest a close substitute please?

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            Val the EGyptian rice is WHITE SHORT ROUND GRAIN RICE NATURAL TYPE so I think any rice with the same description will do. I don't know if I can Fedex it to you or not and how much it is going to cost?

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Replying to Dehka: No, I can find short grain rice without a problem, but thank you for offering to ship it, what a nice person....anyway, how come not every post has a "reply" button?

                                      2. Cammounia

                                        This is delicious dish. It is cooked in the same way as the famous Egyptian kabab hallah but it is cooked in tomato sauce instead of brown sauce. The cumin put at the end is the trick of the recipe. Suitable for everyday cooking.
                                        Cuisine Egyptian
                                        Main ingredients Meat cubes (beef), Tomatoes, Cumin
                                        Time of preparation 10 Minutes
                                        Time of cooking 1 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                                        Serving 5

                                        Ingredients 500-600 g Beef ,cubes
                                        1 Onion ,medium size, finely chopped or grated
                                        1-2 tsp Garlic ,crushed
                                        1 tbsp Margarine ,or ghee
                                        2 tbsp Corn Oil Crystal
                                        2 Tomatoes ,medium size, ripe
                                        2 tbsp Tomato Paste Fine Foods Knorr
                                        1 tbsp Cumin
                                        Salt and Pepper

                                        Directions 1. Remove all fat from meat cubes. Wash meat cubes well and drain.
                                        2. In a medium deep pan, heat oil and margarine over medium-high heat. Add onions stirring constantly until yellow. Stir in garlic for about 1 minute.
                                        3. Add meat cubes. Leave for about 10 minutes until onions and meat become brown, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper and stir. Leave to cook for another 10 minutes.
                                        4. Blend tomatoes in a blender with 2 tbsp water and add to meat. Add 1 cup water to pan and bring to boil.
                                        5. Cover pan, reduce heat and leave to simmer for about 45-50 minutes or until meat is done, adding water frequently. Add cumin and stir once. Serve immediately with plain rice.

                                        1. Baba fruit cake

                                          This is my mum's cake that she used to make on our birthday parties. Baba cake is very light and very tasty at the same time.
                                          Cuisine International
                                          Main ingredients Cake, compotes, Whipped Cream
                                          Time of preparation 40 Minutes
                                          Time of cooking 30 Minutes
                                          Serving 10
                                          ! This recipe needs 20 minutes for decoration after baking

                                          Ingredients 2 1/2 cups Sugar
                                          2 1/2 cups Water
                                          1 tsp Lemon Juice
                                          2 packs Yoghurt
                                          2 cups Flour
                                          5 Eggs
                                          1 tsp Vanilla
                                          3 tsp Baking Powder
                                          1/2 kg Whipped Cream
                                          Fruits ,compotes, for decoration, (preferably pineapples, peach halves, cherries)

                                          Directions 1. Preheat oven over 190C. Grease a 26 cm baking pan.
                                          2. In a small saucepan heat and stir 1 1⁄2 cup sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Add lemon juice and leave to boil hardly. Remove and cool in a bath of cold water until needed.
                                          3. In a small bowl beat eggs then add vanilla. In a medium bowl sift flour and baking powder.
                                          4. In a plastic bowl mix yogurt and 1 cup sugar until sugar starts to dissolve. Add 1⁄4 quantity of beaten eggs then 1⁄2 cup flour and mix. Repeat until you mix all eggs and flour.
                                          5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30- 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle of cake.
                                          6. Remove from oven then invert on a round platter. Prick top of cake with a fork several times then pour sugar syrup over it and leave for 5 minute. Decorate cake as you wish with whipped cream and fruits.

                                          tt class=note>Note: You can make two baba cakes and then put whipped cream and fruits on one and top with the other one then decorate with whipped cream and fruits.


                                          Never open the oven door before about 30 minutes from inserting the cake in oven to allow cake to rise and increase in volume.

                                          1. Dolma

                                            This dish is very well known all over the Middle East countries. It consists of several vegetables stuffed with rice. It can be served hot or cold. When you taste it, it is really worth the effort. Suitable for all occasions.
                                            Cuisine Other middle eastern
                                            Main ingredients Zucchini, Long Eggplants, Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Rice
                                            Time of preparation 1 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                                            Time of cooking 1 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                                            Serving 5

                                            Ingredients 1/2 kg Zucchini ,small size
                                            1/2 kg Green Pepper
                                            1/4 kg Long Eggplant ,White
                                            1/4 kg Long Eggplant ,Black
                                            1/2 kg Tomatoes ,medium size, hard
                                            1 Potato ,medium size, sliced
                                            1 Carrot ,medium size, sliced diagonally
                                            1 cup Parsley ,(1 large bunch) finely chopped
                                            1/2 kg Tomatoes ,ripe
                                            2 Onions ,medium size, finely chopped or grated
                                            2 cups Rice
                                            1 cup Coriander ,green coriander, finely chopped
                                            1/3 cup Dill ,chopped (optional)
                                            1 tsp Sugar
                                            2 tbsp Tomato Paste Fine Foods Knorr
                                            2/3 cup Corn Oil Crystal
                                            1 tsp Mint ,dried and ground
                                            Salt and Pepper

                                            Directions 1. Preparing stuffing
                                            Wash ripe tomatoes. Dice half quantity into small dice. Blend the other half in a blender with 1⁄4 cup water.
                                            In a large bowl, mix parsley, coriander, dill, onions, 1 tbsp tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
                                            Wash rice well under running water and drain. Add to the bowl. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, 1/2 cup oil and mint. Stir all ingredients to mix well.
                                            2. Preparing vegetables
                                            Wash hard tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and peppers and cut their tops.
                                            Remove the insides of vegetables by holding the vegetable in your hand and pressing the tip of a sharp knife into the center of vegetables till close to the end. Make continuous circles with the knife to remove the insides of vegetables. Don't make vegeta
                                            3. Stuffing vegetables
                                            Put 1-2 tbsp of stuffing into each vegetable using your fingers. Press on stuffing in the vegetable with your small finger so that stuffing is firm inside vegetable. Don't fill the whole vegetable with stuffing to give space for rice to expand during cook
                                            In a deep large pan, arrange potato and carrot slices at the bottom. Arrange stuffed vegetables in a standing position in the pan with their tops facing upwards.
                                            4. Cooking vegetables
                                            In a saucepan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add blended tomatoes, 1 tbsp salt and pepper. Leave to boil for about 10 minutes. Pour over stuffed vegetables in pan. Add water to cover 3/4 of vegetables in pan.
                                            Put stuffed vegetables pan over medium heat. After 10 minutes, cover, move to low heat and leave to cook for 30 minutes. If tomato sauce becomes too thick, add 1⁄2 cup boiling water.
                                            Take off the heat. Arrange stuffed vegetables in a platter in a nice shape with the potatoes and carrots in the center. Serve cold.

                                            1. Chicken with garlic and lemon

                                              Cuisine Shamy
                                              Main ingredients Chicken, Yoghurt, Garlic, Lemon juice
                                              Time of preparation 10 Minutes
                                              Time of cooking 1 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                                              Serving 5

                                              Ingredients 1 Chicken
                                              5 tbsp Lemon Juice
                                              1/2 cup Olive Oil
                                              3 Garlic Cloves
                                              1 pack Yoghurt
                                              1 tbsp Chicken Marinade Fine Foods Knorr
                                              2 tsp Thyme ,dried and crushed
                                              Salt and Pepper

                                              Directions :

                                              1. Clean and wash chicken and cut into 4 quarters.
                                              2. In a bowl, mix yoghurt with garlic, lemon juice, oil, chicken marinade, salt and pepper.
                                              3. Rub chicken well with yoghurt mixture. Put in a metal baking dish. Pour remaining yoghurt mixture over chicken in dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
                                              4. Heat oven to medium heat (180-190 C). Put dish in oven. After about 40 minutes, remove cover, turn chicken on the other side, and sprinkle thyme on surface.
                                              5. Return to oven for about 20 minutes or until chicken is done and surface becomes golden. Serve immediately.

                                              Note: You can add potato cubes to bake with chicken.

                                              1. Basbousa

                                                Basbousa is a wonderfully delicious oriental dessert. We are all used to buying it from pastry shops. Now you can make it at home and it will be as delicious, maybe more delicious.
                                                Cuisine Other middle eastern
                                                Main ingredients Semolina, Butter, Sugar Syrup
                                                Time of preparation 20 Minutes
                                                Time of cooking 20 Minutes
                                                Serving 8

                                                Ingredients 2 cups Semolina
                                                1 cup Sugar
                                                1/2 cup Ghee , or butter, melted
                                                1 tbsp Baking Powder
                                                1 tbsp Baking Soda
                                                1 cup Sugar Syrup
                                                1 pack Yoghurt

                                                Directions 1. In a medium bowl, mix semolina, sugar, yoghurt, ghee, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well with your hands to form basbousa dough.
                                                2. Spread basbousa in a baking dish to form a thin even layer. Add any nuts that you like to garnish surface.
                                                3. Heat oven to medium-high heat (200-210 C). Place baking dish in oven for 15-20 minutes. When basbousa edges turn golden brown, open broiler until surface becomes golden brown.
                                                4. Pour cool syrup over basbousa right after it comes out of oven then leave to cool.
                                                5. Put serving platter over baking dish. Invert dish so that basbousa is placed in platter. Use another platter to invert basbousa once more so that nuts are on the surface. You can serve basbousa in the same dish so that it doesn't crack when you invert

                                                1. Dawood pacha

                                                  This is a very well known recipe among Middle Easterns. It consists of minced meatballs in rich tomato sauce. It is served beside white rice. Suitable for all times and all occasions.
                                                  Cuisine Other middle eastern
                                                  Main ingredients Minced Meat, Tomatoe Sauce
                                                  Time of preparation 30 Minutes
                                                  Time of cooking 50 Minutes
                                                  Serving 5

                                                  Ingredients 1/2 kg Minced Meat
                                                  1 Onion ,medium size, grated
                                                  1 Onion ,small size, finely chopped
                                                  4-5 Tomatoes ,medium size, ripe
                                                  1 tbsp Tomato Paste Fine Foods Knorr
                                                  1/2-3/4 cup Sunflower Oil Crystal
                                                  pinch All Spices
                                                  pinch Cinnamon
                                                  Salt and Pepper

                                                  Directions 1. Mix well grated onion with salt, pepper, all spices, and cinnamon. Then mix onion well with minced meat using your hand.
                                                  2. Make minced meat into small balls the size of a ping pong ball.
                                                  3. In a medium non-stick skillet, heat 4 tbsp oil over medium heat. Stir-fry meatballs in oil on all sides for about 3-4 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
                                                  4. Blend tomatoes in a blender with 1⁄4 cup water. Dissolve tomato paste in a cup of water.
                                                  5. In a small saucepan, heat 1⁄4 cup oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions stirring frequently until golden.
                                                  6. Add blended tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
                                                  7. Add meatballs and leave to cook for another 15-20 minutes.
                                                  8. In a small skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Stir in crushed garlic until just golden. Pour oil and garlic immediately into tomato sauce with meatballs. Serve right away in a serving bowl. You can sprinkle ground dried mint on top to add flavo

                                                  1. Egyptian fattah 1

                                                    This is a traditional recipe for Egyptians. It is one of their favorites that they make a gathering around and eat in their speical occasions.
                                                    Cuisine Egyptian
                                                    Main ingredients Rice, Bread, Meat
                                                    Time of preparation 10 Minutes
                                                    Time of cooking 15 Minutes
                                                    Serving 8

                                                    Ingredients 2 kg Lamb ,cubes (or beef or veal cubes)
                                                    3 cups Rice
                                                    8 loaves Egyptian Bread
                                                    3 tbsp Garlic ,minced
                                                    1 cup Vinegar
                                                    7 tbsp Margarine
                                                    2 tbsp Tomato Paste Fine Foods Knorr
                                                    2 Arabic Gum
                                                    3 Cardamom
                                                    4 1/2 cups Water
                                                    Salt and Pepper

                                                    Directions 1. Preparing meat
                                                    Wash meat under running water. Soak meat in a bowl with cold water, 1⁄2 cup salt and 1⁄2 cup vinegar for 10-15 minutes then wash again well under running water.
                                                    In a deep pan boil meat until tender. Strain and reserve 5 cups of meat broth.
                                                    2. Preparing rice
                                                    Wash rice well under running water and drain.
                                                    In a deep pan melt 2 1⁄2 tbsp margarine. Add Arabic gum and cardamoms, and stir for 2 minutes. Add rice and stir for another 2 minutes.
                                                    Add salt and 4 cups water and cook until water is absorbed. Cover and move to low heat and cook for 25 minutes.
                                                    3. Preparing sauce
                                                    In a small saucepan heat and stir 2 tbsp margarine and garlic until golden.
                                                    Add tomato paste and stir. Add 1⁄2 cup water and 1⁄2 cup vinegar. Heat until boiling.
                                                    4. Preparing bread
                                                    Cut bread into bite size squares and put in a large metal baking dish. Add 3 tbsp margarine, heat and stir until light brown.
                                                    Add gradually 5 cups meat broth and 3⁄4 cup sauce and stir until bread is very soft.
                                                    5. Preparing fattah
                                                    Spread rice over bread layer in baking dish to make another layer (4 cm thin). Sprinkle some of sauce over rice then place in oven at medium heat (180 C) for 10 minutes.
                                                    Remove from oven and add meat cubes. Serve in the same baking dish. Serve remaining sauce in a seperate bowl.

                                                    Note: You can make fattah using left over rice and boiled meat. You can also use beef or veal instead of lamb.

                                                    1. Rice with khalta

                                                      This is a famous Egyptian dish. It is the main side dish served in Egyptian dinner parties accompanied by roast turkey. It can also be served beside any meat or poultry dish.
                                                      Cuisine Egyptian
                                                      Main ingredients Rice, Chicken livers, Nuts
                                                      Time of preparation 20 Minutes
                                                      Time of cooking 45 Minutes
                                                      Serving 6

                                                      Ingredients 3 cups Egyptian Rice
                                                      1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth , or 1 chicken stock cube Fine Foods Knorr dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water
                                                      1/2 kg Chicken Livers
                                                      3/4 cup Almonds
                                                      1/4 cup Hazelnut
                                                      1/2 cup Raisins
                                                      1/2 cup Pine Nuts
                                                      3 tbsp Sugar
                                                      2 tsp Cinnamon
                                                      5 tbsp Margarine
                                                      2 pieces Cardamom
                                                      2 pieces Arabic Gum

                                                      Directions 1. Boil almonds in water for 15 minutes. Peel and split each almond in half. Cut blanched hazelnuts in half, too.
                                                      2. In a medium skillet heat and stir 1 tbsp margarine or oil, split almonds, hazelnuts for 2 minutes. Add pine nuts and continue stirring for another 5 minutes until golden. Remove from skillet and set aside.
                                                      3. Fill a medium deep pan with water and bring to boil. Add livers, cardamoms and Arabic gum and boil for 10-15 minuts. Drain livers and rinse under water then cut into small pieces.
                                                      4. In a skillet heat 1 tbsp margarine over medium heat. Add chicken livers and stir-fry until brown. Take off heat and set aside.
                                                      5. In a large deep non-stick pan heat 3 tbsp margarine over medium-high. Add rice and stir for 15 minutes until golden.
                                                      6. Add raisins, sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and 2 cups water.
                                                      7. When water is almost absorbed, cover, move to low heat and leave to cook for 25 minutes until tender.
                                                      8. Serve rice on a platter and add fried livers on top. Sprinkle nuts on the surface.


                                                      You may need to put more or less quantity of water on the rice depending on the kind you use.

                                                      1. Crème caramel

                                                        This is a classic dessert found on almost every menu of every restaurant. It is incredibly easy and takes very little effort and time.
                                                        Cuisine French
                                                        Main ingredients Eggs, Milk
                                                        Time of preparation 20 Minutes
                                                        Time of cooking 1 Hour(s), 0 Minute(s)
                                                        Serving 4

                                                        Ingredients 600 g Full Cream Milk ,(about 3 cups)
                                                        6 Eggs ,(or 4 eggs and 2 eggs yolk)
                                                        2 tsp Vanilla
                                                        1 cup Sugar

                                                        Directions 1. In a crème caramel or jelly mould, put about 2/3 cup sugar. Heat until sugar melts completely and becomes golden brown. Take off heat and tilt the mould from side to side so that melted sugar covers bottom and sides of mould. Heat oven to 180-200 C.
                                                        2. Heat milk over medium heat and add remaining sugar. Taste to adjust sugar level and put more sugar if you like.
                                                        3. In a bowl, beat eggs and vanilla with wooden spoon very smoothly so it doesn't make air pubbles until completely blended. Pour warm milk on eggs gradually and continue beating until well blended.
                                                        4. Pour in mould over caramel then put mould in a bath of boiling water. Bake in oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean when inserted inside crème caramel. Take out of oven and leave to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 h
                                                        5. Loosen the edges of crème caramel with a knife then invert mould on a deep platter. Serve cold with whipped cream.


                                                        In case crème caramel sticks in mould when inverted, keep mould inverted over platter and cover with hot towel until crème caramel detaches from mould and falls on the platter.

                                                        1. Tell us more... are you doing this out of a regular home kitchen? How many burners and ovens and how much fridge and freezer space at your disposal? Do you have people to help you, and how much time are you going to be able to devote to this? Are you pre-plating or serving family style?

                                                          I like Karl S's suggestion of spiral cut ham; you could serve it with scalloped potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, and pureed butternut squash with some butter and maple syrup. You could start with a composed salad - tomato, mozzarella and basil or a little individual antipasto plate - that could be pre-plated and set out before people sit down. For dessert, you could serve little individual tarts or cheesecakes, or little flans with some good shortbread.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: sheiladeedee

                                                            Regular home kitchen with four large burners and two ovens.
                                                            Lots of freezer space and an extra fridge.
                                                            There will be other servers and we are pre-plating.
                                                            I'd like to much of it beforehand and freeze, but most of the cooking will be done that day.

                                                            1. re: rcburli

                                                              That will make your life easier - you can even think of frozen pre-made desserts like parfaits - top with whipped cream and cookies at the last minute.

                                                              If you are going to plate in the kitchen and serve like that, think about using foil pans for cooking things like scalloped potatoes and vegetables, or roasted potatoes or vegetables if you go with an Italian theme.

                                                              Planning is key - go over it all well in advance, rehearse what needs to be done in your mind. And have a ball - I love cooking for a crowd and nothing is as gratifying to me as watching people enjoy what I prepare.

                                                          2. My husband makes a wonderful Tuscan pork loin that might be a wonderful choice. It is a dish he learned to make at the Connecticut Culinary Institute. He serves it with a starter of Tuscan Bean Soup and a Risotto with Four Cheeses. This makes an elegant dinner. You could end the dinner with an assortment of Biscotti and call it a theme! Just to keep with the theme, write the menu on wine bottles on the tables. I've served this dinner several times and it's always a hit. I can send along recipes if interested.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: mardeb

                                                              It's less thematic than regional cooking, but the fall/winter vibe is so fun to play with. That said, do consider your timing between Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Ramadan/other occasions to eat traditional fall/winter meals and stay away from whatever somebody just ate last week, about to eat in a couple weeks.

                                                              I've done takes on this pork loin menu for 12 seated or 20 buffet style, but tweaked it to scale up with helpers to plate. Going on a theme of fall/winter: roasted butternut squash soup with red pepper puree, a stuffed pork loin roast (sage/bacon/blue cheese? dried cherry/walnut/goat cheese? chard or spinach plus a nut and cheese?) served on a bed of wilted chard or spinach depending on stuffing, a jus in gravy boats at the table, and a stock-based gratin of thinly sliced vegetables (mirliton or a colorful medley of root vegetables). For a fall/winter dessert, I always love trifle. For a homier crowd, you could do a big trifle on individual plates gussied up with any/all of raspberry coulis, boiled custard, whipped cream, fresh berries. Fancier with no last minute plating, you could also consider individual mini-trifles for a real showstopper at the end of the meal. You can make the pound cake and custard 2-4 days out, do a line assembly 1-3 days out, cover properly, and garnish just before you serve. You've got the extra fridge -- use it!

                                                              If not pork, stuffing/rolling with the meat of your choice and herbs or greens brightens the menu, and a jus or any other unbreakable sauce can temper the difference between ends of the roast. Besides plating and garnishing, the soup and puree are done days beforehand, roast stuffed and done day of, gratin assembled day of or before if needed, dessert done 1-2 days ahead of time. The only crimp might be the greens to round out the plate, which would be tastiest flash-sauteed with seasonings to match or stuffed into the roast, but can be done ahead and warmed carefully if need be.

                                                              If you're doing a formal event for this size for fun, you're a brave soul, but make sure you get the chance to HAVE fun.

                                                              1. re: searee

                                                                On the subject of pork loin, here is my favourite recipe.
                                                                Fast Roast Pork with Rosemary and Caramelised Apples by Delia Smith.


                                                                I use thick pork loins and undercook them if they need to hold. But as the poster above said stuffing a pork loin will help hold the moisture.

                                                            2. I do this quite often. And it is always a fairly big ordeal.
                                                              I would suggest:
                                                              1. Get lots of helpers. Even those that can't cook, they can polish cultery, set out decorations, do dishes, etc.
                                                              2. Follow a theme, ideas tend to come flowing when you have a direction. I've done the Middle Eastern which is great, so much can be prepped ahead. Last party we had was a Southern Picnic theme.
                                                              3. If at all possible get them to consider a buffet rather than sit down. It is so much easier.
                                                              4. Make about a million lists. Eliminate anything that must be done at last minute. The further ahead you can make something the happier you will be.
                                                              5. As another poster said, soup is a great choice and you can make it fancy with a special garnish.
                                                              6. Roasts are great, they can hold. Most pasta is not good. Salads are wonderful and easy. Lots of bread to fill up the big eaters. Anything that is served at room temperature is good.
                                                              7. Make a spectacular dessert. Spectacular looking, not hard to make. It's is your guests final impression.
                                                              8. Please know that everything will NOT be perfect. And that is okay. The love you put into the food will shine through.

                                                              Good luck and have fun.

                                                              1. Loads of good suggestions, especially the lists and pre-planning of settings and serving implements. Let me add a suggestion to confirm and re-confirm (really!) every arrangement you make, especially things you special-order, such as large cuts of meat, wine, etc. Delegate as much as you can, keeping in mind the personality of each delegee -- eg, perfectionists to tasks needing perfection, etc.

                                                                1. Winter, with that many people, I'm thinking some sort of pasta or stew/braised meat dish. Pot roast with root vegetables on a pile of garlic mashed potato. Lasagna, traditional or buttersquash filling.

                                                                  As for dessert, maybe a mini chocolate fondue for everyone. Serve each person with several cookies and/or bite size pound cake/brownie and/or fruit with a small pot/cup of melted chocolate sauce for dipping.