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DINNER PARTY dish w/ minimal last-minute prep

e
elr10 Feb 22, 2007 03:27 PM

I'm looking for suggestions of dishes that will wow my guests, but wont keep me stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is eating aps. Would love any thoughts!!

  1. jenniebnyc Feb 25, 2007 10:44 AM

    COQUILLES ST.-JACQUES WITH BEURRE BLANC
    This is always a crowd pleaser. All you will have to do is pop in oven and serve.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/104758

    CLASSIC OSSO BUCO
    Another crowd pleaser. Serve with creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

    1. Tom Steele Feb 24, 2007 10:39 AM

      I try to keep all the necessary ingredients for paella on hand--good Spanish chorizo, a jar of piquillo peppers, onions, peppers, good chicken stock, Bomba rice--so that all I need to get is fish or chicken and/or cockles and I'm good to go. Paella is relatively easy and it's made to feed a crowd.

      1. t
        tochipotle Feb 23, 2007 08:28 AM

        I've often done ricotta and spinach stuffed cannelloni. There's a lot of prep work (if you're making your own pasta, stuffing and sauce) but it's fresh, delicious and worth it. If you do it all a day ahead, then all you have to do is put it in the oven when the guests arrive. (I usually do them in individual serving dishes, but you could do them in one big pan and serve from there as well).

        1 Reply
        1. re: tochipotle
          a
          akk Feb 23, 2007 09:04 AM

          I have made manicotti from Rao's cookbook for which you make crepes instead of using pasta. It certainly is a "wow" dish and perfect as a make-ahead meal served with a green salad and a simple appetizer (I usually serve a red pepper salad and good bread as the appetizer, also easy make-ahead course.)

        2. m
          misterbrucie Feb 23, 2007 08:24 AM

          Ratatouille spends 2 - 3 unattended hours in the oven. You can assemble it that morning or the night before and let it "marinate" in the fridge.
          Examples:
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/101629
          or
          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

          2 Replies
          1. re: misterbrucie
            daily_unadventures Feb 24, 2007 10:36 AM

            I am going to try this out tonight - I will let you know how it goes, thanks!

            Katerina
            http://dailyunadventures.com

            1. re: daily_unadventures
              daily_unadventures Feb 25, 2007 09:55 AM

              I made this last night for guests and it worked out great. I made it ahead and let it cool then just turned the heat on underneath 10 minutes before we were ready to eat. Huge success and lots of leftovers. Thanks for the suggestions!

              The details are here:
              http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com...

              Katerina

          2. m
            matt Feb 23, 2007 08:14 AM

            For dessert I would make individual molten chocolate cakes. Just put them in the oven 12 minutes before you are going to serve them.

            1. s
              shannoninstlouis Feb 23, 2007 06:21 AM

              Braised lamb shanks are easy to do ahead.

              1. s
                Snowflake Feb 23, 2007 06:16 AM

                You can pre-make individual potato gratins

                1. l
                  lexpatti Feb 23, 2007 05:06 AM

                  I don't know, I did a beautiful leg of lamb that was impressive and very easy. Stabbed it a million times and stuffed garlic in it, then drenched it when lemon juice, sprinkled with oregano - in the oven and whallla - everyone loved it. Greek Syle recipe - got it on tvnetwork.

                  1. m
                    matt Feb 23, 2007 04:43 AM

                    Braised dishes are impressive and all of the work is done hours ahead of time. I am partial to short ribs, but Coq au Vin, leg of lamb or osso bucco would also be great. Serve with horseraddish or leek mash potatoes which can also be made ahead of time and just reheated (or cut the potatoes ahead of time since how long does it really take to mash them up)

                    A lot more money but a standing rib roast is always impressive, especially if you get prime beef, who doesn't love prime rib.

                    If you really want to impress and have a backyard and are ambitious roast a whole lamb.

                    Think about dishes you make on the holidays, generally those are made well in advance or at least some are. Ok I realize my lamb suggestion was a bit over the top.

                    1. l
                      lexpatti Feb 23, 2007 04:11 AM

                      I made this petite filet and a pork roast with this rub for the holidays, it was awesome and easy. Add a nice coucous and some roasted vegetables (mixed with olive oil and balsamic):

                      Rub
                      1/4 c finely ground coffee beans
                      1/4 c br sugar
                      2 Tbs chili powder
                      2 Tbs paprika
                      2 tsp gr sage
                      1 tsp onion powder
                      1/4 tsp cayenne ( i left this off, not sure of my crowd)

                      combine the mix, rub on meat, let meat stand for 15 min. (make sure meat had been out of fridge for 1 hour before roasting before you put on rub.

                      If you want to get a little creative, saute up some brocolli a head of time in a little olive oil and butter, then mix this with your favorite cheeses (feta, cheddar, motrella, parm, etc), mix in a whipped up egg, then roll this mixture up in filo dough to make a log (or two). Brush with butter before putting in the oven, slice when done - very impressive and delish. You can get creative and add other vegies, sprinkly outside with a few favorite herbs, etc.

                      1. q
                        Querencia Feb 22, 2007 09:42 PM

                        I like to do a Middle Eastern buffet meal as everything can be done ahead. First have a big selection of cold stuff like hummos, tabbouley, baba ganooj, fatoosh salad, Greek olives, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese etc etc. Then have a big moussaka with some spanakorizo (cooked chopped spinach, rice, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt). Then have baklava and maybe a sorbet or fresh fruit. Except for the salad, every bit of this can be done the day before.

                        1. Kitchen Queen Feb 22, 2007 05:39 PM

                          Go to your local Trader Joes. PU colassal cooked shrimp and Trader Giotto's pesto (ice box section. Make some fresh linguini noodles mix in the pesto, Top w/Fresh"grilled shrimp" ala pesto and wella. Delmonicos 30$ shrimp and linguini special. Top with a few toasted pine nuts.

                          1. daily_unadventures Feb 22, 2007 03:43 PM

                            Hey there, I was really impressed with an Ina Garten chicken recipe I made for guests the other week. You basically prep it all and stick it in the fridge and then pop it in the oven an hour before you want to eat. I have heard Chicken Marbella is the same kind of thing and very easy impress factor. Along those lines - another one I love is lamb shanks - you can do the exact same thing.
                            And then maybe serve them on cous cous or something you can whip up at the last minute?
                            You can check out my version of the chicken recipe here:
                            http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com/2007/02/worlds-easiest-dinner-party-indonesian.html

                            Katerina
                            http://dailyunadventures.blogspot.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: daily_unadventures
                              v
                              valerie Feb 22, 2007 06:07 PM

                              I second both of the recommendations -- Chicken Marbella and Barefoot Contessa's Indonesian Ginger Chicken. You prepare both of them the day before and then just put in the oven to cook.

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