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Easy and impressive lunch menu for parents?

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My parents will be visiting this weekend. I'm looking for some ideas for a lunch menu to serve. My parents like pretty much any type of food- especially ethnic cuisine and dishes with a lot of flavor. I don't want to make anything too hearty because we will be going for a big dinner that evening (most likely Indian or Thai). Also something relatively quick would be ideal, as i will only have a few hours in the morning to shop and prepare.

Any suggestions are welcome! Thank you.

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  1. What about a salade nicoise? I tend to go the untraditional route and sear tuna rather than using canned/bottled tuna. And if you felt ambitious, you could make a large pate a choux ring, slice it in half, and serve the salad on it. It's one of my favorite "having people to lunch" menus.

    Another favorite Saturday lunch for the two of us that is dead simple to make - if you can get bottarga - is spaghetti with bottarga - I'll give you a link to a recipe I posted if you're interested. A reasonable sized portion of that, some salad and a crisp white wine are lovely.

    1. My beyond simple meal that never fails to please is chicken sandwiches made with warm, freshly cooked chicken. Either sautéed cutlets, roasted whole chicken, a store-bought rotissierie bird or baked breast sections. Good bread, sturdy enough to stand up to the juicy meat is essential. Wimpy bread won't make it here. Ciabatta, rye, French. Lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, mayo, mustard. drippings from the chicken.
      Put everything out and people can make their own.
      A simple, light potato or green salad or slaw on the side.

      1. An underrated but exceptionally good way to go would be a roast chicken and a salad. I think roast chicken is normally thought of as a heavy meal but in my opinion thats because its usually served with lots of potatoes or other starch and a pile of other sides. (All of which is good!) But some chicken and a good salad is very very easy to put together, looks impressive on the table and is almost certain to please everyone.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          I like the chicken and salad idea but I would also add some piping hot popovers just served with a good butter.

          1. re: Candy

            Yum, great idea to round out the meal. I may have to make this menu for dinner tomorrow night. (I'd make it tonight, but I don't have a chicken in the house.)

          2. re: ccbweb

            This was exactly what I was thinking, too. My folks and Grandfather recently came over for lunch, and instead of the usual sandwich platter, I made pan roasted chicken breasts (lots of rosemary, basil and garlic under the skin....seared until crisp and brown in a pan, then into a super hot oven to finish off for about 20 minutes....pan sauce made from lemon juice, chicken broth, dijon mustard, and a little butter). Served with a spinach salad and TJ's corn bread (the mix...really good). Nice and simple, but comforting and light......

          3. How about Chicken Waldorf Salad? Easy and elegant

            1. I second salad nicoise. Made with little potatoes, green beans and boiled eggs, it's a hearty lunch with nice bread or a tomato soup or both.

              Another option is a orzo salad with feta, black olives, red onions, parsley, grape tomatoes, nice oregano, lemon vinagrette.

              1. Parmesean and pancetta torte - it is terrific. It's from Giada's show on Food Network. I just made it again this past weekend for a lunchtime birthday party and served it with roasted asparagus and a wheatberry salad. But this time I took out the pancetta because we had a few vegetarians over, so I added a little extra parmesean to increase the flavor. Was still great.

                1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
                1 teaspoon olive oil
                4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
                2/3 cup whipping cream
                1/2 cup whole milk
                3 large eggs
                3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
                1/4 teaspoon salt
                1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                2/3 cup shredded Parmesan

                Position the rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
                Press the crust into a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the edges; set aside.

                Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels and drain. Beat the cream, milk, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and pancetta. Pour the cream mixture into the crust.

                Bake the torte until the filling puffs and is golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let the torte cool for 15 minutes. Cut the torte into 12 thin wedges and serve.

                1. what a about fritatta or quiche and a salad or mufaletta sandwiches with coleslaw