Easy meal for 20 on father's day?
OK, it's probably not wise for my husband and I to be hosting father's day for our huge family when I'm 9+ months pregnant and ready to pop but we're the ones with the space and the lust for entertaining so like fools, we offered and now we've got 20 plus heading here on Sunday.
I want to keep things simple. OK, I actually don't have a choice given my limited mobility right now. Usually I go all out and make very fancy food. So I feel like I have a reputation to uphold.
Apps will be a cheese plate with grilled peppers, various olives, fresh veggies, and breads and crackers.
Hubby is manning the grill with steaks, burgers, sausages, and dogs so that will be the bulk of the meal.
What else should I make? I like to keep things on the healthier side so I was thinking a tossed salad, or pasta salad? Seems so boring though.
Any healthy EASY ideas that don't look or taste like they were easy?
Oh, and hubby's family is italian so I can't go too health nut on them...lol.
I'm voting for the coleslaw...easy to make ahead, tasty, appropriate for a BBQ. Real, made-from-scratch baked beans are not that hard (mostly unattended cooking in the oven) and the fact that you didn't rely on canned Bush's Best will uphold your reputation.
This might be the time to splurge on a hand-cranked ice cream freezer; you can make the ice cream base ahead of time, get the kiddies (or those who just act like kiddies) to do the cranking (combining entertainment w/food production), and you provide sundae-bar fixins.
I do an orzo salad with feta, red peppers, cucumbers, kalamata olives and scallions and fresh oregano which is easy to make and always a hit. I use bottled Greek-style salad dressing mixed with the orzo just after it's drained so it absorbs the flavor. Let the dressed orzo cool before adding the veggies and cheese. It looks very colorful and pretty.
I like the panzanella suggestion. Also, perhaps consider gazpacho given the weather, and the ease of letting your blender do the work.
You might also do a bruschetta with a tomato based topping or even an eggplant (storebought (gasp!)--esp TJ's) tapenade.
Love this http://www.recipezaar.com/228500 Quinoa w/ Latin Flavors
I also love a simple pasta salad made ahead, so it has time to marinate, w/ rigatoni, olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes, julienned sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano, salt and white pepper.... Simple and so good.
How about something like a green bean and potato salad? I don't usually follow a recipe but something along these lines:
I also love this one, roasted cauliflower and raddichio salad:
Both simple and can be done ahead of time.
Cooks Illustrated has a terrific buttermilk coleslaw that you can make two days ahead and it's still crispy and wonderful. I can paraphrase if you want. I just made it for a party and it was a big hit. Tabbouli (sp?) also tends to go over well at parties. I personally am always thrilled to see a tossed salad when there's a lot of heavier stuff, especially with a good homemade dressing. Good luck!
Here goes, from the July/August 2002 Cooks Illustrated, ingredients as published, directions my own.
1 pound (1/2 medium head) green or red cabbage, shredded fine
1 medium carrot, shredded [I usually skip this]
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley [can skip]
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground pepper
Sprinkle shredded cabbage with salt (aboiut 1 tsp or more per 1/2 head of cabbage) and let wilt in a colander for 1 to 4 hours (longer is better and don't skip this step, it is key). Rinse well, drain well, dry on paper towels. Meanwhile mix buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, mustard and pepper thoroughly (when making a multiple batch I use a blender) and stir in shallots and parsley. Pour over cabbage and carrots and mix well. Chill at least half an hour. I have made this 2 days in advance and it's still fresh and crispy as long as I do the longer wilting time.
This disappears fast; I usually use 2 whole heads of cabbage and quadruple everything else. You could probably shred cabbage in your food processor but I never have.
Finally made this yesterday and it was so good! I really like cabbage and the dressing didn't try to overpower the taste of it, which isn't always true with slaw recipes. It was fresh and light tasting. By the way, you aren't kidding right about it staying crispy. I had some for breakfast today and it was just as crunchy as it was last night at supper.
Thank you for a great recipe!
Forgot to mention that after rinsing the cabbage I put it back in the colander, gave it a squeeze, covered the top, set it over a bowl in the fridge and left. When I returned it had drained and didn't need much drying. Worked out fine.
A cucumber salad is easy and tasty. On Saturday we ate a salad of cucs, radishes, green onion, dressed with vinegar & oil, lime, sugar, s&p and served over greens and herbs from the garden.... very simple but pretty and tasty.
Sour cream cucmber & onion salad is not exactly creative maybe but tastes awfully good.
Panzanella, unless that's too much bread considering most of the meats will have buns.
(for me, "too much bread" just doesn't compute.)
Oh, what about Nigella's watermelon feta salad so many people here have posted about?
Good luck to you, with everything!