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Birthday dinner for small party at my house

I've decided to make dinner at my house to celebrate my birthday before going out on the town. It will be a small dinner, probably about 6-8 people. Anyone have ideas for dinner that would be relatively cheap, tasty, and not take too much time to make? Something that can be prepared in advance is ideal. Thanks in advance.

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  1. What kinds of foods/flavors do you prefer? If it's your birthday, the menu should cater to your favorites!

    1. What kind of food do you like to make or eat? Anything that you're completely opposed to?

      7 Replies
      1. re: ElissaInPlaya

        I consider myself to be an adventurous eater...not all my friends are though. I know chicken is a bit boring but I think it would satisfy everyone. One requirement I forgot to mention is that it cannot have nuts in it, a friend is allergic (this might rule out any Thai dishes). I do like Greek, middle eastern, and indian cuisines. Ideas that I have been throwing around are some sort of Tex-mex (overdone but easy to execute) and maybe an italian dinner (I make my own pasta).

        1. re: AnjLM

          Starter: Shrimp ceviche with mango salsa, just marinate and chill.
          Entree: Grilled jerk chicken with coconut rice and collard greens.
          Dessert: Birthday cake! or butter-rum grilled pineapple with cinnamon ice cream.

          Starter 1: Baba ghannouj/hummus with homemade garlic pita chips
          Starter 2: Tarator soup
          Entree 1: Cumin roast chicken with roasted Moroccan carrots
          Entree 2: Chicken tagine with summer vegetable couscous
          Salad: Fattoush
          Dessert: Birthday cake! or halvah squares

          Starter: Grilled haloumi and veggies
          Entree: Greek chicken, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf
          Salad: Tzatziki salad
          Dessert: Birthday cake!

          Starter: Chicken tikka "buffalo wings"
          Entree1: Chicken makhani, lentils and garlic naan
          Entree2: Madhur Jaffrey's roast chicken, Gujerati green beans and saffron rice
          Entree3: Chicken biryani, dal, cumin potatoes
          Salad: Raita
          Dessert: Birthday cake! or cardamom panna cotta with burnt grapefruit segments

          1. re: JungMann

            Wow, thanks for the suggestions. These all look like great menus.

            1. re: JungMann

              Hi JungMann. Can you give the specifics on the tzatziki salad? I love tzatziki with basically anything so am curious about this dish. Is it just greens dressed with tzatziki, or something a bit more elevated?

              1. re: ArikaDawn

                Initially I was thinking of something more along the lines of chopping the cucumber larger, dehydrating them longer and adding more of them to the yogurt sauce to have a more substantial salad but now that you mention it, perhaps a salad of romaine, purslane, cucumbers, pickled onions, charred grape tomatoes, feta, topped with thinly sliced grilled lamb and a yogurt dressing might be deilcious.

                1. re: JungMann

                  It is delicious. I do something where I basically turn a gyro, not strictly just the tradtional accompaniments, into a salad. I use romaine, cucumbers, red onions, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, lamb, pepperonciini, feta and pita wedges served with a side of tzatziki. I like your idea of pickled onions and charred grape tomatoes to mix it up a bit.

                  1. re: ArikaDawn

                    Your salad sounds very delicious. I love pepperoncini, but haven't had it with yogurt before. Perhaps dried pita crisps to add some texture like in fattoush and a sprinkling of sumac might also perk up the salad. I do have to say I love a bit of char on my lamb and on the grape tomatoes to keep things interesting.

        2. I recently made the Chicken Marbella for a bday dinner on the recommendation of other Chowhounds. It comes from the Silver Palate cookbook. You can find it paraphrased here or online. It's simply divine - the savory and sweet flavors come together so nicely. You make it a day or 2 ahead and simply put it in a roasting pan. I served it with wild rice, but it would be fine with any kind of couscous, potato, etc. I also served a green salad. My family wasn't sure about the prunes, but tried it anyway and were then taking 2nds and 3rds!

          3 Replies
          1. re: amyvc

            I am one of the Chowhounds who suggests Chicken Marbella often. It's very easy and it's really delicious. I like it with couscous.

            http://www.recipezaar.com/82024

            1. re: amyvc

              And I second this amyvc. It is a huge hit always, and it is not so complicated or difficult, but always impresses. Love it. Good call!

              1. re: amyvc

                Yes, Chicken Marbella is just what I was going to suggest.
                You said easy and that can be assembled way ahead of time.
                Also, rum cake is my favorite Bday cake and that also is best made one or two days ahead.
                Go out and purchase some dips and cheese and crackers, toss a salad, tell everyone to bring a bottle and a few to bring a loaf of bread or ice cream/whipped cream and your done.