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Menu ideas needed!!!!

Help fellow chowhounders.....I just found out friends are going to be in town and coming for lunch on Sunday. 7 adults total. Normally this would not be a problem, but I am working late tonight, and am gone Friday & Saturday. Any prep work will have to be done Saturday night/Sunday morning. I also have a 2 year old son who keeps me busy. So I would prefer to cook/prep most of the meal on Saturday night after he goes to bed. I am thinking a BBQ outside - but don't have the energy right now to think about it. PLEASE HELP!!! Kabobs? Grilled Beef tenderloin? Leg of Lamb? Main course, sides and dessert suggestions appreciated :) Thanks in advance. (Oh and I belong to a CSA and have an insane amount of heirloom tomatoes right now which I would love to use)

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  1. Well when I think of limited time and prep, I do NOT think kabobs! The larger and less prep of an item the better. I agree, a BBQ idea is great, with a marinated meat so nice. I woudl do the lamb myself.

    I would let freshness and simple rule; simply sliced wonderful fresh heirloom tomatoes, dressed with ground fresh salt, pepper and a drizzle of EVOO (Sorry but it does save typing), grilling veggies with the main course, and a summer trifle!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      What about a flank steaks marinated in a Korean marinade, rice done your favorite way, tomato, moz, basil salad?

      apps: Boiled shrimp w/cocktail and/or a mustard/mayo sauce, gourmet olive selection and marinated artichokes, marinated mushrooms.

      dessert: Ice cream with kahlua or fresh fruit drizzled with Triple Sec and cookies.

      Most of this could be done ahead or purchased.

      1. re: Quine

        What Quine says. Grill whatever meat you're comfortable doing and the simplest preparations of fresh summer vegetables. It's easier for you, plus fresh summer fare really doesn't need much help to be delicious...which means you have happy guests. The only thing I'd add is corn, is you've got good local stuff where you are. You can throw that on the grill too.

      2. I have done a greek marinated boneless leg of lamb on the BBQ slowly cooked and then I let it rest and sliced it. Served with pitas that were warmed on the BBQ, good tzatziki (I bought some good one), tomatoes, grilled eggplant and grilled zucchini and it was great. Lemony orzo salad would be great for this too. For dessert, how about some grilled fruit over the best ice cream you can find, or even a lemony loaf (good thread on that one) or pound cake with macerated fruits. Fruit and cheese platter would be good too.
        Grilled tenderloin (beef) and pork tenderloins are great too.
        Heirloom tomatoes plus EVOO and fresh basil on a platter, some crusty bread for mopping - yum.

        1. Definately use the tomatos as is, a little EVOO, fresh mozzerella, basil. Perfect.
          I've never grilled a leg of lamb, but if you feel confident then go for it.
          Otherwise, lamb kabobs can be easily assembled on Saturday and marinated overnight, I'm sure they'd be killer.
          Go with a simple salad. Even one that you buy from a deli and doctor up. You can always add to one that's premade.
          Simple cheese platters with pita chips as a starter.
          I agree with the fruit trifle idea. Fresh and people love them.

          1. MENU I

            As a main, perhaps a brisket or a roast chicken (Ina's 40 clove chicken)

            An Au Gratin Potato dish that can be pre-assembled and baked the day of.

            Grilled corn with chile-lime-cilantro butter.

            Spinach salad w/ figs, blue cheese, candied walnuts, sundried tomatoes, and balsamic vinegarette.

            Trifle for dessert or molten lava cakes from TJ's freezer section.

            MENU II

            Grilled polenta rounds (make polenta before and grill and broil on the day of with sundried tomato sauce, mozz and parm)


            Eggplant Parm or Lasagna

            Seasoned Whole Fish or Shrimp Scampi or Roasted Pork Loin

            Roasted Asparagus or Cauliflower w/ Jarlsberg Cheese


            1. There was an article in the Washington Post about cooking fish and vegetables on the grill in packets and it sounded interesting (and easy to do). In this heat, fish sounds much cooler than a heavy meat.


              1. I have a fantastic recipe for a butterflied leg of lamb with Moroccan spices that cooks up wonderfully and quickly on a grill.

                Menu I
                Drinks: Ginger mojitos, minted lemonade
                Appetizer: Italian sausage boureki (filo-wrapped sausage, feta and roasted peppers)
                Mains: Moroccan leg of lamb
                Sides: Stuffed tomatoes, tomato panzanella, roasted vegetable Israeli cous-cous
                Dessert: Cardamom panna cotta with grilled grapefruit segments
                The height on the boureki when served out of a square vase and the contrasting textures on the plate and the easy to prepare panna cotta make for a sure-to-impress, but secretly easy, menu.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JungMann


                  I'd love to have the boureki recipe. And actually the one for the panna cotta too if you have a second. Thanks!

                  1. re: JennyHunter

                    Epicurious originally posted these as sausage and feta triangles, but after hassling with 3 for about 10 minutes, I decided to place one heaping teaspoon of filling lengthwise and roll the phyllo into cigar shapes and cut in half. Before baking, I brushed the pastries with butter and sprinkled with brown mustard seeds. I served by placing the pastries vertically into a rectangular vase and yielded about 40 hors d'oeuvres that were gone in a flash.

                    For the panna cotta, take a basic panna cotta recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...) and add 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom. Alternatively you can take the seeds from 12 pods and steep them in the warm milk for about 5 minutes. Be sure to strain them out before adding the milk to the gelatin. I prefer to pour the mixture into separate ramekins. While the panne cotte are setting up, sprinkle grapefruit segments with brown sugar and grill them until the outside is caramelized. The bitter and sour are a great contrast to the warmth and sweetness of the cardamom. Alternatively you can streak a gastrique on the serving plate.

                2. Do a caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, EVOO & sherry wine vinegar. Can add scallions or avocado as well. Make dressing Sat. night when you prep.

                  Love the butterflied leg of lamb idea. Marinate leg when you prep.

                  Our family adores roasted corn on cob. You can clean corn, butter, season and wrap in foil when you prep.

                  Can make roasted ratatouille with peppers, eggplant, zuchinni, yellow squash, etc. Sat night and either re-heat or serve at room temp on Sun.

                  Cut up fruit salad ingredients, store separately day of prep OR ice whole watermelon

                  Too hot here to turn on oven, I would purchase a cake or dessert