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Jan 27, 2008 12:33 PM

What’s your favorite menu to serve a party of 6??

Im looking for some new ideas- My brother and sister in-law come for dinner all the time and this time I would like to make something different- I was wondering if you would like to share your favorite menus for entertaining- We love all kinds of food- Italian, Middle Eastern, French, American, Eastern European, Indian etc. etc. Maybe a themed dinner?
Thanks in advanced!

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  1. This time of year I love to make a big pot of Cioppino... you can do so much ahead and then you're only in the kitchen for 15 minutes the night of.

    A side spinach mushroom salad with big homemade garlic croutons and a balsamic vinaigrette... and some nice crusty bread to sop up the soup.

    I can post my fool proof recipe if you like.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jennalynn

      I would like your Cioppino recipe, please. Thank you in advance! mary

      1. re: marycarol

        Here you all go. It usually gets eaten to the last lick.

        MY CIOPPINO - Should serve about 4 -6 depending on appetite.

        1 medium bulb of fennel... save the hairy fronds, lose the long stalks
        4 large garlic cloves, minced
        2 medium onions, finely chopped
        1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California bay leaf
        1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
        1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
        1 1/2 teaspoons salt
        1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
        2 tablespoons tomato paste
        1 1/2 cups white wine
        1 (28- to 32-oz) can crushed tomatoes
        1 cup bottled clam juice
        1 cup chicken broth

        The Fish! ... use what's on sale. Do NOT use salmon, tuna or swordfish (too oily).

        1 (1-lb) crab legs, precooked... if on sale
        18 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (1 1/2 lb) such as littlenecks, scrubbed or mussels
        1 lb skinless red snapper, cod or halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
        1 lb large shrimp whatever size you like, shelled (I used precooked frozen shrimp)
        You can also add calamari or scallops or Lobster!!! or almost anything.

        In a heavy dutch oven… If you have a mandoline, shave the fennel bulb very very thin. If not, use your knife skills to cut it very very thin.

        Cook fennel, garlic, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and red pepper flakes with salt and pepper in oil in an 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until onions and fennel are softened, about 5 minutes.

        Add bell pepper and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine and boil until reduced by about (almost) half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, clam juice, and broth and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. I usually add a tablespoon or two of sugar if the tomatoes are a little acidic.

        DONE! You can now put this in the fridge for up to two days.

        When you're ready for dinner, bring the "soup" up to a low boil and add the clams/mussels first... let them cook until just barely open. Add the fish and the shrimp and it should only take another 3–5 minutes. Garnish with parsley or cilantro if you like.

    2. I enjoy a nice pork loin with berry/balsamic reduction sauce. For a vegie, I enjoy combining my favorites with a nice shredded cheese, fav. herbs and a couple eggs (whipped), then rolling the mixture in several layers of phylo dough (little egg wash on the outside - browns up nice). When ready to serve, you just slice it - nice presentation. Then add a nice herbed brown rice or whole wheat coucous. With a simple salad with greens, strawberry's, almonds or walnuts and nice vinergarette. You're Good to go!!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti

        Just curious lexpatti about an egg wash on the outside of phyllo dough. I have only brushed on butter or olive oil. Have never heard of brushing on an egg wash. Is this on top of butter or olive oil?

        1. re: Deborah

          no, just egg wash - gives it a nice glazed finish - pretty! i sprinkle few herbs after the egg wash too

      2. I love Italian, and it's sooo easy I always fall back on it for a small dinner party. Lasagna, baked ziti, shrimp scampi, fettucine Alfredo, or chicken parmesan are all tried and true and afford a wealth of time with your guests. Add a green salad and some crusty bread and you're in business. The meal itself never has to be complicated since it's the time you are spending with those you've invited that matters. Good comfort food never goes wrong in my home...

        2 Replies
        1. re: diablo

          These are all such great meals! The Cioppino recipe would be great although I will have to whip it out at another party because i have some non seafood lovers- However please still post becasue we are seafood lovers! :) Thanks!!

          1. re: gastronomy

            will everyone eat chicken? cacciatore is a terrific filling winter meal that's easy to throw together for a crowd.

        2. Hi! Last night I made NY strips with "southern" sides.... yummy macaroni and cheese + collards! And while that was quite successful, my Coq au Vin seems to be the most requested (Julia Child's recipe). J'adore coq au vin!

          My Tenderloin steaks with cranberry sauce and Gorgonzola ( is requested almost as much.

          What do you make often for your dinner parties? I would like some new ideas myself (TY, Jennalynn for the Cioppino recipe!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tehama

            What brand of Port do you use in making this sauce? I want to try it, but was confused by too many choices and range of prices of Ports. Thank you in advance.

            1. re: marycarol

              Hi MaryCarol! I have never used an expensive bottle of port before for this recipe, but some of the ones that I have used off and on through the years that come to mind are Hardy's "Whiskers Blake"; Yulumba's "Clocktower"; and Penfolds "Special Club". I hope this helps. This recipe is a little indulgent, but yyyuuummmmm..... we do love it!

          2. For a dinner party this time of year, of course! Osso Bucco! It works well for a more formal setting, and for a group of friends thats fairly stress free. On the other hand, I love to also to make pizza. I love to make a couple of pizzas and serve it with a terrific salad and dessert for a fun evening. Or you can serve the salad on the pizza its wonderful!
            Beer, or wine works nicely.

            My other favorites would be Mexian and Greek, and that could range from Camarones Diabla, or Mousakka.