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Dec 30, 2008 06:49 AM

simple-but-nice dinner menu help?

I will be having a dinner party this weekend. Love to cook, but have not entertained much in the past several years, so am feeling a bit nervous about cooking for 6 in my tiny apartment. I have confidence with veggies since I cook those a lot, but the proteins not so much. Want to keep this very simple and low-stress (doing as much ahead of time as possible), and prefer to avoid cream sauces and lots of cheese in the mains since I am using in the pre-dinner snacks and dessert.
Thinking goat cheese spread, marinated olives, marinated eggplant as beforehand nibbles, a ricotta cheesecake with berry sauce for dessert and have a big bunch of basil in the fridge begging to be made into pesto. These are my ideas so far:

1. Chicken breast medallions, (marinated, sauteed and served with pesto over them) roasted asparagus, white beans with arugula & cherry tomatoes scattered over the top, winter salad (fennel, endive, radish, frisee with lemon/olive oil dressing).

2. Shrimp risotto, cannelini bean puree, roasted asparagus, winter salad. I have never made risotto, or if I have it was over 10 years ago.

3. Fettuccini with pesto and shrimp, roasted asparagus, winter salad.

As you can see, leaning away from red meat, mostly because I don't have a lot of confidence cooking it correctly for guests since I rarely buy it. Also not so experienced with chicken but thought breast medallions would be simple and fast (plus no carving!). Like fish, but need to buy it tomorrow so it would have to go in the freezer for a few days, which I know can compromise the flavor and texture
Your thoughts appreciated!! :-)

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  1. I'd eliminate the risotto as a possibility if you want to do ahead and keep it simple and low-stress: these are concepts that are incompatible with risotto, IMO.