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dinner party menu help

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

I'm serving 8 at my house next weekend. My dinner table only seats 4 so 4 people will be eating off the coffee table - so, things that you can serve in the kitchen and that people can eat easily, like out of bowls, tend to work better. I've got someone coming that doesn't generally eat pork, and someone coming that doesn't eat seafood. I'd also like something where I can do a lot of the work that afternoon so I'm able to hang out with everyone - so something that I can stick in the oven that cooks for a while, or that you prep in advance and then comes together quickly, would be ideal.

I don't want to go too simple too because I don't have some of these folks over too often, but I also don't want the dinner to get too out of hand $ wise.

Any ideas?

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  1. Here are a couple of options:

    1. Crab or shrimp bisque.

    http://ourhomeworks.wordpress.com/200...

    http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives...

    2. La Garbure Landaise - a French duck confit/savoy cabbage, bean soup. Special, easy to make ahead of time. There is a really good recipe in Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ourhomeworks

      what about something braised like beef short ribs or lamb shoulder, could easily be served in a bowl over potatoes or rice etc.

      there is a thread all about short ribs right now.

      I have recently started braising foods like chicken and beef and it is easy, and the flavors are wonderful and everything is so juicy and delicious. All the hard work is mostly done ahead of time.

    2. Osso buco and saffron risotto.

      1. Homemade chicken or turkey tettrazini with spinach, red onion & orange salad and grilled asparagus. You can prepare the casserole in advance, use all homemade ingredients (roasted poultry, bechamel sauce) or "outsource" the sauce or poultry. The asparagus could be served hot or at room temp. You can do this plated as a "knife & fork" supper or as a buffet.

        1. A hearty winter vegetable curry with hunks of crusty bread and a bitter greens salad? Or perhaps kale, white bean, and butternut squash soup with oven roasted radicchio wedges and balsamic reduction, again crusty bread and salad. Both are easy and can be prepped in advance. Just keep the curry or the soup in your slow cooker.

          1. Blanquette de veau? Too pricey? I love one-bowl meals, even for a party. I made a stuffed pasta dish once, but can't put my hands on the recipe. It was a ground chicken mixture piped into penne (I used my cookie gun) and baked in a cream sauce. Very bowl friendly.

            I like the curry ideas, too. There are lots of chicken renditions as well if you know your guests prefer meat.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nemo

              Wow! I'd forgotten about that stuffed pasta, but it's one of the best pasta dishes I've ever tried, period.

              Here's a link to the one I"ve tried:

              http://www.millikenandfeniger.com/new...

              1. re: btnfood

                Hey, btn, thanks for posting this recipe. I would trust any recipe from Mary Sue and Susan, but that one sounds particularly delicious, and based upon your high recommendation and my fond memory of whatever it was that I cooked, I need to try the milliken/feniger version this week.