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Buffet Dinner Party Suggestions?

I am having 12 - 14 for dinner next weekend. Since my table won't hold that many I want to do a buffet that does not require knives. The age range is 1 - 70 with all adults except the 1 yo. I'm thinking of beef bourguinon(sp?), Ina Garten's chicken pot pie or paella. Paella usually requires a knife and shells etc. can be messy. I have dessert covered. It's the main course and the accompaniments that have me flummoxed. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I'd start with an easy appetizer that you can prepare ahead. The most popular is pigs in a blanket (liitle sausages wrapped in crescent roll dough) and belgian endive with a olive dip .

    You are right that you want to make a stewed dish that is not tempermental. Beef Bourguinion is a good choice. Paella is way too expensive and time consuming. I'd go with the beef . Serve it with a crusty bread and a simply tossed leafy green salad, It could be as simple as fresh leaf lettuce, bits of dried bread and fresh garlic with a vinegrette.

    Just keep it simple.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ditsyquoin

      Here's an idea - macaroni & cheese. I went to a retro dinner party and this was a big a hit with everyone. You could make two a classic and a "gourmet" version with more adult ingredients like stronger cheese, prosciutto or lobster. For sides a mixed green salad and either green beans with bacon and shallots or brussel sprouts with bacon and garlic.

      1. re: chai

        Hey chai,

        I was going to suggest a mac n cheese and retro is definately the way to go. I'm just wondering how big her sideboard is. If it's the firehouse, 3 varieties of mac will fit. I doubt that a bland version is needed for the one year old but it might be nice for elders-something easy to eat without stuff getting caught in your teeth.

    2. a good lasagna with great veggies, or just a hearty meat sauce...

      chili and cornbread with the usual toppings...

      or do something that is interactive but better without knives and silverware... do a burrito bar! [or a taco bar]

      for apps, i'd do something simple like toast crisps topped with melted cheese and maybe a sundried tomato piece. or spinach artichoke dip served with toasts triangles. you could also do little bited sized cubes of melon wrapped in prosciutto.

      1. My usual meal for this kind of dinner is an offering of coucous (often with apricots and almonds mixed in) a North African vegatable stew (mostly butternut squash, chickpeas and swiss chard flavored with cinnamon and other spices) and a chicken stew similar to but a tangine but not authentic morrocan. This covers vegetarians as well.
        I make the 2 stews ahead, and prepare the mix-ins for the coucous ahead . I have gone out for an event and come home with my guests and we are eating within minutes.
        I also serve a few french bistro non-lettuce style salads with it, A beet, a carrot and a celeric as these can be made ahead and do hold up well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Stuffed Monkey

          I'm currently planning a casual dinner party (about 25 people) and I like the idea of a Moroccan-type stew. My only hesitation is that I don't know everyone's tastes. Morocccan may be too adventurous for some. Do you have recipes for the Moroccan and non-Moroccan stews that you could point me to? Thanks!

        2. I'm doing exactly the same thing this coming Monday. I decided on a Boeuf Bourguinon with buttered noodles and peas. I'll have 12 for dinner, but 15 for drinks and hors d'oeuvres (three have to catch a train). I wanted to make a nibble sufficiently substantial to tide them over until they get home, so I'm going to make a pissaladiere. It's do-ahead finger food, can be cut small or large, will travel if they want to take some with them, and it's always very well received.

          1. Great suggestions so far. Love the chicken pot pie idea. If you do the beef bourguignon, suggest serving it over mashed potatoes.