cheap dinner party for 6 adults
Some people are going to suggest doing a ceviche. I won't b/c a) I'm not that into it and b) I believe you should have pristinely fresh shellfish for it.
So, what to do with your shrimp? I like Mark Bittman's recipe for Shrimp with "Barbecue" Sauce. It's not really bbq sauce, and you don't even have to grill. And it's got only 4 ingredients that you probably already have: butter, worcestershire sauce, s & p, juice of one lemon. Basically you melt the butter, then add the shrimp & w. sauce. When shrimp are cooked, add s& fg pepper to taste. Serve with bread to sop up the sauce. A little messy, super easy but big on flavor.
Chicken breasts? Are they bone in with skin? Roast them after rubbing with some salt and letting them dry out a bit, they will be incredibly juicy with crispy skin. Roasted potatoes can go in the bottom of your roaster, along with other veggies, like red onion, red peppers, even olives and tomatoes towards the end, for a provencal type dish.
Boneless/skinless? You can do rollatini if you don't mind a little work, stuffing with all kinds of things like goat cheese & herbs, proscuitto, swiss & arugula, sun dried tomatoes, boursin cheese, the possibilities are endless. Secure with toothpicks. Let them set up in the fridge for a little bit before frying. Or dip in egg wash, and bread crumb and bake until browned and fillings oozes slightly. Or just pound them into cutlets, marinate in oil, white wine vinegar, garlic & thyme. Grill quickly over high heat, slice on the bias and serve over pasta, salad greens, rice, whatever you feel like. You can also stretch chicken breasts by slicing, sauteeing with wild & button mushrooms, reducing in a cream sauce, and tossing with fresh linguine or fettucine with lots of fresh chopped parsley.
That should get you thinking. If you want me to flesh out any of the above recipes for you, just let me know. Most important of all, cook what you like to eat. Have fun!
The shrimp idea sounds great.
I am working my way through all the recipes I have clipped from mags, and made a great, very easy chicken recipe this week. It used boneless, skinless breasts, but you could do it with bone in, skin on, or thighs even.
For 6 half breasts, combine 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2.5 Tbsp. chiplotle Tabasco sauce (which I had in my house only because one of my kids happened to buy it) and some salt. Marinate the chicken in 1/3 cup of that mixture for 15 minutes, reserving the rest. Add 2 tsp. honey to the reserved mixture.
Grill breasts, turning as needed, basting with reserved mixture toward the end.
This was really easy and good, and a little different.
I served it with some fresh corn, sauteed in a little butter. I also served it with some red quinoa for some color on the plate, but my kids weren't too thrilled about that. Some nice sliced tomatoes would be nice.
I don't know about you, but I'm of the generation that never had shrimp toasts -- and didn't realize how EXCELLENT they are. For a special treat, make the version known as "thousand corner shrimp balls" - essentially the shrimp paste made into balls, rolled in diced bread, then deep fried. I made the Gourmet cookbook version for a party a couple of years ago, and people inhaled them.
For the chicken, if it's skinless/boneless, how about spiedini? Or if you don't mind springing for the prosciutto, I find people love saltimbocca, and it has the extra virtue of being dead easy. (Shhh -- don't tell -- make it with a good dry thin-sliced deli ham and VERY few people will notice the difference).
If it's bone/skin-on, I'm with Phurstluv to roast those babies. Few things are more delicious.
Do a Paella!!! Get some sausage, rice and vegi's and away you go. Use the chicken chunked and then add the shrimp about 10 minutes before everything else is done. Nice easy one dish dinner.
Add some simple tapas and cheese course and you are golden.
Doing one myself for a group of eight Saturday night. Going to smoke the Costco chicken breasts before the event along with some good sausage.
grilled shrimp with rosemary and garlic on skewers, Dead easy, and everyone thinks they took forever. Marinate in olive oil, fresh rosemary, smashed garlic, a touch of lemon, s&P
Ina Garten has a great recipe for a roasted veg and orzo salad with feta and shrimp that can be served hot or cold and I have used grilled shrimp in it.
chicken - I agree roasted is wonderful, and juicy with crispy skin. You can slide some fresh herbs, or herbed goat cheese under the skin when you roast it if you want to make it a bit more upscale.
Or seeing as it is summer, why not make a really great Cobb Salad, with the roasted chicken. A cold dinner can be just the thing on a hot night. It makes for a wonderful one dish meal, paired with some great bread, or even some great flatbread.
Skewers of shrimp for an appetizer, and a great cobb salad for dinner would make me a happy guest. Finish with some grilled peaches and some vanilla ice cream.
I love your ideas! Sounds like he's feeding some guys, tho, and I've never met many guys that you give a salad, however many proteins it has in it , a la Cobb, one of my all time faves, that appreciates it and considers it "Dinner". But I'm with you, I would be a happy camper as well!!
Ok, now I reread it, and I confused it w/another dinner I was lining out for someone, this one is not for guys. Maybe they will ove the cobb idea - I know I do!
I have yet to have a guest go away less than satisfied with my Cobb Salad. I make it really luxurious with plenty of blue cheese, avacado and bacon. Most men will eat anything if it has cheese and bacon on it. Foodie or not. If the weather is like it has been - 90% humidity and hot, a cold supper is all I can manage.
You could also do gazpacho with grilled shrimp. makes a great first course. a great play of hot and cold in one dish,
you might try giada dl's chicken roman style--on the food network site. simple, fresh and might be served with pasta. depending on the quantity of shrimp, consider shrimp/zucchini fritters. this will stretch the shrimp supply if you don't have enuf to serve several whole shrimp to each eater--plus, they're seasonal and very good.