My friend will be arriving on Tuesday. I am having a luncheon in her honor on Thursday. I would like to do something simple so I can enjoy her visit and not get flustered. Thanks for any ideas
You can make soup ahead of time, have a salad cut up ready for a dressing, and have a dessert ahead of time.
Quiche can be made ahead.
Make your favorite pasta sauce, have a salad ready to go. All you have to do is boil water for the pasta.
Ditto the soup idea, even if it's just a small cup as a starter. Crepes can be made ahead, stacked with wax paper or parchment between them. Spinach crepes with creamy crab or shrimp filling. Curry crepes with creamy chicken and petit pois. Plain crepes with ratatouille. Fillings can be made the day before, then fill and roll, pop in the oven to heat through 20-30 minutes while you're all sipping soup. Bought gelato if you have a good source in town and a crispy cookie.
Not sure what part of the country you're in... Here in SoCal it's still hot, so my mind goes to upscale salads.
I have had great success with luncheons and these three:
(I don't make sandwiches, I serve it in a bowl, though you could have mini sandwiches with tiny rolls
I attended a friend's luncheon for 20 people and she did it ahead and had a splendid time at the party.
Here is what she did and made.
Ina Garten's Shrimp Salad (made the day before)
Ina Garten's Chinese Chicken Salad (made with 2 rotisserie chickens)
Ina Garten's Panzanella (done early in the day)
Everything was a huge success. For appetizers and drinks she served roasted nuts and olives. She also had lots of proscecco.
For dessert, it was jam thumbprint cookies and Ina Garten's Cocoanut cupcakes.