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do-ahead luncheon

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

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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




        1. Here's a link to Ina Garten's Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter. I've made it, and it's perfect for a do-ahead luncheon. Some nice bread, a glass of wine, and a simple dessert will round out the menu.

          4 Replies
          1. re: critter101

            this is exactly what I was going to suggest!

            1. re: milklady

              Thank you all so much for the wonderful ideas. Can you boil the potatoes for the nicoise platter day prior? Also can crepes be frozen?

              1. re: trvler

                I believe I did cook the potatoes one day ahead, but I steamed them, rather than boil. I find the skins stay smoother and don't tend to break or shrivel that way.

            2. 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.

              1. What a great idea. I haven't made the roasted shrimp salad yet but I think that would be great. I have made the coconut cupcakes and I think they can be frozen. I was planning on serving the prosecco because it is still warm enough in Atlanta. Thanks again.

                1 Reply
                1. re: trvler

                  Can you tell by my remembering every detail of the food how good that party really was? ; )

                  And easy to do, which is really what most people want. Ina Garten's recipes are nicely done. I make her Shrimp Salad all the time, but haven't tried the roasted shrimp one. I have heard positive feedback though.

                  Have fun!

                2. I saw the show when Ina made the roasted shrimp salad. I'd love to try that.