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Completing my friend holiday dinner party menu

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Hi everyone. I'm looking for some help rounding out the menu for an annual holiday get-together I host for a group of friends. We have a tradition of going to an afternoon theater event at a local museum, and then heading back to my place for a nice, but relaxing dinner. There are 4 couples -- 8 people total.

Last year I did roasted pork shoulder with a cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and greens. This year I would like to do something slightly less traditional for the holidays, and also a one-pot sort of deal that can cook beforehand. I'm wavering between a cioppino with monkfish, mussels, clams and shrimp and pasta jambalaya with chicken, ham and andouilli sausage (of course). Both are tried-and-true family recipes that I'm very confident with... I'm leaning toward the jambalaya simply because it's a bit less expensive to make.

Here's where I'm struggling: What sort of appetizer, side salad, and dessert to pair with either option? I have some obvious italian ideas that would work with the cioppino, but no ideas for the jambalaya. Help!

Thanks - Sarah

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  1. a nice new orleans bread pudding for dessert is what first came to mind. You cold probably make them in muffin tins and ahead of time (adding the hard sauce after heating them up).

    I would keep the app lite and maybe a brussel sprout salad might work for a side salad. or a simple spinach,shallot and apricot salad.

    1. for the jambalaya bread pudding, pecan browies would work or

      a tart:
      http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/be...

      2 Replies
      1. re: superfinespot

        I love the bread pudding idea, especially in muffin tins. Easy & delicious. I'm going to look for one with a nice bourbon glaze...

        1. re: SarahN

          I just did a savory bread pudding in muffin tins, just remember to adjust the timing. My recipe called for 45 min, I checked them at 30 min and they were done! see pics, I think dessert bread pudding would be fabulous this way.

           
           
      2. for dessert, i agree with the bread pudding recs. also think a nice pecan pie would work as well.

        for a side, i'd say do some collard greens... just with garlic and onions. bacon if you prefer.

        for a salad, maybe just a simple green salad with feta, cranberry and walnuts wtih a honey dijon, balsamic, and olive oil dressing...