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Please Help! Dinner Tonight for 12!

Please help! I just found out that I need to make a dinner for the in-laws TONIGHT for 12... I don't have much time to shop, cook, and get home to clean too. I was thinking of baked potatoes (easy, cheap, and everyone can suit themselves with the toppings) and some oven roasted veggies, but I am lost for a main... pasta, ham, turkey, roast beef are all on the menu over the next few days, so those are out. Maybe a stuffed chicken breast or steak roulade? Any suggestions would be very welcome! I am trying to stay "plain" to suit many tastes and ages. THANK YOU! and Merry Christmas!

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  1. baked potatoes take a long time to cook though... and roulades involve prep and chop time.

    what about something like burgers or tacos, with an assortment of toppings,and a black bean soup to start. or a shrimp stir-fry, buy the veggies already chopped? even grilled cheese and tomato soup might be a nice homey meal. maybe onion soup, salad and quiche.

    people will probably be eating lots of complicated meals over the next few days. stick the k.i.s.s. principle and don't kill yourself.

    1. I would do a semi home made meal, probably Italian, using refrigerated stuffed pasta, and a quick homemade sauce and the oven roasted vegetables, If you can purchase good Italian sausages you can roast them too and throw them in the sauce. Italian bread and a quick salad would round out the meal.

      1. I was going to suggest a self-serve banh mi bar along with a variety of sides but that's not quite within the season. See what's available and already prepped at the grocer, but one thing that you could do so long as no one has a fish allergy is bake a whole salmon. Make a salt crust if you want or just do it simply, cover the head with some dill and pull the skin just before service.

        When do you smack the person who volunteered you in the first place?

        1 Reply
        1. re: wattacetti

          Both of these suggestions sound tasty, but a little time consuming.
          The salmon dish seems simple enough, but to do this for the first time two days before Xmas and under the gun sounds like torture to me.
          A simple braised chicken dish might work. Get thighs, bone in or not, and season well. Start with onions, add olives and/or tomato and go from there.
          This goes well over bulghur, rice or small pastas and is super easy. One pot cooking!
          Good luck, and I agree, you should get to smack SOMEONE for this predicament.

        2. If your local supermarket has pre-made stuffed chicken breasts (perhaps with spinach and goat cheese), that might be easiest - relieving you of a lot of prep time, as hotoynoodle said about the roulades. A simple pan-sear after seasoning, and then into the oven to finish cooking while you make a quick white wine sauce.

          1. Baked potatoes takes less than an hour in the oven to bake..and and you could pound out, stuff and pan sear roulades while they're cooking...I did roulades for 38 people a few weeks ago, the most time consuming is the pounding out of the meat, but you're only doing 12. I did mine with sirloin, stuffed with garlic & spinach, pan seared & a red wine reduction..It went over big & I got a lot of compliments...Serve with a simple salad. If you have at least an 1 1/2 hours (will take less but giving yourself extra), you can make this meal