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Dinner Party for 20

What are your best ideas or an easy, but yummy make-ahead dinner for 20??

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  1. Anything braised would be good- boeuf bourginon, coq au vin, braised short ribs. Can be be made entirely in advance and reheated.

    1. Could you offer more detail? Is it sit-down at one table or casual buffet and all over the place? Do you want multiple main course options? Vegetarian? And do you like certain kinds of equipment (smoker, grill, crockpot)?

      For make-ahead, I think first of lasagna; various casserole options; chili; and beef stew. But you have to play to your tastes and equipment and space.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bada Bing

        I am doing a buffet... I am thinking along the lines of a simple, but really delicious meal, rather than a buffet with a lot of different things going on. I've just never cooked for this many before. And since people won't be sitting at a table, I feel like that plays into what I serve... ie, nothing complicated to eat.

      2. Ceasar salad, herbed pork loin, Potato Gratin and roasted geen beans. The beans cook while the pork and potatoes rest. Everything can be prepped before dinner and you can enjoy your guests. I also found a recipe for butternut squash gratin with blue cheese that was a hit, if you prefer squash over potato. Both are equally good. Enjoy your party.

        1. A large roast, of beef, turkey, leg of lamb or even ham works well at buffets. Some can even be served at room temp, like a beef tenderloin. You can have biscuits, pita bread, and other accompaniments that go along with it as sides.

          Most roasts can be done ahead and reheated, after slicing as well. Large trays of macaroni, lasagne, enchiladas and the like are also great to make ahead, then just heat up on the day of. Having a warming tray is great in these situations as well.

          Large bowls of green and fruit salads always seem to go over big, too. And you can even do bars, like a taco bar, or baked potato bar, with all the fixings set out, like a crock pot of baked beans or chili to go with it. It mainly just takes some organization to pull it off. Good luck, and let me know if you need any specific recipes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Phurstluv

            I don't think there's any type of meat or poultry roast that does not suffer when reheated. The flavor changes for the worse. Better to let it come to room temperature, then put hot gravy over it. Also, in this case, where people will not be seated around a table, it would be better to avoid foods that require the diner to cut them with a knife.

          2. What's your budget? Meat, fish or sea foods? Anything you want to stay away from? Is there a theme?