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What to have for a company holiday dinner

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I'm having a group of my husbands coworkers over for dinner and have no idea what to serve them! They range from McDonalds addicts to a trained chef, I seem to be stuck without an idea. I love to cook and do a lot of it but I'm looking for something that can be basically prepared ahead of time so I have time to spend with the guest. I'd like something special since this will be the company holiday party. Any ideas??

Thank you

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  1. Beef, It's what's for dinner.


    1. I think you need to head into the mainstream for this motley crew. How about mirepoix/stock used to braise short ribs? You can make it the day before and re-heat. Toasted garlic mashed potatoes, something green and semi-crispy; salad after; and a pretty rich dessert.
      If you need a recipe, I'm findable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mamachef

        I agree - a classic stew or a braise is good. Boeuf bourguignon and Coq au Vin are classics. A roast is good too. My go to dinner party is a standing rib roast with a dijon and herb crust - I serve it with potatoes flavored with chevre and herbes de provence, a veggie and a salad.

      2. I'd go with an international menu, both to make an impression and to cheat with the time issue.

        Serve sorrel drinks when they arrive. It's cold, so it can be made waaay ahead and is a nice change of pace from eggnog.

        Vegetarian Pozole. Spicy stew for those that like spice. Stew, so you can make hours ahead.

        Cold soba. Easy to make ahead of time and you can serve it family style so you only have to deal with 3 plates (soba, tsuyu, and nori/vegetables). It's also a second vegetarian dish!

        KFC chicken. It's a Japanese thing. The fast food folks will love it and it shows you have a sense of humor. Best of all, you don't have to cook it! But for the serious meat eater...

        Standing rib roast. To me, the greatest way to serve meat. Some time will be needed to carve it, but the oven does most of the work. As a bonus, you get yorkshire pudding and a side of roasted root vegetables.

        End with a bûche de Noël. Awesome sponge cake that you can make the day before.

        So, you've got a Holiday drink, a soup/stew, a cold noodle dish, a no-work fried chicken, an awesome beef dish and a log cake. You can cook the roast early and let the oven hold it for about an hour. That way you only have to leave the guests for the carving and plating. Heck, if you have a small table you can move in, bring the whole roast and carve it in front of the guests to get their mouths watering.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ediblover

          If you've ever had it, I would serve Glögi (spiced mulled wine) which is so wonderful when your guests arrive. You can make it up ahead of time and it will make your house just smell of holidays. Had this in Helsinki one Christmas and was hooked!


        2. How about a roasted beef(filet if on sale would be perfect), cooked before then sliced, plattered and served room temp with sauces on the side,"horsersdish,mushrooms bourgionne...ect. I just recently served crash potatos to my guest with great reviews Google you will find the recipe. Your "micky d" friends will love them and your chef friends may share with us a better technique. Have fun with your friends!

          1. Questions....

            How Many Guests
            Plated and Served or Buffet
            What Region of the Country Are You From
            Ethnic Themed or Not,

            1. I liked MamaChef's suggestions on the side dishes, but I would add a simple cream soup - like mushroom - and would rather have cornish game hens. They look so nice on the plate and seem kind of fancy but are so easy.

              1. When I am in a quandry like this, I bake a big Virginia Ham. Ina Garten has a great recipe.
                A nice big green salad can be made ahead, along with a potato gratin that can be made ahead and reheated. Simple, roasted veggies and voila. Should cover all of your bases.

                1. I second beef and the ham. I would do an eye of round roast, slice it cold and put on crusty rolls served with a hearty mustard and pickles. I would do ham biscuits (I'm from the south so anytime there is a gathering, you have to have ham biscuits). My sides would be potato salad and a broccoli rice casserole. All of this can be done ahead of time.

                  1. I make this beef tenderloin quite a bit
                    I make the sauce ahead of time, just adding the pan juices at the end. It cooks perfectly at the temperature recommended.

                    I serve it with either small boiled parsleyed potatoes or crunchy oven roasted potatoes, and whatever vegs look good. I'm partial to sauteed grape tomatoes (Ina Garten) or oven roasted peppers and something green.

                    Something light and lemony or a beautiful pavlova for dessert.

                    1. Before I planned a menu I'd get DH to find out if his co-workers have any allergies or religious observances that prevent them from eating gluten, shellfish, pork, etc.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: E_M

                        You are a very thoughtful hostess!
                        I make my 7 cheese mac and cheese without eggs. Basic bechemel, add 7 cheeses to bechemel, add slightly undercooked macaroni, and mix until pasta is well coated. You can do this a night (or two) before, and put it in an oven-safe pan. The next day, as your roasting or cooking your protein, top it with some cheddar cheese (I like extra sharp) and throw it in for an hour or so until it heats up. Your McDonald's friend will love mac and cheese and your chef will be impressed with the flavor combination of cheeses. Use any 7 cheeses you like. I usually use extra sharp cheddar, Monterrey jack, Parm, Fontina, Greyuere/Swiss, colby, and Asadero.
                        I would try a corn casserole, too. Super easy (just a few ingredients), but tasty.