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Weeknight Dinner Party Challenge

Hello... this is my first post here. I have read many posts over the years and gained invaluable information! I am finally venturing into posting to get some much-needed advice. I am planning a dinner at home for my parents and my future in-laws to meet for the first time. Its going to be a weeknight, so I am looking for something I can make the night before, and then just heat up that day. But there are some added limitations: the in-laws keep semi-kosher, so no pork, shellfish, or meat + milk together. Also, they're not big fans of chicken. So the options are kind of...really limited. I have considered doing a veggie lasagna, or possibly a beef stew, like Marcella Hazan's beef with vegetables in red wine. But I'm not thrilled with either option. I'm wondering if chowhounders have any other suggestions? Many thanks.

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  1. You indicate "no shell fish", I would guess that leaves other fish as a possibility.
    Here's a recipe that is very close to one my wife prepares, and it's very good.

    http://www.food.com/recipe/cheesy-bak...

    Just make sure your fish is fresh ...

    1. Hmmm. Turkey Parmesan, and assemble it ahead of time?

      1 Reply
      1. re: jvanderh

        No meat and milk/dairy together.

      2. I would say there are two ways to go. Either plan a meal that's vegetarian or plan a meal that has no dairy. You should be able to find out from your husband if his parents are the meat at every meal type in which case you have your answer--no dairy. Are they the formal meal type--then maybe a pot roast rather than stew. Your options really are not that limited, you just need a clear idea of what they would be happiest eating and then do that. I see this as a time to be safe rather than adventurous....it's nerve wracking enough to have two sets of parents to dinner!

        1. Braised beef short ribs, which are both homey and elegant, would fill the bill--and they're even better when prepared a day or two ahead of the time.
          You can serve them w/mashed potatoes made w/chicken stock (or the actual potato cooking water, a technique used by the kosher sister of a friend).

          1 Reply
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            I was going to suggest osso bucco, but don't know how kosher veal shank is. The short ribs is an excellent idea. Any stew-like prep (bourguignon, pot au feu, oxtail, etc etc) works great done ahead, and as ncw points out, gets better the next day or so.
            Mashed or rice a nice side.

          2. Thank you for these ideas! The short ribs in particular sound terrific.

            1 Reply
            1. re: graphiteheart

              If you've been reading for some time, you might have come across jfood's short rib recipe. I just made it again for a dinner party, and had rave reviews! Here's the link:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6020...