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what's yr fave make-ahead dinner party dish (or quick)?

I'm pregnant and pretty tired right now, having some friends round on Sat eve, will just be 4 of us. Want to make something a bit special but ideally make ahead or quick.

Any suggestions? Not really in the mood for very rich food or red meat as it can make me nauseous so was thinking some amazing fish would be nice.

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  1. Congrats! I just went through the same thing (now dealing with cooking and a 1 month old) and was determined to still entertain. Are you avoiding shellfish? If not, a shrimp scampi would work.

    I'm actually not a big cooker of special fish (other than a salmon in martini sauce which you probably won't want to make). But one of my go to dinner party chicken dishes is chicken and artichokes. Easy and everyone likes. Saute chicken (cut into bite size pieces), then saute with artichoke hearts about 12 oz for every 1 lb of chicken. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and then squeeze aleomon or two over the whole thing. It takes only 10 min or so, s you dont need to worry about making ahead.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mickeygee

      thanks so much but I don't like artichokes! wish I did but I had to prep a lot of them when I was working in kitchens many years ago and it put me right off....

    2. Chicken is always good and this stuffed spinach chicken has the advantage of being both an entree plus vegetable. You only need to serve rice, noodles, or some kind of starch with it. you can actually prepare the dish about 75% of the way, refrigerate it and reheat for another 30 minutes the day of serving. It's always a big hit. I find that chicken breasts on the bone always have more flavor

      SPINACH STUFFED CHICKEN
      4 large chicken breast on the bone with skin
      1 pkg dry Knorr vegetable soup mix
      8 oz. cream cheese (can use light)
      1/2 cup sour cream (can use light)
      can of water chestnuts, chopped coarsely
      10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and WELL DRAINED
      salt, pepper, paprika and chopped garlic

      Using fingers, make pocket between skin and chicken flesh, leaving one side attached. Combine remaining ingredients to make stuffing. Place stuffing in prepared pocket, you may have some leftover stuffing. If you are careful not to contaminate with raw chicken juice, you can use this as dip with crackers. Season chicken with s&p, paprika and chopped garlic. Place in shallow, greased baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil, baste chicken with accumulated juices, roast uncovered another 20-30 minutes, until done.

      1. I've been itching to try this mustard baked fish. Seems to me you could prepare everything in the casserole dish ahead of time then throw in the oven 15 minutes before you want to eat. I bet you could roast some asparagus at the same time and service with a rice pilaf for a nice meal.

        http://projects.washingtonpost.com/re...

        1 Reply
        1. re: katecm

          I saw her make this and yr right, it does look good, tho quite rich! Will run by my husband and see what he thinks. He likes to spoil people when they come over ;-)

        2. Here's a recipe I make often; sometimes hours before dinner and I keep it in the fridge til it's almost time to bake. I serve over spinach saute or spaghetti squash, but you could use pasta as well:

          Shrimp, Tomatoes, & Feta Cheese

          1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined, medium size (I use larger ones) or larger
          6-8 oz. Aged Feta Cheese, crumbled (not just any feta, Mt. Vikos barrel aged or Dodoni, must be Greek, not French)
          6-8 Fresh campari tomatoes, cut into large chunks
          1/4 cup Pitted Kalamata olives
          3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
          3 Tbsp. Fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
          2 cloves Fresh garlic, chopped
          1 tsp. Oregano, dried
          1/2 tsp. Salt
          1/2 tsp. Black pepper, freshly ground
          Mix all the ingredients and place in a small baking casserole. Preheat oven and bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6 as an appetizer, serves 4 with pasta.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mcf

            I had a dish similar to this recently, it sounds wonderful! Like the idea of the olives too.

            1. re: kookiegoddess

              I toss in extra. :-) I modified the recipe from the Mt. Vikos web site... If you make it, you want to be sure the shrimp are well drained and blotted so the sauce isn't watery.

          2. my quick chicken dish is mayo chicken...
            chicken breast,mayo,parmesan cheese and bread crumbs..
            u coat the chicken breasts in mayo/cheese mix
            then sprinkle...(i usually use italian flavor breadcrumbs) with bread crumbs...then bake at 425 for about 20-30 mins or until the chicken is cooked
            i got it from hellmans..they call it parmesan crusted chicken
            but i usually use dukes mayo... :-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: srsone

              That reminds me of another very easy recipe for fish or scallops I haven't made in a while:

              This sounds pretty close to what I've made, also with a side of sauteed spinach and garlic.
              http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/2031...

              1. re: mcf

                that sounds good too...
                i hadnt thought about trying the same or similar mix on fish...
                ill have to try it..

            2. For an appetizer, there's a ridiculous easy crab dip I found on this board. I first made it just to see what would happen (not even thinking it would be that good!) and it was the first thing to be devoured - plate scraped clean:
              8 oz pkg of cream cheese (softened)

              1/4 c. mayo (you can use light)

              1 tsp. lemon juice

              1/4 c. finely chopped onion

              1 can crab meat (you can find this near the tuna can section)

              1/2 c. grated parmesan
              Blend cream cheese and mayo togethet until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread mixture in 9 inch pie plate or corningware. Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes until light browned and bubbly. Serve immediately. To reheat you can throw in microwave for a couple of seconds.

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Oracle

                I have a similar recipe from an old community cookbook that has been our family's favorite since I was a kid. Our recipe has a bit of horseradish (around 1 t.) instead of the parm and has you grate the onion instead of mince it. We top ours with sliced almonds and a sprinkle of paprika for a nice crunch. So yummy.

              2. I don't know if you've been following the Jamie Oliver COTM threads, but many of his books have fish recipes where fish and veg and herbs etc are all roasted together in a one tray which is very easy. The one I made was seabass with sliced potatoes, mushrooms and herbs, and a salsa verde. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7691...

                You could also try fish en papilotte, i.e. baked in paper parcels. You could try it with white wine, herbs and lemon, and serve with a tray of roasted veg, or go asian-inspired with ginger, lemongrass, chillies etc and serve with a stir-fry or a salad. The salad you couldmake ahead, and the rest you can stick in the oven and leave for a while.

                1 Reply
                1. re: gembellina

                  thanks, the JO suggestions you make are probably more what I am thinking of. Haven't been on CH for a while so will wander over to that thread and have a look!

                2. Osso buco alla Milanese, unless that doesn't pass the red meat test. Better if made a day ahead. Or for same day, fish stew of the bouillabase/cioppino variety, assuming shellfish is ok.