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Oct 6, 2011 07:48 AM

Dinner for 20- 2 hours to cook it

Well, my beautiful bride is throwing our friends a going away party.. It was kind of an impromptu thing that she sent out while we were having a couple of drinks.. We thought it was one of those things where you invite 30 and 10 people show up.. However, we invited 30 and 20 people are showing, tonight, at 8, I get home from work at 6, tonight..

So, this morning, it all started to set in a little bit.. In terms of the seating, this is not a problem as we have more than enough seats for everyone, we also have enough plates, glasses and silverware, the problem lies in the fact that I have not started cooking anything..

So, my question is, does anyone have any quick dishes that go over well for a group...

As of right now, I am considering making this chickpea salad.. It's requires opening several cans of chickpeas, throwing in some Italian Tuna, mixing with red onions, parsley, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Next up, I was thinking of making a large pot of polenta, making a spicy sausage tomato sauce with some mussels... And a side of broccoli rabe and garlic..

Again, not married to any of these ideas, it's just the quickest thing i can think of..

Any suggestions would be appreciated..

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  1. I have a tortellini soup that is easy to prep and does not take a lot of time. It is nice served with some focacia, good cheese, sliced salami, olives, etc..

    2 Replies
    1. re: JEN10

      I just don't feel like making that many tortellini.. I can make about 70 ravioli in an hour using a simple stuffing of sweet potatoes, nutmeg and ricotta but, that is a whole process and will take all my time.

      1. re: Daniel76

        I don't make them, I purchase them and throw them into the soup. It is easy, brown Italian sausage, onions, and red bells, Add stock, tomatoes & herbs, simmer for an hourish, then add in sliced squash and tortellini. If you want details let me know.

    2. I'd be looking to the oven (roast chicken legs, several boneless pork roasts etc) or BBQ (cedar plank salmon) for ideas. Roast potatoes and/or roast veggies as well.

      Things which do not require a lot of effort to carve/serve and which doesn't easily overcook would also be important...anything that requires attention for large quantities of people don't work for me (like pasta). Look for bold flavours as well.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

        Happy Thanksgiving! I found this blog with several Thanksgiving menu ideas. Not sure how long it would take but then you might wanna check it out.

        1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

          Or a few curries - make a chicken one, beef or lamb and a vege, you can pretty much throw a lot in to a pot and leave them to simmer for a while whilst you concentrate on entertaining. Search google for some Madhur Jaffrey recipes. Serve with poppadoms, naan bread and relishes, maybe some big bowls of salads or even rocket and tomato should suffice.

        2. baked salmon would be quick, I know you said you were worried about pasta but you could make lasagna, just assemble and bake, chickpea tuna curry sounds good with polenta.... just make sure you have dessert, that would make me a happy guest:) Oh and a big salad would be easy to whip up and pass family style.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danionavenue


            Is a great quick recipe, add rice or quick risotto and a salad and you are good to go.

            Good luck!

          2. thanks for your suggestions.

            So,i am going to do a baked farfalle with pumpkin, a little cream, a little wine, ricotta and a little mozzarella..

            A braised beef dish.. like vegetables, wine, dried porcini, a little anchovy, served over polenta..

            Side of broccoli rabe..

            and star with the chickpea salad instead of tuna, use calamari.. a simple broiled calamari served with chickpeas, onions, parsley, garlic, dressing.

            Thanks for your help!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Daniel76

              I can get a decent braise done if I cut pieces small, but you won't have a lot of time to brown it or develop flavor. I think your sausage and polenta idea sounded lovely and will probably end up being a better-presented dish, since it doesn't WANT as much time as a braised beef.

              1. re: katecm

                damn, i know you are right.. ok, sausage and polenta with some clams or mussels.. it is..


                1. re: Daniel76

                  A spiral ham is always a crowd pleaser and no effort involved outside of heating. Hey, let us know how it goes.