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My first dinner hosting the in-laws. Please help, I want to impress!!

Hi Friends!
Ok, next Sunday I'm hosting my new husband's parents, grandparents, and sibling's family for lunch. Very exciting!

I want the food to be amazing.

So far I am thinking Blanquette de Veau for the main dish (I have a recipe I made before and it was a big hit), with either mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or gratin...the mash or egg noodles would probably be better with the sauce in the meat though, right?

I want a veggie side, a salad, another side, and also to make my own bread.

Any suggestions?

For the bread maybe epicurious' Cracked Pepper Focaccia with Truffle Oil? I also made that before and was pleased with it...but I think I'd like to make a heartier bread.

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  1. Keep it simple! Don't stress yourself out. Don't prepare something that will elicit the question "What's this?"

    BTW, I've been married for 52 years and I'm an in-law.

    1. Have you checked on any food dislikes? I don't eat veal and don't like Truffle Oil...but then I'm not your in-laws. So i would focus on making things everyone liked and that allowed you out of the kitchen rather than trying to impress them.

      1. If you are going for impressive, I'd vote for the mashed potatoes over the egg noodles - anyone can make pasta, mashed potatoes is a bit easier to screw up. Many people have never even had homemade mashed potatoes. No matter what you make though, I think it is all about presentation. Good luck!!!!

        1. While I agree with the other posters about checking for food dislikes, I love Blanquette de Veau and I think it would be lovely at this time of year (if it's winter where you are, of course!). I would definitely do noodles with it (actually, I prefer spaetzle, but that may be too much last minute work for you given everything else you're trying to do). A gratin would just be too much creaminess IMO. Mashed potatoes would be nice but I'm a noodle girl myself ;)

          Anyway, as for sides/salads - are you going to serve this meal in courses? If so, you could do a salad to start, then a soup, then just one vegetable with your main. I would do a simpler bread too - something that will go with everything - either a classic baguette or the no-knead rustic boule. Sourdough might be nice also! What about dessert?

          1. Main deal is, don't stress, and last-minute stuff is not a good idea. I'd definitely lean towards noodles w/ the veal, but if you can buy fresh, so much the better. Now, this leans away from your OP and if you don't like this, I apologize in advance, but your inlaws want to visit with you. Your efforts to impress them will pale a bit if you're stuck in the kitchen. So, (deep breath) I'm going to suggest a marvelous roasted chicken; so simple, but everyone loves it and it's so easy and wonderful. Stuff it with lemons and start it breast-side down, covered, at a high heat, then after half an hour turn it over and remove the foil and lower the heat.
            Good luck. Your dinner will be wonderful no matter what you choose to serve, I'm quite sure.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mamachef

              I'm with mamachef (as usual...) -- splurge a little on a really good chicken -- (free range or organic -- or just Murray's because it's cold-air chilled and has great flavor) -- then roast it simply and well.

              You could just roast a variety of root vegetables under the chicken as it roasts (it's best if you put it on a rack) -- they absorb the juicy goodness from the chicken and are oh, so tasty.

              That and a salad -- and buy the bread at a good bakery.

              This is a Very Big Deal to meet the parents -- take as much stress out of the day as possible, because you'll have enough to obsess about without having to obsess over dinner, too.