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Dinner with old friends

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I'm having a group of 8 friends over for dinner. We all live in different cities, so I don't see them frequently. So I don't want to be in the kitchen while they are over!

Any recommendations for a large main course dish I can make before they arrive?

I'll put out cheese, crackers, good bread, and several salads. Just looking for a main to put out, that I can cook in advance. Everything buffet style.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I would do 2 types of lasagne. Maybe one with meat and then another either seafood or veggie. Easy to make ahead and doesn't keep you in the kitchen when your guesst are there.

    Two other things that come to mind would be fried chicken served at room temp with potato salad and a green salad or some type of delicious hearty stew that can slow cook until you are ready to serve.

    1. Not sure how fancy/high end you want to go but I just had a bunch of friends over last week (4 couples) and I made big pot roast. Simple, satisfying and delicious. Served with mashes potatoes and simple green salad. All can be made in advance and allows you to hang with friends than hover in the kitchen

      Couple of other options are:
      stuffed shells
      leg of lamb
      pork roast
      turkey breast (tho its kind of close to Thanksgiving)

      Another poplar buffet type meal in our house is a big pot of chili and then put out bowls of cheese, onions, sour cream, chopped jalepenos, etc. Add some corn bread and your are all set

      1 Reply
      1. re: foodieX2

        We almost always eat Chili like this, kind of a Taco Salad without the tacos. There should be a name for this, lots of our friends do it too.

      2. Short ribs/Buttered noodles
        Brisket sliced
        Corned beef, sliced (cole slaw for one salad)
        Chicken Cacciatore
        Chicken Marsala

        1. Coq au Vin
          Beef Stroganoff

          Oldies but goodies.

          1. I vote for the Short Ribs. I'm making some tomorrow with lots of onions and carrots, braised in dark beer. Will reheat and serve with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes on Sunday..

            1. I usually roast a chicken when I have a group of friends coming over. It's warm and comforting, but with a simple dish like that the focus is on the conversation instead of the food. Add some seasonal vegetables to the roasting pan (which you can prep in advance) and you've got a one-dish meal for a group.

              My favorite version is from the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook (roast chicken with lots of butter on a bed of carrots, parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas, if I recall correctly).

              1. Zuni's Mock Porchetta*; Julia's Coq au Vin; Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon; or Paula's Beef Stew** FYI - There are 671 ratings on the beef stew recipe giving it 5 of 5 stars. I've been meaning to fix it for a couple of weeks now, but haven't yet.

                1. I usually serve a roast of some kind (chicken, pork, beef) with roasted potatoes and a simple steamed vegetable for a group. I also like a nice green salad and great bread.

                  Simple to prep, and almost everything can be done ahead of time. The meat I choose depends on the preferences of those coming. Also, since its not a formal event, I'd serve everything either family or buffet style. I often set up a double- sided buffet on my kitchen island, then quickly transfer the dishes to the table once everyone has sat.