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Dinner with friends - need ideas

We are having a few couples over for dinner in a few weeks (this is the first since our son was born 15 months ago!!). I need menu help, I love to cook, but would like a few ideas for a great dinner! What would you serve (or love to be served:) ) at a friend's house - including apps, dinner, sides, and drinks! I was thinking italian complete with wine, but I'm up for anything:) Thanks

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TarraJoy

Asked by TarraJoy at 10:30 PM on Sep. 26, 2010 in Food & Drink

Level 10 (381 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • When we have friends over I do a roast chicken, it's very good and because it cooks in the oven I'm not spending all of my time tending to dinner. For sides I roast carrots (on a sheet pan with a little olive oil and sea salt - they are so good) and make mashed potatoes with gravy from the roasting juices. It's very good. If you are wanting to go Italian, I would make the sauce ahead of time and have it ready to add to your cooked pasta. A salad is a simple side and of course garlic toast is easy. I would try a show stopper dessert, maybe something with Nutella since that is Italian. Dessert is the thing people remember most since it is the last thing they eat. (c: Good luck!

    scout_mom

    Answer by scout_mom at 10:42 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Here is my "go-to" menu:

    Appetizer:

    sliced proscuitto and salami
    provolone, parmesan, and pecorino/romano cheese
    sliced melon
    variety of crackers

    Salad:

    Mixed baby greens (I use about 6 cups), 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup candied walnuts (take 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup walnut pieces, combing in a sauce pan, stir on medium heat til the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. Turn the walnuts onto a greased cookie sheet and let cool), and 1/4 cup feta cheese. Toss together. In a glass jar mix 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar with about 3 tbsp olive oil. Whisk it together very well. Serve as the dressing on the salad individually.

    Lasagna:

    Prepare your sauce by browning 1 lb bulk turkey italian sausage with 1/2 of an onion, diced. Cook til the meat is done. Add in 2 jars of Prego Heart Healthy Traditional sauce (it's the best jar sauce I've found, tastes most like homemade) CONT
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 10:53 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • ( shhh this is a secret recipe dont tell anyone) depending on the number of guest you might have to convert i usually feed alot of people on a daily basis but the one that goes over the best is a simple to do spaghetti believe it or not what you will need is 2lbs of (bob evans) Italian sausage 64 0z of prego traditional sauce 1 onion chopped 1 bell pepper chopped 1 sm zucchini chopped 1 8oz can Pennsylvania dutch mushrooms 1 16oz heavy whipping cream and noodles combined everything but sauce cream and noodles fry with a teaspoon of evo oil until done throw into a bigger pot combine with the cream and sauce spread over cooked noodles top with freashly grated Parmesan as food sides make some butter and garlic bread sticks and make a salad all goes well with wine and you wont have to worry about anyone going home hungry
    veronicamw

    Answer by veronicamw at 10:54 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Add in 1 Tbsp Mrs Dash tomato basil seasoning, a pinch of ground cumin, and 1 tsp dried tarragon. Heat through. Meanwhile, boil your noodles til al dente. In a large bowl combine 30 oz tub of ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1 tub of whipped cream cheese (I think it's 8 oz), and 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Mix well with 2 tbsp italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp onion powder. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in a 9x13 pan. Lay 3 noodles, 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/3 of the sauce, 3 more noodles, rest of the cheese mixture, 1/2 of the sauce that's left, and 3 more noodles on top. Then spread the rest of the sauce over the noodles and top with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Bake at 400 til the cheese is browned and bubbly.

    Garlic bread:

    1 loaf fresh french bread
    1/2 cup of butter softened
    1 tbsp garlic powder
    1 tbsp italian seasoning
    Cut bread lengthwise. Mix other ingredients. Spread on bread. Bake til browned!
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 10:58 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • An excellent side for anymeal is an easy fruit mix. 1 large and one small container cool whip. 1 can mixed fruit, 2 cans- or one large container of mandarine oranges, 1 can pineapple tidbits, 1/2 bag of miniature marshmallows. Drain all of the juices from cans of fruit, mix and let set for a couple of hours. If you want, you can have a small bowl of sliiced snickers to add to this. Make sure to drain out as much juice as possible. This recipe is great. You can freeze any of the leftovers in indiividual serving size or whatever. For your meal, pasta or tacos are pretty easy meals to make for others as you can do most of the work ahead of tme. Have fun. !!
    LeJane

    Answer by LeJane at 10:58 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Another really easy thing is a roast chicken with roasted root veggies, like the person above me suggested. My favorite roast chicken recipe is super simple. Thinly slice a lemon, and wash some fresh sage leaves. Separate the skin gently from the chicken breast and leg. Place some lemon slices and sage leaves up under the skin of the legs and breasts. Rub the outside of the chicken with Mrs Dash Caribbean chicken seasoning. NO oil is necessary at all. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a 13x9 pan. Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the pan to keep the juices from burning. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake another hour to hour and a half til the juices run clear.

    Peel 2 parsnips, 2 medium turnips, 4 carrots and cut into 1" thick cubes/slices. Wash some baby red potatoes. Depending on size, cut into halves. Toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil and Italian seasoning. CONT
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 11:03 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Bake on a cookie sheet for about 20-30 minutes, til browned on the outside and soft on the inside. Immediately toss with a little bit of salt. Serve with good quality rolls.
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 11:04 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • AprilDJC, can I come over to your house for dinner? You have amazing recipes :) Thanks for sharing!!
    TarraJoy

    Comment by TarraJoy (original poster) at 11:05 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Have an anti-pasta salad. The above mentioned one is nicely planned out. (with the prosciutto)
    Main meal, I'd go with a marinated ahead meat. Either sliced ahead and deep pan broiled, or roasted in a dutch oven for turkey/roasts.
    Have some good white and red wine for choice value.
    Keep some soft Italian bread /real butter (softened)
    Place nice candles around/ good table cloth/ and some gourds
    Vegs. just make string beans, corn and some carrots, for colors of fall.
    For starch side>> go with mashed potatoes and cheese blended into it. ( melt 8 slices of good sharp deli cheddar)
    Keep a batch of gravy. ( and a boat/ ladle/server )
    Dessert??
    Brownies
    Ice cream
    walnuts/ butterscotch / whipped cream
    or make a cake with walnuts inside like a spiced season cake for autumn. Drizzle/ drench with a chocolate melted sauce. / add coconut flakes.

    coffeeyum

    Answer by coffeeyum at 11:10 PM on Sep. 26, 2010

  • Thanks :) I love to cook and I'm always trying new things. A really good italian dessert is panna cotta. Here's a good recipe for that (I love the allrecipes website lol)

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Panna-Cotta/Detail.aspx

    Also, if you go with something more like the roasted chicken, like a home-style type meal, here is a GREAT peach cobbler recipe:

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Southern-Peach-Cobbler-2/Detail.aspx
    AprilDJC

    Answer by AprilDJC at 12:27 AM on Sep. 27, 2010

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