21 answers

Dinner Party

I am having a gathering for about 10 very hard to please ladies.They are all very fancy eaters and gourmet cooks. I too like to cook, but with a new born and two other kids, i dont have the time in the kitchen i once did. I would love to cater but with the economy now i'd rather do it my self. My ? is, does anyone have any good, easy and gourmet recipes they would like to share with me to get me throught this evening. i want to display all my food on the kitchen island and have them eat buffet style. Finger foods, salads, pastas, whatever will work.
thanks in advance

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Featured Answers

I would ask the other ladies to contribute but, I believe in easy finger foods that don't require cooking.

1. Really good bread (Panera Bread works well) with Olive Oil for dipping with a little balsamic vinegar.
2. Toss mini-cucumber, grape tomato, red onion in italian dressing. If you'd like, you can throw in tortellini or feta cheese to be more substantial.
3. Costco has the most amazing artichoke and jalapeno dip. Serve heated or cold with crackers or bread.
4. Bow pasta (or penne) tossed in olive oil with grilled chicken (shrimp, if you are feeling really fancy) and capers. You can replace olive oil with store bought pesto or alfredo sauce.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

For a simple but impressive salad, I like to serve MIXED BABY GREENS with CHEVRE and ROASTED FIGS. I buy a package of the mixed greens to make it easy. Cut the figs in half, toss them gently with some olive oil (enough to coat them lightly) and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until they are bubbling around the edges and slightly browned. This salad is most impressive when served as individual portions, but can easily work in a buffet style. I would toss the greens in a large serving bowl with some kind of vinaigrette (something light or fruity would work best to avoid overpowering the figs, i.e. probably best to avoid balsamic or dijon-based vinaigrette). Then use a teaspoon to scatter dollops of the chevre around the top. Scatter the roasted figs on top of the greens as well. Finish it off with some freshly cracked pepper. The last time I made this I used some lavender-scented chevre that I found at Whole Foods. It was very subtle but AMAZING!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Really easy appetizer--take a wheel of brie and a container of those pillsbury cresent rolls. Don't break apart the cresent roll dough, just wrap around the brie pinching around to seal. Bake at 350 until golden (about 10-15 min) (you can brush with egg before you bake if you want a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into it or the brie will ooze out! Serve with sliced apples, strawberries, grapes. Crackers too if desired--but the cresent around the cheese is usually enough bread.
This looks really fancy but is (obviously) super easy. Happy entertaining! -J.

3 moms found this helpful

I would ask the other ladies to contribute but, I believe in easy finger foods that don't require cooking.

1. Really good bread (Panera Bread works well) with Olive Oil for dipping with a little balsamic vinegar.
2. Toss mini-cucumber, grape tomato, red onion in italian dressing. If you'd like, you can throw in tortellini or feta cheese to be more substantial.
3. Costco has the most amazing artichoke and jalapeno dip. Serve heated or cold with crackers or bread.
4. Bow pasta (or penne) tossed in olive oil with grilled chicken (shrimp, if you are feeling really fancy) and capers. You can replace olive oil with store bought pesto or alfredo sauce.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

A fast and easy appetizer I do is wrap some asparagus individually in pieces of proscuitto, throw them in a casserole dish, sprinkle on salt pepper some olive oil and shards of really good parmasen cheese (not the stuff in the can). ;) Bake for 15-20 minutes. Everyone says "it must have been so hard to make!" Good ingredients, even just a few, go a long way in gourmet food.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi E.:

I have a friend who has started a small catering business. Her prices are extremely reasonable and her food is excellent! If you choose to contact her, just tell her that H. referred you from Mamasource.com. Another Mamasource mom used her for a dinner party similar to the size of yours and was really pleased with the results. You can contact her here:

Kim Friend
____@____.com

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Here's a wonderful and easy recipe that they're all sure to love. I made up this recipe a couple of years ago and everyone that has tried it has loved it. You can double or triple it to fit your needs. Also, you can serve it with pasta instead of rice if you prefer.

Chicken in Red Sauce:

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 small onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup of pitted spanish olives
1 small zuccini chopped
seasoned salt
pepper
1 cup water
olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and filet all chicken breasts and season with seasoned salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1/2 cup of olive oil in a saute' pan. Add chicken breasts and brown on each side. Place browned chicken breasts in a glass cake pan or casserole dish. Add all other ingredients. Cover with foil and bake on 350 degrees for 90 minutes on top rack of oven. Remove from heat and serve over white rice.

Serves 4.

Enjoy!!

2 moms found this helpful

If these ladies are so hard to please, why are you turning yourself inside out to try to please 10 of them at once! With a newborn and the rest of your family,you should be able to have a simple dinner....

My no fail party food is: You Can Bake Ahead Chicken. Bake whole chickens or any chicken parts in 350 degree oven drizzled with olive oil (extra virgin is best)and garlic (or substitue something like Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb). When it is cooked, remove bones, cut into chunks put on a small amount of curry powder (to taste), or stir curry into gravy (make yourself or canned or you can use plain yoghurt with some pan drippings stirred in).If you do not like curry, substitute cinnamon...a different taste, but still yummy. Serve over couscous (you just use instant couscous... boil water, turn off the heat, throw in the couscous and cover... it will cook itself). If you don't like couscous, rice or orzo work too. Have little bowls with toppings... shredded coconut, chopped peanuts or chopped almonds,pine nuts, chopped pecans raisens, chopped dried apricots or prunes. Or you can just throw a handful of the toppings of your choice in the chicken last minute. The couscous can be cooked in 5 minutes, and has to be last minute, but the chicken can be cooked in advance and reheated, or kept warm in a crockpot or served straight from the oven, whatever is easiest. Even easier is to cook the chicken in a crock pot to begin with.
Raisens or apricots and peanuts or almonds make a more "Indian" flavor, Cinnamon and pine nuts or pecans make a more "Moroccan" flavor.

If your "hard to please" ladies do not like what you cook, you may want to reconsider your guest list for your next party.
best of luck, L.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi E.,
One of my favorite "fancy" finger foods is pretty easy...
Buy as many green grapes as you think your group will eat, a package of buorsin cheese and shelled pistachios. Cut the grapes in half, arrange them (curved side down) on a flat platter, as close together as you can, soften the cheese, pipe it onto the flat side of the grape and top with a pistachio. They taste really good too! If you don't have a piping bag, just cut the corner of a sandwich bag and use that.

You're girls could help by putting the nuts on each grape.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I've made this recipe and it's VERY easy (maybe 15 min prep time and then just throw it in the oven) and always a huge hit! It has a lot of unexpected cheeses in it so I'm guessing it should please discerning palates... Best of luck!
Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Directions
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Cook pasta like normal.

Combine all the ingredients except the penne in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

When pasta is cooked, place in a baking dish and cover with the rest of the mixed ingredients.

Bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes

This recipe is nice because you can prepare it ahead of time and just refrigerate and wait to bake it until right before the party.

2 moms found this helpful

Something super easy and delicious. Baguette toasts, topped with goat cheese. Then curl roasted red pepper around a bit of asparagus to put on top. Pop it in the oven just to warm. It looks festive, is super easy, and the flavors are very complementary. It's my favorite. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

appetizers using wonton wrappers are always fancy looking. i did one called "sausage flowers" from allrecipes.com and it was really good and looked fancy.

2 moms found this helpful

Google some recipes with "easy dinner party recipes" as your criteria! I do it a lot. Fancy but easy to find ready made: pesto (tossed on hot pasta or cooked on salmon... delicious! Costco sells enormous salmon filets that are really good. Just smear the pesto on and bake), sun dried tomatoes & goat cheese on toasts or any kind of bruschetta, antipasta platter, fruit "kabobs", roast beef with a horseradish cream. store bought artisan breads. If you have a Holiday Market near you they have good ready mades and breads. Decorate the platters with fresh flowers & herbs. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi E.,

I just made this last night. It was really pretty and delicious. There's a link for the web site at the bottom, too. I had a left over pumpkin without any paint and uncarved so it was a fun & easy recipe (5 kids - always in my kitchen - all under 11 so cooking is a big challenge right now!)

Good luck,

E.

Ingredients:
1 pumpkin (4 to 5 lb. size)
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 cup uncooked minute rice
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 can tomatoes (16 oz. size)
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click]

Directions:

Wash pumpkin and cut off the top, creating a lid. Scoop out seeds and stringy fibers. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add salt to butter and mix. Brush the inside of pumpkin with the butter mixture.

Chop onion and cut garlic into small pieces. Put onion, garlic, and ground beef in a large frying pan; fry over medium-low heat until meat is browned. Drain excess fat. Add rice, pepper, thyme, tomatoes, and beef broth to hamburger mixture. Mix well. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pumpkin in a shallow baking dish and rill pumpkin with ground beef mixture. Put lid on pumpkin and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin flesh is tender but firm. Remove lid from pumpkin and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve from pumpkin, scooping pumpkin pulp out with ground beef mixture.

You might want to use small individual pumpkins.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Halloween Pumpkin Stew serves/makes 6

2 moms found this helpful

I have gourmet tastes myself after working in fine dining for too many years. So I have worked to get some delicious tastes at home.
Here is a great roast recipe. The trick is to buy sirloin tip - don't get any other cut for this recipe and get a meat thermometer. Then you can slice it and they can take a slice. I spend no time in the chicken on this one and yet it comes out delicious!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Herb-Rubbed-Sirloin-Tip-Roas...

Quiche is also great and easy and you can find a frozen pie crust - Marie Calendar makes a great one - and no one will know the difference.

We love this pasta sauce recipe in our house!!!!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/you-wont-b...
I make it without the basil since I am not a huge fan and it is still AWESOME. If you do the chopping the day before it will take even less time to make.

I can't wait to see what others post! It makes me hungry...

2 moms found this helpful

another good question!

2 moms found this helpful

For a simple but impressive salad, I like to serve MIXED BABY GREENS with CHEVRE and ROASTED FIGS. I buy a package of the mixed greens to make it easy. Cut the figs in half, toss them gently with some olive oil (enough to coat them lightly) and spread them on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, until they are bubbling around the edges and slightly browned. This salad is most impressive when served as individual portions, but can easily work in a buffet style. I would toss the greens in a large serving bowl with some kind of vinaigrette (something light or fruity would work best to avoid overpowering the figs, i.e. probably best to avoid balsamic or dijon-based vinaigrette). Then use a teaspoon to scatter dollops of the chevre around the top. Scatter the roasted figs on top of the greens as well. Finish it off with some freshly cracked pepper. The last time I made this I used some lavender-scented chevre that I found at Whole Foods. It was very subtle but AMAZING!

2 moms found this helpful

A great salad is:

Spinach
Mandarin oranges (about one can, rise and pat dry)
Sliced strawberries
Feta cheese
Almonds
I use a srawberry vinegrete dressing.

2 moms found this helpful

Be true to yourself and do whatever is easiest for you. They should be able to understand that. Any real friend would.

Good luck!

S.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi E.,
I made something last night that was so easy and much to my surpirse my whole family (3 picky kids) loved.
I had bought a jar of pesto sauce at the grocery store about a week ago and I enjoyed it on bread but was trying to think of different dinner recipes so I baked some skinless boneless chicken breasts in the oven with olive oil and fresh garlic. Then boiled some thin spaghetti. In a frying pan sauteed a little onion more garlic in evoo. Then added the chicken and pesto sauce. I just used enough to coat the chicken. I then cut the chicken in smaller pieces and mixed with the pesto chicken mixture. You can always add more sauce to taste and parm cheese. It was really good and easy. Would be good served with salad bread and some white wine.

1 mom found this helpful

You should not be doing this and these people should know it! You have PLENTY on your plate without this. Perhaps this gathering could be a dish to pass event where you provide the entree and others fill in the gaps. With 10 guests, it should not be hard to do. I am sure that these people are aware that you have your hands VERY full and would be gracious about the change in plans. (This would be a great deal of work without any children and you have a toddler and a 3 month old!!!)

1 mom found this helpful

I am the queen of easy recipes that taste gourmet...if you'd like a few, send me a message and I'll write them out for you!

I think these ladies should be grateful no matter what you feed them. I am a mom of 3, as well, and I know if I were invited to another mom's home to be fed and entertained without being asked to contribute...I'd be happy with PB & J! Seriously!

Good luck!
~L.

1 mom found this helpful

super super easy.....a baked calzone that you slice into individual "sandwiches"
get the refrigerated pizza dough.
lunch meat of your choice ( I use ham and turkey from the deli)
flavored cream cheese spread...like garlic something
a jar of sweet red peppers
cheese of your choice.
***here's the good part...you make the way you want...
turkey, avacados, sprouts....
chicken, swiss, brocolli
pastrami, ham, provolone
ANYTHIGNG is possible
anyway...you unroll the dough..and make sure it's laid flat...
spread a layer of the cream cheese down the center...don't touch any edges...start an inch or so from the top, and end that far from the bottom too.
layer on the lunch meat, put whatever "extras" you are using on top of the meat (red peppers, olives, onion, etc)
put the cheese on top of that.
now...the sides of the dough...you should have a few inches on each side left...
take a knife, and cut it into strips.
then take the strips and criss cross them over the center (to seal it all shut) fold the top and bottom inch that you left down too.
after it's all "closed up"
brush a beated egg over the top and sprinkle with a little bit of garlic powder, paremsen and parsley
bake until golden.
slice into strips...serve with a fancy dipping sauce if you'd like.

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