+
Home Cooking

Help Me Entertain?

Ama658 | Sep 26, 201303:48 AM     47

I'm not talking buffet for 40 or having a friend join us for dinner. I'm talking a nice, sit down meal. See, most of the time I'm either throwing a party with more people than I have chairs or I'm adding a friend or two to family meals. But.
Lately, I've been in a position to have people a little bit older or more sophisticated over. Some of them are food snobs, some are just more formal or are in a position that means breakfast for dinner or a taco bar just won't cut it. Either way, I love to feed people & I'm capable in the kitchen. But the idea of creating a cohesive meal without killing myself or breaking the bank...it scares me. I think because when it's a plated meal, or just a formal setting, I only get one chance to get it right. At a buffet or family meal, there are always second or third options if someone doesn't like something or a particular item doesn't 'flow' So, I spend a couple of days thinking, pondering, attempting to make flavours work.

So. What are your go-to menus? How do you get the flavours to work? Link up the courses so the meal "flows"? How do you serve a starter--and what do you serve?? So far all I manage is to throw some nuts and olives or cheese/crackers on the table. It's not totally formal, so serving dishes on the table are fine. But it seems like the starter/dessert should be plated...I just can't figure out how to do that! Also, does the main always need to be a meaty dish with sides? If not , what do you serve? Pasta? Stew? I keep defaulting to roast chicken, salad, and potatoes. How...exciting. I also can't invite people over twice with the same menu... ;)

A couple of notes:
-I don't have access to places like Trader joe's, Sam's Club, etc.
-I sometimes have to leave and come back during the dinner hours (so i prep, someone else serves/entertains, then I make it back), so pre-prepped meals are key.
-I have a very diverse group of friends. Dinner last week was American/Australian/British/Indo-Chinese. The week before added Indian or Peruvian.
-I get bored making the exact same dishes over & over--but I love to tweak stuff to make it work.

I enjoy having people over, but here I am a grown woman intimidated by inviting a couple of people over. Give me 50 people, I can do it. Give me 5 and I'm dying. Can you help?? :)

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

Bread Pudding Is the New Orleans Specialty You Shouldn't Overlook
Explainers

Bread Pudding Is the New Orleans Specialty You Shouldn't Overlook

by Caryn Ganeles | Food historian Susan Tucker included bread pudding as one of the definitive New Orleans foods in her...

A Vegetarian Coconut Curry That’s the Ultimate Leftovers Dish
Food News

A Vegetarian Coconut Curry That’s the Ultimate Leftovers Dish

by Alexis deBoschnek | Make room in your weeknight rotation for this vibrant vegan red curry. Loaded with just-tender cauliflower...

10 Trader Joe’s Products Nutritionists Swear By (Including Snacks!)
Guides

10 Trader Joe’s Products Nutritionists Swear By (Including Snacks!)

by Anna Hecht | It’s easy to beeline right for the peanut butter cups and frozen food at Trader Joe’s (not to mention...

Friday Fish Fry Recipes From Around the World for Lent
Recipe Round-Ups

Friday Fish Fry Recipes From Around the World for Lent

by Daphne Chen | Calling all seafood lovers! Whether or not you observe Lent, you'll want to try these delicious fried...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.