Oddly, as much as I cook, I seldom have sit-down dinners of a friendly-formal nature, if you know what I mean. That said, I would say (not wishing to seem vain) that I'm a pretty advanced home cook and have plenty of equipment.
I'm having people over in two days, and am oddly stuck in thoughts about what to make. I know many preps are better made a day ahead, which means I'd have to make it tomorrow. The only dietary restriction is that one person is allergic to duck. I will welcome ideas anyone might have on short notice as I consider what to make.
I've thought of making pizzas, which I do very well, but they do tend to occupy me too much in last minute fashion for this sort of gathering. So I'm thinking something less work-intensive while the guests are there.
One guest is planning to bring artichokes to cook here. The others are bringing the dessert. So this is mainly about main and sides.
Keep in mind that I'm in the American midwest, so Summer stuff would be a stretch. But I have three types of grills, including a smoker, and finally the weather has made outdoor cooking imaginable, although not outdoor eating yet.