I love a good dinner party because to me, food is all about who you share it with. I love to hear feedback on recipes or be inspired by the comments that friends and family have about my cooking. I also think that everything tastes better when it’s shared among those who are important to us. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to splash out on some high quality silver drinkware to really impress your guests!
Ideally, we should not be stuck slaving away in the kitchen while our guests enjoy our own party. A party is meant to be fun and relaxing for all, be it for the host or the guests. But cooking an entire menu or even some of it may prove tiresome to many; especially for the young people who have just entered the culture of hosting house parties. In such cases, relying on a catering delivery service might prove to be a smart choice.
However, if your guests are a fan of the food you cook and you want to keep that tradition intact, am presenting you with three elegant holiday dinner party menus filled with recipes that I have successfully used at dinner parties. I have found these recipes to be very conducive to allowing the chef time to mingle with their guests because they are full of a lot of “prep-ahead” steps so that you can make the most of your time with guests!
1. A Christmas Feast
This is a beautifully hearty meal for a Christmas Eve dinner or other holiday-themed dinner party! Smoky Chili Braised Beef with Cornbread Dumplings is one of my main “go-to” meals when I want to have a crazy-tasty but easy dinner party. It is prepped a few hours in advance of your party and then cooks for several hours, which means I can get ready while the beef is roasting, and the house smells simply delicious when I step out of the shower! For this menu, I would recommend preparing the cake the day before, and then prepping the mascarpone cream topping right after you put the beef in the pot to braise. The cream will keep in the fridge for up to 4 hours (though I’ve pushed it longer than that once or twice and it still tasted delish!).
Cocktail: Thyme and Apple Pisco Sours
Hors D’Oeuvres: Cheesy Prosciutto and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms
Dessert: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
2. A Glamorous Affair
Impress your friends with a glamorous New Years Eve affair! This menu features traditional flavor concepts such as a classic French 75 cocktail and charcuterie hors d’oeuvres. An oven roasted beet salad is paired with an entree of creamy goat cheese ravioli and roasted carrot soup – perfect for those colder months! The menu is rounded out by a chocolate molten lava cake (which should definitely be served with vanilla ice cream!). Prep your charcuterie and molten lava cakes (uncooked) the morning of the party and cover them with saran wrap for storage in the fridge. The goat cheese ravioli can also be made in advance, stored in the freezer, and cooked directly from the freezer to a pot of salted boiling water. The components of the beet salad can also be prepped in advance and plated a few minutes before serving.
Cocktail: French 75
Hors D’Oeuvres: The Ultimate Charcuterie
Dessert: Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
3. Thinking of Spring
My last menu is a bit lighter, which is perfect for Easter dinner parties to help usher in the spring months! Sweep away all of those deep red and green table decorations and replace them with uplifting pastels. This is the perfect time to use a polka dot wipe clean tablecloth to decorate your Easter dinner table with! Here we have a refreshing clementine cocktail paired with a simple crostini of goat cheese, roasted beets, and arugula. The salad is a fresh spinach salad paired with different types of fruits and a light champagne vinaigrette. The entree is still on the heartier side for a winter flavor profile, and is another “prep ahead and forget about it” type of dish: orecchiette with red wine veal sauce. The menu is finished off by a dessert of chocolate panna cotta that can be prepared ahead of time.
Cocktail: The Clementine Cocktail
Hors D’Oeuvres: Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini with Roasted Beets and Arugula
Now It’s Your Turn!
What are some of your favorite easy-to-assemble recipes for your own holiday dinner parties? Share with me by commenting below!