Happy Thursday to everyone – the last Thursday in October. Staying with the theme of last week – Keeping It Simple, today I want to talk about the main dish. Here are a few ideas on keeping a main dish simple and not too involved when you have family and/or friends over for lunch or dinner.
I recently read an email exchange between two co-workers, one of whom loves to entertain at her home. She gave couple of tips that I thought I would share. The first – and it is pretty obvious is – don’t try a new recipe out on your guests – unless you know they will support you no matter what! Also be prepared with a back up plan if you try a new recipe. I have found over the years, when I try a new recipe it always takes me longer than the “total prep/cook” time the recipe states. It can be disastrous if you are trying to time it with the arrival of your guests.
The second tip she gave was to buy the freshest whole roasted chickens from your local grocery store. I think they put the time the chickens were taken out of the oven on the package. She suggested that you cut up the chicken (breasts, thighs, legs, wings). Present the pieces on a serving platter (can be on a bed of lettuce), surrounded and interspersed with fresh herbs – sprigs of rosemary, thyme, parsley, or any other fresh herbs you have on hand. Drizzle some lemon juice over the top of the chicken pieces. Finish it off with sliced almonds sprinkled on top. The presentation will have your guests thinking you have been slaving in the kitchen for hours. Of course – depending on the number of people you are serving, that will determine how many chickens you will need to buy.
Along with that great idea – I always think if you can make something ahead of time, or have it in the oven or on the grill when your guests arrive – you now have more time to spend with family and friends and enjoy your hors d’oeuvres. The time of year and weather may also drive what you prepare. Some of my favorites are lasagna, chili, turkey, ham, any kind of chicken you can pop into the oven and a taco/burrito bar. With most of these main dishes you can prep and cook ahead of time, so all you have to do is pull the food out. A couple additional easy main dishes on the grill are burgers and brats, pork tenderloin, steaks, salmon, and skewers. The only problem is it takes the “griller” outside – aka my husband! Boy – does he make grilling delicious! Have you ever noticed – if one guy goes outside – all the guys seem to follow! I guess it is the same when all the women congregate in the kitchen!
Here is a link to Epicurious’ White Lasagna which is delicious https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/white-lasagne-100760 and the link to my favorite bolognese sauce for any type of lasagna or pasta – (you can make ahead). http://foodnouveau.com/recipes/how-tos/how-to-make-an-authentic-bolognese-sauce/ or Trader Joe’s has a great bolognese sauce and you just saved yourself 4 hours!!
Happy Planning! What’s your next party?!
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.” Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace