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Easy but impressive summer dinner menu needed. Must suite kids & adults. Fully make-ahead dishes only. Ideas?

We are having a family over for dinner, along with our family. I don't want to be cooking once they arrive; I want to do everything in advance and just put it out once they arrive. Shouldn't be too time-intensive. 4 kids & 4 adults. Ideas?

asked by roryrabbitfield over 3 years ago
7 answers 2060 views
added over 3 years ago

I just answered 'carnitas taco bar' to another post so I'll just repeat it here. The carnitas can be made ahead of time and just warmed slightly or brought to room temp. Serve with crumbled cotija, pickled onions/peppers, avocado and salad.

added over 3 years ago

I have done something similar with grilled fish tacos. If anyone does not like fish, you can grill 1 chicken breast at the same time. Serve with cabbage/cilantro slaw, pickled onions, avocados, fresh salsa (pico de gallo), and crema (or 1/2 mayo, 1/2 sour cream mixture thinned with a little lemon juice to be easily pourable). Cookies and sorbet are always hits for desert.

added over 3 years ago

Mediterranean dinner. To be made at home: Grilled and sliced leg of lamb served at room temp (grilled that morning or even the night before), tomato and cucumber salad, tzatziki. Pick up at store: pita, olives, hummus. All that needs to be done when guests arrive is plate and serve!

added over 3 years ago

Taco Salad Bar - Everything can be made ahead and people put on their own toppings. A big bowl of greens. Bowls protein of chicken, fish, pork or whatever you like. Bowls of olives, cucumbers, carrots, onions, grated cheese, salsa, tortilla chips, guacamole, corn or whatever else you like. Have done this twice in the last three weeks with great success.

added over 3 years ago

No cook pasta sauce. Chop tomatoes and mince garlic and torn basil. Marinate with a good helping of olive oil, salt and pepper. I usually toss this over hot pasta, adding diced fresh mozzarella and a good handful of Parmesan. However, it is equally good served at room temperature. The olive oil and the juices from your very ripe hopefully heirloom tomatoes make the 'sauce' Simple but delicious.

You can add a ratatouille, made ahead, served room temp and a frittata, (sausage and spinach?) served cold or room temp with french bread for a meal. Then make peach crumble for dessert and you will satisfy everyone with seasonal ripe ingredients.