Holiday EntertainingWhat to CookOne-Pot WondersHolidaysAppetizers

Have a Dinner Party With These Dishes—and Do Fewer Dishes, Too

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We paired up with Kohler to share dinner parties ideas where you'll spend more time at the table than doing dishes.

Yes, you can host a dinner party and actually attend—and no, this doesn't mean ordering takeout, prepping 5 days in advance, or requesting your guests eat off of paper plates. Here's the secret: Make dishes that require, well, fewer dishes—ones that can be assembled and the kitchen cleaned and dishes done while they're cooking.

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Photo by James Ransom

Start with an appetizer that doesn't require your guests to use any utensils except their fingers—like a rustic beet tart or mushroom pinwheels. For your main course (and side), consider a one-pot wonder and/or a casserole. They both give you enough time to clean those counters, grab a glass of wine, and start mingling with your guests. As the saying goes (okay, it's not a saying—yet): Fewer dishes, fewer problems.

Appetizers are best when eaten with your hands.

Rustic Beet Tart and Wilted Greens

Rustic Beet Tart and Wilted Greens by fatgirleating

Herbed Goat Cheese and Root Vegetable Galette

Herbed Goat Cheese and Root Vegetable Galette by Kendra Vaculin

Toasted Goat Cheese Crostini with Basil and Red Onion Jam

Toasted Goat Cheese Crostini with Basil and Red Onion Jam by Merrill Stubbs

Little Mushroom Pinwheels

Little Mushroom Pinwheels by inpatskitchen

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts by Kukla

Smashed Pea Guacamole with Cilantro, Ginger and Lime

Smashed Pea Guacamole with Cilantro, Ginger and Lime by thechocolatefig

Flaky Baked Samosas

Flaky Baked Samosas by Kendra Vaculin

Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries

Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries by TheRunawaySpoon

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade

Polenta Squares with Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade by Gena Hamshaw

Crudités with Feta Pistachio Dip

Crudités with Feta Pistachio Dip by Sara Jenkins

Whether it's a main course or a side dish, one pot is wonderful.

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One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf by deensiebat

Roasted Sausage, Chard, and Cannellini Beans

Roasted Sausage, Chard, and Cannellini Beans by EmilyC

Lacinato Kale Gratin

Lacinato Kale Gratin by Marian Bull

Southern Slow Cooker Choucroute

Southern Slow Cooker Choucroute by Nicholas Day

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Garlic

Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Garlic by Merrill Stubbs

One-Pot Pastalaya

One-Pot Pastalaya by inpatskitchen

Chicken with Caramelized Sumac Onions, Preserved Lemon, and Israeli Couscous

Chicken with Caramelized Sumac Onions, Preserved Lemon, a... by em-i-lis

Poor Me Chicken and Biscuits

Poor Me Chicken and Biscuits by Niknud

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup by foxeslovelemons

Short Rib and Pumpkin Chili

Short Rib and Pumpkin Chili by Pete

These main courses are are on a (casse)role—or made on a baking sheet.

Roasted Sausage with Broccoli and Fennel

Roasted Sausage with Broccoli and Fennel by EmilyC

Baking Sheet Macaroni and Cheese

Baking Sheet Macaroni and Cheese by Amanda Hesser

Mushroom, Kale, and Sausage Strata

Mushroom, Kale, and Sausage Strata by Kendra Vaculin

Chicken Tamale Pie

Chicken Tamale Pie by Kendra Vaculin

Macaroni-and-Cheese (and Broccoli) Casserole

Macaroni-and-Cheese (and Broccoli) Casserole by Nicholas Day

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash by Gena Hamshaw

How to Make Noodle Kugel Without a Recipe

How to Make Noodle Kugel Without a Recipe by Sarah Jampel

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Al Forno's Penne with Tomato, Cream, and Five Cheeses

Al Forno's Penne with Tomato, Cream, and Five Cheeses by Genius Recipes

What's your go-to, stress-free dinner party dish? Tell us in the comments below!

We've paired up with Kohler to share ideas for what to have on hand to throw dinner parties—and how to wipe up after them—during the holiday season. Follow along with our inspiration here.


Our magical menu genie will plan your holiay feast for you.