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?



nutcakes July 27, 2012
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.
SKK July 27, 2012
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.
Darlene C. July 27, 2012
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!

Voted the Best Reply!

Benny July 26, 2012
Home made pizza! can be made ready to slip into an oven or onto a grill whenever you are ready.
ChefJune July 26, 2012
Grilled pizzas a re really fun in the summer. and if you've a mind to let them, the guests often enjoy putting their choice of toppings on them.
garlic&lemon July 25, 2012
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.
savorthis July 25, 2012
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.
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