Casual dinner for 8

Don't have company often but I've invited 3 couples for dinner (with my husband and me its 8). Need suggestions for a simple but delicious menu. Note: one diabetic in the group)

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 20, 2012

Are you doing the whole meal or are any of your guests bringing dishes?

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Food odyssea
Food odyssea September 20, 2012

I am making the entire meal.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 20, 2012

Budget?

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Food odyssea
Food odyssea September 20, 2012

Flexible. I want dinner to be delish but simple.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 20, 2012

I'll avoid starters because I always blow my entire budget there (cheese. charcuterie and wine). Mains: Silver Palate's Chicken Marbella - easy and budget-friendly, all over the internet but happy to email it to you; Absurdly Addictive Asparagus (here); another simple veg such as steamed broccoli or carrots with a little butter, salt, pepper, herbs; roasted potato wedges with garlic, or mashed potatoes, or rice; a green salad without any fancies. Someone should be bringing dessert besides you, but just in case, vanilla and choc ice cream on hand, choc sauce, raspberry sauce. And some nice teas and caff + decaff coffees to go with desert. And some nice chocolates.

Alternative to chicken would be pork tenderloin. Lots of good marinades for that.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 20, 2012

And good bread. And butter.

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Food odyssea
Food odyssea September 20, 2012

Thanks. Sounds perfect.

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Food odyssea
Food odyssea September 20, 2012

Thanks. Sounds perfect.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 20, 2012

You're welcome. Not terribly inspiring but easy to produce and tasty.

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Food odyssea
Food odyssea September 20, 2012

Yes and since my guests don't cook they will think its terrific.

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EmilyC
EmilyC September 20, 2012

I like doing one-pot braised dishes that you can make in advance and gently reheat. (Most braised dishes actually taste better on the second day.) You could do any number of things...a chicken tagine with couscous, braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, beef carbonnade served over buttered egg noodles, or even a slow-cooked bolognese with pasta. I think there's something so special about bringing a nice pot to the table and letting your guests help themselves. This approach also gets you out of the kitchen so you can actually enjoy the evening! For dessert, you could do baked apples or pears -- or if feeling slightly more ambitious, an apple crisp served with vanilla ice cream. Have fun!

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QueenSashy
QueenSashy September 20, 2012

I cannot agree more with EmilyC, tagines and braised dishes always make for a very successful dinner. I would go with lamb tagine. Also, Paula Wolfert has one of the most amazing dishes I ever had "Seven Hour Lamb". It is easy to prepare and with a salad, or fava beans makes a complete (and mouthwatering) meal. And for desert, how about floating island?

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 21, 2012

Diabetic? Pass on the noodles and go with brown ride but heavy on protein, veggies and have some sugar sub on hand. Go for beef stew, its getting chilly here in CT! Have a blast!

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healthierkitchen
healthierkitchen September 21, 2012

Come to think of it, chicken marbella (one of my long time favorites!) has brown sugar in it, but I think it's only a little bit. sexyLAMBCHOPx is right about a whole grain, but you could get whole wheat cous cous with doesn't taste any different from regular. I recently found a large size, like Israeli couscous, in whole grain and it was delicious with my lamb tagine style dish.

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lloreen
lloreen September 21, 2012

A lot of diabetics go low carb to regulate insulin. My mother, who is diabetic, really cannot eat rice,potatoes, or white flour. Pasta is pretty much out as a main course. White rice actually hits your blood faster than pure sugar! I had no idea...
A braise is a great idea.. love the idea for the lamb tagine. you can substitute quinoa for rice because it is lower carb, or bulgar, or look for a whole wheat couscous.
Dark chocolate is fine - the darker the better....as is fruit in moderation. Dark chocolate fondue with fruit for dipping? Chocolate dipped strawberries if they are still growing where you live...
My favorite low carb appetizer is cucumber rounds topped with smoked salmon, a dab of goat cheese or creme fraiche, and a sprig of dill. It is elegant, but super fast and easy.


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Kristen W.
Kristen W. September 22, 2012

If you do a Mexican-style braise you can use it as taco filling. If you use corn tortillas and omit rice as a side it could be a very diabetic-friendly meal.

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Pegeen
Pegeen September 23, 2012

Sorry, Food Odyssea! I neglected to consider the dietary aspects for a diabetic (Chicken Marbella would not be quite the same without the brown sugar savaory glaze, although there is not a lot of it in the dish.) I also love one-pot dishes. Dorie Greenspan's beef stew is very good, does not use potatoes. I had trouble finding the link on her site for you, but she was on Splendid Table a couple weeks ago and their link is nice because you get to hear Dorie tell a little story about the dish.
http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/listings/120908/
Whatever you serve, it's the company that makes it great... bon appetit!

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