I'm having 2 couples for a weeknight dinner! I will like to cook something special and do a simple 3 or 4 course meal.
Any menu suggestions?
If you type in "make ahead" into the recipe search you will find a lot of recipes that can prepared in advance. Some dishes benefit in flavor from being cooked in advance. Do any of your guests have dietary restrictions? Are you in a wintry climate, because a cassoulet or other stew-type one-pot meal could be served with a salad and crusty bread. You could start with simple drinks/olives/nuts and end with a cheesy (as in cheese-based) dessert?
short ribs over polenta is one of the easiest dishes and it makes an incredible wow dish for guests.
The entree depends on a ton of things -- your preference, guest preferences, budget, prep time. I'd do a simple and light appetizer -- maybe just cheese and fruit -- that could be prepped well in advance; a salad that could be made ahead and dressed right before service; and then a dessert that's another make-ahead. I made a cherry pudding cake yesterday that was marvelous and could be made the night before; for presentation purposes, it'd look great in individual ramekins. Recipe is on the Pioneer Woman blog; search for cherry cake pudding. One caveat; the sauce is way too sweet for me. I'll cut the sugar in half next time.
Thanks everyone for the tips and suggestions! Everything sounds great!
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