These videos signal to me a broadening of what a dinner party can be and who can host one. Many of us don’t have the time, money or space for a traditional evening, but that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying a carefully prepared meal in good company. So, create a tablescape all your own, hit up your favorite playlist, and whip up a meal, no matter how simple, that will reunite you with the people you care about. This menu gives you options: pick five courses or two, prepare a few days or the same day, and decide how much oven or stovetop space you’ll have. need. These choices are perfect for an autumn dinner, but you can always find more dishes from our recipe search according to your own theme or taste.
A dip is an easy appetizer that will feed a group but doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Serve this Herbed Goat Cheese Dip with lots of crackers, veggies and olives for a spread that will make a great first impression. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it until showtime. There is also Roasted Feta with Grapes and Olives, a great choice if you live somewhere a little cooler and want to greet your guests with a warm starter. Serve it with plenty of good quality crusty bread.
A hearty, filling salad is a must in my book, and this Fall Chopped Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette corresponds to the invoice. It’s a bright splash of fall colors on the dinner table, and can be easily customized to suit different diets and preferences. This Shaved Vegetable Salad with Creamy Cheese is another great option, especially if you want to do most things ahead of time. Prepare it a few hours before dinner and serve just before serving.
This recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Crumbled Chickpeas is a great opportunity to try one of our favorite culinary shortcuts, peeled and chopped squash. This will save you a lot of time (and time), so you can focus on assembling the chickpeas and dressing. All items can be made ahead, which is especially useful if your main course requires active cooking. Smoked White Beans and Brussels Sprouts are another great side option that uses the unbeatable combination of legumes and vegetables, this time with a spicy, smoky flavor.
These Maple mustard chicken thighs and red cabbage on a plate require only 20 minutes of active cooking time, which means you can put them in the oven when guests arrive and have a beautiful main dish ready half an hour later. For a vegetarian menu, try Creamy Pumpkin Sauce Pasta (top picture) served with sage and parmesan. The rich, creamy sauce gives it an even more substantial taste.
If you are looking for a simple yet beautiful last lesson, this Pear Honey Polenta Cake is hard to beat. Since it can be served in the cast iron skillet the cake is baked in, you can take it straight from the oven to the table, no cake stand needed. For an equally sophisticated no-bake dessert, there is Oranges with rosemary honey, ricotta and hazelnuts. Juicy oranges and creamy ricotta create a wonderful balance of lightness and richness.