Author Topic: What is your best/safest go-to menu?  (Read 1662 times)

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Softly Spoken

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What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« on: December 23, 2012, 09:53:03 PM »
Hi to all to would-be hosts/hostesses and guests here.  :)

I have never really hosted a party on my own, though I have been stuck in the kitchen for family holidays.  :P I also haven't attended that many parties, but when I do I want to be a good guest.

I have read so many posts here about food allergies, dietary restrictions and picky eaters. Maybe I'm over thinking and it isn't as hard as it seems, but if I were providing food for a party (hosting my own or bringing something to potluck), I would really want to make/bring something that as many people as possible could enjoy. I was wondering if anyone here has a dish they make or strategy they use that they have had good luck with. In your experience, what pleases the most people?

I know this is a big question and I'm sure there are a lot of factors I'm forgetting to put into the equation, but I would like a baseline "entertaining for dummies" sort of thing to build on for when I decide to be more social. ;D

What would you consider a 80-90% "foolproof" dish or dishes so that no one leaves a party hungry?
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jedikaiti

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 10:23:05 PM »
Bean Dip. It also has the bonus side effect of giving e-Hellions the giggles.  8)
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Deetee

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 11:16:27 PM »
Dinner party is tacos with lots and lots of toppings and a couple sides. Works for vegan through carnivore.  People assemble what they want and I can't think of any diet that it can't accomadate(short of medically restricted) with the right options.

 For party snacks veggies and dip , nuts, cheese, grapes are great

Basically, the less processed, the easier to feed people.

cheyne

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2012, 12:16:12 AM »
Enchiladas, beans, Mexican rice and a big green salad the first time someone comes over.  I make three different kinds of enchiladas; chicken, beef and cheese.  I have many recipes from my Mexican "mother" and love to serve authentic cuisine to people who have only eaten at Taco Bell or Chi-Chi's.

I make a mean lasagna with a mixed greens salad and garlic bread for a casual party (the lasagna can be made meat-free or with Italian sausage).

I don't know anyone who is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose intolerant.  I do have one dear friend who has type 2 diabetes, and I discuss the menu with him when I invite him over.  Most of my recipes can be changed-up with different ingredients if I would invite someone over with food issues. 

I will say that I would hesitate to invite a vegan for a meal as I don't have substitutes for butter, milk, cheese etc...nor do I have cookware that is separate for only non-animal product cooking.

SamiHami

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 12:26:35 AM »
I have one lone recipe for a wild rice casserole that seems to be universally loved and doesn't seem to interfere with allergies/special dietary restrictions. If you are interested, PM me and I will happily share the recipe with you!

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ebelie

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 02:05:17 AM »
I don't do big dinner parties, just a few people at a time.  Generally I text the general menu to them in advance to give them the opportunity to let me know about any new dietary restrictions. 

My go-to meal at the moment is mushroom and basil risotto.  I know I can cook it, it tastes good, it's filling, I can make it vegan or vegetarian, and I can throw in some bacon for the meat lovers.  If I fry the bacon in a separate pan I can even serve a vegan and a meat version at the same party with no cross contamination and no extra effort on my part. 

Also, I really like risotto.

Venus193

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 07:43:55 AM »
I make bean salad and a pasta and vegetable salad that most people take seconds of.  My deviled eggs are also popular.  The recipes are on this forum.

Dietary restrictions like for medical reasons or religion are taken into consideration along with allergies.  People who are such picky eaters you wonder what they do eat rather than what they don't are ignored.

cicero

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 08:53:47 AM »
depends on the ocassion and the crowd but i will usually do something like this:

(take into account that my house is kosher so that means that meals are either meat/chicken OR dairy. eggs can with either meal. Fish can go with either meal but we don't eat fish and meat/chicken in the same course/dish. we do eat fish with dairy. don't ask...)

starters: soup (vegetarian if there are vegetarians), or mezze (array of cooked and fresh veg and bean salads) with bread, crackers and rice cakes (if GF guests). we don't always do starters.

mains:
two types of main usually - let's say meatballs and some kind of roast chicken. if there are vegetarians then i will add a vegetable/bean type of main (bean/nut patties, bean/veg stew etc). sometimes we will just do a meal of grilled meats where i will do some on the electric grll and some in the oven (say wings or legs in BBQ sauce in the oven and chicken breast, hot dogs, burgers on the grill).

starches: whole grain couscous or brown basmatti rice. usually will add roast potatoes and sweet potatoes bec everyone loves that.

veg: the easiest is a big tray of 3-4 types of roast veg which i brush with olive oil/lemon/herbs and sprinkle with thick salt and garlic. this can be roasted in advance and served at room temp. I set them out on a serving platter all nice and neat and it looks very impressive even though it's five minutes work (also pretty cheap if you use in season veg). so you can do 3 different peppers, or peppers/fennel/eggplant slices/red onion/carrot etc.

dessert: tray of artistically set up sliced fruit, and my go to cake (i subsitute one cup of brewed coffee for the milk to keep it non dairy).

for a dairy/fish meal:

same type of starters
main would be salmon filet and brocolli/cheese "pie"
sides the same as above but i would add a vegetable/chickpea stew for vegans

dessert - cheesecake or and my favorite fudge brownies with the above-mentioned fruit.


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Winterlight

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 10:59:04 AM »
I don't do big dinner parties, just a few people at a time.  Generally I text the general menu to them in advance to give them the opportunity to let me know about any new dietary restrictions. 

My go-to meal at the moment is mushroom and basil risotto.  I know I can cook it, it tastes good, it's filling, I can make it vegan or vegetarian, and I can throw in some bacon for the meat lovers.  If I fry the bacon in a separate pan I can even serve a vegan and a meat version at the same party with no cross contamination and no extra effort on my part. 

Also, I really like risotto.

Could I get a recipe for this? It sounds yummy!
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MrsCrazyPete

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Re: What is your best/safest go-to menu?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 06:45:23 PM »
My go-to for formal-ish dinners is roasted pork loin. I use a dry rub and let it sit for about 8 hours before I roast it. I make this with crispy red skin roasted potatoes and a big green salad. I usually make garlic bread with it.

For a more casual dinner, I do lasagna, again with the big green salad and garlic bread.
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