I’m looking for a fail-safe dinner recipe for entertaining company. It can be anything from seafood to vegetarian to beef. Just need to be tried and true!

0 Answers

  1. Teri Newman wrote on :

    Grilled rack of lamb with fresh asparagus, twice-baked potatoes and my famous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad finished with Key Lime pie to be an easy menu to make and has a big WOW factor. Lamb racks are very easy to do on the grill–just like a steak. Coat them with lemon pepper and rosemary. Cook till just pink and your guests will go nuts. Twice baked potatoes can be done very quickly by microwaving the spuds for the first baking. Cool them a bit, slice longways and gently scoop out the insides saving the skins. Mash with sour cream, butter, bacon bits and chives and stuff back into skins and bake until heated through and beginning to brown.
    In the salad use equal parts spinach, iceberg lettuce and mixed baby greens. Put each salad in a bowl and top with: toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, Craisins, bleu cheese, bacon bits, seasoned croutons and potato sticks. Top with the dressing of your choice. Key Lime pie is also stupid simple to make: 1 purchased graham crust, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup key lime juice and 4 egg yolks. Beat the yolks into the milk, add the juice and pour into shell. Bake 15 mins at 350 and chill till serving time. I don’t normally bake mine as I have been eating it unbaked my whole life–just mix and chill for 8 hours and it will set up from the chemical reaction between the lime juice and milk. It’s just a personal preference and I’ve never had a problem with using raw eggs in this–no one has ever gotten sick from it–but if you are worried about it, bake it. It will be firmer but the taste will be about the same.

  2. Loraine Alcorn wrote on :

    easy and fast never fail BBQ pork in crock pot – all you do is get some boneless pork chops that have a bit of fat on them so they are not dry add a bunch of rubbed sage and some poultry seasoning I like using a blend with rosemary,thyme,marjoram and course black pepper . than add some chopped onions, red pepper and green pepper and a bit of celery . let the pork cook on low in crock pot for about 7 to 8 hours . than add a bottle of honey BBQ sauce and cook for about 30 mins more . this should make the pork very tender and fall apart its a never fail favorite in my house

  3. Mary Montgomery wrote on :

    A brisket of beef is fool proof if you salt it two days in advance with Sea Salt and let stand wrapped in plastic in the frig. The salt will tenderize the meat perfectly. Broil under a low, slow flame on the bottom rack in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on wether you like your beef well done or medium rare. A nice side dish is steamed grren beans and braised red potatoes. It’s a hit every time. If you live in a warm climate and can cook out dooors. You can put the salted brisket on the grill over a low, slow flame and get amazing resluts. The broiler version is nice because the drippings from the meat are wonderful. I don’t know if you eat pork but, if you put a slice or two of bacon on top of the brisket as it cooks slowly it will add an amazing smokey flavor to the meat.

  4. Jyl Ferris wrote on :

    I just posted a baked ziti using classic bolognese on my website: http://www.cookingforbachelors.tv. Serve it with caesar salad and garlic bread (go to VIDEO INDEX to locate videos). These are dishes you can cook, then entertain guests without having to be in the kitchen.

  5. Joan Ross wrote on :

    Sorry, I did not see this request sooner but here is a favorite of mine. This dish is equally delicious hot or cold and also slices beautifully when cold into pinwheels if boneless breasts are used. I like to serve this with a rice pilaf and cranberry applesauce. Great taste, texture and eye appeal

    Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Chicken

    4 chicken breasts with skin on
    2, 10 oz pkg frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
    1, 8 oz Ricotta cheese- more if desired
    1 egg
    2 cloves garlic minced
    2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
    1/4 cup toasted pine nuts ( optional )
    salt, fresh grated black pepper and nutmeg to taste

    Squeeze spinach as dry as possible. Mix in enough Ricotta to have a nice green and white marbled effect. Mix in egg, parsley, garlic, liberal salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix in pine nuts if using.
    Loosen skin from chicken and pat chicken dry. Stuff chicken breasts under skin with the mixture-and fold chicken into a round form, tucking ends under. Place chicken in a roasting pan and brush top of skin with some melted butter.
    Season skin with a bit more salt, pepper and paprika

    Roast 350-375F until chicken is golden, around 25- 30 minutes

  6. Victoria Salti Wilson wrote on :

    I love to serve chicken Parm Baked Zitti. Simple and you cannot go wrong.
    1.5 lbs chicken breast tenders
    1 cup plain bread crumbs
    1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 teas garlic salt
    1/2 teas garlic powder
    1/4 teas ground black pepper
    1 egg
    1/4 cup milk
    2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
    1 jar (1 lb. 10 oz.) spaghetti sauce
    1 lb ziti
    1/2 grated parmesan cheese
    1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

    Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, garlic powder, and pepper. In a small bowl, mix egg and milk. Cut chicken tenders into 1.5 inch cubes. Dip chicken cubes in egg/milk mixture, and then roll in bread crumb mixture.
    Heat olive oil over medium heat. Pan fry chicken pieces until browned, approx. 4 minutes on both side.
    While chicken is cooking, prepare ziti per package directions until al dente.
    When chicken is done, remove from heat and let sit on a paper towel.
    When ziti is done cooking, drain and pour into greased (Pam) 9×14 pan. Pour spagetti sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
    Arrange chicken in single layer over pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over chicken, and bake in 350 F oven for 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese melted.

  7. norma torres wrote on :

    got to my blog

    http://www.platanosmangoes.com ..ther are a few dinners you can try and follow my blog for weekly recipes

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      Thanks Norma – Do you have a favorite no-fail entertaining recipe from your blog?

    • norma torres wrote on :

      they have all been cooked by me and fed to friends and family. just go through and see. Pasta with clams and sausages, chicken and many more

  8. Carolyn Wispe Burns wrote on :

    Hi Sara – I saw the response with the recipe for salmon en papillote. I always forget about using parchment paper. I will cook many different types of fish in foil. You can actually make a whole salmon fillet using this method of cooking. You can use a variety of ethnic seasonings and sauces to create a delightful and delicious dining experience for your guests with a simple and clean preparation. You can have an asian theme by using prepared teryaki (I like Soy Vay from Trader Joes) although it is a bit salty. Take 1/3 c of the teryaki and add 1/4c white wine – dry or sweet and several slices of fresh ginger root – just smash carefully with a French knife – also smash 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic – and smash a few green onions. Use heavy duty tin foil or double regular thickness tin foil. I cover a baking sheet with foil, too and cook the large foil packet on that. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Higher to (375-400 degrees) if you are running late. Make the foil that you will bake the fish on a little longer than twice the length of the fish. Make sure that the fish is dry. It can have skin or not. Place the foil to wrap the fish on the foil covered pan. Fold up the sides a bit so the marinade will not run out and pour on the marinade. Wrap the fish by bringing the two ends together and folding them together down to the fish. Seal up the sides by rolling the ends together. Fish of medium thickness should take 20 to 25 minutes for a less done fish, but you can cook it longer – just turn it back down to 350 if you increased it. Transfer to a platter. Garnish with sliced or whole green onions. To keep the asian theme you can make a cucumber salad with mandarin orange or fresh orange segments, cucumbers, romaine or butter lettuce and a orange viniagrette with a little soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil – you can just buy a good asian dressing and add a bit of orange juice to brighten it up. Serve with white or brown short grain rice – cooked according to the directions (2 parts water to 1 part rice) or a little more water for brown rice. Serve Mochi Ice cream for dessert. if you want more info – email me cwbbkg@hotmail. Good luck cwb

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      This is a great idea. I like soy-vey too. Do you use parchment or foil? Also, when I’ve done anything “en papillote” – it always tastes delicious but sometimes doesn’t look so pretty so I appreciate your garnish ideas. Do you have a recipe for the asian cucumber salad you can share?

    • Carolyn Wispe Burns wrote on :

      I use foil. It sometimes looks better if cooked slower at a lower temp (325 degrees) I love to garnish with some ingrediant I’ve used. There is a bright pink pickled slivered Ginger that would look good with the green onions plus you could use it in the salad. For 4-6 servings 1/2 -1 Engli cucumber sliced thinly; 4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage;1 can mandarin orange segments or segment a fresh orange and cut into bite size pieces; 1T slivered red Ginger; 1T slivered or sliced almonds; 1/4 cup good Asian dressing like Trader Joes or Drew’s. In a large bowl toss cucumbers & cabbage with dressing. Add ginger, almonds, & orange segments give a gentle toss. Garnish with a sprinkle of Ginger & almonds. Oh add some sliced on the diagonal green onions 1-2 onions just the greens. This reply box is not iPad friendly. This recipe is part of a Chinese chicken salad.

    • Carolyn Wispe Burns wrote on :

      Sorry that would be an english or hothouse cucumber. I actually have a homemade Asian vinaigrette,but I am not sure of the measurement. I never measure except in baking. Cooking is like art.

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      Great tips – thanks.

  9. Terry Perl wrote on :

    Filet of beef, medium rare, roasted potatoes, green salad with lemon/olive oil dressing, good French bread.

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      Yum! Do you have a good filet of beef recipe? I live in an apartment so grilling is not an option 🙁

  10. Margo Taylor wrote on :

    Hi – This is always a winner! If you feel ambitious you can pair it with my rice recipe which also follows:

    Serves 6
    6 – 6oz pieces of salmon fillet
    1 carrot, cut in fine julienne
    12 large mushrooms, sliced

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      Hi there-
      Your recipe sounds delicious. It seems it may have been cut off – do you think you can re-post it? I’d love to try this out.

    • Margo Taylor wrote on :

      Serves 6
      6 – 6oz pieces of salmon fillet
      1 carrot, cut in fine julienne
      12 large mushrooms, sliced
      ½ lb sugar snap peas, or snow peas
      2 small yellow squash, sliced
      1 bunch green onions, sliced
      Parchment paper or heavy duty aluminum foil.
      Teriyaki Sauce
      1 TBS minced garlic
      1 c soy sauce
      2/3 cup dry sherry
      Juice of 2 lemons
      ½ cup brown sugar

      Blend all ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by 1/3. May be kept in refrigerator for up to one month. Stir well before using.

      Place all vegetables in a mixing bowl. Add just enough teriyaki sauce to coat. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
      Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place a portion of vegetables on bottom of each piece of packet. Arrange a salmon fillet on top of vegetables and spoon 1 TBS teriyaki sauce over top.
      Tightly seal the package and place on a baking sheet.
      Bake for 15 minutes. Open packets carefully, as steam will escape.
      Serves 6
      1 ½ cups jasmine rice
      3 cups water
      1/3 cup chopped pistachios – reserve 3 TBS for garnish
      1/3 cup chopped cilantro – reserve 2 TBS for garnish
      Pinch of kosher or sea salt

      Place all ingredients in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.
      Spoon rice into a rice mold, small ramekin or clean tuna fish can. Unmold on dinner plate. Garnish with reserved pistachios and cilantro.

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      thanks so much!

  11. debra geist wrote on :

    Sweet of you to cook for your guests Sara! You didn’t mention how many you are serving….but for a smaller group my go to menu if I don’t know everyone real well is to keep it fairly simple with special details they will appreciate. I always try to pick fresh and local whenever possible to determine what to serve as well. But….having said that, Chicken Parmesan topped with fresh greens and light lemon vinaigrette is simple, mostly fail-proof and looks like alot more work than it is! I like to start with an appetizer of some sort…..impress them early! My favorite is Cheese puff toasts and these can be prepared ahead then cooked last minute. (Shrimp coctail is another fail-proof idea with less work!) Alongside the chicken…Roasted asparagus is pretty on the plate and tasty as well. Purchase some rustic bread and cut into thick slices with butter shaped with ice cream scoop into pretty balls. (Fun details make a dinner into entertaining your guests so they feel special.) I love fresh fruit on the grill when possible for dessert, but… I have found most people love brownies. Even store bought can be dressed up with a layer of Nutella as a frosting… ala mode with a vanilla bean ice cream and topped with fresh fruit and chocolate liquer or chocolate syrup. (Placing candy sticks into brownie bites and serving with a warm chocolate fondue and fruit pieces is a show stopper!) Hope this menu stimulates your creative juices for a memorable dinner!
    Chicken Parmesan – Barefoot Contessa 2002
    4-6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts -pound down to about 1/4″ thick (rolling pin works)
    1 cup flour
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    2 extra large eggs
    1 tablespoon water
    1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving on top
    unsalted butter (at least 8 tablespoons)
    olive oil
    salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
    Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with the tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressin lightly. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2-3 chicken breasts on medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove to clean plate. Add more butter and oil and cook the remaining chicken breasts. IChicken can be prepared to this point then placed in warm oven of 200 degrees to keep warm until ready to plate.) Toss the salad greens very lightly with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Shave some parmesan with a potato peeler and place a few shavings ontop of the salad greens.
    Lemon Vinaigrette:
    1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    Whisk together all ingredients and toss lightly with greens. (I recommend spring greens for presentation and taste!)
    Cheese Puff Toasts:
    Baguette bread sliced across into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
    Mix together:
    1 cup grated parmesan
    1 cup mayo
    2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
    2 tablespoons chopped chives (fresh great but dried works)
    1 8 oz cream cheese softened
    cayenne pepper (to taste) usually 1/8-1/4 tsp for guests
    Slather combined mixture onto each small bread slice. (Can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead if kept in the refridgerator). Place breads on stone cookie sheet or pizza stone if available for better crunch, otherwise just bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees 12-15 minutes (15-20 minutes if right out of the fridge), then broil for about 3 minutes until tops brown. Serve hot out of the oven!!
    Good luck Sara! Most important advice….relax and enjoy your guests! Put them to work helping you if comfortable doing that! It is not just the food you serve but the memory of the event itself! Make it look easy by preparing and organizing in advance!!

    • Sara Wald wrote on :

      What a great idea. I especially like that it is budget-friendly! I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes.

    • Debbie Sorg wrote on :

      That recipe is fantastic however, it is NOT Chickern Parmesan . . . She calls it Parmesan Chicken. There isn’t any marinara or pasta sauce, or mozzarella, which is in traditional Chicken Parmesan. Just an FYI – I make this all the time and it’s my husbands new fav.

    • Tina Kuhlman wrote on :



      1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
      2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
      2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      2 teaspoons lime zest
      1 1/2 teaspoons honey
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1/2 teaspoon cumin
      1/2 teaspoon chili powder
      1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay(TM)
      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
      1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks

      1 (8 ounce) container light sour cream
      1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
      2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      2 teaspoons lime zest
      1/4 teaspoon cumin
      1/4 teaspoon chili powder
      1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay(TM)
      salt and pepper to taste

      1 (10 ounce) package tortillas -OR- 1 box crunchy corn taco shells
      3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
      1 bunch cilantro, chopped
      1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
      grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese
      sliced or chopped avocado
      2 limes, cut in wedges
      any others you might enjoy


      “Inspired by a Mexican favorite, grilled fish tacos have a creamy dressing spiked with lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and adobo sauce from zesty chipotle peppers. Garnished with tomatoes, cilantro, shredded cabbage, and lime wedges, these tacos are guaranteed delicious.”

      Ready in 6 hrs 44 min, Servings: 6


      To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.
      (If I am short on time — I only marinate the fish for an hour or 2 covered at room temp)

      To make the dressing:
      Combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.

      Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
      Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes.

      Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing.

      To serve, roll up warm tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges or fill in warm taco shells. Absolutely Delicious!

      I make a nice Mexican rice & a great pitcher of margaritas & voila ~ an absolutely failsafe, foolproof guest ready dinner!

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