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    Follow this menu for your next dinner party!

    You’re redecorating your home. What room are you most excited to furnish? The kitchen. The common place for people to hang out has shifted from the living room to the kitchen. I love hosting dinner parties and cocktail parties—the kitchen is vital to both. – Collin McCarthy

    Photo: New York Times Cooking
    Photo: New York Times Cooking

    Throwing a fabulous dinner party doesn’t have to be stressful. Planning ahead to create a food and drink menu that’s easy to prepare in advance makes hosting a lot more fun and allows you to interact with your guests instead of having your head stuck in the oven! 

    We’ve put together this great menu—that serves eight to twelve guests—to help you plan your next party. These recipes are #eeeeeats worthy, easy to prepare, and will trick yours guests into thinking you put in way more hours than you did. Happy hosting!

    Cocktail: Orange Aperol Sun

    When hosting an event, you should always have a signature drink ready for when each guest arrives—it immediately will put everyone into party mode. An Orange Aperol Sun is a sophisticated choice without filling your guests up with too much alcohol right off the bat. Fill a wine glass two-thirds of the way with ice, and add a tablespoon each of Aperol and orange juice. Then fill the rest of the glass with Prosecco to add a sweet fizziness. Get the original recipe here.

    Hors-d’oeuvre: Mushroom Crostini

    Dinner parties are all about the make ahead dishes and this crostini is the definition of that. The mushroom topping can be made up to a day ahead of time, so it’s easy to get out to guests while putting finishing touches on the main course. Sauté sliced, wild mushrooms in butter, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm over bread, topped with a thyme vinaigrette. Get the original recipe here.

    Hors-d’oeuvre: Roasted Nuts

    Healthy and delicious, this is another snack that can be made ahead of time. Toss mixed nuts in a sweet and salty mixture of coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and spices. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, turning the nuts midway through roasting. These also make a great favor to send home with guests—if there are any leftover! Get the recipe here.

    Salad: Tuscan Kale Salad

    Yet another simple dish that can be prepped earlier in the day. This one lets the flavors really shine through—the real star of this show is the dressing. After shredding Tuscan kale into thin strips, combine the garlic, pecorino cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and whisk. Shred the kale ahead of time and dress the salad just a few minutes before sitting down to eat. Get the full recipe here.

    Main Dish: Provençal Leg of Lamb

    A whole leg of lamb will not only serve a whole dinner party with ease, but carving it in front of guests will be a show in itself. A leg of lamb looks so impressive but no one will know that it only takes a few steps to make this dish. Rub the leg of lamb in a combo of garlic, dijon mustard, rosemary, vinegar and place the lamb in a roasting dish. Then pour the tomato mixture around the dish and drizzle with honey for some sweetness. A little less than two hours later, this lamb will be ready along with a delicious side of tomatoes. Get the recipe here.

    Dessert: Chocolate Cupcakes

    After such a generous dinner, guests won’t need more than a bite of something sweet for dessert. These chocolate cupcakes are perfectly proportioned and are easy to make the day before—this single-bowl recipe doesn’t even require a mixer! Add a touch of pizzazz with sprinkles for an unforgettable finish.

    P.S. Don’t forget to have fun inviting your friends! We love Paperless Post, where you can create custom e-vites for very little money that will set the tone for the party. It’s also a great place to ask your guests if anyone has a food allergy or restriction so you can be sure to accommodate them! 

    stevie benanty

    stevie benanty

    Founder of a conversation.

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