How to Host a Great Dinner Party with Little to No Cooking

M Henderson

Wow your guests with a nice dinner party that requires very little cooking.
Table settingsPhoto byM Henderson

The idea of having a dinner party intimidates many people because it seems like a lot of work. While hours spent in the kitchen preparing for a nice evening is an inviting idea for some, most people don't have that kind of time or culinary talent.

Do not fear the dinner party!! Treating your friends to a lovely time can be easy and a lot less expensive than going to a restaurant. You don't even have to cook a single thing, just use the stove or microwave for heating things up to the right temperature.

1. Start the evening with wine (or mineral water) and cheese.

Good wine does not have to be expensive, and some of the best-tasting wines can actually be found on the sale aisle. Ask for suggestions if you don't know where to start. Choose a couple of bottles of red, white, or a combination of the two. A white cheese like brie or goat cheese goes well with both. Grab some thin crackers while you're at it.

For those who don't drink wine, nice mineral water like Perrier is perfect. Arrange the cheese and crackers on a tray, open the bottle(s), and you're all set. Be sure to use your best glasses and offer regular water, as well.

2. A soup or salad course is impressive.

You want your guests to feel special, so plan a first course of soup or salad. If you choose to go with the soup, look to Campbells, Progresso, or other packaged soup. What you're going to do is mix two soups together, or enhance a soup with a canned item such as coconut milk or a vegetable of some sort. Good options are Broccoli with Cheese Soup and Cream of Chicken Soup or Cream of Mushroom Soup with Coconut Milk added. Simply mix your two choices together and heat on the stove or in the microwave.

If you decide on salad as a first course, the options are endless. Buy any salad kit plus a few items to make it special. Croutons, cherry tomatoes, boiled eggs, and olives are all good choices. Mix it all up with the enclosed dressing or one that you prefer, grate some cheese on top, and call it a day.

Use your imagination and don't give away your secrets.

3. Your main course should be purchased already prepared.

Most grocery stores have a deli that offers things like roast chicken, fried chicken, or even barbecued ribs. Choose one and select a deli side to go along with it. A ready-made pasta dish is a good option.

A take-and-bake pizza can also work perfectly as a main course, as well as one or two from your local pizzeria. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to be tasty.

4. Don't forget dessert.

Dessert can be as simple as ice cream from the frozen dairy case or a nice pie or cake from the bakery section of the supermarket. A simple chocolate bundt cake sliced and served with ready-made whipped cream and fresh strawberry slices is delicious. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream are winners, as well. Heat the pie for a few minutes in the oven or microwave to give it a fresh-baked flavor.

Your guests will be delighted by your efforts.

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Local Interest and Food Contributor

Baton Rouge, LA

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