Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dinner theme ideas

I love entertaining and having couples or groups over for dinner.  It's a great way to serve others and fellowship as we break bread.  For all of our dinners (with company or not) I try to stick to a general theme/ region to maintain consistent flavors throughout all of the dishes.  Over the years I have developed a list of my favorite theme ideas for entertaining and favorite dishes within each one.  Most of these dishes can be assembled ahead of time, as I like to do all of my cooking before my company arrives so that I can spend my time socializing.  Most of these dishes are among our favorites, that I can pull together easily, and consistently do well.  Most of these themes (especially the bars) lend themself well to pot-lucks for a large group also, in which it's easy to ask multiple guests to bring additional dishes or ingredients.

Mexican Fiesta: tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, taco salad, bean burritos, chile relleno casserole, build your own burritos (or burrito bowls), nachos, tortilla soup, Mexican lasagna, Mexican pizza, black bean and corn salad, Spanish rice, chips & 7 layer dip, salsa, guacamole, black bean dip, queso

Taste of the Orient: egg drop soup, edamame, hot & sour soup, Thai coconut corn soup, moo shu, lettuce wraps, pad thai, sesame chicken, peanut noodles, Asian cole slaw, Asian cuculmber salad, chicken satay, summer rolls, sushi, crab rangoon, Chinese green beans, sesame noodles, sesame carrot salad, fortune cookies

Football/ Game nights: finger sandwiches, baked jalapeno poppers, sausage balls, chili, 7 layer dip, black bean dip, guacamole, salsa, potato skins, brownies, cookies

Chips and Dip: hummus, 7 layer dip, bean dip, hot spinach artichoke dip, cold spinach dip, queso, fresh salsa, hot artichoke dip, olive dip, Carolina caviar, black eyed pea salsa, veggie tray with dip, fruit tray with dip, caramel or chocolate sauce with fruit, pretzels & pound cake

Pizza Bar: pizza dough and assorted topping for guests to spread on before their personal pizzas are baked.  BBQ sauce, marinara sauce, pesto sauce, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms, jalapenos, red onion, minced garlic, spinach leaves, shredded cooked chicken, pepperoni etc.  dessert pizza made of cookie dough, topped with cream cheese and fruit.  salad.

Salad Bar: an assortment of salad topping including; spinach, mixed greens, hard boiled eggs, broccoli, mushrooms, shredded carrots, sliced red onion, olives, bacon bits, croutons, feta cheese, tomatoes, dried cranberries, toasted or candied walnuts or pecans, mandarin oranges, avacado, alfafa sprouts.  served with bread and assorted dressings.

Pasta Bar: assorted cooked pastas (spaghetti, farfalle, rotini).  with assorted sauces (red sauce, pesto sauce, alfredo sauce), assorted meatas (Italian sausage, chicken strips, meatballs).  salad.  garlic bread.

Little Italy: cheese, bread, olive, nut, and fruit platter.  lasagna, manicotti, baked ziti, stuffed shells or lasagna rolls. garlic bread, salad, brushetta, tomato mozzarella salad, cheese cake

Meditereanean: kebobs, mousakka, pastichio, gyros, hummus, rice, tabouleh, greek salad, pita bread

Indian: biryani, curry, palak paneer, dal, nan, rice pudding, mango lassi, basmatti rice

Creole/ Cajun: jambalaya, jambalya pasta, red beans and rice, po-boys, boiled crawfish, BBQ shrimp, gumbo, shrimp (or crawfish) creole or etouffe, maque choux, creole okra & tomatos, bananas foster, bread pudding, oysters Rockefeller, stuffed mushrooms

Upscale/ date night/ special occasion: steak, shrimp scampi, stuffed mushrooms, tomato mozzarella salad, chocolate fondue, regular fondue, cheese fondue, baked brie

Comfort foods: meatloaf, pot roast, turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing, sweet potato casserole, apple pie, pumpkin pie, baked mac and cheese

Movie night: popcorn, chex mix, spiced nuts, brownies, cookies

Harvest/ fall: pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, apple cider, apple crisp, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, corn soup, pumpkin pasta, candy corn, pumpkin spice lattes, squash casserole, caramel apples... anything squash, corn, or pumpkin

Brunch: french toast casserole, breakfast casserole, baked oatmeal, breakfast burritos, fruit salad

Sundae buffet: cherries, root beer, assorted ice cream, nuts, crushed candy bars, whipped cream, sliced bananas, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, fresh fruit

Southern foods: (oven) fried chicken, shrimp and grits, shrimp cocktail, finger sandwiches, baked mac and cheese, collard greens, hoppin' john

BBQ: BBQ pulled pork, hamburgers, hot dogs, cole slaw, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad, cookies, brownies, veggie tray

What are your favorite dinner themes?



Kim M. said...

ooohhhh... thanks! I have to make a grocery list tomorrow and I'll be referring to your ideas!

Kim M. said...

This is one of my favorite recipes for hosting friends:

Pizza soup

add breadsticks! :-)