Years ago I would often have people over for dinner. We called these events dinner parties, and I would usually invite anywhere between two to five couples.

I would spend all day in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and still be busy when the company arrived. I would also tend to things while everyone was sipping on cocktails and nibbling on appetizers

One of my fondest memories of entertaining was when I hosted a “peel our own shrimp dinner party.” All the guests would sit on the floor around a huge tablecloth while I served a variety of sauces and other goodies.

 
 

I couldn’t do this today as many of the people couldn’t sit on the floor, and getting up might also be a problem.

Entertaining Company Today

Today, when I decide to have some people over for dinner, the absolute maximum is six people including us. I no longer spend all day in the kitchen as I have figured out some easy recipes that allow me to spend time with my company as we sip on wine and eat a few appetizers.

“Easy and fast” is my motto these days, even when making dinner for just the two of us. I have found the perfect company dinner combination, and I want to share it with you. I am sure you will want to make it again and again because it feels like no work at all.

The Appetizer

Back in the day, my dinners usually started at 7 to 7:30 in the past, and now people arrive at 5:30. I no longer prepare complicated and filling appetizers as I find people are often not hungry for dinner. Now I prepare only one dish as opposed to three or four different selections.

White Bean Dip with Veggies is one of my favorite appetizers. I make the dip in the morning of the dinner, then cut up veggies and place them in a plastic container with a cover.

Ingredients

1 large can of white northern beans

1/4 small sweet onion, chopped fine

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon each of oregano and basil

Half of lemon, squeezed

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the beans.
  2. Put all the ingredients and spices in a blender until smooth.
  3. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Salad

The salad I like to offer is simple marinated cucumber slices.

Slice the cucumbers and pour about 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar over the slices.

Chop 1/2 cup of green onions.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in fridge all day long.

Brown Rice

I have a wonderful rice cooker that I like to use.

Follow the instructions for ratio of water to rice and add to the cooker.

Add 1 tablespoon of either sesame, avocado or grapeseed oil.

Add 2 tablespoons each of curry powder, ground cumin and turmeric, and finish with salt and pepper to taste.

The rice can cook for a few hours and keep for another hour or so. I live in high altitude so I start the rice about two and a half hours before the company arrives.

My Favorite Chicken Dish

Ingredients

Chicken thighs; you should be safe planning one per person with a few extra for hungry guests.

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 red pepper, chopped fine

2 cups of sliced mushrooms

Olive oil

1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts

Seasoning

3 tablespoons each of oregano, tarragon, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary

Use an electric frying pan that can also be your serving dish.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in the pan.
  2. Brown chicken on both sides, then slow cook for about 15 minutes and remove to a platter.
  3. Brown onions, peppers and mushrooms in oil, add all the seasonings and blend well.
  4. Add the chicken back to the pan along with the artichoke hearts.
  5. Simmer for about an hour and turn the flame off.
  6. Rewarm about 15 minutes before you sit down for dinner.

What You Can Do During the Day

Set your table and put the cucumbers in small dishes for everyone.

Slice a baguette and put in bread dish, covered.

Put water glasses on the table.

Set out your wine glasses (if you are serving wine).

Set out 1 or 2 small bowls with olive oil and pepper.

When your company arrives, pull out the appetizer with veggies and pour the wine.

Everything is cooking along so no need to fret in the kitchen.

You can sit down with your guests until ready to serve.

Ready to Eat

Set out the pan with the chicken and a serving spoon. Place the rice in a serving dish, and have people help themselves.

For dessert, bring out a large platter of freshly cut-up fruit, and have small dishes with forks ready.

There is a little work with this dinner but no last minute scurrying around or worrying about taking things in and out of the oven.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite easy company dinner? Would you share some of your favorite dishes? Please join the conversation below!

Carol StanleyCarol Stanley has many interests in life including writing, painting, reading, cooking and biking. She also admits a secret love of poker. Carol has been involved in writing about her passion for staying healthy and has her very own website. Her book, Feel Better Every Day, is available for purchase.

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