Dinner Party Ideas
Inspiration for Fun and Entertainment

Flexibility is key to great dinner party ideas.

Dinner Party Ideas Inspiration for Fun and Entertainment

Dinner Party Ideas with Family and Friends

In 2006, my husband's niece initiated to have a family dinner on a weekly basis.  It has been 10 years already.  Occasionally, we may need to cancel it.  Otherwise, we stick to our commitment.  We love and enjoy our weekly visit with each other.

In our circle, there are 3 families that are always stable and consistent with the schedule.  Each week, each family takes turn to host and serve dinner at their house.  So, I serve a dinner for 6-8 people every 2 weeks.

How To Plan Any Dinner Party Ideas

Be Prepared - Anything Could Happen

Throughout all these years, I learned that there are many scenarios could have happened before and on the day of dinner.

Here are just a few common examples:

  1. Guests you didn't expect somehow show up for dinner.
  2. Guests no-show without notice or with short notice.
  3. Your guests or you are late (Believe me, being a host, I got out of work late several times throughout all these years.  My guests were waiting for me for an hour before I finally showed up.  Things happen.)

Be considerate and forgiving.  Don't let this little thing to bother or upset you.  Your guests could be sick or other emergencies that they couldn't make it.  That's why you need flexibility.

In other words, no matter what dinner party ideas you came up with should be easily shrank or doubled (maybe tripled).  If the dinner got cancelled within a very short notice, the ingredients should be still ok to stay for another week.  It sounds difficult.  But if you have a few tips on hand, it is manageable.


Always send out the invite to your guests to confirm the number of people.  Of course, like I said earlier, things could happen at the last minute.  Here are some suggestions of your invitation formats:

  1. Facebook Event (preferably using the Group function to avoid inviting other people not belonging your group or any personal misunderstanding) - you can easily set the time, date, venue and even with the direction
  2. EInvite - it has the similar function as the Facebook Event
  3. Emails - I can tell you this.  I have friends and families using Facebook on an hourly basis, but can't figure out how to create an invite on Facebook.  So, something as simple as email reminder and other suggestions below would be perfect for this group of people.
  4. Facebook messenger - This allows you to just limit the conversation among the group of people that you want to invite and chat with
  5. Text message - works the same like the Facebook messenger

Flexible Dinner Party Ideas Recipes

Dinner as simple as this takes 30 minutes to cook.  If dinner party got cancelled or unexpected guests show up, you can easily adjust the quantity.Dinner as simple as this takes 30 minutes to cook. If dinner party got cancelled or unexpected guests show up, you can easily adjust the quantity.

Dinner Cancelled

If the dinner party gets cancelled at the last minute, what should you do with the ingredients?  Here are the tips will make your life much easier:

  1. Try your best to prepare the meal on the night of serving, such as some quick and easy dinner recipes that you can prepare it in 30 minutes
  2. Food has never been frozen before that you can always put it in the freezer in case of cancellation.  Then, you can cook it later.  If it was frozen before, cook it as planned.  Shred the meat, discard the skin and bones if necessary.  Use meat in salad, sandwich or pair it with some vegetable dishes
  3. Can you use some of the pantry staples for your dinner?  If so, this is the most ideal dinner party recipes.  You don't need to worry about anything.  Save all the ingredients and wait for the next dinner party when you host it again.

Apply one of those 3 tips on your dinner menu, you are good to go.  Here are some more tips for other recipe categories:

  • All Slow Cooker Recipes can store it in several containers as make ahead freezer meals.
  • Ground meat recipes - make patties and freeze them or just cook burger for dinner that night.
  • Pre-cooked rice recipes - make fried rice dishes
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes: you can discard the skin and bones of the chicken.  Save the shredded meat either for a salad, sandwich or some quick soup recipes
  • Seafood recipes - cook it and make taco or add it into the salad

More Guests Than Expected

We talked about if there is a last-minute cancellation of your dinner party.  What if you have more guests showing up? What do you do to bump up the volume to feed a bigger crowd? 

I assume that you always have some rice or pasta in your pantry.  Cook more for the side dish

In our family weekly dinner, we always throw in 2 frozen pizzas.  One stone kills several birds for us. We have picky eaters.  Pizzas are always welcomed.  Teenagers can consume a lot.  I mean a lot.  Even though I always cook more than enough, teenagers seem never get enough.  

Chicken nuggets are another great alternative for any great dinner party ideas by making some twists or switching up dipping sauces.

Super Easy Dinner Party Ideas

Here are several themed dinner party ideas that I tried during our family weekly dinner.  They all can feed at least 6 adults.  We always cook 1 frozen pizza on the side in case somebody prefers to skip some ingredients in the dish.

1. Chinese Vegetarian Dinner

This Chinese dinner is vegetarian-friendly.  Everything looks and tastes better than take-out.  Oh, wait....the money you spent on feeding 6-8 people is shockingly cheap, too.

2. Shrimp and Wild Rice Salad Dinner

This dinner is perfect for a super hot summer day.

Old Glory PopsiclesOld Glory Popsicles

3. Restaurant Remakes Dinner Night

UNO Chicago Grill Berry And Goat Cheese SaladUNO Chicago Grill Berry And Goat Cheese Salad
Recovery Room spicy buffalo AlfredoRecovery Room spicy buffalo Alfredo

4. Wing Night

I still remember this family dinner.  One of our nephews is never big on wings.  He loves chicken.  But man....does he love wings after this dinner.  Together with this cucumber corn salad on the table, it was HIS night.

5. BBQ Taco Night

The BBQ sauce flavor on the chuck roast is so out of this world.  My family couldn't believe how this taco dinner turned out to be so extraordinary.

6. Pasta Dinner

Pasta is one of the ingredients that is very filling and economical.  This dinner is super easy to manage because:

1) One is a make-ahead recipe
2) The other is a one-pot pasta that it can take care of its own
3) The other one is the only plate which needs a little bit more attention from you.

7. Seafood and Corn Dinner

Depends on your mood, you can cook corns on the cob in the oven or stove top.  But your guests will love this carefree dinner.  Everybody eats with their hands.

8. Comfort Food Dinner

Everybody loves comfort food.  Depending on your budget, pork tenderloin takes less time to cook, but more expensive.  If you choose an economic way and use pork loin, you may need to start cooking the night before.  In other words, cook the meat half way through and finish it at the night of dinner party.

9. Spanish Meets Italian Dinner

People like to stick to one theme.  But switching things up once in a while always brings a lot of joy and great surprises.  This was exactly how I served this dinner on our regular family gathering night.

10. Too-Good-To-Stop Dinner

This Asian pasta dinner is soooo gooood....your guests can hardly stop eating.  Then, when they are finally done eating, they realize that they ate so much.  Best is to serve with a pot of traditional Chinese tea to wash it down.

11. All-Breakfast-Food Dinner Party Ideas

I actually put these recipes together and serve coffee hour after service at church.  It was a big hit.  On top of that, I served along with a pepperoni, cheese and cracker tray.  Also, there was a loaf of peanut butter chocolate oatmeal bread (coming soon).

12. Pork Roast Dinner

This pork roast recipe is super easy and tasty that you can pop it into the oven and walk away.  It takes care of itself.  While it is resting, you cook the veggies in the dripping.  Then, everything is ready to feed a big crowd.   It is perfect for dinner party.

13. Easy and Authentic Italian Dinner

Many loves Italian food.  You can make this Super Easy Chicken Cacciatore and serve it along with pasta.  I guarantee you that this recipe is stress free.  No chopping and no standing in front of the stove top.  Yes, you surely can double the quantity.

14. A Trip to Hawaii

This dinner is super affordable to feed a big crowd.  Serving this Hawaiian Spam Pineapple fried rice would be a great topic to talk about on the dining table.  No matter if it is walking the memory lane or planning an upcoming trip, this dinner party idea is PERFECT.

Spam Pineapple Fried RiceSpam Pineapple Fried Rice

Assemble-By-Yourself Dinner Party Ideas

The advantage of having your guests to assemble their dinner plates is that they have options to skip certain ingredients, especially for picky eaters,  because everything serves on separate plates.

1. Burrito Dinner

Burrito Dinner - Everything serves on separate plates.  Guests have options to choose.Burrito Dinner - Everything serves on separate plates. Guests have options to choose.
Breakfast BurritosBreakfast Burritos

2. Chinese Lettuce Wrap Dinner

This is a great summer dinner.  Not too hot to cook and eat.  You get to enjoy to visit with your guests.  Double the quantity of rice and/or lettuce wraps.  It is a lot of fun to have your guests to eat with their hands and visit with each other.

3. Lobster Taco Night

The lobster could take a bit more time to cook.  But it is totally worthy of the wait of your guests.

4. Easy Pull Pork Sandwiches

The slow cooker helps you to take care of everything.  The sandwiches are lick-your-finger good for everyone else.

More Recipes for Dinner Party Ideas

If you like to host a finger-food gathering, these recipes are perfect for passing around.

Pepperoni and Parmesan Chips

What about serving these Pepperoni and Parmesan Chips for movie night?  It is a great combination with popcorn and other munchies.

No-Bake 5-Minute Canned Chicken Dip Keto Style

Keep the Keto train going.  This is a perfect chicken dip for those in diet.

Garlic Cheese Monkey Bread

No matter if your party is small or big, this Garlic Cheese Monkey Bread is an awesome finger food.

Bunless Open Face Cucumber Chicken Sandwich

Who doesn't like no cook meal or snack?  This Bunless Open Face Cucumber Chicken Sandwich will have your guests going crazy for it.

Best Peppers and Sausage to Feed A Crowd

Many people love peppers sausage.  This recipe is super low maintenance and versatile.  There is NO active cook time.  You can serve it as is or serve it along with subs, pasta, mashed potatoes or cauliflower rice.

For the ease of passing around, best is to assemble them in crusty rolls and cut into smaller portions. It will be less messy and more enjoyable for your guests.

Slow Cooker Orange Sriracha Meatballs

This meatball finger food has some Asian flare and very easy to make.  You can even add a couple side dishes and turn slow cooker orange Sriracha meatballs recipe into an eat-with-your-hand meal. 

Lazy Cookie Bars

Who can resist cookies, right?  If you want to have very minimal of work, but plenty of varieties, this is the recipe to go by.  Super easy to look at and easy to eat.

Copycat The Fresh Market Garlic Toasts

Who doesn't like the crunch?  This bite size food will get the conversation going.

Ranch Chicken and Bacon Cheese Dip

This cheesy chicken dip is super flavorful.  You are going to surprise that you can't stop eating.

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