Flexibility is key to great dinner party ideas.
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.
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:
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, your dinner menu should easily shrink or double (maybe triple). 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:
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:
Apply one of those 3 tips on your dinner menu, you are good to go. Here are some more tips for other recipe categories:
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.
Here are several theme 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.
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.
This dinner is perfect for a super hot summer day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The advantage of having your guests to assemble their dinner plates is that they have options to skip certain ingredients because everything serves on separate plates.
This is a great summer dinner. Not too hot to cook and eat. You get to enjoy to visit with your guests.
The lobster could take a bit more time to cook. But it is totally worthy of the wait of your guests.
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