So you’ve decided to host a dinner party either at a top fine dining restaurant or in the comfort of your own home. Congratulations! Dinner parties are an incredible amount of fun – the perfect mixture of elegance and friendly conversation. However, any kind of formal dinner can also be an incredible amount of work.
Maybe you’re feeling daunted by all that you have to do in order to prepare for the big day (evening, that is). Maybe you have no idea what to serve because you don’t want to seem as though you’re copying everyone else’s menu. Or maybe you’re just looking for some extra inspiration.
Whatever the case, look no farther than this blog post. We’ll cover six elegant dinner party menu ideas that will set your dinner party above the rest.
1. Stuffed bell peppers
The thing about hosting an elegant dinner party is that you want the food you serve to look unique and yet not take a lot of time to prepare. After all, you’ll need some time to ready yourself to receive your guests – and you also don’t want to spend time fussing over food in the kitchen after your guests arrive. To that end, stuffed bell peppers are great as an easy (yet classy) side dish for your dinner party.
To make this delicious dish, cut the top off some bell peppers (use your judgement as to how many will be needed). Scoop out the white insides and seeds and then fill the peppers with whatever filling you’d like. The possibilities are almost endless – ground beef, cheese, and onions. Mushrooms and tomato sauce. Almost any kind of savory meat, vegetable, sauce, and/or cheese tastes delicious inside a bell pepper.
After stuffing, you can opt to leave the peppers raw or cook them at medium heat until softened (and, of course, until the fillings are warmed through). The choice is up to you!
2. Bacon-wrapped fish filets
Bacon-wrapped anything might seem slightly rustic and out of place at an elegant dinner party, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Prepared properly, virtually any dish can find a place at your dinner table – even something as basic as a grilled cheese sandwich. But I digress.
Purchase filets of fish a day or two before your dinner party, making sure that the fish is as fresh as possible. Cod is delicious when paired with bacon but many types of fish (like striped bass or haddock) are also just as good. Whatever you choose, based on personal taste and preference, it will be reasonably simple to prepare. Wrap raw bacon strips around each filet and then fry and sear in pan until the meats are cooked all the way through.
Serve with a light, leafy salad garnished with a citrus fruit. (As almost everyone knows, lemon goes particularly well with fish. But oranges or grapefruits can also work surprisingly well.)
3. Veggie-shrimp pasta
Nothing quite says ‘elegant dinner party menu ideas’ like seared shrimp tossed on a bed of vegetables and pasta. Really, anything with shrimp will most likely be well received by your dinner guests. (Just remember to provide an option for vegetarians and those allergic to shrimp or seafood in general.) This particular dish is incredibly delicious, easy, and praise-worthy.
In one pan, fry fresh shrimp in a light layer of oil. Sear both sides to give it that delicious look and flavor. Once shrimp is fried, remove from heat and cover so that it remains warm.
Next, boil water and cook angel’s hair pasta. This light, thin pasta pairs well with dishes that incorporate lots of vegetables and less heavy meats. Toss pasta, shrimp, and green beans or asparagus together with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of olive oil to tie everything into one yummy dish. An instant winner!
4. Greek-inspired kale salad
There’s nothing like a beautiful salad to elevate your dinner party. Meat and seafood are great – in their place – but salad is popular because of its ability to refresh dinner guests and cleanse their palate for further courses.
Of course, many salads are hearty enough to work as their own main dish so you’ll need to decide whether you’d like a salad to be the star of the show…or if you’re sticking with a more protein-based main dish.
To create this amazing kale salad, slice one bunch of kale into a large salad bowl. (You may want to mix the salad in a bowl seperate from the one you plan to serve the salad in. The presentation will be less messy that way.)
Then, take one apple and cut it into extremely thin slices. Mix kale and apples together with seeds of your choice (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) and some lightly crumbled feta cheese. Toss in an oil-based dressing (olive oil is best, with a hint of salt and pepper and whatever other spices you feel are appropriate).
5. Sweet and savory roasted carrots
Roasted baby carrots can provide a pop of unexpected color at your dinner table and they are extremely easy to make. Heat your oven to medium-high and cover baby carrots with a mixture of oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and thyme or rosemary.
Place carrots in greased roasting pan and roast until soft when pricked by a fork. Remove, place in serving dish, and enjoy the delicious sweet and spicy flavor.
6. Asian-inspired stir fry
Best served on a bed of thin noodles and with a side of sweet and sour sauce, this Asian-inspired stir fry is sure to impress. (And it’s extremely simple to make.) Chop or cut pork strips into small, bite-sized pieces. Fry in a pan with oil and some salt, pepper, and garlic. Throw in a medley of vegetables – mushrooms, chopped bell peppers, onion slices, water chestnuts, and broccoli.
Once pork and vegetables are fried and their flavors have blended, sprinkle with a fourth a cup of soy sauce. Then, when the vegetables are softened slightly and meat is fully cooked, remove from heat and serve with noodles and sauce.