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Easy Dinner Party Menu

Updated on November 14, 2014

Company is Coming...What's for Dinner?

Do you struggle to find just the right menu for a dinner party? Are you looking for something simple but delicious? Do you want something that you can do most of the preparation ahead of time? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, I have some easy and delicious recipes just for you.

I like to do most of the preparation for my dinner parties either the day before or the morning of the dinner. Then on the afternoon of the dinner, I can sit and read a book and relax till about an hour before the guests arrive, when I work on the last minute preparations. The menus and recipes in this lens are all ones that I made at a recent dinner we hosted for 7 people.

I hope you enjoy this lens and perhaps you will try some of the recipes.

Orange Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Orange/Cranberry Relish

Blueberry/Banana Bread

Orange Mousse

Orange Teriyaki Pork
Orange Teriyaki Pork

This recipe is easy to make and all the mess is done ahead of time in the preparation. This makes for a perfect company meal! There is plenty of time left for the hostess to enjoy the guests.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hours 50 min
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 large cooking bag
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic ( I used the chopped garlic that comes in a jar)
  • 2 Tablespoons orange peel grated
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Shake flour in the cooking bag and then add the orange juice, teriyaki sauce, garlic, brown sugar, and orange peel. Squeeze the bag to blend the flour with the other ingredients. Put pork in bag and turn to coat all sides. Then refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours. When you are ready to bake the tenderloin, cut 6 1/2 inch slits in the bag and put it in a 9/13 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Slice and spoon sauce over meat.
Cast your vote for Orange Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Glass Serving Bowl

Wouldn't the cranberry relish look great in this bowl.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes but always stayed away from them for company dinners because they are so timie consuming at the last minute. A friend recently told me that she makes hers ahead of time and them puts them in a crockpot to keep warm. I was worried they would dry out...but found that was not the case. I checked out recipes on the web and found lots of crockpot mashed potatoe recipes.

Basically you can make up your favorite mashed potatoes, put them in a greased pan and refrigerate for up to 2 days and then 3-4 hours before dinner time put them in a crockpot on low for 3-4 hours. They turn out wonderful and no work while your guests are arriving!

In these mashed potatoes, I added 1 cup of sour cream and 4 ounces of cream cheese to the cooked potatoes and seasonings. I beat them in my mixer until smooth and then put them in a crockpot that I sprayed with cooking oil. I melted a bit of butter which I drizzled over the top and them put them in the refrigerator until 4 hours before I was planning to serve them. I then put them in the crockpot on low until dinner time.

Delicious...warm and creamy!

Cranberry Orange Relish

This cranberry-orange relish is easy to make and is a great accompaniment to the orange pork tenderloin menu.

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries ( I buy in season and then put in my freezer for later use)
  • 1 whole orange(seedless)
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sweetener ( I used Splenda)

Instructions

  1. Chop cranberries and the whole orange (cut into smaller pieces) in a food processor. Mix in 1/2 cup sugar or sweetener. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I made this up the day before the dinner.

Classic Green Bean Casserole

I love the classic green bean casserole with fried onions on top. The recipe comes on the onion can. The recipe is very basic...just mix 2 cans of green beans, 1 can mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of milk and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in a greased casserole dish. Add 1/2 of a small can of onions and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with the other 1/2 can of onions and cook another 5 minutes.

In order to be able to cook them in the same oven as my pork tenderloin which cooks at 400 degrees. I reduced the cooking time for the green beans by 5 minutes and it came out great!

Blueberry Banana Bread

I have found that bananas will freeze well for later use as banana bread. I know that about three bananas will make a cup of smashed bananas so whenever I have bananas that are getting overly ripe I just put them in a ziplock freezer bag and throw them in my freezer. Then when I want to make banana bread I take out a bag with three smashed bananas.

I also freeze blueberries when they are in season and have them ready when I want to make some of this delicious banana/blueberry bread.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Serves: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons flour

Instructions

  1. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat till well mixed. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt and add to mixture. Next fold in oats, banana and vanilla. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the frozen blueberries and fold into the mixture. Pour into a bread pan and bake at 325 degrees for 75 minutes.

Loaf Pans for Quick Breads

Here is the type of pan I use to make my bread.

Orange Mousse

This dessert looks like you spent a lot of time whipping up a fancy dessert, and yet it is light, delicious and very easy to make. I think it goes particularly well with the orange pork tenderloin meal.

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 box sugar free orange jello
  • 1 box sugar free white chocolate pudding
  • 1 8 oz tub light cool whip
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges (drained)

Instructions

  1. Mix jello with one cup hot water to dissolve. Add 1 cup of cold water and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes and then beat in the dry white chocolate pudding powder. Next fold in the cool whip and the mandarin oranges. Put in serving dishes and top with mandarin orange slices.

Dessert Glasses

These glasses would be great for serving the orange mousse.

Interesting Dessert Dishes

I always like interesting dishes to serve dessert. Here are some that are on eBay.

What is your favorite dinner party menu? - stop by and share your ideas

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    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      6 years ago

      My favorite item, from your page, is definitely the MOUSSE!

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 

      6 years ago from McLaughlin

      This sounds like a wonderful dinner party menu. Thanks for the ideas!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Yummy. This looks and sounds delicious. Depending on how many we have for dinner, our favorite meal to cook is Corned Beef and Cabbage with New Potatoes.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Excellent suggestions! I sure would not have considered mashed potatoes in the crock pot :) I rarely have dinner parties anymore since they are so much work. We used to have them often. Now we just meet our friends at a restaurant. I have to say though, you have inspired me and I miss the intimacy of a small dinner party just among friends where we can all laugh and cut up.

    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 

      7 years ago from Valencia, California

      wow yummy yummy

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      This looks like a wonderful dinner! You are a great cook!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Am I invited for dinner? Looks yummy!

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      Looks simply delicious.

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 

      7 years ago

      I love the orange pork tenderloin recipe. This will be the next piece d'resistance for our dinner. Thanks for sharing.

    • SweetMarie83 LM profile image

      SweetMarie83 LM 

      7 years ago

      These sound incredible! I love stuff that you can prepare ahead of time - I don't like going to a dinner party and the hosts spend the entire time in the kitchen instead of with their guests. I know it's not always easy, but if you prepare properly, it can be easy...I love anything you can make in the slow cooker/crockpot or throw in the oven and just pull out. Great lens!

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 

      7 years ago

      WOW! I'm coming to your house for dinner! That orange mousse sounds and looks wonderful! Thanks for the mashed potatoes tip too.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 

      7 years ago

      I make my mashed 'potatoes' with cauliflower, but I will have to remember the crock pot trick

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