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Last-Minute Dinner Party Ideas

What's Your Go-To Last-Minute Meal?


Last-minute dinner parties can be stressful, but can also be incredibly fun! Some of the best gatherings I've hosted have been spontaneous. The key, though, is not to overreach — trying to pull off an elaborate four-course meal at the last minute is definitely more stressful than fun! I like to keep a few dishes in my back pocket that are tried and true, crowd-pleasing, and that I know I can pull off on short notice. Homemade pasta is one, and my dad's recipe for roasted lemon-rosemary chicken is another.

What's your go-to meal for a last-minute dinner party?

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eatswimshop eatswimshop 5 years
I found out Saturday evening that we had 20 college seniors coming to our house for dinner Monday night (and 15 more Wednesday!)... and I would only just be getting home from work when they arrived. After freaking out about cleaning the house, I decided to do a Cinco de Mayo theme for the food. We had a chicken burrito/taco bar, with chicken (cooked with salsa in the Crockpot), tortillas, refried beans and other fixings. Chips and salsa/guacamole for appetizer, and tropical fruit with chili powder and Barefoot Contessa guacamole salad for sides. I was able to make everything the night before (except the chicken, which was cooking while I was at work). For smaller last-minute dinners, I usually just pick up some garlic bread, cook up a bunch of spaghetti and throw together some kind of salad. But I didn't think that would work well with such a large group.
Katie-Sweeney Katie-Sweeney 5 years
Pizza. I just pick up a couple of doughs and make several kinds.
amaebi519 amaebi519 5 years
I always have pasta, the makings of a sauce, some veg, parmesan and some kind of protein on hand, so that`s my no-brainer. Last time we had short-notice company I did this with a jar of pesto and some sliced chicken breasts; a vodka-infused alfredo is tasty with smoked salmon. My fave quickie appetiser is either a cheese plate or tortilla chips with a trio of dips - salsa, queso and guac.
lovesitc1 lovesitc1 5 years
Usually baked ziti. For summertime, I may make a heaping plate of nachos or some shrimp quesadillas. My guacamole is to die for!
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