How about something in a pot - stroganoff, bourginon, chicken in white wine etc. Could serve it with rice. Not very exciting maybe but nice and easy to make for that many. Alternatively you could do a cold buffet type of dinner which could nearly all be prepared in advance.
what about a really nice fish pie/shepherds pie type thing? Or Delia has a great venison sausage casserole thing that seems v lush but is actually really cheap and cheerful. Think its in the winter collection.
I find Nigel Slater pretty foolproof. Jamie's never work timing wise imo.
Last one I did was a retro thing - prawn cocktail in avocado, fondue, strogonoff and black forest gateaux. Played 70s music and dh and I dressed appropriately. The guests loved it as it wasn't expected and never realised it was cos we'd just left it too late to get anything else sensible at the supermarket. Drew the line at blue nun tho.
I will consult my recipe book later when at home (this was a 15 minute recipe from my 15 minute cook book)...maybe it's all in the cooking time, but it didn't happen to my monkfish when I followed the recipe instructions
Agree Delia usually comes out right, also Mary Berry has one called "Cook now, eat later" that my friend swears by, never used it myself but might be worth a look.
Delia's creamed chicken with avocado is quick and easy and yum, but may not be fancy enough for a dinner party.
i did a rigatoni dish from Feast by Nigella - the quantities are for 16 people, but i reduced it. it's basically a meaty tomatoey sauce plus a bechamel but instead of fiddly lasagne/canneloni you just plop the whole lot in a dish and bake it with cheese on top. the meaty sauce has whizzed up celery, carrots, onions, garlic and minced beef in in plus herbs, 2 tins toms and puree. she says simmer for 2 hours but i did mine for less and put a jar of loyd grossman sauce in instead of one of the tins toms because i wanted it quickly. absolutely delish and you can domost of it the day before.