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dinner suggestion for 1st ever dinner party with US family and total of 5 kids please please please

(51 Posts)
ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 08:07:58

SO we are new in town, and dh, normally a total recluse has agreed to try to be more sociable. I have invited a family round - and they agreed! And dh has agreed shock

So, it's dh's 1st attempt at being sociable en famille, and my 1st ever "dinner party". The family are from the US, and have an 11 yr old dd and almost 3 yr old ds, Plus there'll be our 3 dss.

it's going to be early start & end cos of kids, so 6 till 9.

I am in panic, as no idea what to make. I think no starters, given number of kids, SO main course & dessert. Needs to be simple, as I hate cooking (but I am not crap, just don't like it but can do it iyswim), and not really cooked for 9 before, plus kids can be fussy and difficult. otoh, don't want it too basic like shepherds pie.

Oh God, I'm so nervous. What do I make for these people?

Thankyouthankyouthankyou if you can help, even better if you can pop round and actually do it for me

BecauseImAWitch Fri 10-Oct-08 08:12:26

How old are your kids? To be honest, when I've done dinner parties like this I usually feed the kids first, so that they can go and play, and then the adults can eat separately. It takes the pressure off you at the table in the sense of monitoring table manners, making sure they all like what you've cooked, etc. And then when they're eating, I usually serve the adults something like crostini or some sort of nibble, with a drink (or 3!)

But obviously depends on the ages of your children as well!

How much time do you have to do the cooking? Do you have a freezer so that you could make some things up beforehand?

LilRedWG Fri 10-Oct-08 08:14:39

BBQ? Seriously, can you all pile into the garden and do a barbie? Kids will love it and it's nicely laid back for adults. Just let the other family know in advance so they can dress the kids warmly.

blinks Fri 10-Oct-08 08:14:58

homemade meatballs with tagliatelle in a creamy tomato sauce is always a winner I find and all ages like it...

LilRedWG Fri 10-Oct-08 08:15:46

Failing that - something like a pot roast or Jamie Oliver's five hour lamb. Easy to prepare before and just bung in the oven and forget abut.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 08:17:23

my ds are 4, 7 & 9, & their 2 are 3 & 11. Hadn't thought of separate kids...? interesting idea. it's tomorrow, so I wouldn't need to freeze? I need to decide today though, so I cam buy stuff.

They'll be driving, so at least 1 of them won't be drinking. Only met them 1 before.

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:19:05

Goulash served with tagliatelle and salad

A big lasagne and salad

Spaghetti Bolgnese for the kids and a curry for the adults?

Curry for everyone? (mild, like korma?)

A big Fish Pie

A big Shepherd's Pie - doesn't have to be basic, you can make a luxurious one

Chicken pie

Basically, you want something that you can have cmopletely made before they arrive and cooking in the oven. The last thing you want is to spend the whole time rushing asround in a hot kitchen when they first arrive.

cariboo Fri 10-Oct-08 08:19:16

Veg lasagne good. Keeps well in oven so you can feed kids first. And almost everyone loves lasagna. D'you wnat my recipe?

Cies Fri 10-Oct-08 08:19:59

Lasagne? But maybe it's a bit too boring/everyday?

Roast beef and all the trimmings? When my Spanish ILs come over to UK they lovethis as it´s "typical English".


Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:21:22

Think along the lines of one pot meals and casseroles and stews, things you can bung in the oven in advance and serve up when everyone is ready.

How about an Italian chicken dish in tomato sauce served with pasta?

It's easy to make: lots of chicken peices on the bone, tinned tomtoes, onions, peppers, olives, garlic and good olive oil.

Serves with crusty bread and a big salad.

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:23:21

Chinese five spice chicken (chicken peices roasted in the oven) served with roast potatoes or rice and either a roast veg (with the potatoes) or stir fried veg (with the rice)

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:25:08

lamb shanks with caramalised onion?

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:26:19

Spanish Roast Chicken?

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:27:02

or a sausage and veg casserole?

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:27:52

Chilli Con Carne (leave chilli out for kids) served with lots of fluffy white rice and garlic bread?

Overmydeadbody Fri 10-Oct-08 08:28:50

Sausage cassoulet?

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 08:47:07

overmydeadbody, you are are star

tiny titbit of further ino - she told me when I 1st met her that she'd been invited to boss' for dinner & was taking the mickey (in nice way, tho not nasty) that they'd done chilli - I'm guessing it's an american staple, like beans on toast or something, so not what you'd serve at a dinner party, so that's making me a bit anxious. I don't want to serve something too mundane that she thinks I'm a peasant,. I can make a good lasagne, but worry it falls into the "chilli" catagory?

Like the big salad and crunchy bread suggestion. Seems so obvious, but like I said, I never done this before.

Def make ahead and bung in oven seems to be good for my stress levels.

And dessert? I like the idea of something very british. made Did have a trifle thing going, but the last one I made didn't work - turned into runny soup, dunno what I did wrong, don't want to rish disaster and public humiliation.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 10-Oct-08 09:05:06

If you want cook ahead type thing, I'd do slow roasted lamb shanks. this one is actually an American recipe and is absolutely delicious. It's a one pot meal so don't need to do anything else with it, maybe jsut a basket of crusty bread and you are good to go.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 10-Oct-08 09:07:25

I'd go with the trufle idea for dessert. Just cheat a bit. Stay away from acidic fruit like pineapple that might stop the jelly from setting. I use pots of ready made fresh custard, so it's quicker to make and you don't end up with soup.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 09:10:01

can't get ready made custard. I'll need to make it. semi cheat with bird's powder. Do I need to let it totally cool before putting it on? If so, what about the skin (shudder)?

LilRedWG Fri 10-Oct-08 09:12:56

This recipe is good and I've recommended to lots of people. I've copied it from the book, so not my waffle wink:

Five Hour roast lamb

This is a real hearty and trouble free dinner. There's barely any preparation, just a nice long cooking time which will reward you with the most tender meat and tasty sauce. Large legs of lamb are ideal for this dish as they benefit from slow cooking. If using a smaller leg of spring lamb then consider cooking for an hour less.

Serves 6.

1 large leg of lamb
salt and feshly ground black pepper
olive oil
6 rashers of thick streaky bacon
3 red onions peeled and quartered
3 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
2 good handfuls of mixed fresh herbs, thyme, rosemary, bay
4 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
1 celariac peeled and cut into chunks
6 large carrots peeled and halved
3 parsnips scrubbed and halved
1 bottle white wine

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

In a large pot or a deep sided roasting tray, fry your well seasoned lamb in a couple of good lugs of olive oil until brown on all sides.

Add the bacon, onions and garlic and continue fry for 3 more minutes, throw in your herbs and veg.

Pour in your wine plus an equivalent amount of water, bring to the boil and tightly cover with kitchen foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 hours until tender, seasoning the cooking liquor to taste. To serve, pull away a nice portion of meat, take a selection of veg and serve with some crusty bread to mop up the gravy.

BecauseImAWitch Fri 10-Oct-08 09:14:31

If she's American, why don't you do the British thing - roast beef and yorkshire pudding? Or a steak and ale pie, with lovely puff pastry?

And a tip for making the custard - use evaporated milk (top up with ordinary milk to get the correct texture) and reduce the amount of sugar that you add. Makes it lovely and creamy. When you've made it, put some greaseproof paper over the top and it will stop a skin forming.

ChopsTheDuck Fri 10-Oct-08 09:15:39

let it cool in a jug, then discard the skin before pouring it on. I LIKE the skin! smile

DumbledoresGirl Fri 10-Oct-08 09:19:04

In this situation, I would definitely do something British (because they are American) and a roast would be the easiest (and the most "special" iyswim) British dish I could make. It has the addded advantage that the different components are all separate so if their children don't like one of the vegetables you have done, they can just not have them.

ErnestTheBavarian Fri 10-Oct-08 09:19:05

fab custard tip Ta- def trifle then

thickemoticon - doesn't the clingfilm melt?

yes, you've all helped me see clearer - def something very british. I love yorkshire puddings so good idea. Hate beef. Maybe get a big lump of something. lamb is very difficult to get here, so I guess i'm looking at pork, or 2 chickens?

So, a roast dinner ?

At least that should be ok for all the kids?

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