Nice meals for entertaining?

  1. Somewhat suddenly, I find myself needing to host dinner parties…but as yet my skills in the kitchen are rather limited. Unfortunately, so is my budget (I’m a grad student). I do cook for myself on a daily basis, but am having a hard time coming up with a single meal I would be happy serving to guests. Does anyone have any ideas for nice meals that are reasonably straight forward and relatively inexpensive to prepare?
  2. I find pastas are always good, even a simple pasta as long as it is good is always a hit. How about make your "own pizza night'"where you make the dough ahead of time & have a bunch of toppings & your guest basically make their own pizza, I read about this in a food magazine once.
  3. check into some rachel ray cookbooks. she does a lot of good recipes about entertaining on a budget. brunches are usually relatively inexpensive ways to entertain too!
  4. Pastas, as suggested, are always easy and can look really nice. For those that eat meat, roast chicken is so easy to do and if you just cube potatoes and coat in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, and pop them into the oven toward the end of cooking your chicken, it works well, served w/ veggies. I really think that almost anything can be served to company, depending on how you present it and if it tastes good!
  5. EXACTLY what I was going to reccommend! A classic Roast Chicken is simple and can actually be quite elegant when paired with a dynamic sauce. I used this for thanksgiving an it was a hit. I've seen it at most grocers, even Walmart has it for like $3!Chicken Stock Reduced to a Demi Glace. Then you use the recipe, Rosemary Peppercorn Sauce. I added crimini mushrooms. And they will think they are eating at a Michelin Star restaurant!

    I also love the Roasted potato idea, make them nice and crispy. I would also serve with a cheesy cauliflower dish!

    Let us know which way you decide to go!
  6. Pasta like cannelloni is really simple and straight-forward to prepare, plus it isn't too expensive since you can buy canned tomato sauce and frozen spinach. Cheese fondues with crusty breads and other veggies make for a lighter yet equally simple dinner. (You just have to buy a fondue set.) Roast chicken is a great idea and so is roast beef, if you and your guests like red meat. I have a great recipe for perfect Yorkshire puddings if you're interested.