The Newbie’s First Dinner Menu – There’s a Solution
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The Newbie’s First Dinner Menu – There’s a Solution

Eventually everyone gets to that special day in their lives. It’s not the day you ask your crush to prom, the day you say “I do,” or even the day you bring your baby home for the first time. While those days are truly life-changing and very special, there is a certain day that initially strikes terror into a first-timer’s heart. I mean the day you host your first real dinner. I’m talking about the one you really care about a lot!

It starts off innocently enough. Your mom or another living relative asks you to host Christmas dinner this year or you want to impress your girlfriend with a romantic home-cooked meal. He’s even excited about the event and can’t wait to get started. So she hits you while looking at your pantry. His star dish is Kraft macaroni and cheese or canned ravioli, and he considers boiling water a culinary feat. What are you going to do for dinner?

Well, beginner, planning a formal dinner party is nothing to fear, even for culinary novices. All you need is a kitchen and a little creativity. A basic formal meal consists of four courses:


or Salad

oh and


For a menu that is easy to prepare but suitable for a formal meal, consider:

or broth

or Salad

o Chicken / Roasted Lentils / Roasted Red Baby Potatoes / Acorn Squash / Green Peas

o Ice Cream with Red Fruits

So, as your special guests will soon be doing, let’s start with the soup!

Broth makes a great soup because you can buy it in a can or box that is easily hidden from your guests. Hey, secret boss! Now don’t ruin the illusion by serving it in cups! Everything, even store-bought broth, tastes better in fine china, or at least in a pretty bowl of soup. Serve the bowls in the kitchen and serve them restaurant style to your guests.

Skip the standard square crackers and splurge on a pack of specialty biscuits or breadsticks to go with it. One of my personal favorites is McCormick’s Gourmet Vegetable Broth. This MSG-free product yields two cups of bouillon per cube and honestly tastes like you spent all day simmering vegetables to create a rich, fragrant broth.

Thanks to the invention of the salad bag, your second course is already made for you. Although most salad bags contain pre-washed produce, a secondary wash is mandatory to remove contaminants from processing. This is another dish best served restaurant-style. Use a cookie cutter (diamonds, hearts, circles, etc., not gingerbread people!) to cut slices of tomato or bell pepper. Use these shapes to decorate your salad plates and serve with your choice of vinaigrette or creamy dressing on the side.

As a main dish, a rotisserie chicken is easy to prepare and attractive to serve. Check labels carefully. If you are buying a “utility grade” bird, it may be missing parts like a wing or leg. Your bird(s) must be of presentation quality. Chicken is easy to season and whether you want a slightly citrusy or smoky flavor is up to you.

Explore your options at your local grocery store or in the Expanded Resources section of First Dinner Made Simple. Bottled marinades, dry spice blends, seasoning blends, even single-use bag roasters await for your personal convenience!

No kitchen is complete without a meat thermometer and they are especially important when cooking poultry. Serve grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce for added color. Try surrounding the chicken with your cooked carrots, asparagus, or any other veggies for accents, as well as for guest dining options.

Roast lentils are a hearty side dish that can work as a main course for vegetarians and vegans.

roasted lentils

o Crush two cans of lentils in a bowl.

o Add enough breadcrumbs for the bean mixture to firm up.

o Add two eggs (for vegans stir 2 tablespoons cornstarch into 6 tablespoons cold water).

o Season to taste with flavorful seasonings or a pre-blended seasoning mix.

o Pack the mixture in a greased bread pan and bake for one hour.

o Turn out onto a serving plate. If the roast falls apart or breaks when you unmold it, simply reshape it into a smooth round mound on the plate and continue with the garnishes.

o Pour some mushroom sauce on top.

o Sliced ​​mushrooms and a spring parsley on top give the final touch to this roasted lentils.

o Serve with extra gravity on the side.

Side dishes that go great with chicken or lentils are roasted red potatoes, squash, and green peas. Cut the potatoes in half and toss them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. These can be baked on the rotisserie with the chicken or on a flat baking sheet. Cut the acorn squash in half with a sharp knife and scoop out the seeds.

Place them on a baking sheet, meat side up, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for an hour and serve hot with butter. Use frozen or fresh green peas and cook them in boiling water. Don’t overcook them or they will turn musky.

If you have long, clear glasses, you have the perfect plates to serve a quick but elegant dessert. Layer fresh or frozen mixed berry and vanilla ice cream in the glass, making sure the ice cream is the last layer. Top the ice cream with a chocolate covered strawberry and a mint leaf.

As you can see, you don’t have to be an Iron Chef contender to create an impressive formal dinner. Never let your lack of cooking experience get in the way of creating a memorable meal. So, what are you waiting for? Happy cooking and Good Appetite!

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