Some of the best dinner parties are the ones when the "good" china is left in the cupboard. When the emphasis is on enjoying good food with good company, not on how elegantly the table is set. This time of year lends itself to casual entertaining, as everyone has had their fill of formal affairs during the holidays.
This menu is all about bright and fresh flavored dishes that are easy to prepare. The casserole is a perfect recipe to make a couple of days in advance as it allows the flavors to develop. There is very little last minute preparation required, so you have more time to spend with your guests.
The dishes on this menu are bright and full of flavor. A Chianti is a nice match for a red wine, while a full bodied Chardonnay would be a good white wine option. If you want to splash out on a dessert wine, go with either an Ice Wine or a Late-Harvest Riesling.
The key to this type of party is keeping it simple and casual. Serve the food family-style in the middle of the table so guests can help themselves. If you've got a lot of guests, set up a buffet.
This menu is all about bright flavors, so go with muted table linens punched with a simple centerpiece like a bowl of whole citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, kumquats or oranges. Stick with a single kind of fruit to create a visual impact.
2 Days Before
On the Day
When the Guests Arrive
When you're ready to eat
After the Salad