Do you have dinner guests and need help with the menu?
Here are six recipes from our archive covering everything from snacks and cocktails, summer salads and desserts.
Many dishes can be prepared in advance and almost anything can be served buffet style.
If you love to cook, do it all yourself! Or choose a favorite dish or two and email the rest to anyone who wants to bring a plate.
An easy snack to start
Whipped porcini butter baguette
You don’t need a lot of cooking skills to make this vegetarian snack.
“It’s a delicious salted butter with garlic, mushrooms and porcini mushrooms, which can add a savory, meaty flavor to many dishes and sauces,” writes Angus Raddon, who has worked in cafes and bottle shops. from Canberra.
If you’re not yet ready to host a dinner party, take it slow and invite people over for drinks and snacks instead.
Low budget drinks
Sherry Cobbler Cocktail with Citrus and Mint
A sherry cobbler is a very old classic cocktail that uses only a few ingredients.
âThis is a great recipe for entertaining, as it can easily be adjusted to make individual drinks or a large pitcher if you want to let people help themselves,â says Angus.
Sherry is also a good cocktail ingredient because it’s affordable (a decent bottle costs around $ 20) and has less alcohol, making this cocktail a great drink to start the night.
Strawberry and ginger shrub (alcohol-free)
It’s easy to make your own fruit sodas – time will do most of the work for you (sugar helps too).
This recipe can be adapted and made with almost any seasonal fruit. That said, it works best using fruits with a high water content like berries, melons, and citrus fruits.
Two summer salads
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Feta and Herbs
Food writer and photographer Emiko Davies loves having a low-maintenance salad up her sleeve when entertaining people.
âThis one particularly appeals to me because there aren’t too many ingredients – a salad doesn’t always have to have 20 things in it,â she says.
Emiko toasts finely sliced ââzucchini (which can be done the night before) and garnishes them with toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta and herbs.
Panzanella (with easy adjustments for vegans)
A large Tuscan salad is Melbourne-based cook and writer Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s choice for an easy main course for balmy summer nights.
âIt’s incredibly quick to prepare and requires very minimal effort, which makes it perfect when you have friends or want an easy and delicious dinner,â she says.
It is excellent on its own but also goes well with grilled meats and fish.
Cooking for vegans? Replace the anchovies with olives and set aside the eggs.
Chocolate frozen sandwiches
Pastry enthusiast Charlotte Ree loves serving ice cream sandwiches at the end of the night.
âThey are a practical and low-key treat because they have maximum impact with minimum effort,â she says.
Bake moist and moist chocolate cookies ahead of time. You can even assemble the ice cream sandwiches, wrap them in foil, and freeze them up to three days in advance.
Or, open a jar of ice cream and let your guests make it themselves.
These recipes were part of No Big Deal Dinner Party, a recipe series released in 2019.
Sonya Gee is the Associate Editor (Food) of ABC Everyday. She orders our weekly recipes and enjoys taking the time to cook and eat each one.