game day

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Salads and Dressings, Poultry, Grains and Pasta, Desserts, Dinner Party, Posted on June 29, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten

The big day finally arrives. The house is clean, tables set, music laid out, serving dishes in their place, bar is stocked, nametags printed. The freezer and frig hold all the components for tonight’s dinner for twenty. The beauty of this meal is that it is served room temp. Meaning I can set it all out right before the first guests arrive, ensuring a seamless pace to the entire evening.

In the morning it’s time to marinate and grill the chicken, cut the lemons and limes for the bar, whip the cream, zest a couple limes for the tarts, and get all the components together for the baby heirloom tomato salad so it can be tossed right before the guests appear.

citrus marinated chicken

Marinating the chicken is a snap because I whipped up the citrus marinade the day before.

citrus marinated chicken

Before lighting the grill toss chicken breasts with marinade and let sit for 30 minutes.

citrus marinated chicken

Grill the chicken breasts until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temp before serving.

lemons and limes

Cut the lemons and limes in wedges. Place in a decorative dish, cover and refrigerate.

whipped cream

Combine the heavy cream with powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract.

whipped cream

Whip until peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until its time to top the individual key lime tarts.

tomato, mozzarella basil salad

Slice the tomatoes for the baby heirloom, bocconcini and basil salad. Place in a large Ziploc bag.

pistachio pesto

Boil the fusilli, drain and toss with defrosted pistachio pesto. Cool to room temp, place in large Ziploc bags and refrigerate

tomato, mozzarella basil salad

A half-hour before the guests arrive drain the mozzarella, sliver the basil and toss with the sliced baby heirloom tomatoes. Set out in its serving dish along with everything else.

In a matter of minutes dinner for twenty is ready to go!


(For more tricks of the trade in creating a dinner for twenty click on the previous eight posts)

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