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What should I make for dinner?
We've got some of Andres' relatives coming over for dinner tonight, and need to hit the grocery first. What can I make that:

* feeds 8 people
* is pretty easy to make (in terms of not wanting to painstakingly slice up a whole lot of stuff, because 8 people)
* is pretty fast (because I'll need to get groceries after work, and there is not much time between then and when they're coming over)

I'm a vegetarian, but nobody else is, so feel free to suggest things that the meat-eaters can cook as long as that's not all that's in the proposed meal.

I am thinking possibly potatoes au gratin, microwaved squash halves, and some kind of bean salad. Or possibly a green salad with pears and almonds. Potatoes au gratin are not particularly fast, but the prep is front-loaded and I don't think anyone will mind if we do the little house tour and chat a bit while things are in the oven. If I get groceries at lunch I can do bean salad ahead, and it will be better with time to marinate a bit.

This does not feel like a very inspired menu, though. (I do better with "What can I cobble together from available ingredients?" than with "What should I get at the store?", but available ingredients aren't going to make anything but pasta for this many people.) Any ideas?

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I would make black bean soup and Spanish rice and roasted asparagus, which is vegetarian but tasty for everybodys, and also I would think of grilling some andouille if the meat eaters want to eat it with their soup and rice, because it's nice that way. I'd use canned beans in the soup and canned tomatoes in the rice, which adds up to rather little chopping all considered.

Oooh, I think this sounds like a tasty idea. Or your butternut squash soup would be awesomely tasty with some kind of rice and asparagus, but I think that's more work.

Hm. No, the soup's pretty easy. Easier than au gratin, certainly. Asparagus is awfully tasty, and I expect the Milk Pail should have it at reasonable price & quality.

Perhaps squash soup, rice with a bit of flavoring (bouillon , perhaps some herbs, maybe pine nuts?), and asparagus (for 8 people, that'd be... what, 4 bundles?)? Does that still want a salad?

I think a green salad would still go nicely? Pears & nuts in a salad sounds awesome, and I should be home early enough to handle making that.

If you make bean salad, use herbs from the garden- the fresh herbs will be very tasty in an uncooked dish.

That said, I think that all sounds tasty- I'm wondering if you can do something more interesting with the squash halves than just microwave them- what if you served the bean salad in the squash halves or something?

I also think that green beans sound like they would go well with this meal for some reason.

Green beans do not win on quick & easy because taking the ends off them is tedious.

I am more inclined to do nuts & raisins in squash than beans, for interest.

Mmm, yes, that's true. Had forgotten about that bit.

I think the potatoes au gratin are wonderful....

Risotto! It's easy-but-kinda-fancy, filling and doesn't take long to make. Basic ingredients: Arborio rice + stock (supermarket veggie stock works fine)+ whatever else you like. Try asparagus, leeks and diced ham or shrimp (with can be heated separately and added to the risotto just before serving for the carnivores). All the equipment you need is a skillet large enough to hold it.

That plus a salad should make everyone happy.

Ping me if you need a recipe.

I'm probably way too late here, but my standby is lasagna and a salad. Prep is front-loaded, it's filling, it can be scrumptious far beyond the effort expended, and even the heartiest meat eaters often fail to notice when lasagna is vegetarian.

But I'm probably not the best person to ask. My idea of an inspired menu is having two different things at the same meal. :)

We'd probably make lasagna if we weren't planning to have it tomorrow. :)

So what did you make in the end?

I made squash soup (highly complimented), roast asparagus with garlic (not highly complimented, but I like it), and rice with bouillon, pine nuts, and onion, and chinders made a nice salad with lettuce, spinach, pears, pecans, and bits of dried apricot.

And it was a really nice evening, overall. Galen made a bit of a nuisance of himself here and there, but was better-behaved than I'd kind of been expecting. And they all thought he was cute as the dickens. Good people; fun to hang out with.

Edited at 2010-03-06 05:43 pm (UTC)

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