Many people enjoying hosting or attending dinner parties, which can be elegant, gourmet affairs, or casual, low-key get togethers. No matter if you are throwing a dinner party for your closest friends or your spouse's colleagues who you want to impress, planning a cohesive menu is a challenge. You don't have to spend all day in the kitchen over a hot stove or be a world-renowned chef to pull it off -- make dinner party dishes that are simple and delicious at the same time.
Choose the Best Ingredients
Choose a simple dish that features high-quality ingredients. You don't need to make a fancy entree that requires more than 10 ingredients to impress your guests. Your dinner party menu can feature a main course that doesn't require much work, such as a quality cut of steak or an in-season fish. When you choose to serve an entree that doesn't have a lot of ingredients, you're also lowering the odds of running into allergy or aversion issues.
Choose a Theme
Rather than using the dinner party to show off your culinary skills by making complicated dishes, choose a theme and stick to it. Choose one main dish in your theme and then make simple, easy side dishes to go along with it. For example, if you decide to throw a Mexican-themed dinner party, your main entree may be enchiladas. Your side dishes can be simple complements to the enchiladas, such as chips and salsa, guacamole, refried or charro beans and rice.
Use a Slow Cooker
Break out your slow cooker to save time and energy. You can make delicious dishes with slow cookers, including pot roast, corned beef, chicken and dumplings, soups and vegetables. Simply throw all your ingredients into the Crock-Pot and turn it on. The slow cooker will do all the work, while you can focus on other simple dishes, such as salads or appetizers.
Plan Around Your Drinks
If your dinner party guests enjoy wine, choose a high-quality wine and plan your menu around it. You don't have to break the bank, as there are many great-tasting wines available for around $15 a bottle. Make the process easier by deciding how many courses you want to serve, such as appetizers, salad and soup course, main course and dessert course, and then choosing your wines first. At many specialty wine stores or grocery stores, the wines will have a description of their flavor (such as "fruity"), as well as the ideal types of food to serve with them. After buying your wines, plan your menu or dishes.
Plan pairings that go from light to dark wines. For example, white wines typically go with lighter foods, such as appetizers, salads, fish and poultry, while red wines generally complement heavier foods, such as beef and red pasta dishes. Most types of champagne pair well with strong cheeses, appetizers and desserts.