Easy Dinner Party Recipes

Southern Cobb Salad with Roasted Sweet Onion Dressing
Photo: Con Poulos

Dinner parties don't have to be stressful and difficult--turn to these simple recipes that feature fresh salads, savory appetizers, impressive main courses and delicious desserts. Whether you're having a summer party or a winter get-together, these dishes are perfect year round and are sure to impress. Try a few of our favorites including farro salad with fried cauliflower and prosciutto herb-and-honey-mustard-crusted leg of lamb. Whatever dishes you choose, your guests will be impressed.

01 of 19

Garlic-and-Rosemary Roast Pork Loin

Garlic-and-Rosemary Roast Pork Loin

A big, bold, garlicky marinade, made with a whole bunch of fresh rosemary, flavors this juicy roast from Ethan Stowell.

02 of 19

Rosemary, Almond and Parmesan Cocktail Cookies

Rosemary, Almond and Parmesan Cocktail Cookies
© Quentin Bacon

To bring out the flavor of the rosemary in these barely sweet cookies, Dorie Greenspan first rubs the leaves with granulated sugar—a technique she learned from renowned French pastry chef Pierre Hermé.

03 of 19

Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraîche and Cilantro

Zucchini Soup with Crème Fraîche and Cilantro

"This soup marries French cooking, with the leek and crème fraîche, and Texan flavors, with the poblano and cilantro," says Danika Boyle. The creamy green soup is delicious served hot or cold.

04 of 19

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Farro Salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto

Cooks in Italy fry cauliflower to bring out its nuttiness. Here, Ethan Stowell deep-fries it for an inexpensive salad with salty prosciutto (you could also use ham) and nubby farro, a variety of whole-grain wheat that's both flavorful and filling.

05 of 19

Herb-and-Honey-Mustard-Crusted Leg of Lamb

Herb-and-Honey-Mustard-Crusted Leg of Lamb

To cook the lamb so it's crusty on the outside and juicy within, Danika Boyle preheats the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes before then reducing the temperature to 375° and roasting the meat.

06 of 19

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Pine Nuts

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Pine Nuts
07 of 19

Vinegar-Braised Chicken with Leeks and Peas

Vinegar-Braised Chicken with Leeks and Peas
© JONNY VALIANT

This chicken dish is elegant enough for entertaining and easy enough for a simple weeknight dinner.

08 of 19

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna

Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna
© Quentin Bacon

This rustic and gooey lasagna is packed with cheese and sausage. The style is called free-form because the pasta can be arranged in different ways—for instance, folded over the filling—instead of traditionally layered.

09 of 19

Sautéed Spring Greens with Bacon and Mustard Seeds

Sautéed Spring Greens with Bacon and Mustard Seeds

You can use any greens you like in this quick sauté, which gets terrific flavor and texture from smoky bacon, hot chile and the pop of mustard seeds.

10 of 19

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
© Con Poulos

Michael Symon's four-ingredient potatoes get plenty of flavor from browned butter and crème fraîche. Reserve a little browned butter to drizzle on the potatoes just before serving.

11 of 19

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash
© <a data-cke-saved-href="http://mattbites.com/" href="http://mattbites.com/" class"="external">Matt Armendariz

Cubes of butternut squash are tossed with a mix of warming spices—including cumin, coriander and cayenne—and roasted.

12 of 19

Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale

Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale
© TINA RUPP

For this one-pan dish, Grace Parisi roasts chicken legs on a bed of potatoes and kale so the meaty juices keep the vegetables moist.

13 of 19

Big Italian Salad

Big Italian Salad
© Quentin Bacon

Part green salad part antipasto salad, this recipe combines lettuce, celery, onion, peperoncini, olives and cherry tomatoes—all tossed in a dressing made with olive oil, vinegar and a little mayonnaise.

14 of 19

Goat Cheese Cakes with Rosemary and Lavender Honey

Goat Cheese Cakes with Rosemary and Lavender Honey

Pastry chef Sandra Reinli created this recipe using Provençal goat cheese and herbs.

15 of 19

Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon

Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon

This timeless tapa from Spanish cookbook author Penelope Casas has everything going for it—it's sweet, smoky and savory, all in one bite.

16 of 19

Skillet-Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Basil

Skillet-Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Basil

Chris Cosentino remembers charring tomatoes when he was a line cook under chef Mark Miller at Red Sage in Washington, DC. "Mark always said, 'It needs fleck,' " Cosentino says, referring to the blackened bits on the skins. "The fire brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes."

17 of 19

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme
© Ben Dearnley

A bold mixture of red-pepper flakes, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, and olive oil serves as a spicy marinade for bone-in chicken breasts. If you want your chicken spicier still, increase the red pepper or leave the breasts in the marinade for an hour or two.

18 of 19

Maple-Bacon Popovers

Maple-Bacon Popovers
Victor Protasio

Popovers are America's answer to British Yorkshire pudding. Festive and comforting, they're made by adding hot fat (butter, beef drippings, bacon grease) to the bottom of individual popover or muffin tins before pouring in a rich, eggy batter, which causes them to puff up and "pop" over the sides of the pan.

19 of 19

Southern Cobb Salad with Roasted Sweet Onion Dressing

Southern Cobb Salad with Roasted Sweet Onion Dressing
Con Poulos

This fantastic salad gets a boost of flavor from a toasty roasted sweet onion and garlic dressing.

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