There’s nothing like a multiple-course home-cooked dinner with close friends. It’s much more affordable than going out to a restaurant, and you’re more likely to enjoy your meal if you had a hand in making it. Plus, it’s an opportunity to create a few hours’ worth of new memories with the people whose company you enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Below are a few of my favorite crowd-pleaser recipes that require minimal effort, are easily sharable, and pair great with a bottle of wine and fun conversation.
Appetizers: Pull-Apart Pizza and Buffalo Chicken Sliders
The two recipes that are my favorite to make as appetizers are a pull-apart pizza and buffalo chicken sliders. Not only are they delicious, but the combination of pizza with sliders evokes the casual, party-themed atmosphere that makes the conversation as lighthearted and fun as the dishes themselves.
Each recipe requires several steps, so everyone can get involved with preparing the meal and add their own little touches of customization to the end creations. In addition, both only take 30 minutes to cook in the oven – leaving your guests a perfect amount of time to set up Apples to Apples, play a drinking game, select your movie choice for the night or decide any other activities you plan on doing post-dinner.
Main Dish: One-Pot Pasta
For the main dish, I like to make a one-pot pasta. This dish is a great party-pleaser for several reasons – it provides a more substantial base to absorb any alcohol you may drink, it keeps the stomach decently full if the appetizers disappeared faster than expected, it provides a touch of warmth if the group is eating on an outdoor patio or terrace at night, and it appeases most people’s tastes – who doesn’t love pasta? In addition, serving this in cute bowls gives off the fancy, we-have-our-life-together vibe that my young adult friends and I always strive for.
Dessert: Oreo Truffles
For dessert, is there anything that combines the tastiness of cookies with the smoothness of melted chocolate more than an Oreo truffle? I didn’t think so. My go-to recipe is very easy for first-time cooks to follow and only requires three ingredients, making the cost per person extremely low. You can also make this recipe substituting Oreos with your other favorite cookies or using other types of chocolate for the coating, making a virtually endless list of possible truffle concoctions.
These are an excellent choice for a group dessert because the recipe yields a large batch of creamy, rich truffles – only eating a few is enough to satisfy the average sweet tooth, so no need to worry about there not being enough of them to go around for everyone. Win-win!