The holidays are fast approaching, and throwing a dinner party is easier than ever when you live in a turnkey furnished apartment with a full kitchen, plus basic tableware, flatware, and pots and pans. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Festivus, or just want to show off your cool new apartment — we have you covered.Here are two complete dinner party menus — one traditional, and one plant based — as well as some tips on how to set the scene with a little stage lighting and the perfect soundtrack. If you’re going to be cooking for a crowd, save time and money by ordering everything you need ahead of time from our partner Thrive Market. We’ve also included some recommended wine pairings from NakedWines, another trusted partner. (Check the Blueground app for details on how to claim your guest-exclusive discounts from all of Blueground’s partners.)
This hearty menu is centered around a perfectly roasted chicken. We love Ina Garten’s recipe, but your guests probably won’t know the difference if you buy a rotisserie chicken and warm it in the oven before they arrive.
Serve your main course with a healthy but filling grain salad studded with peas and mint leaves and this inspired take on the classic French dish Potatoes Anna that calls for both Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes.
For dessert, nothing beats pumpkin pie! If you’re short on time or energy, this is another dish that can just as easily be bought as baked.
This lovely supper will satisfy omnivores and vegetarians alike. We recommend serving this menu with Chris Condos Made with some Organic Grapes Mendocino Chardonnay 2020 and a bottle or two of Brothers Miller Paso Robles Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 for red wine drinkers.
The main course is a hearty and visually stunning squash stuffed with Moroccan-style vegetables and pearled barley. This impressive dish even includes a preserved lemon gravy that you can serve instead of a traditional meat-based gravy.
While the squash is a showstopper, your guests won’t be able to resist this pair of side dishes, either. A kiwi and feta salad from The Great British Bake-Off‘s Nadiya Hussain is the perfect mix of tart and savory, and Ina Garten’s go-to mac and cheese is so rich and gooey that you may need to remind everyone to save room for dessert.
Speaking of which, this salted-caramel chocolate tart is a sophisticated way to cap off the evening. (It’s also easy to make the night before!)
While there’s no meat on the menu, some of the recipes above include dairy. If you want to serve an entirely vegan meal, sub out vegan cheese crumbles for the feta in the salad and use your favorite meltable nut cheese to make the mac ‘n cheese and vegan dark chocolate for the salted-caramel chocolate tart.
The day before your party is a great time to pick up some no-cook appetizers for your guests to snack on before dinner. Bread, cheese and charcuterie from a local shop is perfect if you’re cooking the traditional menu. Anyone opting for the plant-based feast can set out bowls of cashews and gourmet popcorn or oven-warmed pita bread and hummus.
It’s important to set the mood with the right lighting and music. Pick up some soy-based candles and set them around your apartment — we recommend unscented, since you don’t want anything to compete with the delicious aromas of the food you worked so hard to prepare.
When it comes to music, go for something halfway between easy-to-ignore elevator music and the latest club hit. Spotify has a number of great playlists that are already curated for you, or you can throw on a classic like Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain or a Beatles compilation.
We hope your dinner party is a roaring success, and that you take a little time for self-care the next day.
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