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Easy Recipes for Elegant Entertaining

I was cooking for years before I realized that the gourmet food made in fancy restaurants is often easier and less time consuming than home cooking. The recipes below are simple in that there is minimal 'hands on' work and the techniques, even for the novice cook, can be easily learned. In a few, cooking time is longer, but most of the prep work can be done ahead. The dishes are elegant in that they make a simply beautiful presentation that will impress your guests. Set a charming table using the best you have. Turn those plain linen napkins into a thing of beauty just by folding them differently than usual.

In choosing the menu, always think of how the dishes work together, both in flavor and appearance. You never want to overpower the main dish with a highly seasoned side. Garnish dishes with fresh herbs, preferably those used in the dish. Even plain parsley adds character to a platter or dinner plate. If you have time a day or so before the dinner, make a dessert that can be stored at room temperature or be refrigerated until the party. And do not hesitate to use quality store-bought items for appetizers or desserts. They make life so much easier, and you just need to add a few personal touches to make it your own. By the way, when I first decided to delve into the realm of 'gourmet' cooking, I chose a different menu every Saturday night and experimented on my family. They loved it, and I quickly gained confidence in my own abilities, shortly thereafter making the same meals for company. I hope that you will try many of the recipes below and make some of them your favorites. You will find more recipes that are appropriate for entertaining by using the search engine above or browsing the Recipe Files.


Main Dishes

Meats and Poultry


Pasta and Grains


Side Dishes

Elegant Entertaining Photo

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Main Dishes: Meats and Poultry
Herb-Roasted Chateaubriand (Beef Tenderloin) with Brandied Shallot Sauce

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast

Slow-Roasted Standing Rib of Beef

Beef Loin Strip Roast (Steakhouse Roast)

Grilled Flank Steak with Shallot Butter Sauce

Individual Beef Wellingtons (Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Puff Pastry)

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mushrooms
Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin Steaks) with Shrimp and Brandy Sauce

Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin Steak) Stuffed with Herbed Cheese

Beef Tenderloin Stew

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Herb-Stuffed Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Veal Piccata (Scallopini with Lemon Sauce)

Veal Cutlets with Tomato Cream Sauce
Veal Scallopini with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Roasted Boneless Pork Loin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Mustard Rub

Roasted Boneless Pork Loin Stuffed with Wild Rice and Apples

Pork Cutlets with Maple, Mustard and Sage Sauce

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mustard and Herbs

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Broccoli
Chicken Cordon Bleu

Boneless Turkey Breast with Oyster and Spinach Stuffing

Rolled Turkey Breast with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast with Red Wine and Dijon Sauce

Seared Duck Breasts with Raspberry-Balsamic Sauce

Grilled Quail

Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Herb-Roasted Poussin
Main Dishes: Seafood
Pan-Seared Grouper with Cashew and Sesame Crust

Rolled Flounder Fillets with Crabmeat Stuffing

Fish Fillets with Shrimp Stuffing

Fish Fillets Steamed on Spinach Leaves

Sautéed Fish Fillets with Creamy Dill Sauce

Seared Tuna with Shallots and Lemon Butter Sauce

Potato-Crusted Salmon Fillets

Salmon in Puff Pastry
Salmon Fillets with Creamy Cucumber Sauce

Sautéed Monkfish Medallions

Grilled or Broiled Lobster Tails with Garlic Butter

Lobster Tails Sautéed in Butter

Lobster Cakes with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Shrimp Marinara (Shrimp with Tomato Sauce)

Shrimp with Cherry Tomatoes
Sautéed Shrimp and Lobster

Roasted Shrimp with Lemon and Parsley

Sautéed Shrimp and Vegetables

Broiled Shrimp with Herbed Garlic Butter

Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Crab Cakes with Optional Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Sautéed Sea Scallops

Baked Sea Scallops with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Main Dishes: Pasta and Grains
Linguine with Fresh Clams and Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Peas

Pasta with Shrimp Primavera

Ravioli with Dried Mushroom Sauce

Ravioli with Pumpkin and Sausage Sauce

Homemade Cheese Ravioli with Spinach Cream Sauce
Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Penne with Peas, Mushrooms and Roasted Red Peppers

Pasta with Turkey and Mushroom Ragu

Pasta with Mushrooms, Broccoli Rabe and Vodka Cream Sauce
Creamy Fettuccine with Shrimp and Scallops

Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Baked Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli and Three Cheeses

Creamy Shrimp and Scallops with Toasted Rice

Chicken, Sausage and Seafood Paella
Starters: Appetizers, Soup and Salads
Baked Mushrooms with Goat Cheese Stuffing

Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce

Broiled Shrimp with Garlic Butter

Mussels Marinara

Assorted Cheese and Crackers

Marinated Red Peppers with Bruschetta
Hot Crab Dip or Spread

Purée of Asparagus Soup

Winter Squash Cream Soup

Soup with Greens and Pasta

Manhattan Clam Chowder


Spinach and Arugula Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Spinach Salad with Bacon and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Tossed Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Oranges and Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette

Side Dishes

Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips with Caramelized Onions

Mashed Potatoes with Garlic

Roasted New Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes with Balsamic Vinegar

Roasted Mixed Baby Potatoes

Potato, Onion and Cheese Gratin

Sautéed Potato Slices

Herb-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Dilled Carrots
Roasted Beets

Caramelized Pearl Onions

Baked Asparagus with Almond-Cheese Sauce

Roasted Asparagus

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon-Mustard Butter

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan Cheese

Easy Creamed Spinach

Steamed Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic
Broccoli with Brown Butter and Lemon

Sautéed Zucchini

Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil

Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots

Sautéed Green Beans with Olive Oil and Garlic

Roasted Green Beans with Tomatoes and Basil

Sautéed Mushrooms
Orzo Pilaf

Herbed Couscous

Toasted Orzo

Creamy Orzo and Rice

Spaetzle with Browned Butter (German Dumplings)

Risotto with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf

Farro with Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Herbed Rice

Wild Rice Pilaf


Strawberries with Pound Cake and Whipped Cream

Creamy Chocolate Mousse

Lemon Sponge Pudding

Easy Strawberry Mousse

Baked Apple Chunks (with Optional Granola Topping)

Fruit or Berries Macerated with Liqueur

Strawberries with Double Cream

Strawberries with Honey-Yogurt Cream
Strawberries Macerated in Balsamic-Orange Liqueur with Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti

Berry and Kiwi Cookie Crust Pizza

Mango Tart with Crumb Topping

Rustic Apricot Tart

Strawberry-Cream Cheese Tart with Graham Cracker-Almond Crust

Pecan Tassies (Miniature Pecan Tarts)

Berry Cream Torte
Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting

White Chocolate Coconut Cake

Angel Food Cake Layered in Chocolate Cream

Easy Cherry-Chocolate Cream Torte

Grasshopper Cake with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings

Cherry Pudding Cake

Ice Cream Parfaits

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast

Beef Tenderloin Roast Recipe Photo

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mustard and Herbs

Pork Tenderloin Recipe Photo

Crab Cakes with Optional Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Crab Cakes Recipe Photo

Tossed Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Tossed Green Salad Recipe Photo

Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus Recipe Photo

Pecan Tassies (Miniature Pecan Tarts)

Miniature Pecan Tarts Recipe Photo