Winter Dinner Party Menu

Dishes full of seasonal flavors that are elegant enough to serve at your next dinner party.
Staff Writer
Coconut Shortbread

Big Girls Small Kitchen

Coconut Shortbread

There is nothing like hosting a dinner party with your closest friends to take your mind off of winter’s seemingly endless string of gray/snowy/rainy days.

On the day of your party, light a fire in the fireplace, set the table with rustic linens, and fill vases with forced paperwhites and bright citrus to lift your mood. For the meal, we’ve been inspired by winter flavors like bright blood orange, sweet chestnuts, and crisp pears, but we’re leaving it up to you to pick and choose a couple of dishes that suit your palate best.



Suzanne Goin’s Blood Orange, Date, Parmesan, and Almond Salad

Credit: Shimon & Tammar Rothstein

From The Daily Meal

Chef Suzanne Goin recently served this refreshing and light salad at the Screen Actors Guild Awards dinner, and recommends it as a light and flavorful wintertime dish to start off your meal.


The Party Vegan’s Chestnut Bisque

From The Daily Meal

When blended with vegetable stock and puréed until smooth, nutty chestnuts are transformed into a slightly sweet and supremely velvety soup that is a filling starter for those watching their waistline. We recommend that you make a double batch, so you can save some extra soup to have on hand for weekday lunches.


Butter Lettuce with Lemon-Basil Dressing

From The Daily Meal

Butter lettuce, also known as Bibb lettuce, is a crisp and tender leaf lettuce that does not need a lot of extra garnishing when served in a salad. We like this lemon-herb dressing because it is not too acidic (and won’t quickly wilt the lettuce) and is full of bright flavors that make us think of summer.



Main Dishes:

Rack of Lamb Gordon

Credit: Garrett Bronson

From The Daily Meal

When entertaining, nothing is more easy and impressive than roasting a couple racks of lamb for the entrée. Make sure you roast the lamb partially before slathering the rack with the mustard mixture to ensure the lamb is properly cooked by the time the coating turns a golden brown.


Arrosto di Maiale with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Pinot Noir-Poached Figs

From The Daily Meal

This roasted pork tenderloin dish from Andrea Di Loreto, Executive Chef at the Kenwood Inn and Spa in Kenwood, Calif., is full of earthy flavors. While you could serve it with a full-bodied white, like a Viognier, we find it pairs best with a light-bodied red, like Pinot Noir.


Miraval’s Angus Beef Filet Mignon

Credit: Miraval Resort & Spa

From The Daily Meal

Adhering to your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite cuts of flavorful meat. Here, Chad Luethje of Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, Ariz. serves a simple, properly-portioned cut of lean filet mignon with a vegetable garnish, so you can satisfy your meat cravings without derailing your diet.



Side Dishes:

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

From The Daily Meal

In terms of cancer-fighting phytonutrients, few vegetables top Brussels sprouts. While their strong scent may turn away some, roasting Brussels sprouts with sweet maple syrup and a pinch of salt transforms these cruciferous vegetables into a delightful treat that you won’t mind including in your diet.


Potato Croquettes

From The Daily Meal

Mashed potatoes, combined with an easily melting cheese and rolled into balls, makes for a delicious and irresistible side dish to beef or lamb. Alternatively, you can make a double batch and serve these warm as an alternative to arancini as an appetizer.


Sweet and Salty Eggplant

From The Daily Meal

An easy vegetable dish flavored with soy sauce and agave syrup and cooked until the eggplant is tender and coated with a thick, syrupy sauce. It is so good, it will convert those not fond of eggplant into instant eggplant-lovers.


Easy Cauliflower Risotto with Crispy Potato Bits

Credit: Ashley Fahr

From The Daily Meal

While cauliflower may be an unusual addition to risotto, it makes for a surprisingly delicious complement to the creamy rice. When cooking the rice, be sure to add the warm broth slowly, constantly stirring, to ensure the starch properly dissolves to create the creamy texture risotto is known for.




Chocolate-Covered Clementines

Credit: Erin Swing

From The Daily Meal

A light and easy dessert that reminds us of the orange-shaped chocolates that are often gifted during the holidays. Try serving these orange segments along with coconut shortbread and pine nut thumbprints for a cookie plate to accompany your after-dinner coffee.


Poached Pear on Orange Pound Cake with Dried Fruit Compote and Apricot Sauce

From The Daily Meal

A favorite dessert from Napa Rose restaurant at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa that is a decadent alternative to a chocolate dessert. It’s also suitable for dinner parties, as you can make each of the components in advance, you need only to warm the poached pears before serving.


Panna Cotta

From The Daily Meal

Another simple yet elegant dessert that is perfect for serving a crowd. Once you master this basic recipe, feel free to experiment with different flavors and garnishes. For the winter, we love serving a plain panna cotta with a syrupy blood orange compote, or a cinnamon and cardamom-spiced pear topping.

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