What To Make When Entertaining Weekend Guests

Entertaining a houseful of guests is challenging enough, so when it comes to feeding those people in addition to your own family, it's no surprise that some hosts and hostesses burn out easily during the summer. That's why we've come to the rescue with a series of menus that are easy to prepare, featuring make-ahead dishes or sides that your guests can help make. While we've provided menus for each meal of the weekend, feel free to instead head to the club for lunch one day or go out for dinner Saturday night (your guests will likely be weary Friday). You can also supplement the meals with store-bought appetizers and desserts — nothing is wrong with picking up bagels and muffins from the shop around the corner for breakfast. Just keep it simple and remember to have fun — that's why we entertain friends, right?


Friday Dinner

As soon as your guests arrive, offer them a glass of rosé or their choice of cocktails. Then sit down to a meal of poached salmon or roasted chicken, a side of vegetables like steamed garden-fresh beans or Swiss chard, and roasted sweet potato wedges. When shopping, pick up extra portions of salmon or a second chicken so you can make enough to serve for lunch the next day.


Saturday Breakfast

Saturday's breakfast should be self-serve and grab-and-go friendly. Yes, you're entertaining guests but you should feel free to get in your morning swim or tennis match, too. Setting up coffee in a carafe and a platter of muffins (that you made in advance) along with a selection of fresh berries and fruit is fine. If you have more than a couple guests, set out fresh yogurt and homemade granola for make-your-own parfaits, too. If you've got the day's paper on hand, set that out on the table, as well, in the event your guests prefer to lounge on the lawn, coffee and paper in hand.

Saturday Lunch

The key to entertaining guests over the weekend is to make your meals work for you. Repurpose that poached salmon from Friday's dinner into a salmon niçoise, our use it in sandwiches along with mango chutney, greens, and mayonnaise. Roast chicken is great for making chicken salad, adding to sandwiches along with mozzarella, pesto, and sundried tomatoes — or just add it to a large salad and serve it with a loaf of bread.


Saturday Dinner

After a full day of fun out of doors, the menu for Saturday night's dinner should be simple yet flexible enough so that there is something for everyone. Now that it's warm, why not fire up the grill for some steaks? While you prep the meal, serve watermelon fizzes and bubbly basil cocktails to your guests while you snack on one of these easy appetizers. Have them help by making the salsa verde to go along with the steak, or the mango couscous, a vegetable tian, and big green salad you'll serve along side. Of course, the night isn't complete without dessert. Mini chocolate cakes can be served with your choice of ice cream — or go for a fruit crisp that comes together in seconds. 


Sunday Brunch

This is the time for a lazy, laid-back meal that can be enjoyed leisurely. Coffee cake and scrambled eggs are perfect for a crowd, or you can be fancy and customize pancakes to order, serving the dressed-up cakes along with crisp bacon and fruit. Of course, coffee and fresh juices are a must — or mix up one of these fresh fruit waters to quench your guests' thirst.


Sunday Lunch

Before your guests head on the road, send them off with a light meal to-go. If you have leftover couscous and roast chicken, you can combine the two in small containers for a healthy, hearty lunch. Or, pick up cold cuts at the market and stick with simple turkey or ham and Swiss sandwiches that can be wrapped up in parchment. And don't forget to wrap up a couple of homemade cookies for a sweet treat!