Springtime Lunch with Friends
Things are opening up again and it is time, at last, to gather. Yahoo! With birthdays to celebrate, I hosted a few of my BFFs for a Springtime Lunch with Friends.
We are a casual bunch, so I didn’t go crazy, but it had been so long since we had gotten together under “normal” circumstances, that it seemed appropriate to pull out the china and spoil the girls a bit with food, drink & gifts.
Make-Ahead Luncheon Menu
When it is your turn to entertain, of course, you can make everything from scratch, but it’s much more practical to get creative; incorporate a few delicious packaged or prepared foods from local stores or bakeries to give you a helping hand.
For this luncheon, I baked and made a few things, assembled, and just warmed up other items, to save time. This made it special, but also reasonable, doable, and fairly easy!
For more entertaining menu ideas, read how to host the perfect lunch party for your girlfriends HERE
Here’s the Springtime Lunch Menu
Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche
This healthy quiche is easy to customize to your taste and pair with the other items on your table. It’s delicious hot or at room temperature.
I baked it right before the girls arrived, but we did not have to hurry to eat because it is delicious either way. Find the recipe HERE.
Cape Cod Salad
For the salad, I selected a tried and true favorite from Ina Garten, the Cape Cod Salad. HERE.
You can make this ahead of time then, quickly assemble and toss together immediately before serving. It’s such a lovely mix of flavors. It does have blue cheese, so consider what you pair it with.
Roasted Potatoes with Peppers & Onions
One of my choices for “easy” was Trader Joe’s Roasted Potatoes with Peppers & Onions. It is a frozen food dish that is incredibly easy to cook.
To make, just toss the potatoes in a skillet, before your guests arrive. You can do this early so the potatoes thaw out in the skillet, which makes heating and browning that much faster. Then, keep them in the pan until you are ready to serve.
Crusty Bread with Tapenade or Herb Garlic Cheese
I purchased a yummy “Take and Bake” crusty baguette that I baked right alongside the quiche. The two spreads I served on the side were Trader Joe’s Olive Tapenade and Boursin brand Herb Garlic Cheese. Two of my fast and delicious favorites.
Chantilly Cake with Raspberry Mousse Filling
The Chantilly cake was inspired by a local Minnesota bakery, Dorothy Ann’s Bakery. My copycat recipe is semi-homemade, with a few shortcuts to help streamline your process. It’s delicious and everyone enjoyed it! Get the Chantilly Cake with Raspberry Mousse recipe, HERE.
I chose a California white wine called Locations CA by David Phinney. A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Roussane. Just look for a large “CA” on the simple white label. The girls loved it!
Menu Ideas for Lunch with Friends
If you are looking for more menu ideas for lunch or dinner with friends, below are simple combinations to get your ideas flowing!
Sandwiches or Wraps
Greek Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki
Panini with Light Salad & Roasted Vegetables
Chicken Wraps with Soup
Tea sandwiches with Scones and Jam
Lettuce Wraps with Fried Rice
Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Zoodles
Pasta or Pizza
Pasta with Cheesy Garlic Bread
Calzone with Soup
Soups or Salads
Taco Salad with Guacamole & Chips
Colorful Mandarin Orange Salad
Chowder and Grilled Cheese
Caprese Salad and Grilled Protein
Chili and Cornbread
Ramen with Fresh steamed Vegetables
Poke Bowls with Kimchi
Buddha Bowl with Fresh Spring Rolls
Tacos with Mexican style Corn on the Cob
Stir Fry with Dumplings
Luncheon Planning Checklist
Here’s a to-do list of party planning steps. You may not need all of them, but I hope they help you prepare or just inspire you!
Two Weeks Ahead
Mail, e-mail, text, or make calls to invite your friends.
Make, or buy, or gather up all the party decorations.
Plan your lunch or dinner menu. Pick ideas that can be made in advance.
Write down the menu and the plan for your remaining dishes, beverages, and snacks.
One Week Ahead
Clean all dishes, silverware, and linens you’ll be using.
Decide what music to play. Create a playlist.
Grocery shop and prepare dishes that can be made ahead or frozen.
Place an order for the items you are not making, if necessary.
Select and purchase beverages.
Pull out the serving dishes you will use, then label each with a Post-it note.
Three Days Before
Clean your home.
Decorate. Arrange candles, flower vases, & put up decorations.
Make a final trip to the grocery store to get the last-minute items.
A Day or Two Before
Complete as much of the final cooking as possible.
For dishes, you cannot make ahead of time, prepare all of the separate parts and store.
Set the table and/or your buffet area.
Set up a drink and snack table.
Pull out and set up any extra chairs or floor cushions.
The Day Of
Do a last-minute run through your house to tidy up.
Layout the food that won’t spoil before your guests arrive. Cover.
Put a pitcher or bottle of water on the table.
Shower and get ready.
Light the candles and put on your music.
Take a deep breath and pour a glass of wine for yourself.
Greet your friends as they arrive.
I hope these ideas help you put together a Springtime Lunch with Friends. Enjoy and let me know how it goes!
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Be sure to consult a registered and licensed dietitian, licensed nutritionist, or certified nutrition specialist if you have questions about ingredients and how they fit into your personal nutrition plan.