They're all about make-ahead dishes so that they can mingle.

By Kelly Vaughan
October 08, 2019
Petrina Tinslay

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Hosting a dinner party is a fabulous way to gather friends and family in the comfort of your own home. There is, however, a lot of coordination required to get everything on the table in a timely manner. Greg Lofts, deputy food editor, and Lauryn Tyrell, senior food editor, share the go-to recipes they serve to guests when entertaining, plus their expert tips for how to get it all done.

Greg is all about prepping ahead so that he can enjoy the time with his guests. For that reason, he chooses recipes that can be made in advance and put together quickly once it's time to eat. For an appetizer, Greg is a fan of serving shrimp cocktail—"It's great because you can make it in the morning and have it on a platter ready to put out when guests arrive." For an easy side, Greg recommends serving a salad; the vegetables can be cleaned, peeled, and chopped in advance, and the dressing whisked to completion well before guests arrive so all that needs to be done before dinner is tossing everything together in one big bowl.

Related: Catch Up On What Happened in the Test Kitchen Last Week

Lauryn's strategy is similar. She's all about staying out of the kitchen when guests arrive so that she can enjoy their company. "I like to have things where I can lay out a spread and then people can choose what they want. It's interactive and very easy," she says. "Tacos, cold noodle bowls, and bo ssam all work great." If guests are staying overnight, Greg has a plan for that, too. "Whenever I'm hosting overnight guests, I love to make biscuits by hand and let them rest overnight. You can serve them savory or sweet—it's sort of what I'm known for," he says.

What about when they are not the ones hosting? As food editors, do their friends expect them to make something Martha-level? "Because I work for the queen of desserts [Martha Stewart], no one else wants to do that so I'll make a pie to bring over to someone's house," Lauryn says.

Greg thinks that the best way to be a good guest at a friend's house is to be considerate of their kitchen space. "If someone else is hosting a potluck, you may not know if they're making something that needs stove or oven time. In order to be a good guest, think about bringing something that will essentially be ready to serve when you arrive," he says. He also recommends thinking about how the dish will transport, based on how much it weighs and if it can survive at room temperature in the time it takes to get to your destination.

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