20 Recipes for an Extra-Special Quarantine Dinner Party with Your Immediate Family
In lieu of dining out, serve a spectacular dinner at home with these extra-special recipes.
With social distancing, no one is dining out at restaurants or hosting elaborate dinner parties for extended family and friends. However, there's no reason why you can't have a special dinner at home for whomever you're self-isolating with during the coronavirus pandemic. A multi-course dinner party for your loved ones is not only a great way to connect while sharing delicious food, but it also helps to distinguish the weekend from all those other days that have started to blend together.
Start the evening with a bubbly drink, such as our virgin Grapefruit-Sanbitter Spritz. It's a non-alcoholic version of a Negroni, but is even more refreshing and eye-catching. For the main course, serve Easy Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes and Pernod, pictured here. It's a one-pan dish that only requires 15 minutes of prep work, but looks and tastes extra special. Pair it with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the rich, savory pan sauce. For dessert, prepare our pretty-as-can-be Vanilla-Rhubarb Tart, which is a good way to use the abundance of seasonal spring rhubarb.
Beyond just serving a fabulous meal, go the extra mile when setting the table. Use cloth napkins and napkin rings, which look elegant and preserves your supply of paper napkins, too. Lay down a festive tablecloth or easy-to-clean placemats, candles, and flowers (even if they're fake!) in order to lift everyone's spirits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Baked Chicken Legs with Chickpeas, Olives, and Greens
Made with a number of pantry staples, like mixed olives (whatever kind you have on hand will do!), shallots, canned chickpeas, and spices, this is a perfect dinner to make during a pandemic. Plus, it uses chicken legs, which are probably easier to find than breasts or cutlets right now.
Comforting and crowd-friendly, this hearty pie is a delicious excuse to put fish stock, frozen puff pastry, and seasonal vegetables to use. It has multiple steps and is more time-consuming than an average weeknight dinner—a task that's just right for your special weekend meal.
Classic Beef Stew
With the exception of beef chuck, the ingredients for this all-time classic dish should be easy to shop for in your own pantry. Let the meat braise for a couple of hours so that it becomes tender and rich with savory flavors.
Iced Watermelon-Lemon Tea
When you need a taste of summer after being stuck inside for days on end, make this two-ingredient drink. Just combine watermelon juice with half-and-half lemonade and tea for a refreshing sip.
Pressure-Cooker Chile Verde
Pull-Apart Cheesy Pesto Bread
If you've recently made a big batch of basil pesto—or purchased some from the grocery store—make this cheesy starter. The pesto is a super flavorful swap for garlic butter and the combination of two kinds of cheese (mozzarella and Taleggio) makes the most incredible pull when melted.
Brown-Butter Sweet-Potato Gnocchi with Seeds
Try your hand at making gnocchi, the diminutive Italian potato-and-flour based dumplings. We're using sweet potatoes for this version, which makes the gnocchi a pretty orange color and their flavor extra sweet. Tossed in a nutty, buttery sauce, this is a comforting dish that's dressed to impress.
Peppery Greens with Meyer-Lemon Dressing
Chocolate-Chip Oat-Coconut Skillet Cookie
Sausage-and-Kale Stuffed Shells
This hot and hearty casserole is a baked pasta-lovers dream. It's made with Italian sausage, chopped kale, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. If you're planning ahead, you can make this entire dish in advance and store it in your freezer until it's time to cook.
Roasted-Garlic Toast with Tomato
Turkey Meatloaf with Hoisin Glaze
Escarole Salad with Lemon-and-Anchovy Dressing
Start with a vibrant vinaigrette made exclusively using pantry staples—lemon, garlic, anchovies, Dijon, and olive oil. Toss it over escarole and olives for a simple salad your family will ask for again and again.
Everyone at the table will be able to eat and enjoy this vegetable- and protein-packed main course, which features black-eyed peas, squash, okra, diced tomatoes, and bell peppers. Serve over rice for a colorful and comforting meal.