20 Recipes for an Extra-Special Quarantine Dinner Party with Your Immediate Family

Easy Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes
Marcus Nilsson

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.

With delicious cocktails, comfort food mains, and superior desserts, there's no need to leave your house in order to have a special dinner with loved ones.

01 of 19

Baked Chicken Legs with Chickpeas, Olives, and Greens

baked chicken legs with chickpeas olives and greens
Johnny Miller

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.

02 of 19

Salmon-and-Spinach Potpie

salmon spinach pot pie
Con Poulos

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.

03 of 19

Classic Beef Stew

classic beef stew
Con Poulos

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.

04 of 19

Vanilla-Rhubarb Tart

vanilla rhubarb tart
Con Poulos

Take a look at this stunning dessert! Rhubarb is only in season in the spring, so make the most of it by whipping up this sweet tart. The flavor of vanilla bean is a luxurious contrast to the rhubarb.

05 of 19

Iced Watermelon-Lemon Tea

watermelon lemon tea
Ren Fuller

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.

06 of 19

Pressure-Cooker Chile Verde

pressure cooker chili verde
Justin Walker

It doesn't take much to infuse pork shoulder with plenty of heat. Here we're using two staples—diced green chiles and green salsa—to build flavor in every scoop. Serve this casual, Mexican-inspired dinner along with our Kettle Cooked Nachos and Tequila Sunrise cocktails.

07 of 19

Pull-Apart Cheesy Pesto Bread

pull-apart cheesy pesto bread
Lennart Weibull

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.

08 of 19

Brown-Butter Sweet-Potato Gnocchi with Seeds

brown butter sweet potato gnocchi with seeds
Paola + Murray

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.

09 of 19

Peppery Greens with Meyer-Lemon Dressing

peppery greens with meyer lemon dressing
Lennart Weibull

Whether you pair it with pan-fried steak or Creamy Baked Ziti, this super simple side will go with practically anything on your menu. And you only need four ingredients and 10 minutes to bring it all together—if you can't find Meyer lemons, feel free to use regular lemons.

10 of 19

Chocolate-Chip Oat-Coconut Skillet Cookie

chocolate chip skillet cookie served with ice cream
The Ingalls

Grab a bunch of spoons and place this friendly dessert in the center of the dinner table. The contrast of sweet, melted chocolate chips and crunchy oats is an absolutely delightful bite (especially when served warm with vanilla ice cream).

11 of 19

Sausage-and-Kale Stuffed Shells

Sausage-and-Kale-Stuffed Shells
Justin Walker

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.

12 of 19

Grapefruit-Sanbitter Spritz

grapefruit sanbitter spritz mocktail
Johnny Fogg

This four-ingredient drink can be enjoyed by one and all (it's virgin!). Fill a glass with Sanbitter (a nonalcoholic soda similar in flavor to Campari), dry ginger ale, and fresh grapefruit juice for the most marvelous mocktail.

13 of 19

Asparagus-and-Potato Gratin

asparagus potato gratin
Con Poulos

Start dinner off on a delicious note with this indulgent casserole made with asparagus, potatoes, prosciutto, and plenty of cheese.

14 of 19

Roasted-Garlic Toast with Tomato

roasted-garlic toast
Lennart Weibull

Dress up rustic bread with garlic confit and slices of tomato. It's a fancier version of bruschetta that tastes even more spectacular.

15 of 19

Turkey Meatloaf with Hoisin Glaze

turkey meatloaf with hoisin glaze plated with lettuce carrots and herbs
Lennart Weibull

A family comfort food favorite, meatloaf is the perfect quarantine project for a special family dinner. Try this Asian-inspired twist made with ground turkey, plus soy sauce and hoisin sauce.

16 of 19

Escarole Salad with Lemon-and-Anchovy Dressing

escarole salad
Ngoc Minh Ngo

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.

17 of 19

Chili-Stuffed Peppers

chili stuffed peppers
Justin Walker

Make a big batch of chili then serve it in creative combinations—over polenta, nachos, or tucked into bell peppers with rice, as we've done here.

18 of 19

Vegetarian Gumbo

vegetarian gumbo
Sidney Bensimon

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.

19 of 19

Ombre Cookies

ombre cookies
Raymond Hom

How pretty are these plant-based frosted sugar cookies? Decorate them in advance, or turn dessert into a cookie decorating party by setting out the cookies and individual bowls of multi-colored frosting.

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