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Old 02-08-2017, 03:10 PM   #1
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No dining table - What should I serve?

I'm having a group of 6 friends over in a couple if weeks for an evening of dinner and games. My place isn't the largest and I don't have a dining table big enough for the seven of us. I want to serve something that can be easily eaten from a bowl, with just a fork ideally, while we're sat around on sofas/chairs but I'm struggling for ideas. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Old 02-08-2017, 03:39 PM   #2
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Um, something hearty, a large bowl with stewed beef, separate dumplings or potatoes in the same bowl on the side of it, and a couple sides maybe carrots or beans to put in the same bowl.

A couple years ago I had 2 trays I liked, but we ran short when we had people over. I picked up 6 from Amazon and I use them all the time, not just for serving people. They make a space to set plants that I over water and to use for serving bread or a cookie tray. People can grab a tray and put whatever they want on it and carry it to another room. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Good Luck!
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:36 PM   #3
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I think if you want a meal in a bowl, consider stew, or a hearty soup. Something cooked in slow cooker. Might be more of a spoon dish rather than fork though. Or what about tapas/appetisers, sort of finger foods?
Or if you really set on big bowl and forks, how about big chicken or fish salad with some greens, some sort of salty cheese, like feta, bread croutons? Nice dressing on a side, have couple/three different dressing types so people pick whatever they like.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:00 PM   #4
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

If it were me, I would opt to serve a bunch of nibbles instead of one big dish, especially something like a soup or stew that's difficult to balance on one's lap and easy to spill

Some examples:
- meatballs in barbecue sauce or a Greek-inspired tomato sauce
- rolled-up cured Italian meats like salami and cheeses like mozzarella and Havarti served with a grainy mustard
- dips and spreads like hummus and tzatziki with toasted pita and sliced Italian bread
- mini skewers of salad ingredients like cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and cheese with a red wine vinaigrette for drizzling
- mini skewers of fruit salad with strawberries, melon cheese with sweetened yogurt mixed lemon juice for dipping

Allow 6-8 of each item per person. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:59 PM   #5
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How about a curry over rice with an assortment of toppings.

I'm old and lazy so I would probably opt for of an assortment of Chinese take away or pizza, wings and a salad.

The important thing is to have fun.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:18 PM   #6
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I agree with GotGarlic. You don't want to serve something that is drippy and spillable. Finger foods are the way to go.
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Old 02-08-2017, 07:18 PM   #7
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Have people sit around the coffee table and nibble food off of it.... finger food or whatever...
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:06 PM   #8
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This scenario takes me back 35 years or so to a time when my then wife and I moved into our first home. We had a lot of mismatched second hand furniture, but no dining room table. We did have a fondue pot that we had received as a wedding gift, however, and so we threw a fondue party.

My wife took a round accent table, put a tablecloth over it (actually, thinking back, it might have even been a sheet) and set up the fondue pot in the middle, being careful to tape down the power cord, so no one would trip over it. I made a Cheddar and Beer fondue (I'm originally from Wisconsin, and those two ingredients are staples there).

Everyone just grabbed a chair, milk crate, pillow, or whatever was available to sit on, and pulled up a seat around the little table. Then we passed around bowls of bread cubes, cut up veggies, apple slices, and everyone dunked them into the communal pot.

It was actually a lot of fun!
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:28 PM   #9
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:56 PM   #10
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You might try a pasta or rice casserole like chicken broccoli rice or baked ziti. It would be substantial and hearty, can be served in a bowl and is less spillable than soup or stew. A nice bread with it and veggie tray finger foods to round out the meal.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:58 PM   #11
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^^ Pizza was what I was thinking too.

Or if you feel ambitious, and you have to cook, try making homemade pizzas to order. Let guests pick the toppings and you make it there. Most pizzas cook up in 10 mins or less. Or you can parcook the pizzas beforehand.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:33 PM   #12
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Hi Krump, and welcome!

Another vote here for Got Garlic's idea. I'd do finger foods as well...cheese, salami, crackers, fruit, etc., will keep well on a table for a few hours, and paper plates and napkins will make it easy for your guests to nibble on things as they choose - especially if the main focus is a game night.

Make sure you grab a cake, cookies, or some kind of sweets to add to the table as well!

Like Aunt Bea said, the main thing is to have fun!
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
This scenario takes me back 35 years or so to a time when my then wife and I moved into our first home. We had a lot of mismatched second hand furniture, but no dining room table. We did have a fondue pot that we had received as a wedding gift, however, and so we threw a fondue party.

My wife took a round accent table, put a tablecloth over it (actually, thinking back, it might have even been a sheet) and set up the fondue pot in the middle, being careful to tape down the power cord, so no one would trip over it. I made a Cheddar and Beer fondue (I'm originally from Wisconsin, and those two ingredients are staples there).

Everyone just grabbed a chair, milk crate, pillow, or whatever was available to sit on, and pulled up a seat around the little table. Then we passed around bowls of bread cubes, cut up veggies, apple slices, and everyone dunked them into the communal pot.

It was actually a lot of fun!
I love this...brought back memories for me as well! My first dining room table way back in the day was a wobbly card table - we had to put cardboard squares underneath the legs, so that it would be somewhat level.
And those days were some fun times!
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:48 PM   #14
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Your situation sounds like one I encounter when I go camping -- campfire food.

I tend to go with a cajun gumbo, or a Texas chili, but any hearty soup/stew works. The thicker the soup/stew, the less likely it is to slosh out of the bowl. So, I go for more meat and veggies, and less liquid. Serving your soup/stew over rice, or some kind of bread helps reduce spillage, too.

Another advantage with soups, stews, gumbos and chilis is that you can make them before guests arrive, and just keep them warm until you are ready to serve. Timing isn't an issue, so you can relax with your guests and eat when you are ready. For the most part, they are also one-pot meals.

BTW, I've been to Edinburgh three times, but always in the summer. According to the internets, it looks pretty cold there right now. A hearty soup/stew does a body good on a cold day.

That's my recommendation. I hope you have a good time.

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Old 02-09-2017, 02:50 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and suggestions! I wasn't expecting so many responses so soon. I do like the idea of a stew, relatively straight forward and as caseydog says it has been absolutely freezing recently! I might also look into the finger food option. I do have a small table on wheels so that might do for passing the food around. Fondue sounds fun and tasty but not sure I have the equipment or expertise for that.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:59 PM   #16
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No dining table - What should I serve?

Welcome to DC! Good ideas so far. To add to the mix, maybe a taco or baked potato bar. You can keep the potatoes warm in a slow cooker.
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Old 02-09-2017, 03:24 PM   #17
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Nothing that requires using both utensils to eat as it will be hard to place the plate down and cut your food...hands, spoons or forks....that should eliminate a lot...
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:12 PM   #18
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Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup - but do it up!

Use extra awesome cheeses, add other ingredients as well. Artichoke hearts, prosciutto, bacon, figs, sliced tomatoes, etc. Use several kinds of bread. Cut them in half or even smaller so that several kinds can be sampled. You could even have a do it yourself fixins' bar. Let your guests choose their own flavors.

Serve a soup that can be sipped from a cup - something smooth.

Have a tray of cut up veggies and fruit - finger food, and a small dessert. Maybe a plate of cookies or pastries and some fruit. Let your guests wander and nibble.

Here are some ideas for sandwiches.. 50 Grilled Cheeses : Recipes and Cooking : Food Network | Food Network Recipes & Easy Cooking Techniques | Food Network
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:06 PM   #19
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Hi there, like to throw in my Welcome to DC as well.
I tune into your original post saying 'dinner'. To me that means something substantial rather than finger food, which although fun doesn't seem like 'dinner'.

So my vote is for something more like a stew rather than a soup. Good crusty bread along side on that fantastic tray suggestion! You could serve a salad as a starter course, in a bowl. Tell them to hang on to the bowl for the stew coming up!

Finger nibbles (as dessert maybe?) for during the games playing. Have fun! and let us know how it turns out.

Even if you don't win any games you will be flush with the praise of an excellently presented dinner (I hope ... LOL)
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Old 02-10-2017, 09:53 AM   #20
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Finger foods

My Cambodian friends make thin strips of meat, generally beef but not always, marinaded in soy, lemongrass, Kaffir lime, and spices, then skewered and grilled. That along with skewered vegetables would be my choice. Easy to prepare, easy to eat.
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