Company Dinner Ideas

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

My in laws were here last week, ready to act the part of taste testers for The Cookbook. Bless her heart, my mother-in-law said that it felt like a spa weekend since she ate so much.

I pointed out that there were no massages or pedicures in sight, but she was satisfied, nonetheless.

It can be really fun to cook for other people, especially when you’re not worried about impressing them. I know my in-laws love me, even if I fed them something from a box.

Making Company Meals Fun

But, sharing a delicious meal with friends and family is so much more fun, especially when you make “a company dinner.”

The term is probably a throw back to the Donna Reed days, when hubs might bring home his boss or an important client for dinner. The lady of the house felt the pressure to impress.

Hopefully, you don’t feel that same pressure, but whether you do or not, these tips will help make your company dinner stupendous:

1. Cook what you know.

Don’t try out a new and complicated recipe — unless you’re writing a cookbook and need guinea pigs. Instead, stick with the familiar, something that you know how to make easily, quickly and without a lot of stress.

2. Inquire about food allergies or aversions.

No doubt you’ve crossed paths with someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t eat a certain food. Whether the avoidance is health related or not, respect your guest enough not to serve something that could endanger them or make them feel uncomfortable. Remember: you’re having them over to enjoy their company.

3. Appeal to a wide range of tastes.

That said, recognize that you can’t please everybody all the time. But, if you have enough side dishes, your guests — and pickier children — will have an out. They’ll be able to enjoy the things that match their tastes and not worry about going hungry if there’s something they don’t love.

4. Make ahead as you are able.

Not all dishes can be made ahead, but many components can be prepped in advance. Do what you can in the morning before your guests arrive. Salads, breads, vegetables, marinades, and salad dressings are good things for you to get ready before hand.

5. Relax.

Your guests won’t have as good a time if you are upset or stressed. Do your best to relax and enjoy good times together. Recognize that it might not all go according to plan. That is okay. Be prepared to laugh at yourself.

Here are a few of my favorite meals to enjoy with family and friends:

Poblano Chile Enchiladas

FishPapa and I love these Poblano Chile Enchiladas. It’s often an at-home anniversary dinner. And since our kids aren’t crazy about them, that means we get to eat the whole pan. Serve them with beans, Mexican rice, and a side salad.

You can roast the peppers, make the tortillas, and assemble the enchiladas in advance. The salad and dressing can also be prepared ahead of time.

Soy Grilled Fish with Grilled Peppers & Lemon Roasted Potatoes

We’ve enjoyed this simple way of fish preparation quite a bit this year. I’m amazed at how easy it is. Simple drizzle soy sauce and grind black pepper over your fish and cook until flaky.

Yes, that easy.

Last week we grilled peppers alongside the fish and served them both with Lemon Roasted Potatoes, and a salad of corn and lettuce. Top it all off with Yogurt Dill Dressing.

The potatoes take some time to cook, but the fish and peppers cook quickly. The salad components can be prepared well in advance.

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Marinated chicken bakes in the oven on a bed of wild and brown rice pilaf while you chat with your guests. This Chicken and Wild Rice Bake is actually a freezer meal that you can make in advance and just assemble and set to bake before your guests arrive. Serve it with a side salad.

Company dinners don’t need to be fussy. They need to be fun! If you’ve got good food waiting as well as a happy heart, you’ve got it made!

What do YOU serve for a company dinner?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. Those Poblano Enchilada’s look delicious. Love Poblano peppers.

  2. I’m so sorry! I tried to link up my Chicken and Dumplings recipe, but for some reason it just listed my URL. Apologies! So happy to find you through the Eat Well, Spend Less post on Katie’s page. Looking forward to following your page. Blessings, Kelly

  3. I enjoy making a roast, it’s so simple and stress free!

  4. Those enchiladas sound good. And a great idea for guests.

    Thanks for the link-up.

  5. Great tips, and a great roundup. Thanks! I totally agree about keeping it simple and staying relaxed. Sure, your guests want good food. But they also want a relaxed, happy host/ess. Thanks for the advice, especially with Passover and lots of entertaining coming up.

  6. Aimee says

    What a great topic. I love “company dinner.”

  7. Aimee says

    I linked up one of my favorite chicken and pasta dishes. Yum.

  8. You’ve got some great tips here on hosting dinners for company! Thank you for hosting the recipe swap.

  9. Katie says

    I have a Cannelloni recipe that is out of this world delicious. I linked it up above. The enchiladas sound so good.

  10. Carla says

    Can’t wait to look at all the recipes. Usually takes me awhile because once I start reading the recipe, then I take a peak at the blog and there goes my morning!

    I linked to my creamy chicken lasagna. My auntie now serves this to her company too!

  11. Lucky says

    Is that top picture food from your book? It looks great!

    I agree that it’s important to relax when entertaining. We have a friend who gets so stressed every time we go there for dinner that we don’t want to go any more. We offer to host but she has this strange competitive thing going on where she feels the need to impress. Anyway, it taught us a lesson about how we act when people come to our home.

  12. Cheri says

    Back a few months ago, someone linked their recipe for an easy potato casserole. I remember it had potatoes, butter, onion, garlic powder, and a few other ingredients. I cannot find the recipe now, and, of course, I didn’t print it. If this sounds like your recipe, I’d love to have it again. I thought it was under a URS for brunch, but now I can’t find it.

  13. Kate says

    Your first tip made me smile because my mom taught me (by example) to always use guests as guinea pigs. We view company as a great chance to bust out a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try — especially if it’s a bit involved or expensive and not something you might make if it’s “just the family.”

  14. My Beef Burgundy is so easy and really tasty and elegant for company:-)

  15. We often make homemade pizza for company. Everything is from scratch, the dough, the pizza sauce. We’re kind of known for it.

  16. LOVE those enchiladas – they look delicious. My little one doesn’t like peppers either, so looks like I will have dinner AND lunch if I make them!!! 🙂
    Thanks for the swap!
    See you next week!
    Carla aka Mrs. No-No

  17. I just linked up my microwave beets recipe – – which is great for weeknight company. It’s unexpected – since most people generally have an aversion to cooking beets – and it’s fast and easy. The beets come out mild and flavorful and there is a “salad”-like component because of the oil, vinegar, and garlic. 🙂

  18. Jessica says

    I have been meaning to make those poblano chile enchiladas for a while now… I am putting it on the menu for sure! I wondered if you could remind me which salad you typically serve with those? Is it the Chi-chi’s Italian salad? Whatever it is, looks so yummy in your picture… I want to make sure I get the right one! 🙂 Thank you!!!

  19. Diana says

    Your tip about asking whether food allergies or aversions was an issue made me laugh–we once had some folks over and I asked that question. The response? “I don’t like vegetables.” As in, iceberg lettuce with cheese and croutons is the limit. Aack! 🙂

  20. sona says

    Jessica are the peppers in the enchilada hot peppers? Trying to expand our menu but hubs wont eat anything hot! If so, any substitutions you can think of?

    • Jessica Fisher says

      @sona, it just depends on the batch you get. Sometimes they are really spicy and sometimes not at all. I suppose you could use bell peppers. It would have a very different flavor than these, but might be good.

Share Your Thoughts