Post # 1
Darling Husband and I have had people over to watch a game or what have you, but this is the first time we are hosting another couple for a true sit-down dinner. They are our neighbors and we are thanking them for helping us move furniture so I want it to be nice. I am serving Steak Gorgonzola pasta (like from Olive Garden) with Caesar salad, a warm baguette and wine. I’ve made this before so I am good with the cooking. I’m also going to just have break & bake chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream on hand for a quick and easy dessert if they have room.
What I’m concerned about is the flow. We have salad plates with our china set, and I was going to set them on top of the dinner plate. Should I serve salad onto the plates as the first course? That feels too stuffy, and we have a nice salad bowl I’d like to let everyone serve themselves from. Should I bring the salad to the table first, and let everyone finish their salad before bringing the main course? Or should I bring everything out at once and let them sort of juggle their salad and dinner plates?
I realize I am over-thinking this! But growing up we always had a little salad bowl to the side, not salad plates, so I don’t know how to do it this way!
Post # 3
I would serve the salad first and then serve the pasta and bread!
Post # 4
Your dinner sounds delicious!
This isn’t part of your question but I always like to have a few appetizers ready for when people show up and open a bottle of wine. So people have a bit to snack on when they come in and relax just a bit before dinner. That way you guys also have an opportunity to make last minute touches on dinner and it is served warm just in case your guests show up late.
About the salad. I prefer to have my salad with my meal, but that’s just my preference. So if you have a big enough table I would sit the dinner plates up and have the salad plates up off the top left of the dinner plate. I think people will probably be able to pass the salad and the dinner without too much juggling going on. But do whatever you and your husband prefer, if you like having your salad before then set the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Neither is wrong, it’s whatever your preference is.
Post # 5
I’m w/troubled on this on.
What I’d do is offer appetizers on some small plates (think different kinds of olives, bruschetta and mini baguette slices, toasted almonds), then serve the salad with the dinner. If you have a bar area in your kitchen, I’d put this here.
You can also clear that away quickly with hubs during the dinner and in its’ place put the next suggestion…a cookie sundae mini bar area! have a small flower arrangement in the center of your appetizer/cookie sundae area too.
One thing I’ve done in the past is stack plates and boxes with a decorative type of draping cloth covering them to create areas of high/low and interest. Now’s the time to use that knowledge you accumulated during your time wedding planning!
Use some of that wedding know how to put together a mini serve yourself cookie and ice cream buffet (like a teeny candy bar or favor table). Add a little plate for individual toppings for the cookie sundae such as hot fudge, mini m and m’s. butterscotch kisses (mini ones), etc.
People love that! I always do a variation on the sit down/serve yourself because it’s fun and guests seem to love it.
*you can do this on a much smaller scale and switch out the plates for the appetizers for the dessert items in about 5 minutes during dinner when conversation is going well and the guests are talking amongst themselves. that display is only missing a small flower arrangment!
Post # 6
Or maybe something like a football in the middle of the area or some flowers or some memorabilia of your favorite team as the centerpiece?
Post # 7
Personally, I like to have the table set with salad plates on top of dinner plates and then bring out the salad in a big bowl – that way everyone can serve themselves. Then the salad plates go into the kitchen and I bring out the main.
I like doing it this way because our table is small 🙂 And that way it’s a little more formal without being too pretentious. I also like having salad w/ the meal but for us it’s just too many dishes on the table that way!
Post # 8
I like the salad plates on top ofthe main course plates, then removed for the main course.
I love eating like that, makes me think of being in a nice resturant. 🙂
Post # 9
Thanks for all your help everyone! I actually got so busy I didn’t get a chance to check back. We ended up putting it all on the table and we ate salad first, and then dug into the main course. I probably should have left it in the oven – it was a little lukewarm – but oh well, it was my first time! All in all, it went pretty well.
Post # 10
Glad to hear it went well! I was just going to say that I agree with PP’s to have appetizers sitting out when they arrive, then serve the entire meal with the salad. That creates less work for you and your guests will feel more comfortable since you aren’t running around waiting on them the entire time.
Post # 11
I vote having some appetizers avaliable and then serving the salad, bread and pasta at once. It sounds yummy too!!