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Dinner Party for 16

Fall is finally in the air!! School and sports are in full swing, so we’re usually home on weekend for the kids’ soccer games, gymnastics, birthday parties (you get the idea). Lucky for us most of our friends are in the same boat, so we decided to throw together a ‘little’ weekend dinner party. What started small ended up as a party for 16, complete with corn hole (it’s a bean bag toss game) and of course, some of Ina Garten’s great appetizers and side dishes!

I’ve probably said it before but I’ll say it again - there’s really nothing my husband Brad and I love more than enjoying some good food with a house full of friends. Per usual, Brad grilled steaks and sausages (that is his thing and he does it well!).

For appetizers, I put together a big cheese platter with nuts, dried apricots, figs and three different types of cheeses (I usually go with one mild cheese, one hard and one soft). I also debuted a family favorite, Ina’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Green Goddess Dressing – my girls are HUGE fans of this dressing! It’s great with the shrimp, but really it’s great with everything!

Since we were going for a bit of a fall theme I wanted to do a side dish that felt a little like comfort food. Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes were perfect. They are a good serving size for a dinner party and for me, they are the food version of a warm cozy blanket. I also put together some Asparagus & Prosciutto Bundles and a big green salad. Be sure to follow Ina’s steps on the asparagus – blanching them is a super important step to ensure the stalks don’t wilt.

I had the best time because I was able to prepare everything ahead of time and when it was time for dinner everyone sat around our dinner room table and kitchen island and just helped themselves to food and drinks. My kind of party!

-- Cindy

Ina's Roasted Shrimp with Green Goddess Dressing


For the shrimp

For the Green Goddess Dressing


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

For the dressing, place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Serve as a dip for the shrimp with the celery sticks.

Comments on this post (8)

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  • Oct 04, 2019

    1lb of potatoes for 16
    Are u sure?.
    What was dessert…..?.

    — Fran

  • Oct 20, 2017

    Perfect meal for a party! Cant wait to try some of these recipes

    — Randi

  • Oct 19, 2017

    Mary, you can get the truffle butter online at

    — Cassandra's Kitchen

  • Oct 19, 2017

    Hello Pat, you actually CAN make both of these dishes ahead of time as both recipes are from Ina’s cookbook “Make it Ahead!”

    For the asparagus, Ina suggests to assemble the asparagus bundles, top with truffle butter and cheese and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Bake before serving.

    For the potatoes, she suggests to boil the potatoes and smash them on the sheet pan. Roast the potatoes and finish the recipe before serving.

    — Cassandra's Kitchen

  • Oct 19, 2017

    Could I make the potatoes and/or asparagus ahead of time and just reheat them? Thank you.

    — Pat

  • Oct 19, 2017

    Ladies, where are you finding the truffle butter. My specialty shop doesn’t carry since they wee bought out.

    — Mary Fioretti

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