Easy Main Dishes For Parties – A Guide

The great thing about these easy main dishes is that most can be prepared ahead of time and finished just before serving.

For your convenience, we’re including several crockpot recipes. Delicious slow-cooked foods, and great for freeing you up to take care of other cooking needs.  

We’re assuming that you’ll need to serve these main-dish recipes for 4-10 people. You can halve or double all of them to accommodate the number of guests.

Let’s start with recipes that feature chicken.

Read Related Article: Birthday Party Food Ideas for Adults – A Guide

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Here you must make sure that no guest objects to cilantro leaves. If someone does, substitute parsley.

Yield: 8 portions


3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 serrano chilis

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups sour cream

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 dash cayenne flakes

1 can tomatillos

24 corn tortillas

10 oz. Monterey Jack cheese

1 medium onion, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and mix gently to coat the chicken.

Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Let the chicken cool, then shred it.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. 

Add the chilis and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. 

Add the garlic; cook for 1 minute. 

Whisk flour in and cook for 1 minute. 

Add the broth and whisk until the sauce is thickened – about 6 minutes. 

Stir in sour cream, ¼ cup cilantro, cumin, and cayenne. 

Puree the sauce in a blender, with the tomatillos. Or use a stick blender to puree the sauce in its pot (off the heat, of course). 

Pour 1 cup of the sauce in each of 2 greased 9-by-13-inch baking dishes.

Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large skillet. Cook the tortillas until soft, about 1 minute per side.

Add a little oil to the skillet when needed. 

Layer ¼ cup shredded chicken, 1 tablespoon cheese, and 1 teaspoon chopped onion on each tortilla and roll into a cigar shape. 

Place the enchiladas in the baking dishes. Cover them with the remaining sour cream mixture and cheese. 

Bake until the top of the casserole is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. 

Garnish with the remaining cilantro (or parsley).

One-Pot Hunter’s Chicken

One-Pot Hunter’s Chicken

Serves 4


1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

4 chicken legs

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups small button mushrooms

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons tomato purée

2 thyme sprigs

2 ¼ cups chicken stock


Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large casserole.

Season the chicken legs, then fry them in the casserole for 5 minutes on each side.

Remove them and set them aside.

Melt the remaining butter in the casserole. Fry the chopped onion in it until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the crushed garlic to the onions and cook for about 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms. Cook for 2 mins, then stir in the red wine.

Stir in the tomato purée. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, until the liquid reduces somewhat.

Add the thyme sprigs. Pour the chicken stock in. 

Transfer the chicken legs back into the casserole and cover. 

Simmer on low heat for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken legs and keep them warm. 

Boil the sauce for 10 minutes, reducing it to a flavorful syrup. 

Place the chicken legs back in the sauce and serve.

Chicken And Quinoa Casserole

Easy Main Dishes For Parties - A Guide

A deliciously healthy twist on the usual chicken casserole. And using rotisserie chicken makes the recipe really easy.

Yield: 6 Servings 


3 cups diced rotisserie chicken 

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups canned or fresh crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ cup Half and Half

Optional: ¼ -½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Handful fresh basil, chopped


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Measure the quinoa into a sieve and rinse it thoroughly. Put it aside to drain.

Boil 2 cups of chicken broth in a small saucepan. Stir the quinoa in.

Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat. Simmer for 12-15 minutes.  

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. Set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and balsamic vinegar. Bring it to a simmer.

Pour in the Half and Half, optional crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook until heated through.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, quinoa, Parmesan cheese, and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. 

Mix the sauce with the chicken/quinoa mixture. Pour it into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Top with the remaining mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. 

Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Easy Party Recipes with Beef, Sausages, and Pork

You’ll enjoy making these luscious, meaty recipes. And your guests will certainly enjoy eating them.

Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Meatballs

Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Meatballs

Makes approximately 25 meatballs.

Place these savory little bites in a deep dish in the middle of the table, and let everyone serve themselves. Excellent with rice or mashed potatoes.


For the meatballs

1 lb. lean ground beef 

1 lb. ground pork

2 large eggs

1 ½ cup breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

For the sauce

1 12-ounce jar hot sauce

1 10.5-ounce jar hot pepper jelly


For the meatballs

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, either by hand with a large spoon or in a mixer.

Pour the chili sauce and jelly into a 6-quart crockpot.

Scoop out the meat mixture with an ice cream scoop. Otherwise, remove about 2 tablespoons at a time from the meat. 

Roll the meat lightly between your hands to make balls.

Put the meatballs on top of the sauce.

Cover the crockpot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until a meat thermometer shows that the meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 160°F.

Turn the meatballs over once, halfway through the cooking.

When the meatballs are ready, stir them gently to cover all with sauce.

Crock Pot Mexican Lentil and Chorizo Stew

Crock Pot Mexican Lentil and Chorizo Stew

This recipe with a south-of-the-border flavor is great for an informal party. Serve with plenty of warm tortillas, and lemonade or beer.


5 cups vegetable broth

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

Ground black pepper

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 small dried chipotle pepper

1 large onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 potatoes, diced

1 cup dried green lentils

11 oz. chorizo sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces


Sour cream

⅓ cup chopped cilantro leaves, to garnish


In a large bowl, mix the vegetable broth with the oregano, salt, and pepper.

Mix in the tomatoes, chipotle, and bay leaf.

Put the chopped onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in a large crockpot. 

Add the lentils and sausage.

Pour the broth over the ingredients in the crockpot. Stir.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours.

Serve with tortillas and top each portion with sour cream.

Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves, if desired.

Crock Pot Coca-Cola Pot Roast

Crock Pot Coca-Cola Pot Roast

You can’t get easier than this crockpot main dish. 

Yield: 6 servings


2 ½ lbs boneless beef chuck roast

1 can of Coca Cola

1 bottle of chili sauce

2 garlic cloves 


Combine beef, Coca Cola, chili sauce, and garlic in a crockpot. 

Turn beef over to coat it well. 

Cover the crockpot and cook the beef on low for 6-8 hours.

Tangy Pork Shoulder In The Crock Pot

Tangy Pork Shoulder In The Crock Pot

Serves 6


3-4 pounds pork shoulder, bone-in

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

½ cup lime juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

1 cup orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin seed

½ tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil


Rinse pork shoulder with cold water. Pat dry. 

Trim off excess fat.

Make small slits on both sides of the meat and insert the garlic slices into them. 

Mix the citrus juices and spices, salt and pepper. 

Put the pork in a plastic container or a large sealable plastic bag. 

Pour the marinade over it.  

Refrigerate it from 1 hour to overnight, turning it at least once to marinate the entire pork shoulder.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Sear the shoulder on all sides, then transfer to the crockpot. 

Cook the pork for 5-6 hours on low.

Shepherd’s Pie With Lamb

Easy Main Dishes For Parties - A Guide

Yield: 8 portions


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ lb. ground lamb

3 carrots, chopped

2 leeks, chopped

½ lb. red Swiss chard, coarsely chopped

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 ½ cup beef gravy

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

1 ½ lb. russet potatoes, sliced

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons grated horseradish

⅔ cup breadcrumbs

2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Add lamb, stirring until browned, about 8 minutes.

Spoon the cooked lamb into a bowl and set aside. 

Use the same skillet to cook the carrots and leeks in the remaining oil, about 5 minutes. 

Stir the Swiss chard in. Cook for 2 minutes. 

Stir in peas, gravy, and cooked lamb. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cook the lamb mixture over medium heat until heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water, over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender. 

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the hot potatoes and mash them. 

Stir in milk and season. Stir in the horseradish.

Spoon the lamb mixture into an 11-inch deep-dish pie plate. 

Spread the mashed potatoes over the lamb.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese over the potatoes. 

Dot the remaining butter over the dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

Now, how about some fish?

Serve this easy, Asian-style salmon dish to guests who don’t eat meat, but do eat fish. Or just serve it as a change of pace from poultry and meat main dishes. 

Accompany this salmon with rice.

Ginger-Basil Salmon Baked in Foil

Ginger-Basil Salmon Baked in Foil

Yield: 8 Servings 


A 2 lb. side of salmon 

Sea salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

For the marinade

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons sriracha

3 minced cloves garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay the salmon in the middle of it.  

Season the salmon lightly with salt and pepper. 

In a small bowl, blend the rice vinegar, lemon juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger, sriracha, garlic, and basil. 

Pour the marinade over salmon until it is evenly coated. Wrap the foil around it tightly.

Bake the salmon for 15-20 minutes. 

Open the foil and broil the salmon for 5 minutes so that it becomes a little crisp.

Serve right away.  

Honey Garlic Butter Salmon 

Honey Garlic Butter Salmon 

We couldn’t resist offering you a second recipe of salmon cooked in foil. So good!


¼ cup unsalted butter

⅓ cup runny honey

4 large cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of ½ lemon

2 ½ lb. side of salmon

2 teaspoons sea salt 

Black pepper

Lemon slices 

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. 

Line a baking tray with a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal with the salmon inside. You may need to wrap the salmon with two pieces of foil to prevent juices from leaking.

Melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the honey, garlic and lemon.

Stir until the honey and butter have melted and combined.

Place the salmon on the lined baking tray. Pour the butter/honey mix over it and spread it evenly all over the salmon.

Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over the salmon. 

Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon to make a sealed package.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish and how well you like it done. 

Remove the salmon from the oven and turn the broiler on. Open the foil (careful with the steam).  Broil the salmon for 2-3 minutes to caramelize the top. 

Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.

Serve right away.

Shrimp Chowder Topped With Herbed Biscuits

Shrimp Chowder Topped With Herbed Biscuits

Herb-flecked drop biscuits on top of savory shrimp chowder. A little unusual and a lot delicious.


For Shrimp Chowder

Cooking spray

4 coarsely chopped slices of bacon

6 chopped scallions

1 cored and coarsely chopped fennel bulb

4 coarsely chopped garlic cloves 

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ¾ cup fish or chicken stock

⅔ cup heavy cream

1 ¼ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper

1 lb. peeled and deveined medium shrimp, coarsely chopped

For Herb Drop Biscuits

1 ¼ cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

1 finely chopped scallion

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

½ cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Fry bacon in a large saucepan until crisp, 4-6 minutes. Drain on paper towels but reserve drippings.

Add scallions, fennel, and garlic to drippings. Cook and stir until the vegetables are tender, 3-4 minutes. 

Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, whisking, 1 minute. 

Slowly whisk in stock and cream. Scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the saucepan.

Bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 4 to 6 minutes. 

Stir in bacon, corn, dill, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir shrimp in.

Make Herb Drop Biscuits: 

Combine the flour, baking powder in a bowl. Add the parsley, dill, and scallion; mix well. 

Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture. Cut it in two forks until crumbly. 

Add the buttermilk. Stir until the dough is just moistened. 

Drop biscuit dough over the shrimp mixture. This should make 8 or 9 biscuits. 

Bake until biscuits are golden brown, 24-26 minutes.

Let the chowder rest 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Vegetarian Main Dishes

Here’s a dish where eggplant replaces lasagna noodles. 

Eggplant “Lasagna”

Eggplant “Lasagna”Ingredients:

1 large green bell pepper

1 large red bell pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon dried thyme

¾ teaspoon oregano 


Freshly ground pepper

3 medium eggplants

1 chopped medium onion

5 minced cloves garlic; separate the mince of 1 clove

5 cups store-bought marinara sauce

16 oz. ricotta cheese

8 oz. mozzarella cheese

1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

¼ c. chopped fresh parsley leaves


Broil the peppers 10-15 minutes on a baking sheet, turning occasionally until somewhat charred.  

Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a recycled plastic bag for 10 minutes to loosen skin. 

Pull the blackened skin from the peppers and deseed them. Slice them into thick strips.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F. 

Whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil with thyme, oregano, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. 

Slice the eggplants thickly. Brush the oil mixture on both sides of the slices.

Line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Place the seasoned eggplant slices in them, as single layers. 

Bake until cooked through and brown, 20-25 minutes. You may need to bake the eggplant slices in batches.

Over medium heat, cook the chopped onion until wilted. Add minced garlic from 4 cloves and cook for a further minute. 

Add the marinara sauce to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, remaining garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. 

Spread 1 ¼ cups marinara sauce in a  9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Place one-third of the eggplant slices over the marinara sauce. Spoon one-third of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant, then sprinkle on one-third of the mozzarella. 

Pour 1 ¼  cups of the sauce over the cheeses. Lay half the pepper strips over the sauce. 

Repeat the process, starting with eggplant, then ricotta, mozzarella, sauce, and peppers. 

Continue layering all the ingredients until they are used up.

Bake the dish until the sauce is bubbles and the mozzarella has melted, 40-45 minutes.

Pasta With Vodka Sauce

Pasta With Vodka Sauce

Serves 4. Easily doubled or tripled for more guests. Put a big bowl of tossed salad on the table to go with this pasta.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped 

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Large pinch cayenne flakes

2  14-oz. cans of chopped tomatoes

1-2 teaspoons sugar, according to how sweet your tomatoes are

3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

⅓ cup vodka

14 oz. dry pasta 

6-8 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese


Heat the olive oil in a casserole. Add the chopped onion, the crushed garlic, a little salt, and the cayenne flakes.  Fry over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. 

Cover the sauce and simmer for 1 hour, stirring once in a while. Stir in the vodka and the basil. 

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain but keep back about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. 

Combine the pasta with the sauce, adding a few tablespoons of the cooking water if needed to loosen the sauce.

Serve with plenty of grated parmesan.