A No-Fail Entertaining Menu with Recipes

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A spring progressive dinner party, a blue and white gingham tablescape

Easy Entertaining Recipes

Today I wanted to share my current go-to, no fail, entertaining menu. Entertaining can be stressful, I have become more reluctant to have people over for dinner since Christmas Eve when my oven turned on me, started spewing smoke and we couldn’t get the meat done. It was a lesson learned that in a new house you need to know what your oven might do to you before you have a house full of people to feed! However, this menu is the one I always feel confident in, the only problem is that I think I have served it to just about everyone we know by now 😉.

The best part about it is that it’s fairly easy, cost-efficient, and you can make most of it ahead. It is also gluten-free and reasonably healthy. When we have dinner guests and I want to be sure I can sit at the table and relax with them and feel good about the meal, this is what I make:

Barefoot Contessa’s Spiced Pork

Gluten-Free Cornbread (below)

Lime-Cilantro Coleslaw (recipe below)


The Spiced Pork is always the centerpiece and this recipe is so good. The only thing I have found that matters is that you must start making it early the same day and allow plenty of time for it to cook because if it’s undercooked it won’t shred properly. It has so much flavor and after a small amount of preparation, it basically cooks until just before you serve when you shred or slice it.

You can find Ina’s Recipe HERE. I got it from this cookbook HERE which is one of my favorites, make-ahead recipes are really the key to easy entertaining.



You can see here how I prep the meat with the mixture of oregano, garlic and jalapenos then you just cook it at 300 degrees for 6 to 7 hours (or until done!). So easy, then shred or slice and serve. It’s delicious!



On the side, I serve Lime-Cilantro Coleslaw. You might not think that coleslaw is something to get excited about, but I can promise you that I have never made this and not had someone ask me for the recipe. Again, this is really easy and pairs perfectly with the pork with its lime/cilantro/jalapeno kick. If you are imagining a creamy picnic-style coleslaw this is far from it, it will surprise you with how much flavor it has.

Lime Cilantro Cole Slaw

A fresh coleslaw with a kick--the perfect side dish.

Keyword coleslaw
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 6


  • 4 cups shredded cabbage approx 1 bag coleslaw
  • 1 bunch cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 2 roma tomatoes (or kind you prefer) chopped
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp jalapeños or diced green chilis


  1. Mix first four ingredients in a bowl, keep covered in the refrigerator. Mix dressing ingredients, let sit until just before serving and combine with coleslaw/veggie mix. 


To go alongside both of those we go to a TON of effort (#sarcasm) and make a dolled up version of Bob’s Gluten-Free Cornbread. My husband has it down to a science. He adds a little bit of sugar to the mix then sprinkles both sugar and kosher salt on the top before he cooks it. Once it comes out of the oven he spreads butter over the top of it so it melts into the bread.  Again this is easy to make and just so good with the pork.



If I feel like I need more food along with this I usually just serve another vegetable or a green salad, but for the most part, this combination is always a hit. So now you know, if I invite you for dinner this is probably what you’ll be getting to eat 🙂

That is my current favorite menu, but I am always looking for new ideas so if you have a go-to entertaining recipe will you please leave it in the comments? I’d love some new recipes.



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  1. Thank you for the menu! I’m hosting book club next week and need to keep it gluten free for one of my friends. This will be perfect. How much sugar do you add to the cornbread batter?

    • I’d say you can decide per your taste and how sweet you want it to be but no more than 1 Tablespoon. Enjoy book club! XO, Amy

  2. i am pinning this menu for future dinner parties! Here are two recipes that I serve together and always get rave reviews:

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