No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu

Our summer schedule is all but forgotten as we get back to the regular programming of school days, but the summer weather still lingers, along with the gorgeous late summer light. Which makes the end of August and early September a pretty lovely time to gather friends around an outdoor table and enjoy an evening meal together.

No cook, no prep! French Style Menu for an Instant Dinner Party.

The tricky thing for me is, once school is back in session, it’s hard to make time to prep a meal for guests. So I thought it would be fun to come up with a few menus that are entirely store bought, requiring no prep, plus totally gorgeous and majorly delicious.

The idea is that you can swing by the grocery store on the way home from work, or after school (or you could even use a grocery delivery service), and pick up an instant meal that tastes amazing, is fun to eat and serve, and requires no apology.

No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. Perfect for late summer entertaining!

Does a no-prep, grocery store menu sound right up your alley? Then you’re in luck! I’ve got 3 for you today. One French-themed, one Scandinavian themed, and one filled with All-American flavors. A stop at the store, a few minutes opening bottles and packages, and boom, you’re hosting a stress-free dinner party.

No cook, no prep! French Style Menu for an Instant Dinner Party.

MENU ONE: Paris Picnic

The first menu loosely follows a French theme featuring some favorite, easy-to-find classics. The great thing about this menu is that it’s really satisfying to your tastebuds and it’s filling too. Bon Appetit!

No cook, no prep! French Style Menu for an Instant Dinner Party. Grocery list included!No cook, no prep! French Style Menu for an Instant Dinner Party. Including figs!

Menu One Grocery List:

Baguettes
Cornichons
Cured Black Olives with Herbs
Lightly Salted Almonds + Honey Roasted Almonds
Soft Cheese (such as Brie, Camembert, or similar ripened soft cheese)
Herbed Goat Cheese
Grapes
Figs

To drink: Sparkling French Lemonade

No cook, no prep! French Style Menu for an Instant Dinner Party.

Doesn’t that look amazing? Sophisticated but simple and full of satisfying flavor combinations. The perfect mix of savory and sweet.

No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu - just a quick stop at the grocery store and you're all set to entertain.

MENU TWO: Summer Smorgasbord

The second menu is based on several classic flavors and items from Scandinavia. Think of it as a lighter version of the beloved smorgasbord. It’s something you could imagine yourself eating on a warm night in the Swedish countryside as you enjoy the late sunset. This menu includes a few types of pickles in addition to salt n’ vinegar almonds, which help cut the richness of the cheeses and salmon.

No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu - just a quick stop at the grocery store and you're all set to entertain.No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu - including fresh berries.No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party MenuNo Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu - including quick pickled cucumbers.

Menu Two Grocery List:

Flatbread Crackers (these are whole grain rye)
Pickled Beets
Capers (rinsed well and drained)
Whole Grain Mustard
Salt n’ Vinegar Almonds
Hot Smoked Salmon
Gravalax
Jarlsberg Cheese
Soft, Spreadable Fresh Cheese (such as cream cheese)
Assorted Fresh Berries
(And if you don’t mind a little prep, add these Quick Pickled Cucumbers to the menu.)

To drink: Cherry juice + Sparkling water + Sparkling apple cider

No Cook, No Prep! Scandinavian Style Dinner Party Menu - just a quick trip to the grocery and you're ready to host.

Oh my. This one tastes as fresh as it looks. Yes to picked everything!

No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. A quick stop at the grocery store and you're ready to entertain.

MENU THREE: All-American Flavor

The third menu is based on American BBQ or picnic flavors. Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds are so addictive! They go splendidly with the cheeses, ham and turkey, apples, pears, and cherries, and other items. This is totally a meal to put together when you’re in the mood for something a little spicy — like pickled jalapenos and habanero cheddar — to go along with sandwich fixings.

No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. Bring on the last-minute dinner guests!No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. Bring on the last-minute dinner guests!No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. Including pickles and olives!

Menu Three Grocery List:

Potato Rolls
Whole Wheat Crackers
Dill Pickles
Black and Green Olives
Smokehouse Almonds
Aged Cheddar Cheese
Habanero Cheddar
Sliced Maple Ham
Smoked Turkey
Muenster Cheese Slices
Apples
Pears
Cherries

To drink: rootbeer

No cook, no prep! American Style Menu. It's an instant dinner party!

Is this one my favorite? I’m not sure, but I LOVE these flavors. In fact I might have to serve this combo for dinner tonight. Doesn’t it look festive?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these no-prep dinner party menu ideas. Have you ever served a casual meal like this to guests? Or prepared something like this for your own family? I’m a big fan, because it comes together so quickly and there’s something for every kind of taste bud. Do you have a favorite among the 3 options featured here? And one last question: If there was a future post with more of these no-prep dinner menus, what sort of themes would you want to see?

 

 


Photos by Lindsey Johnson for Design Mom.