For a seamless performance as a dinner party host, invoke the cardinal rules of goodmanagement -- plan ahead, make ahead, simplify, and delegate -- not necessarily in thatorder.
Then party on! This dinner isdesigned for a foursome; to serve eight, just double the Cornish hen and brandy saucerecipes. (Recipes with a * are included here.)
- Stuffed Cornish Hens* with Apple-Brandy Sauce*
- Baby Greens Salad with Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing*
- Whole Wheat Rolls (purchased)
- Orange-Chocolate Cake*
Up to four months before: Bake, cool, freeze, and wrap cake. Prepare rolls, if they are to be homemade. Wrap and freeze. Store cake and rolls in freezer for up to four months.
Day before: Purchase groceries; arrange centerpiece. Prepare Apple-Brandy Sauce except for the optional brandy; cover and chill. Rinse salad greens, pat dry with paper towels, store in closed plastic bags in fridge.
Day of dinner, several hours before guest time: Thaw and frost cake. Thaw rolls, if frozen.
Just before serving: Warm rolls, toss salad with dressing, arrange hens and stuffing on plates.