The warm weather may call to mind barbecues, salads and sandwiches. However, special occasions sometimes call for special meals, especially if company is coming over.A delicious pasta dish can feed a crowd and have them feeling content. Manicotti -- thin pasta crepes filled with creamy cheese -- often work well because they look impressive and can be individually served. While many people shy away from making manicotti because they think the recipe is too difficult, aspiring home chefs should rest easy knowing that if they can make a pancake, they can make manicotti.
Pork roast is a favorite dish at dinner tables across the country. Just because pork roast is beloved doesn't mean home chefs can't experiment with different preparations. For those who want to give their pork roast a more smoky flavor, consider the following recipe for "Pork Loin Roast With Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze" from Karen Putman and Judith Fertig's "Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food" (Robert Rose).
When preparing dinner, savvy cooks know to look for combinations that boost flavor but also create a well-rounded meal. For example, the fish and potatoes in the following recipe for "Mild Fish Stew With Potatoes" from Ruta Kahate's "5 Spices, 50 Dishes" (Chronicle Books) complement each other very well, creating a meal that's both filling and flavorful.
Sunday brunch is a great time for families to relax and catch up over a good meal. When hosting your next family brunch, go with an old favorite, such as the following recipe for "Golden Pecan Waffles With Warm Salted Caramel Sauce and Bananas" from Betty Rosbottom's "Sunday Brunch" (Chronicle Books), that's sure to please.
Confections often make a great addition to parties and gatherings. Whether passed around before the main course is served or presented as dessert, sweet delicacies are favorites of many. Homemade confections can be prepared by hosts who want to go the extra mile for their guests. While it might seem difficult to make such treats, the following recipe for "Elegant Sparkling Strawberries" from Jane Sharrock's "300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes" (Robert Rose) is easy to prepare and sure to please guests.
Backyard barbecues typically leave all the preparation to the family grillmaster. But the menu at such a soiree need not be exclusive to grilled foods. Hosts who want to give their guests something a little different can pass around a hearty helping of "Beer-Batter Onion Rings" courtesy of Neal Corman's "Virgil's Barbecue Road Trip Cookbook" (St. Martin's Press).
Gourmet cuisine need not be reserved for special nights out on the town. Those who want a taste of the good life at home can cook up the following recipe for "Polenta con Rape e Pancetta (Baked Polenta With Sautéed Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta)" courtesy of Michael White and Joanna Pruess' "Fiamma: The Essence of Contemporary Italian Cooking" (Wiley).
Sardines may not be the first food to come to mind when dreaming up images of grilled delicacies. But while hot dogs and hamburgers have their place at any backyard barbecue, those looking to veer off course and try something new the next time they fire up their grills can try the following recipe for "Sardinas Asadas (Grilled Sardines With Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette)" from James Campbell Caruso's "España: Exploring the Flavors of Spain" (Gibbs Smith).
For many amateur cooks, the joy of cooking lies in trying new things. But trying new things need not be limited to ingredients or exotic dishes. Sometimes unique food and beverage pairings can be just as eye-opening as the cuisine itself.