6 Easy Weekday Meals That Are Gourmet Enough for Entertaining

Entertaining on a weekday doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be fun, and there’s no reason to take the day off to prepare because fancy doesn’t have to mean fussy. We’re rounding up some simple and delicious dinner recipes to prove it. Serve these dinners during the week, and you just might be convinced to start a weekly supper club.

1. Pan-Roasted Chicken with Pineapple-Chile Glaze

Pan roasted chicken

Pan-roasted chicken | iStock.com

First up is a poultry dish from Bon Appétit that has a salty, sweet, and spicy kick. This recipe is made with a pineapple-chile glaze that you’re sure to love. Although this gourmet meal may seem complicated, it secretly takes just an hour.


  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken, halved
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ fresh pineapple, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Directions: Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix coriander, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with spice mixture, pressing to adhere; season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and arrange pineapple slices in pan. Place chicken, skin side up, on top. Transfer to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring chile, garlic, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and paprika to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until thickened and syrupy, 12 to 15 minutes; season glaze with salt.

2. One-Pan Caprese Pasta

Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes

Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes | iStock.com

This caprese pasta from Yellow Bliss Road requires just one pan, 10 minutes of prep time, and 20 minutes of cooking time. It stars the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and adds pasta and balsamic vinegar to the mix. Serve your favorite salad alongside for a tasty and nutritious meal.


  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2½ cups dry pasta
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 5 fresh whole basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1½ cups diced fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Chopped basil leaves for garnish

Directions: Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and cook until beginning to soften. Next, stir in the pasta, tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, water, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Allow pasta mixture to come to a boil. Stir your pasta over medium heat until liquid is reduced and pasta is cooked. This will take about 10 minutes.

Top with mozzarella cubes and allow cheese to melt by covering the pan for a few minutes. Top with balsamic vinegar and chopped basil for garnish.

3. Smoky Slow Cooker Brisket

Sliced smoked brisket

Sliced smoked brisket | iStock.com

You can enjoy a flavorful brisket during the week as long as you have a slow cooker thanks to this recipe from Fine Cooking. The end result will be meat so tender that you can easily shred it with a fork. Your dinner guests will love coming over for weeknight meals when it stars brisket, and no one has to know the dinner required minimal prep work.


  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-pound)flat-cut brisket, trimmed of excess fat
  • 6 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, halved and sliced into thin half-moons

Directions: Mix the sugar, paprika, cumin, 1-½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub onto both sides of the brisket. Whisk the tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, molasses, and chipotles until smooth. Spread over both sides of the brisket.

Set the brisket in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Scatter the onion on top of the meat. Cover and cook until fork-tender, 8 to 9 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high. Uncover and transfer the brisket and onion to a cutting board; let rest while you finish the sauce.

Pour the sauce into a fat separator and set aside for a few minutes. Pour the defatted sauce into a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.

Cut the brisket against the grain into ½-inch-thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Serve with the onion and some of the sauce.

4. Quick Red Lentil and Spinach Curry

Red lentils and curry

Red lentils and curry | iStock.com

Curry isn’t what most people think of when they try to come up with an easy weeknight dinner, but this red lentil and spinach curry from Naturally Ella will convince you otherwise. It enlists only a handful of ingredients, and is both easy and inexpensive to make — perfect for when you have company coming. The most important components are coconut milk, red curry paste, and red lentils, and they also happen to yield a super healthy meal.


  • 1 ½ cups whole-fat coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup red curry paste
  • ¾ cup red lentils
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Plain yogurt, garnish

Directions: In a deep skillet, combine coconut milk, water, and curry paste. Once mixture has come to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and add red lentils. Let simmer for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the red lentils are tender. Remove pot from heat. Stir in spinach. Serve curry over cooked grains with yogurt, if desired.

5. One-Pot Stovetop Enchiladas

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas | iStock.com/bhofack2

If you’re a fan of Mexican, you’re going to love these easy stovetop enchiladas from She Likes Food. The recipe proves you don’t need a time-intensive recipe to make Mexican deliciousness for all of your friends. Rather, you just need the right spices, veggies, beans, and of course, cheese. This is the perfect dish for when you feel like impressing your guests but only have a limited amount of prep time.


  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 corn tortillas, cut into one inch pieces
  • ½ yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 small zucchini, small diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, small diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ cups grated cheese, divided
  • 1½ cups enchilada sauce
  • Cilantro leaves
 Directions: Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add tortilla pieces and cook until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan, then add onions along with a pinch of salt. Cook onions,stirring, for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, pepper, garlic, corn, black beans, and spices. Stir to combine and continue to cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the corn tortillas back to the pan along with 1 cup grated cheese and stir. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir to combine. Top with the remaining ½ cup cheese, cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cilantro.

6. Chicken Bisque

Chicken bisque

Chicken bisque | iStock.com

We’re concluding with this creamy, dreamy soup from Taste of Home. This chicken bisque tastes gourmet, but it takes only minutes to make. Serve it with a salad and bread for a filling dinner that’s perfect for weeknight dinner parties. Your guests will definitely approve.


  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 (4-ounces) jar diced pimientos
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions: In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a gentle boil. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Gradually add to boiling soup, stirring constantly until smooth. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.