Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress
  • Alternative view 1 of Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress
  • Alternative view 2 of Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress

Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress

by Meredith Steele

See All Formats & Editions

Create Show-Stopping Meals with Style & Grace

Impress your guests and have a celebration they’ll never forget, without the stress commonly associated with party planning. With Effortless Entertaining Cookbook, you can be a great entertainer with stunning, hot, delicious meals that once seemed complicated but become easy with Meredith


Create Show-Stopping Meals with Style & Grace

Impress your guests and have a celebration they’ll never forget, without the stress commonly associated with party planning. With Effortless Entertaining Cookbook, you can be a great entertainer with stunning, hot, delicious meals that once seemed complicated but become easy with Meredith Steele’s culinary entertaining secrets. The results are consistent: meals that are easy to cook but have a large wow factor. Meredith provides her stress-free tips to not only prep like a boss and be an incredible host, but also how to make great food with balanced flavors that come together easier than you can imagine and arrive on the table piping hot on your schedule. Recipes include a Shaved Asparagus Salad that tastes like it has a pantry full of ingredients, when really it only has a handful; Vanilla Bean and Bourbon Peaches that seem like they have been cooked for hours when really it’s only minutes; and Easy Duck Confit with Orange Honey Glaze that takes the guesswork out of this once difficult task and turns it into a technique you can use at any occasion with ease. With Meredith, you can dazzle your family and friends effortlessly.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this often innovative volume, Steele shares tips and recipes for 80 fail-safe dishes for dinner parties. Steele serves up four menus per season, ranging from the familiar (“Fiesta Taco Bar,” “Game Day for Food Snobs”) to the creative riffs (“Autumn Beer Dinner,” “Sunset Garden Party”); all of them are accompanied by preparation time lines, giving the hosts freedom to actually enjoy their get-together instead of frantically running to and from the kitchen. In each season, readers are sure to find a few dishes they’ll want to add to their repertoires. The jewels include simple but flavor-packed oven-baked elotes, in which fresh corn is mixed with cotija cheese, mayonnaise, and Mexican crema and spices; vanilla bean and bourbon peaches; a Bee’s Knees Cocktail with thyme honey; and a salad of shredded kale and Brussels sprouts drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette. Even novices will be able to confidently and quickly produce easy dishes such as heirloom tomatoes and burrata cheese, chipotle-roasted peppers, and a seafood boil. Readers looking for wild and unusual dinner party fare should look elsewhere, but those interested in practical, flavorful meals for informal gatherings will find a lot to like here. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“The Effortless Entertaining Cookbook celebrates each glorious season in style. Deliciously photographed, easy-to-follow, Meredith Steele’s recipe pairings are simply elegant!” —Terri Taylor, editor Edible magazine Dallas & Fort Worth

“Meredith’s cookbook is one that you will find yourself reaching for time and time again for inspiration and delicious recipes that will cover all of your entertaining needs. The book is presented in an easy-to-follow format that breaks down parties by season and theme. It’s foolproof entertaining at your fingertips.” —Paula Jones, author bell’alimento

Effortless Entertaining Cookbook has exactly the kinds of recipes that I would serve at our home. The recipes are made with wholesome ingredients and invoke inspiration. Meredith Steele breaks down the book by seasons, and shares not only easy-to-make recipes but also tips on how to make entertaining effortless with timelines for making recipes as well as suggested wine pairings. A beautiful addition for any home cook who enjoys wowing his or her guests.” —Denise Woodward, author Chez Us

Product Details

Page Street Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.11(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.64(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Effortless Entertaining Cookbook

80 Recipes that Will Impress your Guests without Stress

By Meredith Steele

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2016 Meredith Steele
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-273-4



When the tulip tree and red bud in our backyard break their silence and explode in pink blankets of flowers, I know it's time to dust off our patio and get ready for a party. Spring is the time of year I really start to entertain. I spend most of my time in the garden trying to get herbs resettled and summer tomatoes in the ground and after a long day, all I want to do is celebrate the good weather. From Easter egg hunts to toasting the sunset with friends, spring parties are a good taste of what's to come for the rest of the year.

let's brunch

I'm always looking for a reason to have a party and the transformation of nature shedding its cold winter brown coat for a fresh green spring one is certainly cause for celebration. Once the sun starts to shine a little brighter, our patio is always full on the weekends, especially for brunch — when we open the windows, turn on some music and watch the kids play in the backyard while we're all lounging around with the sun hitting our faces.

Brunch is usually a very casual affair for us and is not always planned days in advance. It's all about relaxing and enjoying the day with everyone, so I like to put out large platters of food and a stack of plates and utensils on a gorgeous table full of spring flowers and let everyone help themselves as they please. Of course you can't have a brunch without champagne or sparkling wine so there is always a bottle (or two) of bubbles in an ice bucket and a pitcher of orange juice for the kids. So open the patio doors, invite a crowd and enjoy what this reviving season has to offer. This menu would also be great for a small spring bridal shower.


Jamón Serrano Manchego Wraps with Quince Paste

Black Pepper-Balsamic Strawberries

Asparagus, Green Onion and Feta Frittata

Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce


Night Before — Prepare French Toast Bake

Morning of — Prepare Manchego Wraps / Prepare Black Pepper-Balsamic Strawberries /

Prepare Ingredients for Frittata / Prepare Coffee Rum Sauce and Refrigerate

1 Hour Before — Bake French Toast

20 Minutes Before — Bake Frittata

jamón serrano manchego wraps with quince paste

If there is one quick bite that I rely on for a party it's this astonishing blend of flavors. Manchego and quince paste is a classic combination but I like to take it a step further and wrap it with a bit of vibrant serrano ham. Manchego cheese can be found at most grocery stores, while serrano ham and quince paste are very common at specialty markets (like Whole Foods) and cheese shops. It's an impressive yet easy appetizer that finds its way onto a cheese plate almost weekly at my house.

serves 8 | prep time: 15 minutes

8 oz (226 g) Manchego cheese
¼ lb (113 g) jamón serrano, thinly sliced
Quince paste

With a sharp knife, remove the rind of the Manchego and slice the cheese into roughly sixteen 1/8-inch (3-mm) triangles. Slice the serrano in half lengthwise, then again in half, creating 4 strips of serrano out of 1 slice. Slice the quince paste into sixteen 1/8-inch (3-mm) thick rectangles.

To assemble, place one rectangle of quince paste onto a slice of Manchego and wrap with serrano. Sometimes the serrano can be too dry to wrap and if that is the case, simply place a small slice of serrano on top of the Manchego and top with quince paste. Repeat with the remaining Manchego slices and serve on a cheese board or serving plate.

This can be assembled 2 hours before serving or up to a day in advance and stored tightly wrapped with food-grade plastic wrap in the refrigerator and allowed to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

black pepper-balsamic strawberries

Like sweet jewels of the season, strawberries are spring's candy. At every gathering I like to put a bowl of ripe seasonal fruit out, and sometimes I step it up a notch by either adding complementary or contrasting flavors to make the fruit really stand out. These black pepper and balsamic strawberries are just that. Tawny and tangy balsamic vinegar with a touch of fresh ground black pepper really intensifies the flavor of these spring gems and makes for a stunning dish.

serves 8 | prep time: 10 minutes | set time: 30 minutes

2 lbs (907 g) strawberries, halved
3 tbsp (44 ml) aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (24 g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (3 g) fresh ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Serve as is or with a touch of whipped cream.

asparagus, green onion and feta frittata

If there is one brunch recipe that I rely on to feed a group with little fuss, it's a frittata — the ultimate one-pan wonder. It's one of those recipes you can't really prepare in advance, but it's so easy and fast to put together that it's no trouble. With tender asparagus, tangy feta cheese and savory green onion, this recipe takes advantage of the fresh flavors of spring and is perfect for a party.

serves 8 | prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 15 minutes

12 large eggs
2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp (45 g) unsalted butter
2 cups (203 g) thin asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
2 green onions, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
4 oz (113 g) crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 °F (205 °C).

In a large bowl, combine eggs, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk until eggs are slightly frothy, about 20 seconds.

In a 12-inch (30-cm) nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté asparagus and onions until asparagus is tender, about 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into the skillet, add feta and stir to combine all ingredients. Remove from heat, transfer to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Separate the frittata from the skillet by running a flexible spatula around the edges of the frittata; then slide the frittata onto a serving plate or cake stand. Slice into eight wedges and serve.

suggested pairing

White wines such as Savignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner or Verdicchio.

overnight croissant french toast bake with coffee rum sauce

Let's just start off by saying in no way is this actually French toast. Rather, it's an insanely delicious, over-the-top bread pudding hidden under the name "French toast" to technically make it a brunch recipe. Of course if I had my way, I would have this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The beauty of this dish is that it comes together quickly, is prepared the night before and uses melted ice cream for the rum sauce base to keep it quick and simple.

serves 8 | prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 35 minutes

french toast bake
8 croissants
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (354 ml) heavy cream
½ cup (117 ml) pure maple syrup
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla paste or extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh grated nutmeg

coffee rum sauce
1 cup (236 ml) coffee ice cream, melted
2 oz (59 ml) dark rum

Butter a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33-cm) baking dish. Tear croissants into 2-inch (5cm) pieces and set into the baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk to combine eggs, cream, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over croissants and gently toss to make sure the croissants are coated with custard mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Before baking, allow the dish to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes until golden and the custard has set but is still soft.

Combine melted coffee ice cream with dark rum and serve over the warm French Toast Bake.


This does not need to be prepared overnight to be successful and can be prepared hours in advance or right before serving. Also, if serving to children, omit the rum. Vanilla ice cream could also be used or even just regular maple syrup; there are so many options here.

easter lunch

Many years ago as a child, I was forced to wear a poofy navy dress with enormous pink flowers and gargantuan shoulder pads to an Easter party. I was so upset at this monstrosity that the only relief I found was laughing at my brother's bow tie, which was cutting off his circulation so much that his face was turning red. As all children do when faced with something they don't want to do, we swore that this event would be an utter disaster and we wouldn't have any fun at all; but by the time the deviled eggs came out and the Easter egg hunt with all of our cousins started, we couldn't care less what we were wearing.

Easter is the ultimate spring celebration. Everyone is in their Sunday best laughing and sharing stories while kids are ripping through the newly budding gardens in search of goodies that an enormous pink bunny has left them the night before. Pair all of this with the fresh and bright flavors of spring and you have yourself a party.


Herbed Feta Dip

Chive Deviled Eggs

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Pork Loin with Fingerling Potatoes

Orange Cardamom Cookies


2 Days in Advance — Make Orange Cardamom Cookies

1 Day in Advance — Set Table / Make Herbed Feta Dip / Prepare Deviled Eggs /

Prepare Pork Loin Roast

Morning of — Assemble Deviled Eggs / Prepare Asparagus Salad

1 Hour Before — Cook Pork Loin Roast / Chill Wine / Assemble Salad / Set out Dip

herbed feta dip

A light and tangy dip, this Herbed Feta Dip is so simple to blend together and can be made a day in advance. I like to place a bowl of this bright dip on a large platter or wooden board surrounded by sliced vegetables, toasted baguette slices and crackers for guests to snack on before lunch.

serves 12 | prep time: 10 minutes

8 oz (about 2 cups [224 g]) crumbled feta cheese
½ cup (122 g) plain yogurt
1 tbsp (9 g) fresh dill
1 tbsp (9 g) fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp (9 g) fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp (22 g) green olives, chopped
2 tbsp (22 g) pine nuts
1 tbsp (14 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

In a blender or food processor, blend feta and yogurt until smooth and creamy. Add dill, parsley and thyme and pulse until the herbs are just folded in.

Transfer dip into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with olives, pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of black pepper. Serve with toasted baguettes, crackers and/or sliced vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, cucumber and broccoli.

suggested pairing

Light-bodied, low-alcohol whites like Sancerre or dry German Kabinett Riesling.

chive deviled eggs

Deviled eggs, the quintessential Easter appetizer, are like palm-sized agents of glory adored by everyone from toddler to great-grandparent. I can't tell you how many recipes from the traditional to the zany I have developed for clients over the years, but by this point I've gotten it down to an exact science. I like my deviled eggs very cold so I make the eggs and filling a day in advance and assemble them the morning, keeping them in the refrigerator until I'm ready to serve.

makes 24 deviled eggs | prep time: 20 minutes | cook time: 30 minutes

12 large eggs
¼ cup (61 g) plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp (39 g) mayonnaise
2 tbsp (30 ml) champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (6 g) chopped chives
Flaked sea salt

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Using a spoon, carefully drop eggs into the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water until they are completely cool.

Lightly crack the eggs by tapping on a hard surface, then remove the shell and discard. With a knife, slice the eggs in half lengthwise. With a spoon, remove the egg yolks and place in a food processor. Place the egg whites in a sealable container and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

To the yolks, add yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard. Process until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, then fold in 1 tablespoon (3 g) of chives. If not using a food processor, mash the egg yolks with a fork and whisk everything together until smooth. Taste and season with salt as needed. Place the mixture into a piping bag or a food storage plastic bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

When ready to serve, place the egg whites on a serving platter. Snip the end off of the piping bag and pipe an equal amount of the egg yolk mixture into the egg. Lightly sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Top each egg with a pinch of chopped chives. Serve cold.

suggested pairing

Champagne and other dry sparkling wines.

shaved asparagus salad

The smell of fresh grass, a hint of a warm breeze and the delicate green flavors that are bountiful this time of year bring excitement into the kitchen, and to me this salad personifies them. Not only is shaved asparagus easy to create, but it's deliciously elegant and perfect for an Easter lunch. Prep all ingredients the morning before serving, shave the asparagus and pecorino and store in food-safe plastic bags in the refrigerator. Then, create the vinaigrette and store at room temperature. Assemble and plate up to an hour before guests arrive.

serves 12 | prep time: 20 minutes

2 bunches thick asparagus, ends trimmed
½ lb (226 g) prosciutto, sliced thin and torn into strips
Wedge Pecorino cheese
1/3 cup (78 ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp (44 ml) champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
Pinch salt and pepper
Old style whole-grain Dijon mustard, optional

Working with one asparagus at a time, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to shave asparagus in to long thin strips. Equally divide the asparagus onto salad plates and top with a few strips of prosciutto. Using a vegetable peeler, shave pecorino (about 5 shavings a serving) onto asparagus.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper; whisk vigorously until combined and emulsified. Drizzle one large spoonful of vinaigrette over each serving and garnish with a few small spoonfuls of wholegrain mustard, if desired.

rosemary garlic roasted pork loin with fingerling potatoes

Here's one of our favorite simple meals that can serve a crowd easily and pleases practically anyone. Fresh rosemary combines with savory garlic and bright lemon zest to create a delicious mouthwatering rub that slowly infuses the pork loin with flavor while roasting in the oven. To make this meal even easier on myself come Easter day, I prepare the loin the night before and throw it in the oven as I'm getting ready for the party. This also makes an elegant Christmas dinner.

serves 12 | prep time: 10 minutes | cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

2 lbs (907 g) fingerling potatoes
1 lb (453 g) carrots sliced in 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
2 tbsp (29 ml) olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (6 g) fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp (29 ml) Dijon mustard
½ tbsp (8 g) kosher salt
1 tsp (1 g) grated lemon zest
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
5-lb (2.3-kg) boneless pork loin roast

In a large roasting pan, toss potatoes and carrots with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place a roasting rack on top of the potatoes and carrots.

In a bowl, stir to combine garlic, rosemary, mustard, remaining olive oil, salt, lemon zest and pepper. Place the pork loin, fat side up, on the roasting rack and evenly coat it with the garlic and rosemary mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to cook, allow the roast to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to roasting. Place in a 475 °F (245 °C) preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 425 °F (220 °C) and continue to roast for 1 hour or until the juices run clear and a cooking thermometer registers 150 °F (65 °C) when inserted in the center.

Transfer the pork roast to a carving board, tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving into thin slices. The roast should be slightly pink but cooked through. Toss the potatoes and carrots in the cooking juices at the bottom of the pan and serve with the pork.


A 5-pound (2.3-kg) pork loin roast can be hard to come by due to its size. If you can't find one, look for two 2 ½-pound (1.1-kg) pork loin roasts and cook accordingly.

suggested pairing

Pinot Noir, Gamay, Barbera (serve slightly chilled) or you can go to Alto Adige for a Lagrein.


Excerpted from Effortless Entertaining Cookbook by Meredith Steele. Copyright © 2016 Meredith Steele. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Meredith Steele is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer and founder of SteeleHouseKitchen.com and MBS Recipe Development. She has written and developed recipes for many print and online publications including JamieOliver.com and was a finalist in Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews