Southern-Style Dinner Party Recipes

Spring is here! Why not pick a free weekend on your calendar and invite friends to your home patio (or a nearby picnic spot) for an outdoor dinner party? Warmer temps have arrived, and it is a good time of the year to eat as many meals outside as possible. The season’s most colorful bounty provides endless options for a tabletop dining inspired by nature.

Southern entertaining is all about easy sophistication. Breezy linens, colorful flowers, and big platters of seasonal food set the stage for a memorable meal. In keeping with the graciousness that defines a Southern host, I try to think about what details will make my guests feel comfortable, taken care of and well-fed.

For a casual weekend dinner party, I always serve food family-style. There’s nothing like having guests pass around abundant platters of food to get them mingling and enjoy friendship with dinner.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives, Lemon, & Thyme


6 – 8 bone in, skin on chick thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Olive oil
8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1⁄2 cup pitted green olives
2 lemons, cut into wheels, plus more for garnish


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high, coat bottom of pan with oil, and then add chicken skin side down. Cook for about 5 minutes until browned on one side and skin will release easily from pan, then flip.

Add chicken stock, garlic, olives, lemon, and 8 sprigs of thyme.

Transfer skillet to oven, and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Let rest tented with foil for a few minutes, then garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and more lemon wheels. „