4 Course Meal Ideas

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A four course meal is just a technical term for something that you probably do already when you entertain. The courses consist of an appetizer -- first course, a salad or soup -- second course, an entree and side -- third course, and a dessert -- fourth course. A four course meal is a full meal that generally requires preparation, planning and presentation but if executed properly, will leave guests feeling delighted to have joined you for dinner.

Barbecued Ribs

  • Barbecued pork ribs are a tasty summer favorite. Start your cookout off with a light appetizer of chips and dip or a platter of fresh cut vegetables with dill dip for your first course. Toss a potato or egg salad for your second course. Serve up a healthy portion of ribs marinated with a mixture of blackberry jam, brown sugar, ketchup, ginger, hot sauce and pepper in your oven or on your grill. Pair the ribs with a potato dish such as scalloped potatoes, french fries or baked sweet potato fries for your third course. Finish off the meal with a traditional dessert like a peach or sweet potato pie with rich vanilla ice cream.

Bourbon Chicken

  • Start your culinary adventure off with a first course of fresh shrimp cocktail served in chilled small glass bowls filled with cocktail sauce over small white plates. Drape about six shrimp over the edge of the bowl with their heads in the sauce and tails hanging out. Prepare a dish for each guest. For your second course, treat your guests to a loaf of fresh baked focaccia bread and a green salad tossed in a champagne vinaigrette. Prepare a batch of mouth-watering bourbon chicken and herb-roasted potato wedges for your third course and finish the evening off with chocolate mousse served in dainty teacups with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top.

Salmon with Dill Sauce

  • Go fishy with this seafood-focused four course meal idea. Start the evening off with plate of oysters sauteed in garlic sauce or a pan of roasted garlic cloves and sliced, warm seasoned french bread. Move on to a second course of hearty clam chowder in build-up for your main event of a third course -- baked salmon swimming in a coating of dill mustard sauce that's easy to make but tastes gourmet. Pair the salmon with grilled corn on the cob or asparagus. Surprise guests with a fourth course of sweet grilled pineapple, which is perfect for guests watching their weight.

Beef Roulade

  • Go ethnic with this German roulade dinner meal plan. Start off the meal with a first course of cheese fondue and different dipping items including crackers, bread, sliced fruit and vegetables. Continue with a second course of creamed spinach which should whet your guests appetites for the beef roulade and mashed potatoes that make up your third course. Roulade is a traditional German dish made ahead of time with beef round steak, bacon, onions and delicious creamy gravy and reheated before serving. Finish the evening with a fresh berry pie a la mode and a pot of coffee.

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