Menu 1 - all prepared the day in advance. Simply bake and heat up some broth / oil and serve.
starter: No-knead bread with hot spinach and artichoke dip. (both baked in oven at same temperature and served warm, so no need to be exactly precise with dinner timings, ie. late arriving guests etc.)
main: Classic fondue - basically thinly sliced meats with a couple of sauces and sides of cheese / fruit and what ever else floats your boat. You can do an oil based one for the full on flavour or a broth based one for a bit of a lighter meal. Most meats will be available in the local deli or freezer section of your grocery store.
Menu 2 - all cooked the day before and then 'assembled' and heated before serving.
starter: South western taco salad with salsa and sour cream. Cook off some ground beef with taco seasoning the day before. Chop up some salad greens any 2 types, green onions, and tomatoes the day before. Shred some chedder / jack cheese or buy a package (usually they are shit so shred your own). Get some darn tasty corn tortilla chips preferably different colours ie. blue corn / yellow corn and white (un-flavoured of course). On serving day put greens on plate, surround with a some chips in a nice pattern 3 groups of 3 different colours is nice. Sprinkle with some cheese then onions and tomatoes. Once all plates are done microwave the ground beef mixture not screaming hot just warm enough to take the chill off. Then top each salad with a portion of the beef and a bit of cheese - serve with a couple of dressings that sound 'tex-mex' and salsa and sour cream. Little work but pretty snazzy presentation.
main: Chicken Santa-Fe, Day or 2 before get some chicken breasts cook them with just some salt and pepper (350 oven for about 15-20 minutes use a thermometer... pull at ~140 - cook extra for that days meal ... do not over cook! Just barely cook them thru. Saute some red onions lightly - just until wilted. Make some rice, rice pilaf is really easy to make in the oven same temperature as you need for the chicken - use alton browns receipe here http://www.foodnetwo....html remember
this is at least 2 days before. Cook some bacon and when cool slice into thin strips - about 1 piece per chicken portion. Everything keeps well in the fridge.
Day of - boil a big pot of water for your veggies a nice frozen mix is great... you will cook the veggies last! Preheat oven before guests arrive about 350 is fine... take chicken breasts out and put on a sheet tray or two about an inch appart. Place a tbs of BBQ sauce on each, then some fried onions and bacon... top with cheese mozza is nice but a mix of chedder and jack is better. Put rice in a bowl and get ready to micro wave it ... put chicken in oven - once the cheese is melted and bubbly ~ 10 minutes it is good to go (its all cooked already remember?) Nuke rice... not too much just until hot. Drop the veggie mix into the water set a timer! 3-6 minutes max depending on type read the label. Start plating chicken and rice pilaf - you'll probably finish just as the veggies are done ... drain veggies and toss with butter, add to plate and start serving.
Anyway if you want / need more help / ideas or clarification just ask.
(I'm a Mr. Mom to a Mrs. Senior Officer in the Army so "We" entertain guests quite often)
Hopefully it gets you on the right path.
Men of war have long known that warriors must often abandon those verities they defend. Peace, human kindness, love... for they hold no meaning to the enemy. And so, to win, do we become what we despise... and despise what we become?