I  think all of us have favorite go to recipes we always fall back on when it comes to entertaining.  One of my favorite authors, the late Julia Reed who passed away last year, called a  favorite menu The Visiting Dignitary Dinner.  In her cookbook, “Julia Reed’s South…Spirited Entertaining and High Style Fun All Year Long” she writes about using tried and true recipes; ones you would bring out for special occasions, family get togethers, and when VIPs come to visit.  I don’t know how many visiting dignitaries I have coming to dinner, but I like to think all our parties and family gatherings are very important!

I have 2 VIP menus, depending on my mood and time of year.  I swap out several go to appetizers and will include those  in the 3rd post.

KathyMillertime’s Visiting Dignitary Dinner

Recently Dave and I celebrated our sisters’ birthdays and had dinner for 20!  We of course went to VIP dinner #1.  Menu and recipes below…but first I thought you would like to see how we set up the dining spots.

I love for everyone to be seated in the same area or room.  Our kitchen looks over the dining area through the sunroom to the marsh view.

View from kitchen through dining space and sunroom to marsh photo by Kathy Miller

I set up a tailgating table in the space between the kitchen and the dining table, using 6 outside wicker chairs.

VIP dinner with 3 table settings photo by Kathy Miller

Flora tablecloth table setting photo by Kathy Miller

Flora tablecloth with natural napkins photo by Kathy Miller

The round dining table seats 8.

Table setting with aqua and gold runner setting the tone with shell napkin rings photo by Kathy Miller

Aqua runner with aqua plates and napkins photo by Kathy Miller

I keep a pub table in the sunroom  as a game table and it extends to hold 6 people.  I used a batik shawl from Indonesia as a table cloth.  I get creative moving 2 ottomans and a bench to add extra seating around the table.

Batik fringed shawl as a table cloth with browns and turqs photo by Kathy Miller

Batik shawl table cloth closeup photo by Kathy Miller

Batik shawl or wrap used as tablecloth photo by Kathy Miller

Now on to the menu!

Menu #1

Beef Tenderloin

Hash Brown Potato Casserole

Spinach and Artichoke Casserole

Country Green Beans

La Scala Salad


Dessert Of Choice


This is a very easy method…perfect medium rare!  I always put a sticky note on oven door saying “DO NOT OPEN”.  I did 2 tenderloins for our party for 20, cooking one on day before and the other day of. Both were wrapped in foil and placed in refrigerator.  I let them sit to room temperature 1 hour before party and then sliced, covering with foil until time for dinner!



  • 5-6 pound beef tenderloin
  • slivers of garlic
  • salt and pepper


  1. Use at least a 3 pound beef tenderloin and if too large for pan, can cut in half.
  2. Trim tenderloin to your liking.
  3. Bring to room temperature.
  4. Cut slits into meat on all sides and insert slivers of garlic, as many as you like.
  5. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.  
  6. Place tenderloin on a meat rack in large turkey type pan.
  7. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  ****Very important to have it this hot.
  8. Put beef into oven and immediately turn temperature down to 350 degrees.
  9. Cook for 21-23 minutes…No longer.  ***I cook mine for 24 minutes because my oven doesn't seem as hot. 23 minutes seems to work for medium rare.
  10. Turn oven off and leave beef in oven for 4 hours.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!
  11. (Nancy has left meat in oven all day.)
  12. When you remove the beef, cover with foil until ready to slice. 
 You can do it ahead…I usually do it the day of.   Once cooled you can wrap in foil and put in the refrigerator until the next day when you need to serve.  Bring cooked tenderloin to room temperature and slice.  I did this with 2 tenderloins for our party for 20 and had plenty.  Also sliced and covered with foil right before guests arrived.

By KathyMillerTime via Nancy Jones


Recipe Printed from


This is the old tried and true recipe that my mother used year in and year out for company!  I never had anyone not love it.

Hash Brown Potato Casserole photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1 package (32 oz) frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes


  1. Defrost potaotes.
  2. Mix all ingredients except butter and corn flakes.
  3. Put in a greased casserole dish.
  4. Top with crushed corn flakes.
  5. Drizzle with the melted butter
  6. Bake 1 hour inn a preheated 350 degree oven.

By KathyMillerTime an old tradition


Recipe Printed from


Julia Reed’s old family recipe.  I loved it.  And Reese has a new canned artichoke hearts that are already chopped!  So easy.

Spinach and artichoke casserole photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1 tablespoon butter for greasing baking dish, 1/2 cup butter, melted for casserole, plus 1 tablespoon , melted, for topping
  • 2 (10-12 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.  I use a quarter of a lemon
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarse Ritz cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 2 quart casserole.
  2. Cook the spinach according to package directions, drain well and place in a mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 cup melted butter, the cream cheese and lemon juice and blend well with a fork.
  3. Scatter the artichoke quarters evenly over the bottom of the casserole dish.  Cover with the spinach mixture and smooth the top.
  4. Cover with Ritz crumbs, drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter and bake until bubbly in the center and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve.


I double for 12-20 people and use one large casserole dish.  I also add a little more lemon juice.

By KathyMillerTime
Julia Reed


Recipe Printed from


La Scala Salad photo by Kathy Miller

Here is the new favorite salad in our family.  The Scala Salad, made famous by the iconic Beverly Hills restaurant...yes La Scala.  I added the olives and pomegranate seeds...because I wanted to!


  • 1 head Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 6 ounces Italian Salami, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and coarsely chopped
  • green olives, Castelvetrano if you can find them
  • pomegranate seeds to garnish (I love these especially at Christmas time and they are extremely healthy for you!)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (the original recipe calls for 1/4 c. vegetable oil and 1/4 c. olive oil but I only use olive oil....some of those other vegetable oils are not healthy)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar or part lemon juice...I am partial to lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 teapsoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and keep in refrigerator until time to serve.
  2. Combine salad dressing ingredients in a mini food processor if you have one. Taste.  Can make the dressing a day ahead to allow the flavors to combine.
  3. Toss right before serving.


I added the olives and pomegranate seeds because I had just made a delicious charcuterie cheese board with those 2 at Christmas....I thought they added another dimension of flavor.  I do think the garbanzo beans make this super crunchy and healthy.

By KathyMillerTime adapted from Sandra Sallin via Instagram


Recipe Printed from


Country green beans photo by Kathy Miller


  • 1/2 cup bacon fat
  • 2 cups thinly sliced 
shallots or sweet onions (I like to use sweet onions)
  • 3 lbs. fresh green beans, strings removed, snapped into 1½-inch pieces and well rinsed
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over moderate heat, heat bacon fat until shimmery.
  2. Add shallots or onions, stirring to coat. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Cook until almost translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add beans and broth, making sure that broth covers beans. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans until the stock is almost gone, about two hours. Add salt and lots of fresh
 black pepper.

Recipe from chef Kevin Callaghan of Acme Food & Beverage Co. in Carrboro, North Carolina via KathyMillerTime


Recipe Printed from

I just served a french baguette with olive oil dipping

Dark Chocolate infused with spicy red chili  and Dark Chocolate with Intense Orange squares for dessert.

I tried to do as much ahead as possible.

Watch for VIP Menu #2 in the next post.  Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table.



    Thanks for all the great recipes, Kathy! I printed them all (except the hash brown potato one which my mother also passed down to me – a family favorite!)
    Love reading all your “stories!”

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thanks Salli! I think everyone has that potato casserole from their mothers! Somehow it stays on the favorites list forever. My brother in law raved on and on about it!

  • Leota says:

    Thank you for the beef tenderloin recipe.
    How long would you suggest the cooking time for medium instead of medium rare?

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