Friday, July 2, 2010

How to Plan a Dinner Party and Be Sane

In honor of the 4th, I thought this would be appropriate for those of you hosting parties this weekend! Also, my project that I promised will be posted next week. Have a great 4th of July!

I love hosting dinner parties! They are so much fun, but can be so exhausting once you are done. Here are some helpful hints that really help me to not only host, but enjoy the event as well.

1. Plan Your Menu:

Think about what your guests like, what season it is, and how much time you have to prepare. Try to cover meat, side dishes, bread, dessert, and maybe an appetizer on your menu. Think about your choices and what can be made ahead of time. Create a grocery list and decided when it will be best to shop. I normally buy my vegetables the day before. Also, when planning my menu, I go ahead and write what serving dish I will be using to serve the dish. I know, I know, I cannot help myself. My husband makes fun of me! It really does help save you time.

2. Prep:

I cannot stress this enough! It takes a lot of prep work, but it is so worth it. Think about your week of the dinner party and all that you have going on. I am sure that you are not busy at all. Ha! I have to think about when I can clean my house, when to shop, when to prep, etc. I try to have my house clean so that I can cook.

Make a list of what day you can do what. It really does help! Look at your meal options. You could probably make your dessert a day before, or cut up your vegetables the night before. .For the brunch, I went ahead and cooked the sausage the day before, so I would not have to do that the morning of.

Also, the day of, go ahead and pull your serving dishes out, clean them up, and then put them how you want it. Whether you are going to serve buffet style or family style, go ahead and get every thing out and in its place if it is not being used for cooking space. Also, add a sticky note of what food you will put in the dish. This helps save me thinking time. When I get to cooking, I just want to be able to put it exactly where I need it and not be looking for dishes or thinking about what dish I need for a certain food. (I get a little spacey at this point, and need all the help I can get!) Set your table or set up the buffet area. I often like doing this the night before, so I can just imagine how everything will look. You can also put your dishes upside down on the table so that dust does not get in them.

On the day of, if you are cooking, think about what you need to put in the oven first. You want everything to be hot and fresh when your guests sit down. Often the first thing in is what needs to cook the longest. If you have done your prep work, you can continue working on your other dishes, putting them in the oven or finishing them up as needed.

3. Get others help if needed. Don’t try to do all of this by yourself if possible. It will be a lot of fun, because I believe that the best conversations are in the kitchen! You will be able to relax and enjoy working with someone else. Which brings me to my next point …

4. Relax and don’t stress. Every thing will work out the way it needs to. Really, it will.

5. Greet your guest! Enjoy the evening!

6. Go ahead and wash those dishes! You will thank yourself in the morning!

I am always thinking of different dinner parties that I would like to host. Here are some of my ideas:

Red, White, and Blue Celebration complete with fun decorations!

Mexican Fiesta (I just want to pull my tables outside and enjoy the cool night air!)

Summer Grilling

Fall Soup Swap

Italian Night (wouldn’t the Godfather movies be great for this!)

So any takers? Let me know when you want to come!

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