The holidays can be a lot of work. And if one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to entertain more and stress less, here is a handful of advice to make entertaining easier. If you’ve recently purchased or finished renovating your home, it can be really exciting to host your friends and family, so I hope my advice is helpful!
I love to entertain. Except for the cleaning part beforehand, I love everything about entertaining.
I am very casual about entertaining, except during Thanksgiving. I believe that the food should be fabulous, but not fussy. During Thanksgiving? Be fussy, but the rest of the time, it’s easy.
Keep It Simple for Dinner Party Food
I have always said that “when I grow up, I am going to be Italian.” Although I was raised Jewish and the food is good, my heart and stomach always prefer Italian. I could eat and drink Italian food every day and never get tired of it. What I love about Italian food is that it is easy, fresh, and not fussy. It is a great option for those who want to host a get-together, without having to do a ton of prep work.
I typically invite people over on a whim, usually I invite first, then inform my family. Luckily, my husband is quite easy about this, and we live in a small house, so cleaning really doesn’t take much time. But, as I have gotten more mature (ok, older) I have come to realize that if the food is good, the wine is plenty and the toilets are clean, most guests (if they are smart and want to be invited back) will overlook a dust bunny or two.
Anyway, I have a few good easy recipes in my back pocket that I can put together quickly. And I think that’s a great suggestion for any new hosts. Have a couple of tried and true recipes that you can put together quickly. The trick is to make it early – so that way the house smells good when guests arrive.
Menu for the Dinner Party
Tonight, we have 6 people attending: 3 adults and 3 young adults. And including my family, there will be 9 of us for dinner and games. I am actually writing this about 25 minutes before my guests arrive!
The table is set and dinner is cooking. We are having pasta: Sicilian Spaghetti alla Norma by Jamie Oliver with pasta and spaghetti squash as an option, salad, and wine (a Chardonnay by Domain Drouhin, a Red Blend by Cathedral Ridge – both Oregon Wineries). My guests are bringing bread and cookies.
The dish I made is easy, and needs to cook for an hour – this gave me time to shower and get ready. My biggest challenge was keeping the cat, Snap, off the table. Bad manners that cat–but he’s cute and cuddly and that’s why we keep him.
Pre-Party Prep Work
This morning I made a breakfast of cucumber slices and left-over salmon, so I cut up more cucumber and saved it for dinner tonight. Since the cutting board and knife were out, I also sliced up a red pepper. That little prep allowed me to throw together a salad minutes before my guests arrives. I added to baby spinach and some dried cranberries, and voila! Salad is done. Ok–I did make a quick balsamic dressing with olive oil (I always have a few types around) thyme and sea salt. My philosophy is “keep it simple – and have good wine.”
Enjoy Your Dinner Party!
After the hugs and kisses, the first things my guests said when they arrived was, “Wow! it smells wonderful”. Wine was poured, we ate, then played games.