Planning A Stress-Free Dinner Party

Entertaining shouldn’t be stressful…after all it is YOUR party, isn’t it?

With the warm weather coming on it’s time to start thinking about opening up those windows and doors, cleaning off the deck and the screened in porch and inviting a bunch of friends over for some good food, wine and conversation!  The problem is that for most of us, this brings on a flood of anxiety and stress. And who needs more of that?

So how do we avoid that and still be able to entertain our friends and make it a great time not just for them but for you too?  The first thing is to have a plan…Yeah a schedule! And keep in mind that it is most important that the end result of this schedule is that at the end of the day, you get to relax and enjoy your friends.  Start by deciding what type of party to host: cocktails, tapas, micro brewed beer tasting, wine and food pairing dinner or a family style affair. Then decide how many people you want to have…not too big, but enough so that there can be a few small groups engaged in different conversations…if you choose to have a cocktail party, people can bop around each if they choose. If you decide on a sit down dinner, my preference is to try to have everyone at the same table…so much more convivial that way.

When you know what kind of party you’re having, start thinking about the menu…don’t overwhelm yourself but these days most people do like to try several different things and that can help keep the party lively. After you’ve decided these three things (type of party, how many guests and menu) it’s time to start the other plan…the one that gets you finished in time to relax a bit before your friends arrive.

Make a shopping list by getting together your recipes and being sure you get everything the first time out. Not too many things worse that being all organized and at the last minute realizing you forgot something.

Then devise your plan of attack. Go for recipes that can be prepared ahead of time, remember some things get better with time, and combine these with a few that only require a quick last minute finishing. Decide on wines and get some chilled and some standing upright or decanted if necessary. Set the table ahead of time.

Decide if you need some help…be it for cleaning and serving or cooking. There are a lot of freshly made items you can get at the store to take the load off, and of course you could have it catered. Chef Rick is ready for your dinner party with “Great food for busy people.”

Of course there’s more, but you get the idea…the more well thought-out you have it the least amount of anxiety!  I know it can seem overwhelming, but if you look at it this way and do the hard stuff ahead…and leave the mess for the morning, everyone, including you will have a blast and want to do it more often!  When you think about it there really aren’t too many things better than friends and family sharing good times together!

My email address is rickstweat@aol.com and my direct phone line is 248.756.7846, don’t hesitate to reach me for any cooking or entertaining advice!

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  1. love the picture!

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