Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining
Holidays are traditionally a time when friends and family get together to celebrate, usually over food and drink. And if the party finds itself at your house this year, don't stress. Here are some time and energy-saving tips that will make your party as enjoyable for you as it will be for you guests.
- Consider serving a buffet rather than a sit-down meal. They're less work. Cocktail parties are even easier!
- Design a menu keeping in mind the type of party you're having (buffet, brunch, cocktail, etc.) and the preferences of your guests. And then be sure to spread the work across your kitchen - in other words, don't plan a menu that requires everything to be baked in the oven at the last minute.
- Make sure you have a mixture of tastes, textures and temperatures on your menu (spicy and mild, crunchy and creamy, hot and cold).
- Prepare a detailed grocery list, going through each recipe so you won't forget anything or buy unnecessary items.
- Shop well in advance of the party.
- Prepare as much as possible ahead of time - freeze when possible
- Consider using some pre-prepared items such as pie shells, party mixes and dips to save time.
- Buy heavyweight, attractive paper plates and napkins. It makes clean up so much easier at the end of the evening.
- Plan a food preparations schedule with times detailing when dishes should go into the oven in order to be ready on time. Tape it to the refrigerator for easy reference.
- Take a moment before the party starts to relax. Sit down, have a drink, get dressed or just stop and take a deep breath.
- If guests offer to bring something, let them!