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hosting dinner party 1We’re coming up on the Holiday Season and that means you’re probably going to host a lot of dinner parties with friends and family, to include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Hosting a dinner party can SEEM stressful, but planning is key, and I will show you how! Dinner parties don’t have to be stressful at all, actually. It’s all about ONE thing. Preparation.

Before we get started, may I say that we can all relate to the next few stages of hosting a party? Excitement. Regret. Emergency Cleaning. Debating excuses to cancel. Smiles, Drinks, Relief. Ha!

That being said, I absolutely LOVE hosting parties. Right down to the cute place settings, decorations, creating a fun cocktail for the night, cooking up fun dishes, and charcuterie boards. If you have never hosted a dinner party at your house, don’t attempt a maiden voyage and volunteer for Thanksgiving dinner. Start out small with 4-6 close friends or family members. That way, if you burn the entrée they will still love you, and you will have a funny story to tell for years to come.

Make sure to cook meals you have made before. This makes it easier to stay on track with your evening so you can spend more time with your guests and not be in the kitchen the entire time. By doing so, you know what to expect from the dish instead of attempting to cook Prime Rib for the first time and realizing it needs to be slow cooked for 3 more hours…. half an hour before guests arrive.

Be sure to write out your menu a week or so before the party, and make a check-list of all ingredients. Most everything can be purchased up to a week in advance. This also allows you time to go back to the store for anything you missed on your first trip.

Most of your desserts and appetizers can be made a few days in advance. There’s nothing worse than trying to finish cleaning the house before guests arrive and forget about the cookies in the oven.

Prep as much as you can for the dishes you are going to make. This includes any slicing and dicing, marinating meats, and getting out any dishes you will need to cook the meals in. This is also a great way to realize you forgot to buy enough green onions for the beer cheese dip, and send your husband to the store for more.

Have a timeline and start putting together dishes first thing in the morning. Put out the appetizers 20-30 minutes before everyone arrives. People tend to be early most of the time, and it’s stressful trying to greet everyone and put out the cheese platter. Start cooking dinner earlier than you think you should. This allows you a little extra time incase the potatoes you diced are thicker than usual and take longer than you thought. Make sure the table is set, the trash has been taken out, and the dishwasher is empty. This will save you so much time in the long run, and make clean up a breeze.

Hosting a larger get together like Thanksgiving or Christmas? You can always delegate some of the dishes to friends or family members. Just be sure not to have your guests bring any essential items like ice for your cocktails or an important appetizer. Life happens and people run late or forget something at home in a rush to get out the door. Appetizers are what keep your guests occupied while the main course cooking, so you don’t want to have to rely and wait for something like that and leave your guests empty handed. Have plenty of options for beverages, including wine, beer, and liquor. A good rule of thumb to go by, 1 bottle of wine for every two guests. Two to three beers per person, and a small variety of spirits.

I also like to tell my guests if there is anything specific they like to drink, to bring it along. That way everyone gets what they like.

The Cheese Lady located in Texas Corners is the perfect place to start planning your party. It’s a one stop shop to build the perfect charcuterie board with all of the accompaniments, including wine. If you want to save time, they can build a custom cheese tray for you!

Dinner parties can be as simple as creating a charcuterie board, appetizers and wine or a 3 course meal. No matter what route you choose, just remember to have fun, enjoy your guests, and don’t stress over the food. Not every aspect of your evening will always be smooth sailing. If that happens, just own it. No one is going to remember if you overcooked the roast, they will remember the laughs and good time they had creating new memories.

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