Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Entertaining Made Easy

by Sheila

I do as much ahead of time as possible, leaving minimal preparation for the last minute.

We enjoy having people over for dinner and throwing a party now and then.  I love creating a fun atmosphere that will complement the event from the perfect dinner music (my husband and I do not always agree on what this is) to the candles on the table.  I do family dinners frequently, and this can be dinner for six to dinner for 26.  In our family when you host a large group, everyone volunteers to bring something, and I take them up on it!  If I am preparing the main course and someone else brings the salad and another person the dessert, my preparations just got a whole lot easier.

Get organized; all serving dishes and utensils out, coffee service ready, ingredients measured, etc.
The other key to making entertaining easy is to have a few "go-to" menus.  I can tell you that almost anyone who has come to my house for dinner has had our "fail-safe" pork tenderloin on the grill with potatoes, green beans and a salad.  This is a tasty menu that spans all seasons and is easy to prepare.  My Aunt and Uncle were in town this week and we had them over for dinner and this is what I served.  It can be prepped ahead of time with only a few last-minute tasks so that you can enjoy your guests and not be frantic in the kitchen.
My son Tyler came for a visit and he made his specialty for me for Mother's Day; a yummy steak (he is a master of the grill).
Set the table ahead of time.
Another idea is to have a "participation" menu, where everyone gets in on the action.  We have taken a lesson from our son Alec, and have started to make pizzas on the grill outside.  This is great fun because everyone gets to help, stretching dough and topping pizzas.  Add a salad and dinner is served!  My brother has built a pizza oven in his back yard and he makes dough and sauce by the bucket-loads and has people bring a pizza topping of their choice.  He does large parties this way with people eating their own creations and having a great time.

Breaking bread with the people you care about is one of the joys of life.  Having a plan that makes this easy keeps it fun and manageable.  Now if I just could conjure up the cleaning fairies that easily...

I would love to know what you do to make entertaining easy.  Any special recipes or menus that are part of your fail safe plan?  We'd love to hear about it!  


  1. Oh yum! Thanks for sharing! I love to entertain too! Newest follower. Angela at HickoryTrail

  2. these are wonderful tips! i love how you have all your items to serve food in ready and out!