The last thing I want to do when I feel like I can’t get it together is to entertain a house full of guests. Or even host a dinner party for us and one other couple. But that is precisely why you should do it! Good friends, good food and good wine always lift the spirits! Not to mention the last minute blitz to clean the place up and make it presentable!
Prince Charming and I have a divide and conquer approach to getting our house ready to entertain. One of us tackles the playroom and the kids. The other dusts and vacuums. We put away laundry and clear off the counter. We are actually really good about putting things in their proper place and not just shoving them in closets. And within an hour or so, our house looks quite presentable. It makes us wonder why we don’t do this cleaning blitz more often.
Once the house is clean I begin the cooking. I think the best way to entertain is having a larger crowd, a pot of something where guests can serve themselves and a few appetizers. Most recently I made Brunswick Stew for a football viewing party. We had some chips and veggies and dip as appetizers. Some guests brought some apps and desserts. The stew was self serve and kept warm on the stove. It was so easy. Everyone could eat at their leisure and I could relax.
I always have a beverage center set up. I have a big galvanized tub that I bought at Lowe’s when it was on sale for $12.99. I fill it with ice and adult beverages. I set up glasses next to it. I also have a smaller one for juice boxes for the kiddos.
Sometimes it is nice to have a sit down dinner. You know, pull out the good dishes, set the table, light some candles and really cook! The nice wine can be served in the expensive wine glasses.
I enjoy creating a menu. Usually I have an appetizer, a salad and a main dish. I don’t bake so dessert is either purchased or brought by another guest. A really easy “go to” dinner menu is a charcuterie plate for an appetizer, kale and Brussels sprout salad and braised short ribs served with crusty bread. Because the ribs are braised, they cook for a long time and it will seem like you slaved away in the kitchen when, in reality, they cooked while you did other things.
I keep the table setting simple. I try to have festive colors for whatever the time of year is. Rule of thumb: dark napkins are better than light. They stain less!
And once the party is over and everyone is satisfied, you’ll feel like you have got it together. Even if the dinner is gross and you have to order pizza, you and your friends will have a good laugh. And laughter is the best way to feel like you have it together!