Dinner party… those two words can be intimidating if you are the host. Panic attacks, money, menu, drinks, what to serve? Don’t fret. I’ve come up with a list that will ease your nerves. My ABC’s of Entertaining are below with pictures from my first ever, gluten-free dinner party. It was a huge success and my guests were very pleased with the meal. Their favorite part? The wine poached pears topped with mascarpone coconut cream. Who knew I had the dessert gene in me?
A canvas sign by my sister, @jennymeyerart.
A is for Allergies: Double check with your guests to make sure they have no dietary restrictions, such as food allergies or Celiac Disease.
B is for Bathroom: Don’t forget to clean, organize and decorate your bathroom before the dinner party. With wine flowing, your guest will use it often.
C is for Camera: I always have a Polaroid camera at house events. It brings the silliness out of people, and breaks the ice!
D is for Display: Display your menu in a pretty frame for your guests to see when they arrive.
The amazing menu! Menu template courtesy of Foodbuzz.
E is for Eclectic: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and be original.
F is for Formal: Forget Evites, mail a formal invitation.
G is for Gift: Give your guests a small gift. Spice blends are a favorite giveaway of mine. Next thing you know, your guests will be begging you for the recipe.
Easy centerpiece for Fall. Great for Thanksgiving!
H is for Herbs: Packets of Herb seeds or Herb plants in small pots make great gifts as well.
I is for In-Season: Buy in-season ingredients for more flavorful food.
The dining room, pre-tornado mess.
J is for Join: Have your guests join you in the kitchen for some food prep and plating.
A creative way to display menu items.
K is for Kids: Do your guests have small children? Make sure to add kid-friendly options to the menu.
L is for Local: Buying local supports your local economy and is better for the environment.
“Chef Jessie” plating the main course.
M is for Mix and Match: Mix and Match serve ware for eclectic place settings.
Our good friend Bill and my sister with her lovely black eye (from playing kickball).
N is for Name-tags: Name-tags make it personal, and the guest will feel appreciated. I used rocks from my backyard for name-tags.
My amazing boyfriend, Chris and I
O is for Organizing: Organize your ingredients and serve ware ahead of time to save time and sanity.
P is for Prioritizing: Prioritize your cooking and plan ahead.
Outdoor appetizer: cucumbers topped with local goat cheese, apricot preserves and chipotle chili powder.
Q is for Quality: Quality over quantity is my motto when it comes to cooking.
R is for Resourceful: Be resourceful and creative with what you already own. There is no need to spend a fortune preparing for your first hosting event.
The main course: sautéed halibut in champagne sauce with rosemary puree, whipped sweet potatoes and prosciutto crisp.
S is for Simple: Keep it simple.
T is for Table: Table settings do not have to be extravagant. I used small pumpkins and squash to decorate my table; cheap and easy. You can use the seeds to roast or make a delicious soup after the party!
The dessert: red wine poached pears with mascarpone coconut cream.
U is for YOU: Be yourself. Don’t get caught up with the whole idea of entertaining. Just relax and enjoy your own party.
V is for Vase: Fill vases with apples or lemons for a cheap and easy centerpiece. No frills.
W is for Weather: Planning an outdoor event? Have a backup plan just in case inclement weather arrives on your big day.
The full and happy guests: Chris, My Mom, Jenn and Bill.
X is for eXhale: Breathe. Relax.
Y is for Yikes: What if something goes wrong? You burn the rolls? Forget an ingredient? Always have a backup plan and a well-stocked pantry.
The wigs and Polaroid camera come out to play after a couple glasses of wine…
Z is for Zen: Create a Zen atmosphere with great music and candles.
This was the third challenge for Project Food Blog. I did not make the cut but it was a great experience, and I thank you for all your support and votes!