Party Hosting Tips
I have been getting tons of requests for the after shot of my Halloween party table so here it is!
In case you missed my Instagram story with some of my top hosting tips here they are again.
Make a list of all the food you will be serving, including snacks, chips dessert, drinks etc. Use sticky notes or small pieces of paper and put every bowl, plate, platter, jug etc. and put and what will go in each one. Don’t forget serving utensils. Depending on the amount of space you have in your home this could be done up to a week in advance. Not only does it help keep you organized, it also allows you to find just the right thing so you are not tearing apart drawers as guests are arriving. It also gives anyone who’s helping out direction as to where stuff goes so they don’t need to be bothering you. I even go as far as leaving the chip bags in bowls until the morning of so they don’t get put away and have sneaky hands getting into the party food.
Change up your serving pieces:
Serving pieces don’t always have to be a typical plate or bowl. I like to use square flower vases for cookies or fruit or veggies and dip. I also use candle votives to put a little dip or hummus at the bottom and fill with veggie spears, cocktail sauce and a few shrimp or plum sauce and spring rolls. Anything that needs a little dip would work great especially at a cocktail party. Run the votives or vases through a cycle in the dishwasher to make sure they are sparkling clean.
If you entertain a lot keep a separate notebook for each of the parties you throw. Include the date, what type of event, total number of guests and guest list including any allergies, what food was served and quantities. You’ll also want to make note of drinks and quantities, any recipes you used including book and page number, phone numbers for any one you hired (i.e. caterer, florist, waiters, venue, entertainment) and anything you forgot to do. Once the party is over take inventory of how much food you have left, what chips were eaten and what was left over, etc. It will give you something to work off of for next time, especially if you throw similar parties i.e. annual Halloween party, kids’ birthday parties, Thanksgiving, holiday dinners, Passover dinner. This way you will know that they ate all the cheese pizza but left a lot of the vegetables or no one ate the cauliflower in the vegetable platter but you needed an extra bag of baby carrots.
Know your limits and plan your kitchen space:
If you are throwing a big party and need to be ready an hour after getting home from work prep everything in advance.Make the salad dressing a few days in advance, cut up the vegetables or fruit the day before and store them in a sealed container in the fridge etc. I go as far as mixing the nuts and currants I’m using to toss in a salad in a bowl so all I have to do is dump everything together. Don’t plan on roasting and baking 4 different items if you only have one oven (this applies to making dinner as well). Have one or two things in the oven, something on the stove top, something on the bbq and a few dishes served cold that can be prepped a day or two in advance.
You don’t need to make EVERYTHING!!! For the Halloween party I just hosted I made the dip and cut up the vegetables, made the salad and salad dressing etc. myself because I was ordering in pizza, which gave me time to make all the other components. I also have my mom who did all the baking but if I didn’t have her I would have made one type of cookie a couple days in advance and when someone asked what they could bring I would have said dessert (dessert is one of those easy things you can buy from a grocery store if someone doesn’t bake so I don’t feel that bad about asking if someone can grab cupcakes or a box of cookies) OR grab a couple boxes of ice cream bars. Everyone loves those!
A party isn’t the time to try out a new recipe you have never made. Stick with what you know and doesn’t have a million steps that could go wrong. Soufflé for 20…I don’t think so. Chocolate chip cookies for the win!
Plan for some spills:
They are going to be almost inevitable. Make sure you have lots of paper towel for dish towels in an easy to grab area so people can find them and aren’t bothering you to run around looking for them.
Don’t forget to stock the bathroom!
If you’re having people over, you’ll need lots of extra toilet paper and room spray…..enough said. I also like to put out paper napkins because that one bathroom hand towel will the soaked by the end of the night if you have more than a couple people over.
Here are some general cooking tips in relation to party prep:
If you are making a dip or dressing, taste it with what you will be using it on. Example for vegetable dip, actually dip a vegetable in! Since vegetables have so much water and are not seasoned when being used on a vegetable platter that dip that seems a big too strong will mellow out once being eaten with the vegetable.
Store cut vegetables like celery and carrots submerged in water in a Tupperware. It prevents them from drying out
Peel celery if you’re serving it raw. It takes away those stringy bits no one likes but especially little kids.