Most of us enjoy hosting parties or get-togethers every once in a while…especially during the holidays. It’s a great feeling to be able to get your friends and family together and treat them to some good food and drinks! However, hosting a party at your home can be a daunting prospect, not to mention downright exhausting! Depending on what you’re serving and how many people are attending, it’s easy to find yourself running around the kitchen working instead of enjoying your own party. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Today we’re sharing ingenious tips and tricks to help manage the food and drinks, and actually ENJOY your get-together at the same time! And since the holidays are full of parties and gatherings, I thought this would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite “entertaining hacks” with you.
1. Keep apple cider warm in a crock pot.
There’s no more festive drink during the holiday season than a delicious cup of warm apple cider, but keeping it warm throughout an evening can be tricky. Solve that problem easily by pouring your apple cider into a crockpot on the warm setting. Place the cups and a ladle next to the crock pot, and your guests can serve themselves a warm drink at their leisure!
2. Make pasta sauce or tomato soup in a blender.
Serving a dish with a sauce or a soup doesn’t have to mean babysitting a pot on the stove all night. Just roast off some tomatoes, onions, and garlic in the oven, then blend them up for a quick and easy pasta sauce or tomato soup! Get my favorite recipe for blender soup HERE.
3. Embrace your microwave for warm appetizers.
There are tons of delicious recipes out there for tasty, warm appetizers and hors d’oeuvres that you can make right in your microwave. Turn an hour in the oven into a few minutes in the microwave, and you’ll be enjoying those tasty bites as much as your guests will!
Here are a few tasty microwave recipes:
4. Let your food processor do the work.
Breads, pizza crusts, and pie crusts seem like too much to take on for a host or hostess, but they can actually come together quite quickly using a food processor! A food processor can help you quickly make a perfect dough, which you can then refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. For a recipe for a perfect pie crust using a food processor, click HERE.
5. Double up.
If you’re going to be doing all that cooking anyway, why not double the recipes and keep the extra in the freezer for those nights when unexpected guests show up? Dishes such as soups and casseroles are all handy items to keep in your freezer. Garlic bread or bake-at-home rolls can be frozen right alongside them.
6. When it comes to groceries, stick to the basics.
Grocery shopping during the holidays can be a nightmare, and you’ll only make things harder on yourself if you’re planning on making new, exotic dishes for your party. Not to mention adding unneeded pressure during an already stressful time.
Instead of spending hours in the store pulling your hair out while searching for obscure ingredients, streamline the process by sticking to recipes and dishes you know. You’ll be in and out of the grocery store in no time, and you’ll be much happier for it!
7. Prepare food ahead of time and keep it warm.
Don’t have a warming drawer in your kitchen? A 200-degree oven works just as well. This also frees up counter space and provides insurance that your food won’t burn if you forget to take it out.
8. Start your evening with an empty dishwasher.
Not only will having an empty dishwasher ensure that you have plenty of clean dishes and flatware, but it also allows you to put dirty dishes into the dishwasher as the food and snacks are eaten. This will make the after-party cleanup a breeze, plus you won’t have to stare at a growing pile of dirty dishes in the sink all night!
9. Think outside the refrigerator box for chilling drinks.
If you have lots of drinks to keep chilled and your refrigerator is already overflowing with food, fill your washing machine with ice in the morning of the party and chill in there. Bring drinks out as you need them. The washing machine will drain as the ice melts, and you won’t have to stock coolers all night or empty all the melted ice the next day! (Works with front loaders too.)
10. Don’t forget to set the mood!
It’s easy to get caught up in the food and decor when you’re entertaining, but it’s really the mood that will make or break your party! Set the party mood with two simple elements.
First, candles. Artfully placed tea lights or small, unscented candles are a simple and inexpensive way to make your space feel festive and inviting.
Second, music! Having music playing in the background will make your guests feel at ease and encourage mingling and conversation. So take half and hour or so the day before your party and put together a playlist of your favorite holiday (or just plain favorite) tunes!
Now go make merry minus the stress!