The holiday season is the perfect time to throw a dinner party. You can connect with friends and family while enjoying delicious food in a relaxed, intimate setting. While the thought of hosting a gathering may seem overwhelming, you can reduce the stress of your dinner party with some forethought and prepping ahead of time.
Follow these tips to make your holiday dinner party a stress-free success:
Check your inventory
Do you have enough dishes, cutlery, glasses, linens, etc.? If you don’t have a matched set to for your guests, consider borrowing or buying an inexpensive set at your local discount store. The holidays are the time to be festive, so skip the paper and use linen napkins.
Plan your menu
Your courses should complement each other and not leave your guests feeling too stuffed to move. Soup or salad makes a classic first course and two sides are enough to go with your main dish. A rich dinner should be followed by a simple dessert, such as fresh fruit, while a decadent dessert is fine after a lighter main course. Need some inspiration? We have many delicious healthy recipes on our blog. Pro tip: To save yourself time, consider hosting a potluck dinner and have everyone bring a dish.
Check your ingredients
Make sure you have all your ingredients and kitchen tools before your start cooking. This prevents any last minute panicked trips to the store for olive oil or spices. This is also a good time to check the battery in your Precision Elite Thermocouple Food Thermometer. It takes away the stress of guessing if your meat is fully cooked or not. Our Elite Food Thermometer gives you a fast reading on the internal temperature of meat, ensuring your dish is perfectly cooked and will “wow” your guests.
Use fresh ingredients
Do your shopping a couple of days before the party. Starting with fresh, high-quality ingredients vastly improves the taste of even the simplest of dishes. Your local farmers market and butcher can help provide you with some of the best produce and cuts of meat.
Don’t spend the entire day cooking and cleaning – you’ll be exhausted by the time your guests arrive. Figure out which dishes can be cooked or prepped ahead of time. Chop your salad ingredients, marinate meat, and make your dessert in advance. For a list of recipes that you can make in advance, visit our blog, Easy Party Foods You Can Make in Advance (So You Can Party Too!). Measuring ingredients with your Precision Digital Kitchen Scale gives you perfect results with your baked goods.
Set your tablescape
Keep your decor simple and festive, as you don’t want to overwhelm your guests. White and gold with pops of color keeps things cheerful and elegant. Your centerpiece could be fresh flowers or bowls of vintage ornaments (from your family’s collection) grouped by color. For a cheery atmosphere, place a bare branch in a vase and hang small ornaments from it. Pro tip: Always set your table night before.
Get the unpleasant tasks over with
Get those least favorite tasks out of the way before your party starts. Empty the trash beforehand, wash pots and pans as you use them, wipe up counters, and clean your cutting boards so you aren’t bogged down with these tasks when your guests are present. Always make sure the dishwasher is completely empty when the party begins, that way you can load as you go.
Distribute the apps
Send flat breads, crudités, and other appetizers that take up a lot of real estate out to the living room. Go with low-key snacks such as a small bowls of nuts, veggie and fruit platter, hummus with chips and vegetables, and cheese and crackers tray. It’s all about the presentation here!
Set the ambiance
Before your guests arrive, you can pop on your favorite Christmas music, dim the lamps, and light the candles and fireplace.
Keep water on the table
Find glass carafes and pitchers (no need for them to match) and keep them on the table during the dinner party so you don’t have to refilling water glasses. Vintage bottles are pretty, but almost anything will do.
Take time to relax
All that prep work should leave you with extra time to for a relaxing bath or warm shower. Make sure you’re serving your favorite festive cocktail and treat yourself to a glass before company arrives. And remember, have fun!