Quick Fix: Impromptu Entertaining

Quick Fix: You’d like to have friends over for an impromptu after-work get together, but don’t have much time to prepare.

Nothing shows a generosity of spirit like inviting friends over for an evening of food and drink. Be the host with the most by following a few basic tips.

  • The best parties are intimate. Keep the guest list to the number of guests you can comfortably seat at your table.
  • Set the table with your everyday stuff that can go in the dishwasher. Add some fresh flowers in a small pitcher or even fruit and vegetables in a bowl for a centerpiece. Forget about stiff ironed napkins. Napkins work more efficiently when wrinkled and soft.
  • Serving mixed drinks means you have to set up a bar. Avoid the chore by serving wine, beer and sparkling water. Make sure you have lots of ice. That’s it.
  • Offer simple appetizers of nuts, olives and crackers spread with cheese. Done. You don’t need fancy appetizers since you’re going to eat dinner, remember?
  • For an entertaining dinner that’s homey and delicious, make a one pot meal like a stew or soup and serve it up family style at the table. You can make it days ahead and it’ll the taste the better for it. Add good bread from the bakery with plates of extra virgin olive oil for dipping.
  • Serve an Italian sfogato for dessert. Fill a coffee cup with scoops of premium ice cream and pour over a little strong hot coffee. It’s something different and super easy.
  • Tunes, food and good times just go together so don’t forget the background music. Turn on Pandora radio to whatever kind of music floats your boat. Keep it low enough so that it doesn’t interfere with conversation.

That’s about it. Your guests will have a blast at your house because you are so relaxed and organized. And remember, one of the best things about having friends over is that then they return the favor and invite you to their house.

Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at ravenouskitchen.com where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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