Party season is here and it’s a brilliant time for family and friends to get together. If you are the lucky host/ess, don’t miss out on any of the party action by having a strategic meal plan that keeps you out of the kitchen. Here’s how…
The festive season is well and truly upon us and with the warmer weather, it is the perfect time to fire-up in the kitchen and cook for family and friends. Because I hate missing out, the one thing I always do when entertaining is to plan a menu that doesn’t require me to spend a minute more than necessary in the kitchen once the guests have arrived.
So here are a few of my ideas for ensuring entertaining is effortless and enjoyable:
1. Plan ahead. Knowing what you need to cook and when is really important. Write yourself a list of the order you are going to prepare food and times that things need to go in the oven. Set timers if you need them also.
2. Make it as easy on yourself as possible. Don’t choose fiddly, gourmet meals that require loads of prep or cooking just before serving.
3. Choose meals, sides and salads that you can prepare ahead. Plan a barbecue so all you need to pre-prepare are salads and sides. Slow-cooked anything is a great choice. Curries, casseroles and bakes are also great because you can make them the day before and simply reheat to serve (most of the time the flavour is more developed so they taste even better).
4. Prepare sides, salads and dressings the morning before you entertain and simply assemble and dress just before serving. So for me, that means I have dressings made and in jars ready to pour. Any chopping, toasting nuts or seeds, washing leaves etc is all done in advance.
5. Dessert always needs to be fully prepared so you can simply uncover and serve.
My take-home message is just don’t over complicate things. Plan ahead and prep as much as you can in advance. It’s often the simple things in life that are the most delicious!