Last night I hosted my first BBQ this summer! It was so much fun to have my friends over and grill on my balcony. The way I entertain is to have food out and ready for my guests. I like it when they walk in the door and food is waiting for them. I also like to serve a variety of options especially since so many people have dietary restrictions. I can’t wait to have my friends over to BBQ again!
chips & guac
hummus & pita chips
pigs in a blanket
For appetizers I like to have a variety of finger foods. I’m a big fan of dips and if you want something healthy make sure you have veggies for dipping.
I highly recommend buying at least one appetizer from Trader Joe’s. They always have something that my guests will enjoy. My rule is that at least one item must be homemade- who wants to eat all store bought appetizers!?
My main course is typically a protein of some sort. I ALWAYS get my meat from Whole Foods. Typically I choose what is the freshest or what’s on sale. I like to keep my main courses as simple as possible but with some thought involved. Since I made turkey burgers I made sure to have toppings (lettuce, tomato, & onion) along with a hot toasted bun. Since I don’t eat poultry I also made grilled salmon with a miso glaze.
Salad (romaine, corn, pistachios, and dried cranberries)
This is the best part of the entire dinner! My friends are incredible chefs and brought the side dishes below. I like to have at least one type of vegetable, a mixed green salad, a variety of starches (pasta salad & potatoes), and other delicious dishes that can please any crowd.
I absolutely LOVE entertaining and having my friends over for dinner. A lot of people tell me how they can’t cook or they don’t know how to entertain. The hardest part is balancing your time in the kitchen and entertaining your guests. Although it can be a lot of work, I have some tips to make entertaining easy and seamless.
Organize: If you need to search for recipes, do that a few days in advanced. Then make a grocery list of everything you need. That way your not running around trying to find everything last minute.
Prep ahead of time: If there are certain dishes you can make ahead, I highly recommend you do so. You can even make some of your dishes a week in advance and freeze them. For example, lasagna is a great dish to make in advance and freeze. If you are serving appetizers, make sure they are out and ready before your guests arrive- one less thing you have to do after they get there.
Use Shortcuts: Buy your veggies already cut up (it’s more expensive but a HUGE time saver). If you’re baking use boxed cake mix and add other ingredients to make it taste homemade. Choose recipes where you only need to assemble the ingredients for example hummus dip, six layer greek dip, or chili cheese dip.
Clean as you go: This is also a big time saver. When you notice the dishes piling in the sink, throw them in the dishwasher to prevent a giant mess.
The key with entertaining is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Try not to stress yourself out. If it’s your first time entertaining, your friends will understand if things aren’t perfect. If all else fails, order in some pizzas… at least you tried and you guests will appreciate the effort!