There are times and places for fancy, elegant dinner parties. But not here, not now. I'm in a "learning to stress-less" season. And part of this journey is about untangling the craziness found in an evening of entertaining. Therefore, I came up with these "Easy Dinner Party Recipes That Will Impress Your Friends" - emphasis on EASY. They may look a little fancy and all, but in reality, they're quite simple. Many are make or chop ahead and some are "one and done" in the oven. This post has risen from a desperate need to unscramble my life in order to fully engage in it again.
Exhausted and Unfulfilled
“SIMPLIFY” - it should be simple, right? But the truth is, for me anyway, complexity rules the day, most days. I try to cram a million things into an 8 hour work day which usually ends up being 12 or more hours. At the end of this disillusioned tunnel, I find myself exhausted, unfulfilled and pulling myself from the hustle of trying to overachieve.
Laugh a Little, Relax A LIttle, and Linger A Little
So, I pivot and decide to slow down long enough to plan a dinner party. I need to enjoy some downtime with friends. Laugh a little. Relax a little. Linger a little. Wonderful! So I draw from an inspiration that has been in my life forever. A friend who can throw together a casual party at the last minute, have plenty of food for everybody and all the while being calm, cool and collected. She never stresses about any of it. To my friend, it's about relationship building, the food and setting are always secondary. I’m still trying to emulate her graciousness. I fall somewhere in between calm/collected and a crazy maniac.
Scaled Down Dinner Plan
So, here’s my “note-to-self" scaled down dinner plan:
Don’t go overboard on food and drink items. Choose a menu list that can be made ahead of time and does not require a lot of last-minute kitchen work.
Don’t worry about decorating from the image that's in my head. Nobody else knows what that looks like. Simply pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers at the grocery store and grab some colorful napkins to brighten things up. Neither of these will break the bank and will add a nice touch to my setting.
Give myself an hour just to relax before anyone shows up, maybe sit and have a glass of wine. This way I'm not frantic when guests arrive. Nobody likes to be around a high strung host.
Whenever I’ve thrown a dinner party, my guest always asks what they can bring. Usually, I play superwoman and say “nothing, just yourself.” Maybe I'll humble myself and see if others would like to contribute this time. A side dish, a dessert, or maybe a bottle of wine.
Relax, enjoy life, linger with friends. That’s my “wannabe” motto right now. I’m working on it. Let me know how your dinner party goes and I’ll let you know if I’m doing better with mine. Click on the photos below to get the recipes. I hope they help with your planning.
Easy Dinner Party Recipes That Will Impress your Friends
The Side Dishes: