It’s time for the fun part of planning a dinner party! This is my favorite part of planning an intimate soiree for my friends and family. I’m sure you could tell from the food section of 4 Hats and Frugal that I have a thing for delicious yet budget-friendly meals. In the Fall Entertaining on a Dime ebook, we discuss how the menu is the secret to “wowing” everyone, and the best part is you don’t have to spend a fortune. Here’s how to make a menu for a dinner party, in 3 simple steps.
Keep Courses Simple
The best way to impress is to take the most simple things to the highest notch available. Keep this in mind when making your menu. There’s no need to go outside the box. You’re inviting people whose company you enjoy, so the food will be secondary to you. While you want it to be delicious, remember that the simple dishes will ease your stress, and make your guests feel like they are at home. Pick courses that you, or your immediate family, raves over when you make it for a weeknight meal. Simple is key!
Break Down your Courses
Break your course list into the simplest of all menus: an appetizer or starter, an entree, and a dessert. On Day 1, we checked our pantry and fridge for items that we could use for the dinner party. Also, has any of your guests told you that they have dietary restrictions? Now is the time to review the items you have on-hand at home, and omit them from your list. Restrictions arise, you need a full view of all of your options, and the items you definitely won’t be able to use in your menu. Once you do this, you can start creating a list of appetizers, entrees, and desserts that work for all guests.
These Mini Apple Swiss Panini sandwiches would be a perfect start to a great dinner party!
Use Aggregator Sites
Once you edit your pantry list, visit recipe aggregator websites, like supercook.com. Plug in the items that are left on your lists, and see what kind of recipes are curated for you. Do you see recipes that you already know how to create, or have a version that you make regularly? Bookmark them, or write them down on a new list. It’s best to use recipes that you have made previously. This will keep you from having a freakout moment when you try something new, it turns out horribly, and your guests are due to arrive at your home in less than 30 minutes.
There are ways to utilize these aggregator sites to find the perfect appetizer, entree and dessert for your party, and I list that secret in Day 3 of the Fall Entertaining on a Dime ebook. There’s a system to it all, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the options that are created for you. You can download Day 3 all by itself, if you’d like the secret right now, or you can download the whole ebook to get ALL the secrets.
That’s it! After you do these steps, you should have a menu that everyone will enjoy, including you, during the dinner party. Tomorrow, we will discuss what you should do on Day 4 of planning. Here’s a hint: it involves your couch.