One thing that my husband and I both like doing, is to host parties at our home and entertain. If you have been following me long enough, by now you know that eating healthy is one of my passion. therefore when I invite people to my home I like to feed them healthy foods and snack, which makes it very hard to cater food from most restaurants, so I cook everything myself.
As I am writing this post, I am preparing for a Dinner party of about 50 people on Saturday night. So how do I make this possible with out exhausting myself and my family? The short answer is to plan ahead. so here is how I plan:
10 days before the party:
Plan your menu. Your menu should include appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Few points to keep in mind when writing your menu:
- Pick foods that you can prepare and cook most of the ingredients ahead of the time, for example the day before your big event.
- Pick foods that you have make often and you feel comfortable making them.
- Pick foods that do not require your constant attention. in another word pick foods that you can throw together and let cook on low heat.
- Review your menu and make sure you have foods that everyone can enjoy. have a dish with chicken, one with beef, one vegetarian or vegan, Gluten free, etc., so no matter what kind of food restrictions your guests have they can enjoy your meals.
- Review your meal plans with the rest of your family and see which one they can help prepare and cook.
9 days before party:
Make a list of all the items that you need for your party. This list should include:
- Count dishes and utensils that you need for your party. Make sure you have enough of every thing and have some extras in hand. don’t forget napkins.
- Prepare your shopping list. bring out your food menu and write down all the ingredients that you need for each food and how much.
- Make sure you have enough chairs for every one to sit.
- Before, during and after party cleaning supplies. for example dish washing soap, toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, etc.
8 days before party:
Deep clean your home, if needed.
a week before party:
Go shopping. Most fruits and vegetables stay fresh for a week, if prepared and stored correctly. to see some of my favorite tools that I use to keep my fruits and veggies fresh, please visit my favorite gadgets and tools page. one thing that I found makes my parties hectic and hard to handle, is when I leave my grocery shopping till the last minute. The chances that you won’t find every thing that you need in one store is high. by starting your shopping a week before, you have time to visit multiple stores to get every thing that you need without stressing yourself out or driving yourself crazy.
6-3 days before party:
Start preparing your foods. This is the time to wash, cut, chop, cook, and store your ingredients. for example if I am making stews that require lots of herbs and meat, this is the time that I use to chop all my herbs, and cut and clean my meat. Prepare your veggies, for example if they need roasting or cooking, this is a good time to do so. Remember don’t do everything in one day. If you are like me, you still need to do your regular daily tasks. Most of us are not able to take a week of vacation before each party to prepare. So it is important to go easy and tackle preparing for only one or two dishes a day.
2 days before party:
Take this day to relax. Don’t do anything on this day. You have been working hard for the past week or so and now you need to relax and get energized for the upcoming days. I personally do not like going to parties where the host is exhausted because they have been cooking and cleaning all day. This makes me feel uncomfortable, I am sure others feel the same way.
Day before party:
Start cooking and preparing your foods. you should do most of your cooking on this day. leave only the foods that will loose their freshness and taste if cooked a head of time to cook on the day off. For example if I am making fish, roasted or BBQ chicken, I won’t cook them a day before. I will marinate them a day before and prepare them, so on the day of the event I can just through them in the oven or on the BBQ and let cook.
Night before your event:
Go to bed early and get a good night of sleep. Sleep is very important in your health and how you feel the day after. the last thing you want is to be tired when your guests arrive. if you have been following these steps and planning, you have nothing to be worry about, so relax. If you are a bath person, try to take a relaxing bath before going to sleep.
Day of the event:
in the morning:
- Cook and prepare the final dishes that you couldn’t make the day before. remember this should be only foods that are easy to through together and let cook on low heat, if you chose the right food menu.
- Clean and organize your home. remember, this is not a deep cleaning. It is not time to wash your carpets or windows right now. Today you should spend 1 to 2 hours just dusting, vacuuming and doing very light cleaning. You should of done your deep cleaning days ago.
In the Afternoon:
- Set your appetizer and drink table
- Set your Dinner table. Here I am talking about a large party, so it will more likely be a buffet style. No matter how you want to serve, you need to set your table, so you know where every food will be placed, where plates will go, etc.
- Make sure all your foods are ready at least 30 minutes before your guests arrive. I usually place all the foods in their serving dishes and place them in the oven on warm or refrigerator, depending if the food needs to be served hot or cold. This way when my guests arrive I don’t have to spend time placing each food in its serving dish. and when I am ready to serve dinner, I just put all the dishes on the table with in minutes.
- As for dessert table: that does not usually take as much time to set up. My dessert menu usually includes fruits (which I cut, wash and prepare in the morning) , healthy sweets (which I bake the day before), and tea or coffee (which I brew while serving dinner). I usually tell my husband how I like the dessert table to look like and he sets it up as I am cleaning the dinner table.
When guests arrive:
you should be done with every thing now and your main job is to entertain your guests and make sure they are having a good time. This is not a time to worry about how your foods taste like or if you have something that fits their dietary needs. you already took care of all of these.
you made it, you are a supper star now, and your home probably looks more like a jungle than a home, but don’t worry. Leave the cleaning and organizing your home for tomorrow. You are tired now and the chances that you would hurt yourself while tired and get sick is much higher. So Forget about the cleaning for now and go to bed. You can tackle the cleaning with the rest of family tomorrow.
Few important point:
your health is the most important thing when planning to entertain people. If you are sick and weak, none of these can happen, so you need to take care of yourself more than ever, when preparing for a party. Make sure you are having healthy meals and snacks and you are not starving yourself to save time, or you are not snacking on unhealthy, processed and sugary foods because you don’t have time to prepare healthy meals for yourself.
Also make sure you are taking adequate sleep. Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health, which you need both of them to entertain people 🙂
Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
As always stay happy and healthy