‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry, however, playing hostess can often bring more stress than joy; but entertaining this season doesn’t have to be stressful. Stick to these five tips to ensure your guests are happy and you end the night worry-free.
Plan and prepare. In the days before a party, plan the menu, prepare and chop ingredients, wash platters, etc., starting as early as a week out to cut down the to-do list the day of. The day of the party is no time to try new recipes. Stick to what works- menu items that are easy for you to prepare and are tried and true hits with guests. Read recipes in advance and make sure you have the necessary kitchen tools to make it fast and easy to prepare – one kitchen tool, like a slicer, spiralizer or chopper, can make a world of difference when prepping several ingredients for a crowd.
Think outside the box with your kitchen tools. If making larger than normal batches of sauces or gravy, use a blender. Keep the oven free and/or keep sides dishes toasty warm during the party by using your slow cooker. While often considered an ‘old school’ appliance slow cookers have come a long way in function and design over the years and now come in trendy stainless steel, perfect for the countertop. From apple cider to mashed potatoes to an entire buffet, the Crock-Pot® slow cookers are your top sous chef at a party. There’s even a mini Crock-Pot slow cooker, perfect for keeping gravy warm.
Spend less time in the kitchen. Less time in the kitchen, means more time to spend with guests. By keeping your menu simple, using the right kitchen tools and prepping as much ahead of time, you’ll enjoy the party as much as your guests. Streamline offerings like the beverage choices by creating one separate section for all things DRINK. Think a bar area outside the kitchen specifically for alcohol and coffee and tea. In addition to sugar and cream, offer seasonal flavors like peppermint syrup, pumpkin syrup, cinnamon powder and caramel. Allow your guests to be as creative as they like with a Mr. Coffee® Espresso Machine that easily helps guests create coffee house style beverages in the home. If you really want to go the extra mile, consider personalizing mugs for everyone to take away as a party favor.
Desserts spelled backwards does not have to mean STRESSED. If you’re not a baker, preparing a guest-pleasing dessert can be an intimidating task – though it doesn’t have to be. With the Crock-Pot® Multi-Cooker, whipping up a sweet treat is really a piece of cake! Choose to bake directly in the cook bowl or set your baking dish on the rack insert. Another solution is to prepare a semi-homemade sweet treat. Let the store help you. Take advantage of some store bought items in the recipe, like ready-made pie crusts for a semi-homemade treat. Even combine a variety of store bought items into one homemade dessert – such as simply putting together ice cream and coffee for a cozy final course. If the dessert portion of the meal is too overwhelming, there is no shame in asking guests to bring dessert. Most are more than willing to contribute to the evening – it’s an easy way to help your guest feel part of the celebration.
Make it personal. Putting a personal touch on your party helps make the event stand out and it’s possible with little effort. Charm your guests with printed versions of any homemade recipes or family recipes served at the party. Fill two needs with one deed – use family photos to decorate the tables. Your guest will love to see the customized décor, one that may bring a sense of togetherness and warmth to the gathering.
For more information, please visit Crock-Pot.com and MrCoffee.com.