With two working parents and a mere twenty-four hours in the day, it probably doesn’t shock you one bit that I’m all about easy entertaining. I love having friends over and planning get-togethers, but unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to find the time to prepare dishes from scratch every time you want to have guests. Here are three tips I rely on to make me look like an effortless hostess (even when I’m really not)!
Dress Up Pre-Prepared Dishes
My favorite entertaining trick is to outsource in the easiest way possible! That means that I’m best friends with the prepared foods section at our local gourmet market. Yes — it’s expensive. But when you’re strapped for time, it’s a luxury that’s well worth the investment! I’m never try to hide the fact that anything I serve is store bought — why bother? I think it’s nicer to share your go-to spots for delicious take-out than to pretend that you spent all day in the kitchen whipping up snacks! However, even when I’m buying prepared food, I go the extra mile to remove it from its containers and put in our own servingware. The difference in presentation makes it a little more special and personal.
Take Advantage of Pin-spiration
Pinterest is insanely addictive (I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent looking at wedding inspiration… and I’m already married)! But it’s also a great resource. One of my favorite tricks is to search for “make ahead” appetizers — and it’s a trip when I find my own recipes that others have pinned! Just this week, I realized that The Today Show had pinned my recipe for Parmesan Cones, which could easily be filled with a store-bought dip! Or this salad-on-a-stick recipe is an easy, beautiful snack.
In Lieu of a Cheese Platter, Try a Spread!
Last, I have a new secret that I just discovered — Alouette Le Bon Dip! It’s a soft cheese blend with chunky veggies. It’s also made with a touch of yogurt so it still tastes rich and delish but is actually healthy. (No artificial flavors or colors either!) It’s perfect to serve to kids (Bear loves it!) or grown-up guests. Pair it with some fresh-cut veggies or cheese straws, like I did!
What are your favorite tips for easy entertaining?
Disclosure: I partnered with Alouette to bring you this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: Kate Robinson