Dinner parties are a fantastic way to get together with friends and family. Serving food in the comfort of your home rather than going out allows for a more casual and comfortable atmosphere. It can also be a daunting task if you are not well prepared. The key to a successful dinner party is planning ahead! Paula’s Test Kitchen put their minds together and came up with this must-do list for dinner party success.
1. Stick to the Basics
Choose recipes that are tried and true, that you know come out perfect every time. It is no time to be trying a béarnaise and soufflé.
2. Work Ahead
Pick recipes that can mostly be done ahead of time. Choosing complex recipes that have to be cooked and served immediately will keep you in the kitchen and away from your guests.
3. Appease with Appetizers
Set out simple appetizers and snacks in decorative bowls so that if you do have last minute things to fuss with in the kitchen your guests have something to nibble on. These can be store bought items such as nuts, cheese and meat platters, snack mixes and vegetable platters.
4. Don’t Forget the Centerpiece
Pre-set your table with seasonal flowers and other season appropriate items: gourds and small pumpkins in the fall, sea shells in summer, greens and herb bouquets with candles in the winter.
5. Chart It Out
It’s also always fun to plan a seating arrangement and make decorative place cards.
6. Groovy Tunes
Be sure to get your guests in the mood with a great play list of your favorite music.
7. Cocktail Time!
Choose a signature cocktail to have ready to serve when your guests arrive and always a “mocktail” for the non-drinkers in the bunch.
So, now that you have the basics down, we have picked the perfect menu to wow your guests. Recipes that you can do ahead, and serve cold or warm up when your guests arrive.
Our Favorite Dinner Party Recipes
Southern Comfort Punch
Sparkling Mint and Ginger Lemonade
Fool Proof Standing Rib Roast
Stewed Collard Greens
Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Grilled Plums
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Join Paula, Bobby and Jamie for a book signing at the Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah from 2 to 4 pm. Only 350 tickets will be given out starting 1 hour before the book signing. No cameras permitted; a professional photographer will be on site to take your photo.
Join Paula and family for a Party at Sea to the Eastern Caribbean (San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten - roundtrip from Miami) aboard the Celebrity Reflection presented by Alice Travel. Click here for more information, and please note that the Paula Deen cruise is only available by booking directly with Alice Travel. We are running out of space, so book as soon as possible!
Paula Deen is coming to Buffalo, NY to perform a live cooking show and let VIP ticket holders enjoy a delicious Southern feast with a menu created by Paula herself! Both events will be held at Samuel’s Grand Manner in Williamsville, NY which offers a refined elegance in a classically modern setting. The VIP lunch will be held at 12:00pm on February 8th and will go until approximately 2:00pm (doors will open at 11:30am). The lunch will include a hearty helping of Southern style cuisine which is personally selected by Paula, a Southern Cooking Bible cookbook, a photo op with Paula where she will also be signing autographs, a gift package, and preferred seating at that evenings cooking show! The cooking show will begin at 3:00pm on February 8th and run about 60 minutes long (doors will open at 2:15pm). Paula will be cooking up some of her favorite meals live for you at Samuel’s Grand Manor! Seating is unreserved and is “first come, first served”.
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Join Paula and family for a Party at Sea aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas to Labadee, Jamaica, and Cozumel (roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale) presented by Alice Travel. We will be having special, separate events for kids on this one with Jack Deen hosting the kids program! Click here for more information, and please note that the Paula Deen cruise is only available by booking directly with Alice Travel Book now before the prices start going up on the cruise and air!