7 Tricks to Becoming a Dinner Party Diva

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

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
7-Layer Salad
Fool Proof Standing Rib Roast
Potato Casserole
Stewed Collard Greens
Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Grilled Plums

Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • The Bag Lady’s Favorite Chocolate Pound Cake The Bag Lady’s Favorite Chocolate Pound Cake
    54321
    View Now
  • Cottage Potatoes Cottage Potatoes
    54321
    View Now
  • Aunt Peggy’s Orange Glazed Ham Steak Aunt Peggy’s Orange Glazed Ham Steak
    54321
    View Now
  • Sweet Tea with Lemon Sugar Scrub Sweet Tea with Lemon Sugar Scrub
    54321
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am