Entertaining 101

I’m no star entertainer, but my husband and I have been enjoying our first string of guests to our home. We’ve been trying out all of the fabulous appliances and kitchen goodies we got as wedding gifts and Pinterest has offered me many a great recipe. We’ve always enjoyed cooking together and having people over to our new place has been a great excuse to practice some of our entertaining. And I’ll go ahead and brag on ourselves…we’re pretty darn good at it.

Our Entertaining Tips:

  • Ambiance is everything! Having a clean house makes for a warm welcome, as do candles and a warmly lit fireplace. {Ours is electric but has pretty good fake-out fire lighting, and it feels warm!}
  • Guests First!: If you’re not used to entertaining, it’s easy to get bogged down with worrying over the food. But don’t forget the reason you invited people over – to spend time with them! Do what you can ahead of time so you can enjoy time with them as well. Don’t forget to offer them a beverage upon arrival and if dinner isn’t for awhile, an appetizer is always welcome.
  • Little details matter: Surprising details are always crowd pleasers. Pinterest is littered with great ideas for place settings, table decor, or fun party games. Those are the things your guests will remember! We used this idea from Cupcakes and Cashmere for fancy-ing up regular old water for Italian night with my parents. I love things like this! *Psst: we got our bottles from Ikea for $3!

I have great intentions of taking photos each time we cook, but I’m not a pro photographer OR pro chef so 1. my focus has to be entirely on producing a good meal and 2. I’m usually too excited about the food we just cooked to even think about photographing it. Crappy iPhone versions is about all I can manage for now. Anyway, here’s a mashup of the meal we served to Michael’s Dad and his girlfriend when they came to visit this past weekend. PLEASE TRY THESE RECIPES! If they can turn out fabulously for us, I assure you, they’ll fair well for you as well!

{Photos from pinterest and marthastewart.com}

easy crab cake recipe

This recipe from Noble Pig was so super easy. I’m not a huge fan of crabcakes but these were AMAZINGGGG and really easy. The great thing about these were, I made them 2 hours ahead of time and then just returned them to the oven for a few minutes to reheat them. I’ve learned that timing is everything when it comes to entertaining. No one wants to be stuck in a kitchen attempting to man 3-4 recipes at once while there are guests waiting! Ahead of the time prep takes the cake every time.

balsamic flank steak recipe

Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak = Easy and probably the most delicious thing ever. Flank steak is one of my favorite cuts of meat because it’s easy to control portion size and cooks beautifully. The marinade was SUPER easy, and while I found the recipe, husband manned the grill and turned out a steak that looked exactly like this photo. It was superb. The only change we made to this recipe was marinading it for about 6 hours instead of 30 minutes. We also pounded the meat out quite a bit so the marinade could soak in and the meat would be extra tender. Okay…I’m drooling. And there were no leftovers 😦

asparagus with parmasean recipe

This is one recipe we crafted ourselves, although it’s not super fancy and we’ve eaten it somewhere before. Asparagus is another favorite and pairs very nicely with beef. Here’s the recipe:

Lay asparagus flat on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Recipes normally call for about 2 tbls. but we didn’t measure and I’m pretty sure it was more than that. We brushed the oil to cover the asparagus entirely. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over asparagus and pop in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Take it out and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top. We used shredded parmesan cheese, though you can use the canned “sprinkle” kind if that’s all you have. Return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes, until cheese has melted. Viola! Perfect and easy asparagus. 

And we finished our full bellies off with:

easy apple pie recipe

Martha Stewart’s homemade apple pie recipe. It was easy and SO tasty. Paired with vanilla bean ice cream of course.  I also made this ahead of time and returned to oven to reheat it. Pies seem intimidating but I found this to be pretty simple. I did cheat on the pie crust though, I bought that pre-made and saved myself a mess and a headache!

Paired with a fresh salad, good wine and beer from our favorite brewery, it was a lovely night! Entertaining is probably one of my favorite reasons for being a “grown-up” 🙂

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One response to “Entertaining 101

  1. Pingback: Around here… | The Sassy Stylista

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