It’s no secret that I love hosting dinner parties at home. As a busy blogger, I spend most of my time running around the city from meeting to meeting, and event after event, so when the weekend rolls around, there’s nothing I like to do more than stay at home! Naturally, making time to see my friends and family is very important to me, and I find that one of the best ways to spend quality time together is gathering together for a great homemade meal at #CasaGC.
Not only is it less expensive to stay in with friends, but it can also be healthier and more fun. At this point in my life, I don’t want to spend time with friends in an environment that gives us a time limit on our hang out (aka table turnover at busy restaurants) or where it’s so loud I can’t even hear what they’re saying. I do actually love my friends and want to hear about their lives when we get together!
Perhaps it’s because my parents hosted dinner parties so often when I was growing up, that I have a very casual approach to the whole thing. Dinner parties, to me, aren’t about fancy place settings and stuffy place cards, instead they’re about bringing people together to relax, laugh, and enjoy a wonderful meal together.
Some people think that hosting a dinner party is more work than it really is, or that you need to be a Michelin starred chef in order to host one. Of course time, effort and preparation goes into it, but it can be easier and less-stressful than you think. And when it comes to food, all you really need is quality ingredients and a foolproof recipe to follow.
Today I’m very excited to share that I’ve teamed up with my friends at Club House to help inspire you to #JustCook and discover the next best restaurant in your city – your very own kitchen at home! With their high quality ingredients and fantastic recipes, we’re here together to help inspire you to get confident in the kitchen, and invite your friends over. Let’s change the question of “where should we eat?” to “what should we cook?” and Just Cook.
If you’re interested in eating in and hosting more of your own dinner parties at home, here I’m sharing my top 10 tips on how to host a dinner party at home to help you get prepared!
1. Pick a Theme
Themed dinner parties can be a lot of fun and can help you prepare your menu well in advance. If you decide that you’re going to host ‘Mexican Night’ or ‘Korean Night’ you can decide what you want to make, and figure out what you can make or prep in advance to reduce the amount of work on the day of. This is also a really easy to way to outsource some dishes to your guests without feeling like you’re going to end up with the feel of a potluck.
2. Clean Your House
Sometimes it feels like the only times my house gets a good clean up is before I host a dinner party. Luckily I host pretty often which helps keep #CasaGC in one piece. Take a few hours to clean and put things away, or hire someone to do it for you if you don’t have the time to do it yourself. Another great tip I picked up from Ina Garten is to always run and clear your dishwasher before a dinner party so that you can easily pop in the dirty dishes after the meal.
3. Pick Your Platters
Once you know what you’re serving you’ll be able to determine what kind of serving dishes you’ll need. If you’re like me and have them stacked all over your house, pull them out a day or two in advance and leave them out on your table. I also like to pull out the plates and cutlery I’ll need on the night of.
4. Set A Playlist
Music is important at any party so make sure you’re prepared with something to play before your guests arrive! Having to choose song after song is a hassle so create a playlist, or find your favourite one online beforehand.
5. Create an Easy Decor
Decorating for your dinner doesn’t have to be complicated, or take long. I recommend something super easy, simple and effective like a bouquet of fresh flowers for your dining or coffee table, and a few nice candles.
6. Set Up a Chic Buffet
I think a lot of people think that dinner parties need to be formal with place cards and table settings, but I’m much more laid-back about them and I think it makes them more fun, and easier to host. Personally, I never set the table and simply stack my favourite dishes right on the table with cutlery and napkins beside them so everyone can grab a plate, and grab a seat wherever they like.
7. Prep Healthy Snacks
There’s really no need to spend hours making the fanciest appetizers you can think of, most people will eat whatever you put in front of them and it’s a lot easier to create a healthy simple snack platter or charcuterie board that only takes a few minutes to put together! For simple snack recipes with fresh and pure ingredients visit JustCookCanada.com.
8. Create a DIY Bar
Signature cocktails for the night are fun, but they’re also more work. When I do serve a signature cocktail, I like to make it in a pitcher so I don’t have to spend a lot of time crafting each cocktail. I also always set up a serve-yourself bar so people can top up as they need.
9. Serve Family Style
I’m a huge huge fan of serving meals family-style. I love how easy it is, and the way it brings people together around the table. If you are serving family style try using some of your favourite serving dishes, or, serve it right in the cooking ware you made it in if you’ve used a quality product that stands out like a French dutch oven.
10. Accept Help!
Last but not least, accept help from friends! I know more than anyone how hard it can be to let go of control, but honestly it really does help when you accept a friend’s offer to help you out. At the end of the night that can be help with cleaning and dishes, or even asking someone to bring the dessert.
I hope these tips have helped you! The most important thing to remember is to always HAVE FUN!
Look out for my upcoming post featuring an easy and flavourful recipe using Club House Spices that’s sure to please. In the meantime, get inspired by following @clubhouse.ca on Instagram and tag your dinner party meals with @clubhouse.ca and #JustCook.