Sunday, July 1

Summer Entertaining Made Easy

I simply adore this relaxed outdoor party!
Warm-weather entertaining mixes fun, food and the great outdoors. You can host your ideal outdoor party, during the lazy days of Summer, with ease and confidence. Getting prepared and staying prepared is the key. Living in Texas has it's limitations, especially when it comes to having an outdoor party. It does get hot here in the Summertime. Unbearable so. Today is June the 30 and at 6 pm our temp topped out at 96 degrees F. For us, that's down right cool and time to break out the grill! The following are just a few ideas I jotted down for you, hope it helps.
Your lighting can be very simple to the more extraordinary. String lights or simple candles on the table, both work equally well. Decide what mood you want to portray.

'Be prepared', that's our motto....Mr.P was/is an Eagle Scout, he ties really great knots. There are a few things that I keep on hand during the Summertime....just in case we decide to be spontaneous. They would be, in no particular order, ALWAYS good quality disposable  plates, cups, napkins and utensils. Yes, you read it correctly, I do this and do it with great joy! It's fantastic to have friends round at the last minute and be able to throw everything out when they leave. YES I DO. Also, disposable items and teenagers just go hand in hand. If you have been to my house and I have served you a meal on a paper plate just know that it was a HUGE compliment! I am obviously very comfortable with you. Make sure your 'entertaining' dishes, glasses and silverware are clean and ready to be used. I use white dishes in the Summer, clean and cool looking. I have enough to serve 20. An easy way to collect white plates is to spend a few Saturdays hunting through garage and estate sales, they needn't match. Pull out any tablecloths to see if they are stained from previous use, if so clean and press them. If you are anticipating overnight guests or unexpected teenagers, make sure your linens, towels and blankets are fresh. *Here's a Link to an earlier post on overnight guests, it goes into greater detail. Do a walk through your home and garden. Make sure your outdoor  eating area is clean, uncluttered and provides ample seating to accommodate your guests. Now get yourself a pen and spiral notebook and Write It Down. Staying organized is easier when you keep everything written down. Go through your favorite recipes, fridge, freezer, and pantry making lists of things you want to keep on hand. These are a few of mine, you will need to organize your list around your own personal needs.
Years ago we invested in green wicker
outdoor furniture and white dishes.
Great for Summer parties.

STOCKING THE FRIDGE
  • Assortment of Quality Cheeses:
  1. Maytag Blue
  2. Cabot Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  3. Parmesan
  4. Goat Cheese
  • Cured Meats:
  1. Prosciutto
  2. Salami
  3. Smoked Ham
  4. Turkey
  5. Roast Beef
  • Cheese Tortellini
  • Eggs
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Lemon/Lime Curd
  • Store bought Cookie Dough
  • Assortment of Juices, Sparkling, Still and Mineral Water,
  • Milk
  • Assorted Crudités, these need to be check weekly for freshness

STOCKING THE FREEZER:
  • Frozen corn, cooked and cut from fresh ears of corn.
  • Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
  • Breakfast Bread/Raisin Bread for over-night guest
  • Small loaves of Homemade Baked Quick Breads
  1. Banana Bread
  2. Zucchini Bread
  3. Blueberry-Raspberry Bread

  • Ground Beef and Turkey
  • All-Beef Hot Dogs, I buy Kosher
  • Ribs, Baby-back Pork
  • Meatballs, store bought or homemade
  • Shrimp, medium & large sized
  • Assortment of Fruit, all of the berries, peaches
  • Cubes of Watermelon, Honeydew, Passion Fruit; blend them for
  • fruity drinks.
  • *Homemade Brownies, individually cut and frozen
  • Homemade Lemon Bars, individually cut and frozen
  • Cookies, individually frozen
  • Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Puff Pastry, for quick desserts

STOCKING THE PANTRY:
  • Quality Whole Wheat Bread
  • A favorite Granola
  • Cans of Chili,
  • Black, Cannellini and Pinto Beans;
  • Rotel Tomatoes,
  • La Bella or Cento Italian Tomatoes
  • Assorted Drinks
  • Assorted Fruit nectars
  • Assorted Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Bags of Micro-wave Popcorn
  • Assorted chips and good Crackers
  • Jars of Good quality Olives, Artichoke Hearts,
  • Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Tapenades and Salsa,
  • Good Dill, Sweet and Bread & Butter Pickles, Pickled Okra
  • Italian dressing
  • Hellman's Mayo
  • Bold & Spicy and French Mustard
  • Balsamic and Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Olive and Vegetable Oil
  • Good quality Chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh Peppercorns
  • Assorted Seasonings and Spices {for Rib Rub}
  • Red Potatoes
  • Parchment Paper
  • Non-Stick Foil
Great way to serve cold drinks, Lemonade and Tea.
Like I said this is what I personally stock. These ingredients along with a few fresh produce items will provide 6 different salads and an assortment of finger foods like an antipasto tray, cheese tray, crudités platter and even a dessert tray. The most you will need to  do is take out and plate your goodies. You will also be able to make several different refreshing 'Mock-tails', breakfast for overnight guests, snacks, sandwiches, hot dogs and drinks for teenagers....and so much more. I know it may sound and look like a lot of trouble, however once everything is in place you are READY for a spontaneous fuss-free good time!

I happen to believe Great Hospitality is in the Details. With a little extra organization and good planning you can entertain with ease.
Give it a go....you'll be glad you did and your friends will be THRILLED!

Good Luck and ENJOY!
~ The Domestic Curator, Ronda

Check in tomorrow for a few of my 'GoTo' Summer recipes.

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