Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Weeknight Dinner Party Tips

Hope everyone is having a great week!  I'm a bit exhausted myself.  It has been go-go-go lately!

This week was my hubs, Mike's, birthday.  The big 3-5!  We celebrated Sunday at his parents with the whole family, then had his parents and brother over Tuesday for a smaller dinner. 

Weeknight dinner parties can be tricky, especially after a busy day at work.  If i'm not prepared, I get even more stressed out at work thinking about all of the things I could be doing at home.  

Here are a few tips for a seamless dinner! 

1)  For the menu, stick with what you know.  Fortunately Mike's favorites are all pretty easy. When you only have an hour and a half after work before your guests arrive, it's not the time for experimenting. On the menu:

Simple Green Salad  
New York Strips
Noodly Rice (my favorite growing up, fine egg noodles, browned in butter, and cooked with the rice)
Roasted Asparagus
Dinner Rolls

2)  If you're making the entire meal, don't stress about a starter and dessert.  I went with two of my favorite Trader Joe's appetizers: Spanikopita and Parmesan Pastry Pups (doesn't that sound so much better than pigs in a blanket?!)  Mike requested a TCBY cake for dessert! 

Don't mind the pic - I was in a hurry! 

3) Make a to do list, preferably the night before.  That way, you feel like you're getting things done as you cross off the details, and you won't overlook anything.  No detail is too small (even setting out butter!)
 Here's what was on my list:
Wash Lettuce
Set out steaks, season with salt and pepper
Trim asparagus
Wash asparagus, season with olive oil, salt, pepper
Bake Spanikopita, Pastry Pups
Assemble Salad
Set out butter
Bake rolls

4) Don't choose too many things that have to be cooked in the oven or on top of the stove at the same time.  I cooked the Spanikopita and Pastry Pups together, then transferred them to a platter and cooked the rolls on the same tray. 
On top of the stove, I seared the steaks, and cooked the rice (which isn't very involved). 

5) Do as much as you can in advance.  I did all of my grocery shopping and set the table on Sunday, leaving minimum prep work for the day of. 

All in all, it was a pretty effortless dinner part, and the birthday boy was pretty happy with his new record player and vintage albums to play with! 

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