Labor Day is here. That means it is time for a BBQ or party. I love throwing parties but let’s face it, they are stressful. You have to plan the menu, grocery shop, cook, clean, set up then clean again. I’ve got a few tricks to make it easier.
- Figure out how many people are coming. Make sure they have to RSVP about 10 days in advance. If they don’t RSVP, call and ask. You need to know how much food to cook.
- Plan your menu. Write it down! Don’t forget to include drinks. Does anyone have any food allergies or special dietary needs? These are your guests so you should accommodate them.
- Make a grocery list from your menu. Be sure to include drinks, paper products, utensils and condiments. Do you need whip cream or ice cream for the dessert? What about chips or crackers? Do you need soda, wine or beer?
- Make a detailed plan with time frames. What can you make a few days before? What needs to be made the day of the party?
Two to three days in advance:
- Go to the grocery store.
- Write the name of each dish you are serving on a post-it or a small piece of paper.
- Figure out what serving dish you are using for each dish and put the post-it inside or on top of the dish.
- Clean your house. Do you need to iron a tablecloth? Do it now.
One to two days in advance:
- Double check that you bought everything you need.
- What can be made ahead of time? Dips can usually be made the day before. Did you remember to buy chips or veggies for the dip? My Stuffed Jalapeno Phyllo Bites can be made days in advance and frozen. Is there anything you can make ahead and freeze?
- Dessert can usually be made the day before. If you are serving a cake, bake the cake the weekend before. Cover it in plastic wrap then foil. Put it in the refrigerator to defrost the day before. My Lightened Banana Pudding can be made the day before.
- My Grilled Chicken with Lemony, Tarragon Mustard can be prepped the night before.
- Can you cut vegetables and garlic?
- Set up utensils, plates and a drink station.
- Update your plan to go by the hour. What time are you planning on eating? Figure out what time you need to turn the oven on. If you have a timer for the oven, set it. How long will your meat take to grill? Don’t forget to include time for it to rest.
- Buy ice, if you need it.
- Start putting together the last-minute preparations like a Couscous Lentil Salad.
- If you are making my Zucchini, Squash and cantaloupe Salad, salt the zucchini and let it drain.
- Check your drink station. Do you have cups? Corkscrew? If you are using a cooler, put the ice and drinks in there.
- If you are serving buffet style, lay out the table with the serving wear, plates, utensils, napkins, etc.
- Once you have made as much as you can, clean up the kitchen.
- Start getting the grill hot.
- Go over your list again to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Go get ready for your party.
Right before the party:
- Put an apron on! You don’t want to miss up your beautiful outfit.
- Put together any last-minute dishes.
- Open a bottle of wine. Pour yourself a glass!
- If you are cooking, put them in the oven. Feel bowls with chips and vegetables for dip. (Remember to remove post-its first) Make sure you have plates and napkins for the appetizers.
- Relax and enjoy your own party!