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Posts Tagged ‘Entertaining’

Planning A Superbowl Party

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Planning any party is a challenge, but a Superbowl party adds the additional element of television viewing.   This may be the most laid back party you will ever throw.   You have built in entertainment and the menu can be as easy as you want it to be.  This is the time to bring out all your favorite finger foods and not worry about counting calories.  Here are some tips for a successful gathering.

  • Have more than one viewing area.  Think out of the box and move tvs around if possible.  There is always one group of more serious watchers.  And then there are those who are in it for the commercials.  Consider using the garage as additional space (if you have time to clean it out!)
  • Borrow as many chairs as you have space for and set them up strategically around the house, including the back yard if you are expecting good weather.
  • Have something for the kids to do.  Consider a bounce house (again, if weather permits), coloring books, games.  The parents will take the lead if you have some toys around.  Don’t have any organized activities that will take parents away from watching the game, though.
  • The menu – keep it simple!  Outsource the main course if you can.  If you are cooking, make sure it’s a dish you can prepare in advance so you are able to enjoy your guests.  Set up a buffet area that has good flow so people don’t get crowded up.
  • Have a main appetizer table, but also sprinkle a few throughout the viewing areas.  Use plastic serving bowls for anything not on the main table.
  • Stock a variety of drinks including water, sodas, and sports drinks in addition to beer, wine, and mixers.
  • Be prepared for spills!  Have cleaning supplies handy so you are not scrambling when a spill inevitably happens.
  • Have enough plates, napkins, paper towels, and flatware ready.  Buy football themed items that are not specific to that year’s Superbowl so any items not used can be stored for next year.  Keep a tub of all football related serving items for future use.
  • Have disposable guest towels and a trash can available in all bathrooms in addition to your regular hand towels.
  • Have a pool prepared so your guests can have a friendly wager on the game.  You can make your own, print one on line, or purchase one (the store bought ones usually come with fun ribbons to give out!)

Appetizer ideas for game day:

  • Chips and dip, salsa, queso, and guacamole
  • Cheese, salami, and cracker tray
  • Crockpot meatballs
  • Chicken wings
  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Fruit platter
  • Veggies, pita chips, and hummus
  • Tortilla roll ups or pinwheels
  • Grilled shrimp or shrimp cocktail
  • Pizza squares or rolls
  • Deviled eggs
  • Snack mix

Main course:

  • Make your own sandwich bar
  • Make your own taco bar
  • Lasagna
  • Pizza
  • Chili

Hearts of Palm Dip

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Happy holidays!  I wanted to share an appetizer that I make this time of year that is usually a big hit.  It’s a twist on the old spinach and artichoke dip and it is a crowd pleaser!


  • 1 (14.25 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a glass pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the hearts of palm, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, green onion, sour cream and mayonnaise. Spread into the greased pie plate.
  3. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until light brown and bubbly. Serve with crackers or Melba rounds.

Meatloaf Muffins ~ Holiday Pot Luck Recipe

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Pot lucks are popular this time of year.  These “muffins” are a unique twist on meatloaf that makes them easy to bring to potlucks and holiday parties to share as an entree dish.


1-1.25 lbs ground turkey (or beef)
1 egg (or 1 tsp apple sauce*)
1 cup bread crumbs (plain or Italian)
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp Worchestershire
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients by hand in large bowl.  Fill muffin cups 1/2 full with mixture.  Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until top is crisp and brown.

*I use apple sauce to replace the egg due to my daughter’s egg allergy.  It is still delicious with this substitute!

Pot Luck Recipes ~ Pasta Salad

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Pot lucks are a very popular way of entertaining during the hot months of summer.  It  not only eases the burden on the hostess, but is a fun way for everyone to try different types of food and new recipes.  This is one of my favorites!

Pasta Salad

  • 12 oz bow tie pasta or tri-colored spirals, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 can hearts of palm, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and seeded
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
  • 1 container mozzarella balls


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • pepper, to taste

Combine all the items in a large serving bowl, toss with dressing, and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.  You can make this a main dish item by adding cooked chicken or shrimp!

Hosting A Summer Outdoor Party

Friday, July 9th, 2010

One of the best parts of summer is the nice weather which makes it possible to have outside parties.  I love entertaining and have found since having kids we do it a lot more informally.  But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot of work involved! Backyard parties are fun for adults and kids.  Being prepared is crucial, you don’t want to be running around looking for the wine opener after the guests arrive!


  • Wipe or hose down all patio and outdoor furniture including any toys the kids will be using.
  • Buy paper or plastic plates, utensils, and cups.
  • Buy plenty of ice.  Make sure you have drink ice and cooler ice.  Ice down sodas, beers, and juice.
  • Use plastic tablecloths for the food area.  Have tape or weights to keep it from blowing away.
  • Have blankets or towels  available for extra seating.
  • Have bottle openers and wine openers available.
  • Tidy up!  Make sure all important toys are safely tucked away.  Get that pile of mail out of the way.
  • Stock the guest bathroom with lots of toilet paper.
  • Have receptacles for trash AND recycling outside.
  • Have lots of paper towels on hand to clean up spills or dirty children.
  • Make sure there is a shady area for guests who are too hot or don’t want to sit in the sun.
  • Do not stage all the food and drink in one area, spread it around.
  • Block off all areas of the house or yard where you do not want people to be.
  • Contingency plan – you never know when the weather will turn on you!


  • Plan a menu that includes plenty of appetizers and snack foods.
  • Keep the main course simple with as much prepared ahead of time as possible.
  • If using the BBQ, make sure it is out of the way of the kids play area.
  • Have a dessert that does not require an additional plate (think cookies, brownies, rice krispy treats)
  • Lots of drinks including juice boxes, sodas, water,  lemonade, beer, and wine.  Make a fun punch or some sangria.


  • When guests enter, point them in the direction they should go or everyone will end up in the kitchen!
  • Offer drinks to the guests and point out the areas with kids drinks and adult drinks.
  • Be on the lookout for empty serving dishes and refill.  Find a friend to help with this.
  • Relax and talk to your guests, you don’t want to be busy the whole time and not enjoy the party!

And then there is the clean up.  Having the trash and recycling cans outside can help make this easier!

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