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Weeknight Dinner Party Tips

Tips For Hosting a Weeknight Dinner Party

While some people believe that dinner parties can only be thrown on a Friday or Saturday night, I happen to think that any evening is a great time to host a dinner! Annie, of TrèsSugar, agrees because she hosted one last night, on a Monday! Before she left work, I offered some of my suggestions for a successful weeknight dinner. To find out what they are and to share your own, keep reading.

  • Do the shopping the day before the party. Pick up all the nonperishables, hardy produce, and alcohol. Chicken, beef, and some fish can even be purchased up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Keep the guest list small. Don't invite over a huge group of people. Create an intimate party of no more than six and you won't have to cook as much food.
  • Leave work the earliest you can. Be productive during the day and head home as soon as work is over, so you have plenty of time to prep and cook.
  • Select an easy menu of dishes that require little prep (roast chicken and potatoes) or are quick-cooking (seared fish).
  • Serve assembled appetizers and store-bought dessert. Olives, a chunk of parmesan cheese, and a plate of prosciutto and melon require no cooking. All you have to do is put the food on a platter. Likewise, with dessert, offer ice cream and fresh in-season fruit. Or make ice cream sandwiches with your favorite cookies and ice cream.
  • Set the table in the morning. The day of the dinner, before you leave the house for work, set the table with plates, utensils, cloth napkins, and votive candles.
  • Keep things informal. Invite your guests into the kitchen with you and ask them to even help with the dinner.
  • When you get home from work, pour yourself a glass of wine; it will relieve any of the stress!

Do you host weeknight dinner parties? Share your experiences below!

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lovesitc1 lovesitc1 5 years
I'm with you, @setherton. Prep prep prep! As much as you can in advance. Buffet style is much easier, also, and goes well with the more casual vibe of a weeknight get together.
setherton setherton 5 years
My foodie friend Josh and I typically throw weeknight dinner parties and take a "divide and conquer" approach. We plan the menu up to a week in advance and divide the shopping list, buying non-perishables/dry goods once we have the menu pinned down. We each do as much prep as possible the night before, leave work as early as possible and and he picks up the fresh proteins on the way to my place while I get the cooking started. Our focus is typically on the food, not the presentation, and we often set up a buffet style dinner so folks can get as much or as little of each dish as they want. Clean up is usually a team effort and thus far, this approach has worked well for more than half a dozen dinner parties.
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