I don’t entertain as much as I would like for a variety of reasons. I have done more this year than last year, so I see progress as a good thing!
I am trying to learn to go for simple and easy so I entertain more and that when we entertain I actually get to enjoy myself as opposed to spending all my time in the kitchen.
Here are some of my favourite short cuts for entertaining:
Where possible make it self serve. It is so much easy to set a table buffet style and allow everyone to serve themselves. Food is hotter when served and you can be part of the conversation as everyone loads up their plates. This doesn’t just mean barbecue style meat and salads, other self serve meals I have done for entertaining families are:
- Pulled pork sliders with coleslaw
- Chicken wings, potatoes, corn
- Mexican fiesta with Mexibake, tacos (with homemade seasoning), nachos and Mexican rice.
- Butter chicken, rogan josh, sweet potato curry (vegetarian) and coconut rice
None of these are fancy, but using fresh ingredients they are tasty and everyone has seemed to enjoy them. With most of them I can do a significant amount of work before hand so I have more time to socialise once people arrive.
To save time, when making salads, I will buy pre washed, baby spinach, rocket, basic salad kits etc. Some come with their own dressings separately in the pack. I won’t use those and make my own dressing and add other veggies to it to make the salad tastier. Not having to prep the base salad saves me time through preparation and tidy up.
For these salads in the photo, I used a crunchy salad kit with my garlic aioli and a tweaked version of my pumpkin salad using roasted sweet potato .
Combine entertaining with weekly prep
This works particularly well in summer when we have barbecues. Time for weekly prep is always cut dramatically when we have people over, but I have become smarter about combining the two activities:
- I will make extra salad so I have some left over my lunches during the week.
- I will make one salad roasted sweet potato and cook lots so I have some for the salad and some for the week for me.
- Make dessert something the kids can also take in their lunch boxes like a slice or biscuits.
- Cook extra hamburgers and sausages so the kids can have them for lunch (my kids are happy to have them in a roll or bread cold in their lunch boxes)
I still do struggle with this one a little, but I am getting better with this. Have in your mind some small things you can suggest, in case people ask if they can bring something. I know if I am going to someone’s house I always like to bring something and would much rather it help the host, than just be something random. I don’t want anything that requires to much on their part, so if asked I will suggest things like:
- Plate of nuts and cheese
- Dips and veggie sticks
- Fruit kebabs for the kids
Tidy up together
I always used to leave tidying up until everyone left and there will be times, I still do that, but more often now once we have finished dessert, I will get the dishwasher stacked and going. Then, especially if it is family, I will start washing by hand what didn’t fit in the dishwasher. There is always someone there super quickly to help dry the dishes and it is actually a great way to chat without interruption from the kids!
I am sure there is more I could do to make it easier on myself so if you have some short cuts that work well for you, I would love to hear them!