Part 4 of “Entertaining with Elegance and Ease”~by Gwen Brodd
Once you decide on what you plan to prepare…presentation is everything!
Let’s talk about table presentation and food presentation.
- For a dinner party set the table with plates, glasses, flatware and decorations a few days ahead of time.
- For an appetizer party decorate the table and gather the plates, trays
and baskets you will be using. I use a sticky note to identify what item will go in each one.
- Decide if you are going to use paper products or your regular dishes. Guests really won’t care. I know this goes against everything we were taught but we are trying to entertain with ease. Paper products aren’t like they use to be. You can find some great products and set a beautiful table.
- If you’re hosting a crowd, consider traffic flow. Offer beverages in one room, set up food on the kitchen and dinning room table and set bowls of snacks all around in the living room.
- As far as decorations for the table are concerned… add layers. Start with a table cloth. Add a runner or another smaller table cloth square~ Placemats. Stack plates: dinner & salad.
- Add napkins and napkin rings that you buy or make. Make place cards for dinner parties. They can be simple hand-written cards. Use scrapbooking stickers for embellishing.
Tie ribbon or sash around the chairs and add an embellishment.
Hang Christmas glass ornaments from the dining room chandelier.
Set a warm and welcoming environment for your guests.
Presentation is everything. You can take a store bought pie and put it on a silver tray and impress people.
Keep in mind you can purchase trays and platters of food that are prepared from a bakery, grocery deli or your local Sam’s or BJ’s. You can actually throw a great party with good food without making the first thing. Remove items from the plastic trays and arrange them on your glass or ceramic platters or baskets. Now THAT’S easy and your presentation makes it elegant.
If you want to prepare the food yourself then offer some good ole’ standbys but prepare them with a modern twist.
- Raw Vegetables: Instead of your typical veggie tray….put them in a basket or glass containers and offer the dip in a hollowed out red cabbage. You can also present veggies in individual plastic cups with the dip in the bottom.
- Offer several kinds of cheeses. An elegant but easy cheese item is baked brie. There are several ways you can prepare it. You can use rolled out pie crust from Pillsbury or thawed Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Top it with brown sugar, chopped pecans, and maple syrup. Or top with mango chutney. Wrap in the pastry and bake. Serve with crackers. You can cut out a shape out of extra pastry to decorate the top.
- For sweets, you can buy mini Gigi cupcakes or assorted pastries from a bakery and cut them into small bites and arrange on a plate.
- Put out bowls of nuts …and candies around the house
- A great canapé is Antipasti Mozzarella Cups with fresh basil,
cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella in Atheno Phyllo cups with olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt and pepper
- Or Antipasti skewers where you skewer a small mozzarella ball, pepperoni or salami, black olive, black olive, grape tomato and a piece of basil. If you like, prepare tortellini and add it to the skewer.
Remember… men love meat and potatoes.
- Crostini with Pork Tenderloin and Herbed Cheese
Cook marinated pork tenderloin as directed. Cool. Chill and slice thinly. Take a crostini spread the soften cream with garlic and herbs and top with a slice of pork tenderloin.
- BBQ chicken wings or sesame chicken bites will make the men happy.
· Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds is an easy twist on potatoes skins.
Have a variety of food items…something for the health conscience and for those who like to indulge a little during the holidays.
You can have your teenager be responsible for replenishing and keeping the area clean of used napkins and cups. If you don’t have a teenager…hire one from student ministries.
Having someone there will keep you free to fellowship with your guests. You want to have FUN too!
With good planning, smart preparation, elegant presentation – and a pinch of prayer – you can be prepared to share your home with friends, neighbors, extended family and even the strangers God may send your way not only this holiday season but throughout the year.