If you are like me – you so ENJOY getting together with friends around the holidays but… the thought of doing it with an already crammed schedule & at your house can be overwhelming. This is a guide for hosting a great, easy, fun spontaneous get together at your house with little prep time – because we are already super busy this time of year.
The focus is on you having a great night with your company! So remember this throughout the preparations and event. Forget about wanting to have things appear to your version of perfect – don’t even go there in your mind! This is about enjoying the time together!
Send a group message to all those you’d like to invite. Have all the details in your first message so you don’t have 50 messages following asking questions. Include day, time, theme or purpose, and ask for an RSVP – ASAP.
Food and Serving
The idea here is nice, festive, and manageable. Plan a variety of food, but only actually cooking 2-3 things.
Timing & Planning
2 Days Before
To get ready – start with whatever snippets of time 2 days before – a total of 2 hours that day. Think buffet style with separate drink station (easier hosting than a sit down dinner). Decide where stations will be. Drink station – pull out your card table or clear your counter/bar off and put a tablecloth over the area. Get out your cooler & ice buckets and glasses and put them there. Same with food buffet area – clear off, tablecloth if needed, and get out serving platters, utensils, plates and place there, now you see the space. Decide on guest area and move tables/chairs as needed.
Music – If you do not have a holiday playlist already – don’t make one. Plan to put on the already perfect Holiday Channels by Apple Music/Pandora/TV, or a Christmas radio station! Just charge/get your devices ready.
Shopping: I suggest you think about just going to ONE specialty store unless you are lucky to live where you have a district of stores right together. Otherwise who has time for 5 stops! Think one Specialty Market (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) they have a great variety of gourmet food, bakery, drinks, and many at a fraction of the price you pay at your regular grocery chains. After the specialty store stop at your regular grocery store to pick up remaining items.
Unpack the drinks at the drink station, put items in cooler, and leave the rest at the station ready to serve. Place 2-3 small dishes (to remind you to fill with Limes, Cherries)
There’s an APP for that.. yes but here is a list don’t waste time getting distracted:-)
Apps – These are all no cook items except boiling salted water for shrimp and cooking them (party day) till just pink then drain and refrigerate.
Dry breadsticks, crackers **
Shrimp (Large raw uncooked shell on)**
Snowman Dip (recipe below)
Prosciutto or Serrano Ham**
Gazpacho Shots and/or green salad
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
** All come from specialty market
Soft Drinks, Wine, Beer, Limes/Cherries
If you know what everyone drinks great – if not stick with above
The Day Before
• Check decorations, if you are missing any – bring out some more candles (or if afraid of kids or pets use flameless) take 15 mins and decorate with extra greens just setting them around with pinecones, ribbon, or ornaments by themselves or inside crystal or other type bowls looks great!
• Clean up the house – How much time do you have? I set a timer for 10 mins. per room and clean against the clock to manage getting it done fast.
• Prep your food. Mix together the dip, make the gazpacho, and the turkey Roll. The only cooking the day of the event will be roasting the potatoes.
Allow 2 or preferably 3 hours to get ready and prep food.
• Boil salted water to cook shrimp till pink – drain and pat dry. Place shrimp on platters with cool wet paper towels over them and refrigerate.
• Put the olives in bowls, slice the bread and pour olive oil (with herbs mixed in on a plate next to it for dipping), cut the cheese (triangles) place breadsticks, cheese, grapes, jamon serrano/prosciutto on serving platters. Take out dip balls and form into snowman on plate & decorate/serve with crackers. If you are making a green salad assemble together but don’t dress until about serving time. Pour gazpacho into single serve small glasses or shot glasses put on tray. Keep refrigerated until serving.
• Fill coolers with ice about 2 hours before the guest arrive
• Roast potatoes in oven with salt and tossed in olive oil and herbs. Warm the Turkey Roll.
Give your house a quick review, light the candles, turn on music, then fill the ice bucket as guests arrive. Just leave the prepped fridge items chilling until guest arrive then place them on buffet.
I usually set a timer (so I remember) for the time that I want to switch from apps to main, and from main to desert time. I quickly clear off buffet app trays – bring out salad, gazpacho, turkey and potatoes. Likewise at desert time – just quickly clear buffet area and place out cookie platters and offer coffee/tea.
Enjoy the party! Your guests will help themselves to food and drinks! You’re free to relax and converse and enjoy the moment! If you remember -snap a few pictures to later print and give to your friends – to remember sharing good times and holiday cheer together!
www.sanigirl.com – Promoting convenience and healthy living for Women on-the-go.
Snowman – Gazpacho – Potatoes – Turkey Recipes Below…
Note: May need to adjust recipe amounts for Number of Guests
Happy Snowman Dip
What you need:
1. Two 8oz packages of cream cheese
2. 4 oz shredded white cheddar cheese
3. Spices: salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder
4. Decorations: canned red pepper, raisins, allspice or pepper corns, pretzel sticks
In a food processor beat cream cheese and cheddar. Add spices to taste. Make 2 balls of different sizes (head and body) and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Finish the balls by smoothing them with hand or knife. Decorate! Pair with crackers.
4 servings- you may want to double for approx. 12 servings in small glasses.
1-2 eggs (cooked)
1 clove small garlic
2 slices bread or stale bread
1/2 Pomegranate (inside fruit)
to taste olive oil extra virgin
to taste apple cider vinegar
Using a blender – Put in tomatoes cut into chunks, peeled cucumber cut into chunks, peeled garlic clove and 1 hardboiled egg, pour the virgin extra olive oil, vinegar, and salt and ¼ grains of Granada. Beat everything few minutes introducing the bread and continue beating until the gazpacho texture is well connected and creamy, after beat everything well, tasted with a spoon, we tested and tasted our taste if you need something more salt or vinegar or oil is added and blend some more. When blended to smooth texture – pour in pitcher and store in refrigerator. May need to blend a minute before serving to regain texture (depending on storage time). Pour into the small glasses or shot glasses before party and garnish with any of these items. Chopped hard-boiled egg, cucumber, serrano ham, pomegranate, finely chopped.
Turkey Roulade (Serves 8)
3 half Turkey breast (about 1lbs each)
1lbs ground beef
1lbs ground pork
Caramelized onion 1 ½ cups
Dates 1 cup
Salt and pepper
We filet the turkey breasts into one large fillet each.
Take a piece of aluminum foil and paint it with olive oil to prevent turkey from sticking.
Place the turkey fillet, add salt and 1/3 or the pate and onions
Season the ground pork and beef with salt and pepper and mix both.
Put some meat on each roulade
Add a row of dates on top
Top it with a bit more of meat. Make sure you don’t put too much. You will need to roll the turkey.
Roll the turkey with the assistance of the foil. Make sure it is tight. It is ok if some of the filling shows.
Bake inside the foil at 400F with convection oven for 40 minutes. Let cool, refrigerate till time to warm up for party, paint with olive oil and put in oven to warm. Slice and put on platter.
Fingerling Potatoes (3Lb bag/adjust # for guests)
Wash fingerling potatoes, pat dry, toss in olive oil and herbs such as rosemary, oregano, or some lemon, sage, etc. and then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place in oven at 425 till soft and golden – approx 40 mins.
Happy Holidays & Happy Hosting!