Magazine article Sunset

Ideas for Party Planners

Magazine article Sunset

Ideas for Party Planners

Article excerpt

GIVING A HOLIDAY PARTY? Here are some menu ideas and serving tips to make planning and hosting easier. For parties including children, provide activities such as wreath making, cooky decorating, or caroling to make it more enjoyable for all ages.

PLANNING THE MENU

Following are some basic menu concepts to consider. Offer a selection of beverages, including nonalcoholic choices; allow 2 to 4 cups per person.

One big whole-meal dish. Focus on one main dish such as soup, chili, stew, or salad. Choose a recipe that can be prepared ahead and holds up well on a buffet table. If applicable, offer condiments for guests to add to taste. Accompany with breads, raw vegetables, holiday cookies, and fruit. For each serving, allow 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the main dish.

Basic meat, starch, vegetable meal. This straightforward menu adapts to everything from make-ahead buffets to fancy sit-down dinners. For buffets, consider foods that hold up well as they stand and are easy to eat without sitting at a table. Consider boneless easy-to-slice (and to eat) roasts, make-ahead vegetable casseroles, grain salads or pilafs, or marinated vegetables. Sit-down meals allow you more flexibility in food, but this method depends on the tastes of your guests, the size of the group, and if you have help in the kitchen.

Allow about 1/4 pound boneless meat or fish or 3/4 pound bone-in poultry, meat (such as ribs), or shellfish; about 1/4 pound ready-to-serve vegetable; and about 1/3 pound cooked starch per guest.

Appetizer party. This works for any size group. Offer an assortment of bite-size, easy-to-manage foods. For a large party, place foods at different stations, so guests circulate and have easier access. …

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