Hosting a dinner party can definitely be a stressful task. I remember my first party I hosted in my tiny New York City apartment. There was no counter space in my kitchen and it was so hard to organize and time everything right. Had I only known some easy shortcuts, it would have made life so much easier!
Doctor up a pre-made sauce.
If pasta is your main course, don't spend hours before trying to make a homemade sauce. Doctor up a jarred recipe and make it your own for a yummy gourmet taste. No one will ever know you didn't make it from scratch.
Cut up a small onion and dice a few cloves of garlic. Saute them in a large sauce pan with a little bit of oil. Once the onions are translucent, add your jar of store bought sauce. I like to add a 1/4 cup of water, a hefty splash of red wine and let it simmer until it thickens again, but other options are to add bits of crispy bacon and more seasoning like basil or oregano.
Mini bites to wow a crowd.
If mac and cheese is more your thing, make a box or two for the party. At least buy a box of "high quality" mac and cheese for this like Aunt Annie's or another brand that uses real cheese. Follow the directions according to the box. (For an added tangy taste, replace the milk with Greek yogurt). Then take a mini muffin tin and spray it with cooking spray.
Place a spoonful of your mac where you would normally place your muffin batter. Sprinkle a little bit of panko breadcrumbs on top and bake at 350 degrees until the mac becomes one solid "muffin." You can easily pop these out of the oven and serve them to guests as mini appetizers.
Bisquick to the rescue!
We love the idea of making mini pies with Bisquick. You can prep this this night before and rescue your muffin pan after your mac and cheese bites are out of the oven.
Mix together pulled or shredded chicken with veggies and herbs or spices. Pour Bisquick into your muffin tin until it is half of the way full then add your meat and veggie mixture. Bake at 375 until golden brown then serve!
Show your slow cooker some love.
From hot cocktails to dips and food for a crowd, your slow cooker is your friend. Set it to make a warm mulled wine while you are prepping the rest of your dinner, or let it cook your main course like an easy green chili recipe served over rice with yummy tortilla chips. The possibilities are endless and you will have the chance to enjoy your party instead of having to watch an oven or stove.
Ditch the oven!
Opt for desserts that are bake-free and essentially stress-free! Whip up a Nutella cream pie with a pre-made graham cracker crust and some Cool Whip. If you have the time, we suggest making your whipped cream from scratch. It only takes a few minutes and your guests will be able to taste the difference!