Cooking for a casual dinner party with friends can be daunting, but it is not that hard. Cooking for the whole group is best when you have time to prep. For example, if you have time to marinate your meat in a spice rub before cooking and make all the other side dishes and desserts beforehand, this can save you lots of time on game day.
If your group consists of vegetarians, try making veggie burgers, vegan quiche squared up, and some bare sides like mashed potatoes and fruit salad. You can also consider sparkling wine sold online for your guests.
Ideas for a casual dinner with friends
1. Plan ahead
Prep things you think might be helpful to the group or fun that you can do at home. Think about drinks, desserts, and appetizers. Be sure to include vegetarian options for your friends on a special diet. It’s nice to recognize people’s tastes and preferences when planning an extensive get-together.
2. Know your guests
If you have friends coming over who are always in a rush, try to make sure there is something quick that they can grab from the kitchen without needing an explanation of how it is prepared. Also, ensure they have a place to sit down so they can relax and talk with everyone. If you cater to their needs, it will likely be appreciated more than you know!
3. Using pre-made sides is also very helpful
If you are hosting a large group, make a big pot of mashed potatoes and some broccoli for cauliflower dressing and side salads, or have some of each ready to go and know that all your guests will be happy with these items as well as the main dish.
4. Consider time
Consider how much time it takes to cook certain things at home versus how long they expect to wait at the dinner party. One popular way to speed up prep time is to get your oven preheated before you start cooking. It can save you a lot of time, and the food will still be cooked when it’s ready for guests, not just for the first person to arrive at dinner.
5. Try using an oven thermometer
Ensure your oven is baking at the temperature as labeled on it. If it is running hot or cold, try adjusting or having your repairman check it out.
6. Guest seating
Guest seating is essential! It’s nice to sit down and relax with your friends when you are host, but it will not look perfect if you have people standing around while everyone else is seated at the table eating away.
You can easily arrange things so that they have a place on the floor or couch where they won’t be in everyone’s way but still be part of the conversation and where they can eat and keep up with everything happening around them. Just create enough space to sit down and then stand if they want to stay in the conversation.
7. Keep drink and food prep separate
People are less likely to get bored eating at a table if their drinks are ready for them and their food is cooking simultaneously. Set up your kitchen area with a sink so you can use it for everything; this will also help you from being too distracted by your kitchen and getting into trouble while cooking!
8. Involve children in your cooking
Kids love to help, and there is nothing better than having a hand with something. It will teach them how to follow directions, clean up after themselves, and that you appreciate their help. Ask them what they would like to make. It is always fun to have options.
9. Do all the prep work at one time
One way to save time and keep your kitchen clean while cooking is to do all the prep work at once. You can save hours or even days in just one afternoon if you are organized about how much food will be served and prepping it all at once instead of individually for each person’s portion.
The key to hosting a successful party is thinking about what people want and know the most about. If you are hosting a game day, you can ensure that when people walk into your house, they have something to do immediately.