No-Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining #SundaySupper

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No-Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining #SundaySupper

Easy Holiday Entertaining Recipes #SundaySupperBy Janet Keeler

A no-stress party checklist should be part of your game plan for a winning holiday party. You might be entertaining family on the holiday itself, or maybe you’ve invited friends over to celebrate the season on a weekend leading up to the big days. There are plenty of opportunities to gather family and friends during the season.

So what’s keeping you from getting jolly? Likely, all the work. This week, the Sunday Supper tastemakers have developed recipes for easy holiday entertaining. Plus, we offer these 10 tips to help you get organized and pull of the party of the year.

Make lists. Grocery lists, menus, decorating ideas and even-who-is-doing-what should be put down on paper (or on your smartphone or tablet). Don’t leave these things to chance or you will waste time running back and forth to the store, and then be so busy during the party that you don’t have time to mingle.

Stock up. If you devise you menu soon, you can start to stock up on items as they go on sale, or better yet BOGO. Chicken or beef stock; pasta, crackers, chips and nuts are just some items that can be purchased long before the party. Likewise cake mixes, flour and sugar or other baking items. Butter, which has become quite expensive lately, can be frozen.

Assess your space. Live in a small condo? Maybe you’d be better reserving the clubhouse or having your bash at a restaurant. Your house is big but the dining room table is not. Give up the dream of a sit-down dinner for 12 and go for an elegant buffet. You’ll save yourself a lot stress if you plan the party to fit the space.

Assess your equipment. I include glasses, plates and utensils here. Do you have enough or do you need to rent them? Will plastic and paper do? That depends on the type of party. These are things to think about before hand. Make sure you have enough serving spoons for communal dishes. And if it’s a potluck, just now that not everyone will bring serving pieces.

Self-service drinks. I like the idea of a self-service bar.  Beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks should be set up away from the food so that there’s not a traffic jam in one area. Consider putting out the fixings for one fun cocktail, such a a cranberry martini, unless you are planning a full bar.

Consider a potluck. Enlist the help of friends who like to cook and come up with a menu that they want to participate in. Don’t leave the offerings up to chance or you may end up with a table of pasta salads and spinach dips.

Menu planning 101. Devise a menu that combines store-bought noshes (nuts, olives, cheeses, salami and sausage) with homemade items. Use your time to make show-stoppers. Don’t forget to offer a sweet or two.

Advanced menu planning: Your menu should include some dishes that can be made in advance or even prepared and frozen. If you spend all day in the kitchen prepping for the party, you’ll be in no shape to party. It’s bad form to take a nap when the event is in full swing.

Enlist some help. Now is the time to put the kids to work. If they are old enough, have them cruise through the party every now and then to collect dirty plates and empty cups. Since the kitchen is such a gathering spot, assign them to the counters. Keep them clean. Take out the trash when it gets full.

Relax. If you do enough advance planning you should be able to join the party too. If you are uptight, your guests will be also. And they are likely to leave early. You don’t want that.

Join us around the virtual table at 7 p.m. ET Sunday for our live Twitter chat focusing on easy holiday entertaining. This week’s event is being co-hosted by Michelle De La Cerda-Nash of The Complete Savorist and Valerie Cathell Clark of Lifestyle Food Artistry. Until we meet online, check out this week’s recipes:



Main and Side Dishes

Desserts and Baked Goods

Plus a No Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining by Sunday Supper

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Janet K. Keeler

Award-winning journalist Janet K. Keeler was the longtime food and travel editor of the Tampa Bay Times in St. Petersburg, Fl. She is now an assistant professor of journalism and food writing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Janet retired from daily newspaper journalism in April 2015, ending a 35-year career. She has been a news reporter, copy desk chief, and features editor. She is also the author of “Cookielicious: 150 Fabulous Recipes to Bake & Share,” which was published in 2010 by Seaside Publishing.

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Posted on

November 1, 2015


  1. What terrific tips and inspiration!


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