Monday, July 1, 2013

Essentials to Have on Hand for Easy Entertaining

No Need to Panic With These Ingredients At Hand

Summer conjures up images of easy, breezy fun.

But for many people easy isn’t what comes to mind when they think of summer entertaining. Some may even break out into a cold sweat, imagining a crowd of people on their doorstep just waiting to be entertained - and fed.

We think summer entertaining should be as simple as throwing open your pantry and perhaps making a quick trip to the grocery store. Yes, we think it can be done if you always have a few essentials on hand for spur-of-the-moment entertaining.

Here are the simple basics that will carry you through an impromptu gathering with your friends or family:

Extra plates and other serveware. First of all, you should make sure you have enough glasses, utensils and plates on hand for your guests and the food. You can opt for paper plates or the longer lasting melamine, though you will want to consider how much time you want to expend on cleaning up. Many people have ceramic dishes just for guests, but the best part of summer entertaining is that casual is the name of the game, so most guests won’t mind having a meal on a paper plate in the summer.  

Drinks. On your next shopping trip to the wholesale store, stock up on some of your favorite party drinks and water. You could keep these in your pantry, ready for your next party. Be sure to include a mix of drinks to suit various tastes.

Appetizer-type food. This can be as simple as crackers with ham and cheese, or chips and dip. You can easily amp the food with a few staples on hand, depending on your tastes. For example, French bread toasted with Brie and a honey glaze is simple yet easy to whip up. You can search for super-easy recipes on the Food Network. Just make sure you specify the easy level, if that's what you prefer.

Main meal. If you plan on serving a bigger meal, you will likely need to go to the store unless you have a very well stocked pantry and freezer. Again, you could go super easy with a classic summer meal of hotdogs and hamburgers with a side of potato salad and some fruit. Or you could make it a more sophisticated meal if you choose.

Dessert. Of course, we know where you can go for the best dessert in town. Ontario Bakery can provide you with a range of sweet treats for your guests.

Simple decor. You can go outside and snip some greenery or flowers if you have any. Don’t worry if you don’t have any vases. Any glass vessel will work, like a cleaned out spaghetti sauce jar adorned with a pretty ribbon. You could also get some fresh flowers or a potted plant at your local gorcery store.

Remember, you want your event to be fun, but it’s not much fun for your guests to see you running around stressed out over the details. If you really want to go for super easy, you could always get take out. Your guests won't care whether the food is homemade or not if the meal is delicious. As long as it’s great company and the food is good, your guests are apt to remember the event fondly.

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