Wednesday, December 10

Entertaining Part III: Getting Ready For The Party

H ere we are, 2 weeks away from Christmas and Hanukkah will begin on the Dec. 21st this year. So many parties will be going on around my neighborhood very soon. I had a little neighborhood gathering right before Thanksgiving to kick off the Holydays- I call them Holydays because Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas are holy to me! Well if you are entertaining during the Holydays, here are some tips to help you survive the preparations.

1. Kitchen counters should be clear and clean.
2. Wash and put away as many pots and pans as possible.
3. Sink should be clear of dirty dishes and filled with hot, soapy water.
4. Dishwasher should be empty.
5. Kitchen trash can empty and a clean bag stored at the bottom of the can.
6. Clean and decorative dishcloths should be available.
7. Clean or new sponge and damp cloth available along with a bottle of carpet cleaner for just in case!
8. Space cleared in refrigerator for storing leftovers or platters.
9. Keep plastic wrap and storage containers handy for quick clean up.
10. Pre-set your table and have serving platters, bowls and utensils ready to go.

Some other things you may want to consider when preparing for a party is working in short shifts. I like to work for one hour then rest for ten minutes making sure I drink plenty of water and nibble on some healthy snacks. Continue doing this until you and your home are ready to receive guests. You may even have time to freshen up! I like to also wear an apron while I work and change into a nice clean, party apron when my guests arrive- I do this because I am a big sloppy cook!


Now for the potty. I like to make sure this little place is clean for my guests. Checking for enough TP, air freshener, and clean towels. But I have added something new to the repertoire, a touch of feng shui and spa to my little bath haven. I got the idea somewhere, can't remember where, to place river rocks in the sink. I like the look, so earthy. Just be sure to use round smooth rocks so not to scratch your sink and be sure the rocks are large enough not to go down your drain or you will have the plumber at your party too.


Just before we left for Boston for Thanksgiving, Himself and I threw a little neighborhood gathering. I served a big pot of Hungarian Goulash, Buttered Noodles, a few appetizers and Apple Crisp. It was all very easy. They loved the Goulash and wanted the recipe. Did I really want to tell my guest I had made it with a can of Coke and a bottle of Chili Sauce. You betcha!

Easy Hungarian Goulash
2 1/2- 3 pound rump roast, visible fat removed and cut in 2 inch chunks
1 bottle chili sauce
1 can non-diet Coke
5 T. Kraft Minute Tapioca
3 T. Smoked Paprika

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot and cover. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve over hot buttered noodles. I like to use browned butter. Also serve with a side of sour cream. Delicious! Serves 8.


When I entertain large crowds, I like to cook up several pound of buttered egg noodles. This is very pleasing to the children and goes very far as a side dish. When made with browned butter you will have the adults going back for more as well. Popcorn! A long time ago a friend told me to serve large bowls of popcorn when entertaining. It makes everyone happy. It is perfect for guests to nibble on while you are working on some last minute details and putting out the rest of the appetizers. Kids love it too and it vacuums up easily.


Baconnaise and Bacon Salt: Crab Casino Canapés
Crisp Topping For Fruit Crisp Desserts
Creativity With Plastic Wrap: A Snowy Christmas Centerpiece
Boston's Italian North End
Pumpkin Cake Rolls
Pork Chops and Apple Sauce
Good Food Hunting in Revere, MA: The Best Torrone, Pastries, and Bread
Christmastime Rosettes of Mâche Salad

Have a wonderful next 2 weeks!


Robin Sue

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