Whether you have a dinner party for 4 or 40, the key to everything is…lists, lists and more lists. If you write things down and check things off, any party or dinner you have will run smoothly. Another favorite of mine is the clipboard. Keeps all those list in one place and handy to write on. I actually file last year's list underneath on the same clip board to remind me of things.
Come on in and see if these tips and lists will work for you too!
I have 2 parties that I plan for right now…Thanksgiving for up to 40 and a big Christmas party for 50-60 people.
To keep the clip boards separated, I tie a brown ribbon on the Thanksgiving clipboard...
Here are the lists I have for each party…
- Guest List
- Room Layout
- Shopping List
- Cooking Times
The Room Layout Chart really helps to figure out in advance, where everyone will be sitting or where the food and drinks will be served.
Our house has an open floor plan, so it's divided into family room, kitchen, dining room and living room.
We have 35-40 people for Thanksgiving, so we have a very casual dinner. It's served buffet style and seating is at the dining room table, card tables, the kitchen island and the couches in the family room and living room. Perfect for anyone who wants to watch football while eating or sit at the table for family conversation!
The Menu and Shopping Lists are critical.
Know what you are serving…right down to the cream in your coffee.
Once you have your menu, pull out your recipe cards and then put your shopping list together with each and every item you will need.
Go through your cupboards and pantry first to see what you already have before you shop.
The Cooking Times List is very helpful too. This will save your sanity when food is coming in and out of the oven at different times.
I have several casserole dishes that I make the day before, but they all need to go in the oven at different times. If you keep this list, you will know which one needs to go in at what time and temperature. Have them all timed to come out at the same time when dinner will be served.
Don't forget to take into consideration the time your turkey comes out. It needs to rest, then you have to carve it. It's probably 20-30 minutes of extra time when the turkey actually comes out of the oven.
I have 2 ovens in my kitchen and because my dad lives with us, he has an oven on his side of the house too. I also have 2 of those portable roaster ovens that I use for cooking the casserole dishes.
It doesn't matter how organized you are, those last minutes when all the different foods are coming out and going on the table is crazy. My family is the best. We have it down to a science now.
My husband and his 2 brothers cut the 2 turkeys and the ham and all the ladies move out all the food to the buffet table. The last crazy thing is heating the rolls without forgetting them in the oven and burning the tops.
I serve all the food in buffet servers that I purchased at Job Lot. They are about $4.00 for the rack, $1.20 for the water pan and less than a dollar for the pans the food goes in. The sterno cups that keep the water hot are 80 cents a piece and you will need 2 per rack. Well worth the investment. This system keeps the food hot while you are bringing out all the other food and keeps it hot when your guests are going back for another serving!
One year I set up the buffet of the racks in a spare room on my dad's side. I made a "U" shaped buffet table along 3 walls with MDF board I had cut at Home Depot. I stacked them on low bookcases my dad had in there. It worked great, except the room was about 10' x 10' and the sterno cups steaming up all the water made that room hotter the heck. It was like a steam sauna! Lol This year I'll set up all the racks in my dad's kitchen.
On a smaller scale, I did a post on how to organize your serving dishes ahead of time…click HERE for that post!
I hope even one of these tips will be helpful for your holiday party, dinner or any function you have throughout the year.
Thanks for stopping by,