Nothing makes me happier than hosting a party. I have learned over the years it is the gathering rather than the actual meal that brings happy smiles. I always try to create an easy prep ahead menu. My goal is no cooking once the guests have arrived. I want to have fun too! We just celebrated my father in law’s 85th birthday. It was truly a lovely evening with family. Here is a peek at how I tackled the night.
In my past life, I worked for a gourmet shop. I learned every aspect of the business. At the time I never knew how useful working a barista bar (my love for a cappuccino began here), cooking in a kitchen, cutting fancy cheeses, to catering parties would stay with me. What I learned is so valuable. Planning ahead is critical. So I spread my planning over a few days. The menu is simplified. It is not a time for me to get fancy or try anything new. During our time in Amsterdam, we hosted parties all the time. Learning to be simple always delivered happy results.
The party was on a Friday night. The weekend prior I came up with my menu and planned out the two days leading up to the party.
Wednesday: Grocery shop, make bolognese sauce (requires patience but worth it), call in catering order for appetizers.
Thursday: Find a window to flower shop, set up space, hang my Dutch party flags ( bought these for my son’s 1 st birthday and I hang them every year for his birthday), wash and clean veggies for roasting.
Friday: Prep salad greens, roast veggies mid day, and place platters in their spots. Everything done by 3:00 so I can head out to pick up Aleisi and the catering.
What’s left: Music playlist! Cook pasta (task given to my husband), toss salad and arrange veggies 15 minutes before serving.
FYI: Whatever you serve or plan, remember that guests are thrilled to be invited and to have a night off:) Pizza and friends is always a winner and I often take this option.
Give this bolognese recipe a try. I make mine with all beef and add 1 cup of milk before step 3 (which is a recommendation from the original recipe from the restaurant Al Forno) This restaurant is a MUST if you find yourself in Providence, Rhode Island!