If your schedule is anything like mine, then your weeks are filled to the brim with work, carpools, and errands and so often "entertaining" during the week gets pushed aside and honestly at times feels overwhelming. Never mind the fact that visiting with friends is good for your soul and that everyone (mom, wife or not) needs more BFF time in their life! I'm here to share with you some of my tips to making weekday entertaining SIMPLE. Because let's face it, if its not simple, its just not going to happen in our busy lives and I want you to have more BFF time!
Tip 1 - Keep the group manageable. I certainly don't want to specific a number, especially if its a book club or social group where there are a more than a handful of members, but when you can, make it easy on yourself and limit the number of folks you invite. When you start getting in the 15-20 or more range you open yourself to having a broad variety of what they can and cannot eat. Plus, then you're making a ton of food which in turn means you're shopping for a ton of food and then you've got yourself a full on party rather then a relaxing night "entertaining friends."
Tip 2 - Keep the food and drinks delicious yet simple. I absolutely love having fondue when I'm having the girls over for book club or when I just need some girl time. I pair each of the three fondue (cheese, meats, chocolate) courses with a wine. Tons of great taste and variety, but at the same time keeping it SIMPLE.
Here are the recipes and pairings I like for each of the course.
- 1 ½ Cup Estancia Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
- ½ Pound Swiss Cheese
- ½ Pound Fontina Cheese
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
In fondue pot, heat together the wine, cheese, garlic and cornstarch till its melted and nice and creamy.
Serve with sliced baguette and or breadsticks, fresh cut vegetables (asparagus, carrots, zucchini, etc.), fruits (apples, grapes, figs, etc.). Think about your favorite meat and cheese boards and go that direction. Remember you don't want to overload yourself with work on putting this together, so keep the dipping items to just a handful and for the love of all HAPPINESS, if any of the items come pre-cut, buy those!
Paired with Estancia Chardonnay - It pairs great with creaminess of the cheese and lightness of the veggies.
Meat Fondue (or Veggie)
- ½ pound chicken breast per guest
- 8 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Cup Estancia Chardonnay
Cut chicken into approximately 1 inch cubes. Heat broth and wine till boiling. Using fondue forks, dip chicken till fully cooked (just a few minutes).
Serve with a variety of different dipping sauces. My favorites are soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, dijon mustard, siracha, bbq and ranch.
Paired with Estancia Pinot Noir - The poultry along with the spices from the ruby red pinot are AWESOME!
Dark Chocolate FondueIngredients:
- ½ pound (8 oz.) Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao)
- 1 Cup Evaporated Milk
- ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
In the fondue pot, heat the ingredients together until the chocolate is rich and creamy.
Serve with cut up angel food cake, bananas, berries, and or pretzels.
Paired with Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon - The hints of mocha and berries in the wine mix perfectly with the dark chocolate making your mouth oh so HAPPY!
Tip 3 - When thinking about tablescapes and decor - keep it minimal and USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Nothing more stressful then trying to put together some extravagant cake plate doily number after a full days work before your friends get there. Keep it simple. I personally love a pop of color on the table cloth, but use what you have. I even filled an oblong white flower pot from my garden with ice to hold the wine. Easy peezy. I printed the FREE wine sign from By Dawn Nicole (AWESOME) and put it into a frame I had laying around. Tip 4 - Try and contain your tablescapes and entertaining to one or two spots in the house. I like to use the buffet right next to the dinning room table to have the drinks and glasses out for my guest when they arrive then they can help themselves and we're not dirtying up so many spaces that it takes you days to get around to cleaning up each of the spaces.
Tip 5 - Let your friends help you clean. They are your friends and the last thing you want to do after everyone has left for the night is spend hours cleaning a gazillion plates and glasses. When your friends offer to help clean up (and they will) - graciously say, yes please!!!! It gets done so fast and you never know what kind of laughs you're missing out on when you all up to your elbows in soap suds.
Most importantly, don't stress, make it easy on yourself, and HAVE FUN! These are just a few of my tips for simplifying entertaining (weekday or not). I'd love to hear any of your tips. Leave a comment sharing your thoughts on the art of entertaining simply.
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