If you aspire to be the quintessential host or hostess, but just need a little inspiration, a few good ideas, and a gentle shove in the right direction, you’ve come to the right place. Here is where we share our recipes and entertaining ideas. Browse our site for:
- Recipes, from cocktails to desserts and everything in-between
- Entertaining tips for throwing a party
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My sister-in-law is what you might call a “reluctant entertainer.” Which a a little funny to me. Ironic funny, not ha-ha funny. It’s ironic and funny to me because she is wonderfully warm and gracious, and their home is inviting and welcoming — just the kind of place you want to be invited into and asked to sit-a-spell in. She just lacks a little confidence when it comes to pulling together things like dinner parties. She is my muse when it comes to this blog because she has the desire to bring people together and loves the communal-ness of it all. It’s just at times she needs the slightest nudge of encouragement.
Which is why, when I got a series of texts from her a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled. She and my brother had hosted a rather spontaneous dinner party for 6. She said she had followed our suggestions on how to be ready for an impromptu party, so they already had some things on hand, including wine, nuts and cocktail napkins. The food was great (“everyone ate heartily,” she wrote) yet easy. But the part that made me so happy was when she said, “I’m actually basking in the glow despite my hangover.” For me, this is what it’s all about. The warm and fill-you-up feelings that come from time spent around a table with good friends, eating, laughing and just being connected.
Around the first of the year, I made a proclamation that I was simplifying things. I still am. I know it will wear off soon, and I’ll be up to my elbows in pots and pans, the mixer will be going and flour will be flying everywhere. But right now, I’m honestly embracing the simple path to entertaining. For those of you who are also kicking back a bit, and for any reluctant entertainers out there, here is a super easy appetizer/snack idea. Just in case you’re planning on having a couch-full of guests this weekend to watch one of the football games.
Short of opening a box of crackers, this is probably easiest snack tray you’ll ever prepare. Black bean dip with tortilla chips and cheese dip with pretzel rods. This is a great example of where a little presentation goes a long way.
This idea all started when I found these tortilla chips at the grocery store. I’m always about if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it, so if they had asked me if there was some huge void in the tortilla chip universe because there weren’t any rolled-up ones, I probably would’ve said “nuh-uh.” But, when I saw these, I actually thought they were kind of genius. Especially for dip in a cup.
I found the little cups on Amazon. At 2 ounces, there are a perfect single-serving size.
I used my handy ice cream scoop to get the dip into the cups. And it’s a little funny that I refer to it as my ice cream scoop because, while I use it a lot, I’ve never actually used it to serve ice cream.
I just put everything out on a tray and I was party-ready in about 15 minutes.