Planning a party is half of the fun of having the party! If you have too many things to prepare and decorate however, it can become overwhelming.
In this post I will provide you with a party menu, a grocery list, make ahead options and some party planning tips to help your day go well. I have included menu items that have plenty of color, taste and texture varieties. This menu is an appetizer and dessert menu but it is enough to be considered dinner. If your guests would like to bring something to share at your party ask them to bring a bottle of wine or cider or perhaps a vegetable platter. I like to have guests come to enjoy the party and not have to worry about cooking or preparing anything that day.
The menu below is the one I will be working with. It helps to print out the menu and have it close while you prepare. This menu will serve up to 20 guests.HoganWedding-419All the recipes are from my blog.
Cranberry Pomegranate Punch
Bacon and Tomato Spread with
Selection of fine Crackers
Jalapeño Cheese Bread
Papa’s Nanaimo Bars
Mini Butter Cookies
Mom’s Butter Tarts
Additional optional items:
Green and Red Grapes
Pantry staples– salt, pepper, garlic powder,vinegar,
Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce,
vanilla extract, flour, white, powdered and brown sugar,
cornstarch, Parmesan cheese,
Tabasco sauce, vegetable oil and mayonnaise.
All other groceries:
1 dozen Eggs
2 pounds Butter
1 small can pineapple juice
1 pound Bacon
2 small Chicken Breasts or 4 thighs
1 bunch Green onions
1 bag fresh cranberries
Ranch Seasoning package
1 box Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 package Raisins or one cup bulk
1 small bottle Corn syrup
1 64 oz. bottle Cranberry Pomegranate Cocktail
1 32 oz. bottle Ginger Ale
1 small box Cook and serve vanilla pudding or custard powder
6 oz. Semi sweet baking chocolate
1 bag sweetened shredded Coconut
1 loaf unsliced French bread
1 container Cocoa powder or about 1 cup bulk
Green and Red Grapes
Decorative napkins and other decorations
Disposable plates, cups and silverware
Planning ahead:Rachael Christmas Pics 015
One Week or more before:
-Make and freeze the Nanaimo Bars
-If you enjoy designing menus, make one to display on your table
-Make and freeze Mini Butter cookie logs
-Bake Mom’s Butter Tarts and freeze them in a sealed container.
-Purchase non perishable grocery items and check them off your list.
-Figure out your table layout and decorations using a theme of color or an event related theme. (This one is Christmas, using the traditional red and green)
Two days before:
-Purchase remaining groceries
-Prepare the Jalapeno Cheese bread, wrap it in wax paper and plastic wrap and chill it.
-Chill the punch ingredients.
-Take the cookie logs out of the freezer and place them in the fridge.
One Day before:
-Prepare the Bacon and Tomato Spread.
-Slice and bake the shortbread cookies.
-Marinate the Chicken Strips, making them quite small. Place them in a zip lock bag.
-Freeze the cranberries on a baking sheet, placing them in a zip lock bag after they are solid.
Morning of party:
-Place frozen Nanaimo bars in the refrigerator.
-Remove Butter Tarts from freezer and place them on the counter to serve them at room temperature.
-Place the Bacon and Tomato Spread in your decorative serving dish.
-Slice the limes for the punch and place them in a zip lock bag.
-Wash and prepare the parsley and any other garnish.
-Decorate the shortbread cookies if you desire.*
-Set out the platters, plates,cups, silverware and the punch bowl you plan to use.
-Wash grapes well if using. Place them on the serving platter.
-Slice cheeses if you will be using cheese.
-Relax, have a cup of tea, everything will go wonderfully!
About 2 1/2 hours ahead:–Set the table with the cups, plates, decorations and any other non perishable items (watch the chocolates, they tend to disappear sooner than you want them to!)
-Assemble the punch and set it out, adding the frozen berries and lime slices just before your guests arrive.
-If your party is formal, put on your evening gown (and an apron), and make yourself presentable. 🙂
-Turn on the oven for the Jalapeno Cheese Bread and place the bread on a baking sheet. Have a cutting board and the serving platter near to place the sliced bread on it.
-Place Jalapeno Cheese Bread in the oven 35 minutes before your guests arrive. Set the timer for the baking time of 20 minutes for the bread. Turn the oven off and open the oven door when the bread is baked to let all the wonderful aromas escape and to keep the bread warm until you are ready to serve it.
-Start frying the chicken about a half hour before you expect your guests to arrive.The chicken strips will take about 15 minutes. Have your platter ready and keep the skillet of chicken on very low until you plan to set it out.
-Set out all your platters and drinks (frozen berries and lime slices into punch) while the chicken is frying and the bread is baking. Don’t forget the garnish! Have the menu list nearby to make sure you do not forget anything. Having someone to help you at this point is handy.
-Put on some soft background music and take off your apron.
-Tell your guests to help themselves to the punch or have someone serve them. You are now ready to enjoy the party!
*decorate cookies with a powdered sugar glaze consisting of powdered sugar, cream and clear vanilla. Sprinkle some red and green decorations on them.
Candles and some greenery will add an air of festivity to your table. The platters of beautiful food are your main interest so be careful not to over decorate. I have found that placing one menu item on each platter is the most appetizing way to display them.
Have a wonderful day and a wonderful party!
Here is a bonus for you, read our Master Cleanser Recipe.