There comes a time in every person’s life where they get the urge to invite some friends or family over for dinner. It can be incredibly intimidating, especially if you don’t consider yourself a cook by any means of the word. Never fear, in this article we’ll go over everything you need to know to make sure it goes at least somewhat smoothly.
Schedule the Dinner
Start with a good foundation and set a date for the dinner. Especially when you’re first getting started, I highly recommend picking a day when you’re not particularly busy the day before and not particularly busy the day after. Having some free time the day before will allow you to get ahead of the game with cleaning and preparation, and having some free time the day after will allow you to get your home back in order and relax your mind before you dive back into the full swing of life.
Invite Your Guests
Next it’s important to invite your guests and make sure they can make the scheduled time. If they can’t then you might want to reschedule to a date where you can have higher turnout. Make sure to give your guests ample time to plan, but not so much so that it seems ridiculous. If you are planning on having the dinner on a Saturday evening, then perhaps start inviting people on the Monday or Tuesday beforehand.
What Should I Bring?
As guests confirm that they can make it, the most often accompanying response is “what can I bring?”. Don’t be shy when people ask this. They genuinely want to contribute something to the meal, and giving them something to bring takes the question out of it. Just think, would you want to show up for dinner at someone else’s house empty handed?
In terms of telling them what to bring, it’s easiest to tell them the big components of the meal you’re planning on providing. Then you can request that they bring an appetizer, a side, or a dessert of their choosing, and perhaps provide them with some ideas. Make sure to stress that they absolutely do not need to bring anything, but if they want to you’d certainly appreciate it.
To Cook or Not To Cook?
If you’re completely turned off by the idea of cooking, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting food from a restaurant or caterer. It will certainly make your life a lot easier, but it will be a bit more pricey. At any rate, you can always have a way out. It’s also a good idea to have a plan B in mind if all things go wrong when you go to prepare your meal.
Focus on the Big Items
When deciding what the main components of the meal will be there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, if you’re cooking, you’ll want to make sure that your kitchen has the capacity to cook all of the entrees such a way that they can be ready at the same time. This is why things like casseroles are so commonly made. They can be prepared in bulk and baked in the oven. Contrast that with fried chicken for example, where there is a limited amount of chicken you can make in a frier. The finished chicken will be sitting there getting cold while you’re cooking each batch.
Fill In the Sides and Desserts
You’ll want to have a full offering of course, so with the big items out of the way make sure you have the smaller bases covered. Make sure you have an appetizer, so people can snack while you’re putting the finishing touches on the main meal. For the meal, you should have a main entree, a vegetable side, and a starch side at a minimum. Dessert is always a great way to top off the night, and a cup of coffee complements it nicely.
At The End Of The Day
Don’t overthink it. If you’ve invited good company and you’d made a solid attempt to host them everyone will be happy. This is just the first of many hosting experiences you’ll have, and you’ll improve over time. Just don’t sweat! You’ll be happy you gave it your all and you’ll have a wonderful time with your friends and family.