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Organized for Entertaining


This holiday season I will be entertaining on a smaller scale, but that will not change how I organize myself in advance so I can also enjoy our gathering.

I consider myself a good multi tasker, but not when it comes to trying to cook, set the table and carry on a conversation with a friend or family member. In fact, my friends will tell you I often say “hold that thought for a minute” if they are telling me a story while I am busy preparing.

How I organize myself when I am having people over is to carefully consider what I will serve.
I look for meals that I can make ahead, need little last-minute preparation and or my husband can throw on the grill (I organize him too). If the dish requires me standing at the stove, having to stir or add multiple ingredients right before it hits the table, that recipe usually gets nixed or I will make sure everything is measured out in advance. If my guests are staying over, I’ll consider how my meal might be re-invented into snacks or lunch the following day IE: pork tenderloin for dinner makes great little sandwiches for lunch.

Like many of you, I cut and chop everything possible ahead. I keep it together in one area of the fridge. If it’s a salad with lots of toppings, I might keep the recipe out so I don’t forget something when it’s time to toss it together.

When I serve larger groups I often go buffet style. I set out all the serving pieces with the appropriate utensil in advance and use a post it to remind me what this dish is for. This also helps direct others when they want to pitch in and get the food out.

I set the table in advance and include items like trivets, salt n pepper, butter (covered if you have cats) and a butter knife. These extras don’t take much time to get out but I prefer to not have to think about them when my company arrives.

Finally, I do keep a detailed list of what I am serving and have the time listed that items should go in the oven or get started on the stove. I not only use a timer to tell me when something is done in the oven, but also when to start something new.

I enjoy a roaring fire, family, friends and food. I enjoy it even more when I’m organized and can keep my mind free for good conversation.

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Leigh MacCready
Jackson, Michigan

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