May and June were were challenging months for Dave as he was recovering from shoulder replacement surgery. This year instead of dinner out for Dave’s birthday, we had a party to celebrate. Many family and friends joined us to celebrate at our house.
How do you throw a party without breaking the bank? First, you have to decide how much you want to do versus buying. I personally like to do the food, that way I know what we are eating and there are healthy choices. I also don’t want to be in the kitchen all the time of the party, so for me, there has to be a compromise. The menu has to include lots of things I can make ahead.
For last week’s party, I wanted to make food ahead so that I wouldn’t be in the kitchen when everybody else is having fun. First, we decided on a simple, healthy menu with many make a heads. Here is the plan we used:
Plan the menu – from appetizers, the meal, to the dessert and beverages.
Order all food that needs to be ordered ahead of time.
Do the shopping, so all items are on hand.
The Day Before:
Clean the house, decorate, and mow the lawn.
Since it’s an outdoor party, clean the outdoor furniture, put up the umbrellas and connect the heaters (just in case the weather is cool).
Pre-make as much as possible the night before and chill the drinks.
The Morning of the Party:
Buy the ice to chill the drinks and move the drinks to the outdoor coolers.
Set up the tables for the food. Since this is a summer party, I still use the chaffing dish but with ice in the bottom to keep the food cold in the heat.
Do the remaining food prep and get it all ready.
I always prepare extra, so that refilling platters are easy.
Put out the food as the guests begin arriving.
Then I can be a guest at my own party and not be standing over the stove or grill.
This works for us both. We can be guests at our own party and the plan makes it easy to stay within our budget. This is our recipe for success and for staying on budget.