This here is some real-time blogging, friends.
So, SO. Tomorrow is my friend Emily's birthday! She's one of the ones we went camping with last weekend, and is one of my absolute favorites. Her mom is in town and her boyfriend's parents live here, so tomorrow night we're throwing a little partayyy at our place.
Which of course means that we're cleaning our house the same time I'm submitting final paperwork for school and prepping for a week away at the beach.
BUT! That's what this is all about. The ability to make stuff ahead, take help from the store, and not be super frazzled when hosting things, even on a Wednesday in the middle of the week.
Here's the plan.
First, sharing duties is key. I'm doing the food, but Jay's helping shop, clean, fix up the yard - you know. Guy stuff. Emily's mom is doing a cake, her manfriend is bringing booze, and we've got ourselves a party! There will be about 20 of us, so I decided that 5 items was plenty - 6 with the cake! I like to do a combo of heavier things like meat/seafood and then some dips and pick up foods. Emily and Stephen (the manfriend) picked the food, and here's what we're working with:
Shrimp cocktail with homemade tartar sauce. The sauce is easy and can be made a full week in advance, and the shrimp can be bought FULLY COOKED. Seriously. Throw some lemons on the side and boom. One dish done.
Pulled Pork Sliders. As I type, I'm heating up skillets to sear some pork, then I'm going to stick it in the crock pot overnight. Tomorrow morning it'll be ready for shredding, and I won't have to worry about it OR do dishes related to it all day. Early dish-doing is key to party throwing happiness in my world. To go with pork and buns, I'm making this curry mustard sauce because Stephen loves it, this peach salsa because I have local peaches, and this BBQ sauce because YUM. One topping would be perfect, though, and here's where you could DEFINITELY use your favorite jarred sauces if that's more your style.
Antipasto platter. Total store work, here. Jars of pickly things like peppers and olives, some raw veg for munching, some spreadable cheeses and sliced cheeses, and sliced deli meats like prosciutto and salami. Arrange in a pretty way. Add bread or crackers or some kind of carb. Done.
Roasted tomatoes. The great thing about these is that I'll plate them with the antipasto platter, and I'll start them roasting first thing in the morning. I use canned diced tomatoes for this, and you can puree them to make a dip or keep them whole, which is what I do - I like the chunky texture. People go bonkers for these, and I serve them with extra bread for dipping. Also could be made a week in advance, but I was busy doing other things like finding out the gender of Scott and Belen's baby (pictures coming soon!).
Last, pimento cheese. Easy to make, cheap ingredients, and here in the south people go bonkers for it. My trick is to make it a teeny bit spicy and use hardly any mayo so there's lots of CHEESE happening. I also like to make it using remnants of cheeses in my fridge so that it tastes kind of different every time.
So there we have it. Lots of dips and sauces that can be made in advance, "cooking" that is super hands off, and basically my work is to put things on platters and manage to shower tomorrow. Not too shabby, and I can probably manage that shower. Probably.
You can too! Even on a Wednesday! Parties should be fun and not stressful. Amen.