How To: Throw a Party (with low stress)

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

Di Rosco has a "How To" Series on our Facebook page and now also on our website, under "How To" . The how to page was added so we could post some step by step directions on basic pasta prep as well as how to use handmade pasta in recipes. So far, people like it and we like to share in the experience of creating a fine meal for a group with a low level of stress. 

Let's take it to the next level: 

How To : Throw Together a Party

If you don't host often or you want to make hosting easier I have three main points that will help you develop your party. 

First we need some basic info:

Step 1: Theme (or reason for the party). 

Do you want to try some new recipes you found? Are you recently very interested in a new cuisine? Is there a milestone event: birthday, anniversary, or promotion you want to celebrate with friends? 

Step 2: Guest List

Take into account the time of year and the space available. Is it inside? outside? A mix of both? Will there be yard games or a pool? How many people can you fit? Will everyone be seated at a plated dinner? Will it be an afternoon of cornhole tournaments?

Step 3: Menu

Once you know what your theme is and how many people you want to entertain now you can start allowing the menu to grow organically from these seeds. 

I am going to outline three parties I have thrown in the last year. We do not have a formal dining room but a large counter in our kitchen so our events tend to be self serve stations with main dishes and sides in the kitchen and apps and snacks available in the entertaining rooms or patio depending on the weather. I prefer to host when it's warm enough to be inside and outside because our parties get big very fast. 

Some ideas I have done in the past: 

Pajama Party Birthday Party

Theme: birthday party for a kid (my kid) and everyone is encouraged to wear pajamas and robes

Guest List: family and neighbors (30 people)

Menu: Easy Brunch  

In this laid back party I made 2 kinds of breakfast sandwiches: egg and cheese croissants and bacon egg english muffins. I wrapped them and allowed them to stay warm in the oven until I put them out on a self serve buffet. 

I have a great vegan pumpkin muffin recipe and as a former pastry chef a breakfast pastry tray seemed reasonable, if I could enlist a bit of help. I turned the muffins into mini muffins - doubling my servings without doubling my recipe. I'm a busy lady so I looked to the grocery store for a semi-homemade helper: Pillsbury are on point. I bought a container of those, unrolled them and cut the strips in half to make mini cinnamon rolls. once again, doubling the yield without doubling the purchases.  Sandwiches, pastries and now we need something "healthy". I purchased 4 ounce containers of yogurt and some fancy granola and berries to make "build your own fruit parfaits" but with minimum waste because the 4 ounce containers were a perfect serving.The little bowls of berries and granola looked top notch but didn't overwhelm people with choices. A little kale salad and a mimosa bar (adults only!) rounded out the morning. 

This could have been a whole mess right - making breakfast for our large family (grandmas, cousins, aunties, uncles, on and on) could have been one person cooking pancakes to order for 2 hours and everyone getting syrup everywhere. Instead, this was a really interactive fun morning and my kid had a cupcake with a candle. 

The whole thing was done by early afternoon and the cleanup was quick. 

An adult party we had was cuisine based and we did a little potluck to make this happen. 

Peruvian Dinner Party (AKA Pisco Sour Night)

Theme: Peruvian Night

Guests: close friends (12 people)

menu: Peruvian Cuisine 

During the dead of winter we were starved of something vibrant to do. We decided to throw a Pisco Sour Party and make it as Peruvian as we could in Williamsport PA. 

Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru. Pisco is a liquor similar to a brandy, shaken with egg whites and sours mix to make a top notch cocktail.

I love Peruvian food and tried a hand at a chicken dish called Aji de Gallina. Aji is a very specific pepper native to Peru and used in a lot of their dishes. We bought it in a paste form and added it to this succulent chicken stew; then we added some boiled yellow potatoes, served over rice and a side of hard boiled egg.  This was the main event, aside from the Pisco Sours which we designated a friend to make - its nice to have a cocktail enthusiast attend. 

Guests brought meat and cheese trays, a salad and some apps. Our Peruvian friend was able to get some alfajores cookies (shortbread cookies with caramel filling) made by his father for dessert. 

We bought all the Pisco in our small central Pennsylvania town and had a whole night of it. In this situation, we were all inside and mingling in the kitchen picking at the meal and getting in line for the next shaken cocktail. It was a lower stress night for me because I made the main dish and all the complementary additions from the guests made a beautiful spread. 

The last hosted event I will share with you all is our annual Sunday Funday. 

Theme: Craft Beer Sunday Funday 

Guests: friends, family, coworkers (45+ people)

Menu: Southern BBQ

Since Chef is also a very good brewer we end up with a surplus of filled kegs around the first week of October. In order to make more beer we need to clear the kegs so we invite a large group of people and essentially turn our enclosed patio into a self serve bar. Because the focus is craft beer we make smoked brisket and pulled pork to go along with it. Naturally that leads to Southern collards, mac n cheese and cornbread. Really this menu is pretty easy since the main meat dishes are made in the smoker, leaving the kitchen open for the other side items to be made. The cornbread is made the night before, the collards stewed early in the morning and the mac and cheese is mixed up and held in the oven before the main event.  This is the last outdoor event we have during the year usually and it can go all night. 

These are some of the quick planned things I have put together and the more I do it the easier it gets. The memories we have had at events at our house are immensely important to me and I will continue to work on my best version of hosting because it makes me feel so connected to my family and community.

What are you planning next?

#centralpa #arrosticini #familytime

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