Ten tips when catering your own party

Taking the time to plan for parties saves you time in the long run.

Summertime is time for outdoor parties. If you like to cater your own parties, you know that it takes a significant amount of planning and time to have a successful event.

First, think about how many people might be coming. Remember that even though you are planning an outdoor party, if it rains or is extremely windy, everyone may end up inside. You have to think about whether that would be inside your home, a nice garage or another building and then include that in your party plans.

Ten tips for catering your own party
  1. A cold food menu is easier than serving hot foods. All cold foods could be prepared in advance.
  2. Prepare a shopping list early and then watch for sales.
  3. Make sure you have enough refrigerator space for all the cold foods you will be buying, preparing and storing and enough oven space if you are preparing hot foods.
  4. Take food out of the refrigerator just before serving. It is best to serve food in shallow dishes and then put out a fresh dish once the first dish is empty.
  5. Make a list of the serving dishes you will be using, or need to borrow. Then sit them out in the space you are using so that you know you have enough space for all of your foods.
  6. If you do choose to have hot foods. Keep the hot foods hot (at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep the cold foods at or below 40 F. Put cooked food in chafing dishes or in slow cookers. Keep cold food dishes surrounded by ice.
  7. Prepare as much food as possible ahead of time and freeze. When you prepare it, cool completely and then cover well, getting as much air out of the bags and containers as possible and freeze the same day.
  8. Freeze bread before cutting for fancy sandwiches or slices for a sandwich loaf. It is easier to handle.
  9. The flavor of garlic and cloves becomes stronger when frozen. The flavor of onions, salts and herbs get weaker. Keep that in mind when creating dishes.
  10. Use garnishes that are edible and harmonize in flavor to the dish and add appeal.

It is time well spent to plan for your summer parties because it is easy to get stressed when planning such events. Michigan State University Extension website has several articles on outdoor parties.

Don’t hesitate to simplify your decorations and menu so that you will have a relaxed and fun time that you and your guests can enjoy.

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