Six Steps for Easy Summer Entertaining
Well folks, summer is in full swing. Before we can blink our eyes, it will be over and we will be prepping our homes and menus for fall. In the meantime, I’m doing whatever I can to soak up as much summer as possible. Of curse, that includes lots of entertaining! Summer is a great season for entertaining and enjoying the company of friends and family; it seems that get-togethers are a bit easier, more casual, and maybe even more fun this time of year! To help you get the most out of summer, today, I wanted to share six tips for easy summer entertaining. Because the last thing you need is to be stressed out at your own party.
1. Plan Ahead
Do as much preparation before the party as possible. Create a checklist of what needs to be done. Clean your house / space a few days in advance. Prepare as much food ahead of time as you can. Set the table a few days in advance. The more you can complete before the day of the party the better.
2. Choose a Theme
Your theme doesn’t have to be something as literal as a Hawaiian Luau or an 80’s party, but having some focus makes planning and preparing so much easier. Even choosing something as simple as a color guides you when making decisions about the menu, music, and decorations.
3. Send Invitations
Whether it’s an email or a handwritten message, an invitation is a must. Not only does it set the tone for the party, but it allows you to gauge how many guests will be in attendance. You can also use the invitation to advise guests on attire and whether they need to bring anything to the festivities.
4. Create a Playlist
For me, good music is essential to a successful party. Pick something lively and fun, but don’t let the music drown out the conversation. Choose a mix of songs that most people will like, but be sure to include some of your favorites. Most people enjoy discovering new tunes. Use your theme to guide your selections. You could even have your guests include one of their favorite party songs with their RSVP.
5. Have a Potluck
Just because you are throwing the party, doesn’t mean you have to do all of the work. Having each guest bring their favorite dish can save you time, work and money. For example, host a grilling party. You provide the main ingredients for the grill and have guests bring a salad or dessert.
6. Enjoy Yourself!
Last, but certainly not least, take time to enjoy yourself! It is a party after all. Prepping things in advance, choosing a theme, or hosting a potluck are simple, manageable things that will allow you to have a blast at your party. Besides, no one likes a stressed-out host. Relax and have fun!
Sounds like a recipe for a perfect, stress-free summer party, right?
One of my favorite parties to attend every year is my dad’s annual Fourth of July bash. He does it potluck style where everyone brings a dish. The theme is obviously All-American. This year I decided to make an Apple Crostata with a Cheddar Cheese Crust.
To be honest, this was one of the first times I ever made a crust. I ended up making the crust in my KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor. It was amazing how quickly it came together! It’s basically fool-proof.
Plus, it’s so much easier to make than an apple pie, but you still get all that fabulous flavor. This would be the perfect treat for a small get-together or even a party for two!
I certainly hope my easy summer entertaining tips were helpful and inspired you to host a party of your own. Just remember to relax and enjoy these sensational summer days!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Apple Crostata with a Cheddar Cheese Crust
For the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for surface
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
1 large egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling
2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot preserves, warmed
Pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle 1/4 cup water evenly over mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse. (I ended up using almost ½ cup of the water) Add cheese; pulse until combined.
Shape dough into 2 disks, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to overnight. (You can freeze your other disk of dough for up to one month.) Roll out dough to a 13-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Toss together apples, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread filling over dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold edges in to form a crust; brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar (I didn’t have sanding sugar, so I just used standard sugar. I also sprinkled a little cinnamon on top of the crostata.)
Refrigerate until edges are firm, about 30 minutes. Bake crostata until apples are tender and crust is golden, about 1 hour 20 minutes. (Mine was in the oven for about 1 hour. I also covered it with a piece of aluminum foil about 40 minutes into the baking to prevent any burning.) Let cool slightly. Brush apples with apricot preserves.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*