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Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.
Organizing for Instant Entertaining
You can just hear the announcer in your head.
“Are you reaaaaady for some foooootbaaall,” he
If they let an organizer like me do that pitch, the voice would be
much squeakier and say “Are you ready for some company?”
The start of football season, to me, indicates the start of the
entertaining season. It’s really fun to plan for company. Drop-in
company can be the opposite of that. It can be pretty stressful. You
find yourself thinking that if you only knew; you’d have stopped at
the store, purchased this or that and been ready.
But you do kind of know it is going to happen. So you really can be
ready for drop-in company and turn it from stress to fun. It’s time
to tackle organizing for entertaining. Get ready for those drop-ins
from the folks stopping past after church, to the neighbors who
gather around the football game to the folks you ran into at the
fall festival and ended up at your house.
Set aside a corner of your pantry for instant entertaining. If
you’re afraid the family might munch on your game plan, put it in a
storage container or wicker basket and tuck it out of their sight.
Or, take these temptations out the kitchen entirely and stock up a
drawer or shelf in your entertainment center or in your bar.
Here are some
pantry-freezer ideas for quick entertaining:
Dip mixes that you can add to sour cream, mayo or yogurt
Cans of white beans to make a quick humus
White albacore tuna can make a fast cracker spread or dip for
Summer sausage and shrink-wrapped cheese logs that don’t need
Mixed nuts or flavored almonds
Jars of black or green olives as well as jars of peppers or
Marinated artichoke hearts
Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
Packages of crackers- check the date when you buy and get long
Tortillas can be kept
frozen and thawed to make wraps, roll-ups with cheese and meat on
hand or to make quick quesadillas
Gourmet packs of
Club soda, which can
be added easily to juice to create a non-alcoholic cocktail
Red wine, which
doesn't need chilling and will keep until you need it.
Once you put on your thinking cap, you’ll discover this and that at
the store that you can add to your stock. Even if you had nothing in
the fridge, you could put together a fun antipasti tray with this
pantry list. Or, with the olives on hand, you could make
Olive Tapenade. With the club soda and red wine on hand, you won’t
need to fret that you don’t have sodas or beer on hand.
Make Extra when Time Allows
Heading to a party or having one? Make an extra amount of the
appetizers and freeze them to pull out when you need them.
Gather your Pretty Things
It’s not fun to be seen scurrying here and there to find your items
for entertaining while the company watches. They are saying “Can I
help” while you just wish you had it together.
Along with your food goodies, add just a few of your entertaining
serving dishes. You don’t need to move everything there but gather
what you would like to grab quickly. This will likely include a tray
or platter, a chip/dip set, a small serving bowl or an appetizer set
with multiple bowls or one that holds several small things like nuts
and olives. Tuck in some appetizer plates or cute paper plates and a
selection of cocktail napkins. Find you speaders or serving utensils
You are sure to hear praise about how you could just instantly pull
out wonderful treats with no planning. You, of course, did planning
but you don’t need to share that! Just enjoy the praise and enjoy
the company without stress.