How many times have you thrown a party and did all the work? It’s time to enjoy your own party.

There are ways you can put the party on auto-pilot. If the throw down is scheduled for your house, do as much pre-planning as possible. Plan your menu early and when you see items on sale buy, store or freeze.


Make the party fun or different by adding a theme. You can go for potluck and let each person bring something but that tends to be just what it sounds like, hopefully you will end up with some lucky pots. When more than one person brings deviled eggs and one tastes better than the other, that can be a problem.


If you want to ask friends to bring a dish set the tone and politely request that they bring a certain item to round out the menu. Maybe the hostess can prepare a ham or turkey and ask the guests to bring a favorite side dish. Assign desserts to a few people and beverages to a few others.

You can make the drink menu easy by preparing a signature drink. Make a large pitcher of apple martinis or a champagne punch and then offer beer, wine and soft drinks.

Hors d’oeuvres parties are great for the holidays. You can make a meal on some heavy hors d’oeuvres. My favorites are what I call chafing dish meatballs (meatballs with a sauce made with chili sauce and grape jelly). Recently I saw a recipe to make similar meatballs with cranberry sauce and chili sauce. They sound good because I like cranberry sauce but I haven’t tried them yet.

My favorites on the list of appetizers includes hot artichoke dip, spinach dip, hot crab meat dip, mini crab cakes and bruschetta with French bread.

If you want to try something different try mashed potato martinis. Make sure you have enough martini glasses for everyone. If you don’t have an abundance of them go to the dollar store and purchase about two dozen. The plastic ones that you put together don’t work real well here and they look cheesy.

The first step is to make or buy several types of mashed potatoes. Offer your guests regular, garlic and and mashed sweet potato. Presentation is key with the mashed potato martinis. Each type of potato will be in a separate chafing dish. Guests will scoop the potatoes into their martini glass and then add toppings. Offer cheese, gravy, mushrooms, onions, bacon bits and salsa.

For the sweet potatoes think about mixtures of nutmeg and cinnamon, brown sugar, marshmallows and pineapple. This is a fun dish because you can eat this standing up and it is so unexpected.

Who doesn’t love great mashed potatoes? It is such a comfort food.

For holiday parties it’s nice to have egg nog and hot apple cider available. Don’t forget to make a pot of coffee and don’t let anyone drive home if they appear to be intoxicated. Be responsible. If you see that a guest is drinking too much, cut them off and if necessary call a cab for them.

One thing to remember, don’t be tardy for the party, dress to impress and have fun.

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