Entertaining Basics: Keep It Simple
Showing hospitality to others through entertaining is something that every woman can do. If you love entertaining, you probably already have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to entertaining. But, there can be a lot of pressure put on women to entertain. It can become paralyzing and so a woman may never open her house to others.
Let the fear of perfection and self-confidence flee from your mind. Perfection is our own worst enemy. Perfection is deeply rooted in pride. It is wanting others to see us a certain way by our own doing. I will talk about perfection and pride as we continue this series, but for now, let’s talk about ways to keep your entertaining simple.
Keep it Simple
Showing love to others through entertaining is such a valuable experience for any woman. It can be terrifying being vulnerable and letting in, but don’t let it be terrifying. Just do it. Here are some simple things you can do to take the pressure off and just focus on what is most important: your guests.
Serve Recipes You are Familiar With
When entertaining, this is NOT the time to try out a new recipe! I made this mistake when I was a newlywed. We were hosting some friends over and I had a reputation building that I was a good cook. I found a delicious homemade mac and cheese recipe. It smelled so good! But, it was the worst-tasting mac and cheese. It was bland and tasted like cooked eggs and noodles. Ick. My husband, who usually eats everything I put in front of him, grabbed ketchup from the fridge to try to ease the mac and cheese down his throat.
I encourage you to learn from my mistake! Try to serve your guests meals that you are very familiar with. One of my go-to recipes is spaghetti and meatballs. I also make a homemade alfredo sauce that I have tweaked over the years. Now, friends want to come over just to try the spaghetti and meatballs. It is such a simple meal that I can make for a lot of people. And, it comes out delicious every time because I have already made all of my culinary mistakes with the recipe. Now the recipe is engraved in my heart.
Use Paper Products
You can still have a nice meal but eat on paper plates. When you have another family to serve in addition to your own, just keep it simple and go paper. There are many cute paper products out there that coordinate well together. The dollar stores sell affordable coordinating products as well. Grab some practical, yet stylish, paper products and you are ready to go.
Now, if it is more of an intimate setting with just a few adults, you may want to kick it up a notch and put out your nice place settings. But, make sure you give yourself a heart check here. This is where pride can really start to sneak in. Just make sure that the added pressure of beautiful place settings is not taking away from your real purpose: to make your guests feel loved and welcomed.
Sometimes, I have mixed and matched the place settings. I have used paper napkins and paper plates with water glasses and genuine silverware. Use your best judgment, but keep your heart in check.
Use Store-Prepared Food
You may have an intensive entrée. Have your husband pick up a side vegetable or salad at your local market. Some of the best desserts come from our market. Let your local stores help you in your entertaining.
You can even use store-prepared items such as rotisserie chicken for a chicken soup, dumplings, or chicken a la king. Save yourself some time by not doing every step yourself. I love picking up herbed salad dressings that are made fresh at the store. I even love the freshly-made guacamole that our market prepares. It is so much better than anything I make.
Even simple things like buying ground-bean coffee for nights such as these to make those little steps even more simple.
Set Up a Buffet
When serving families, setting up a buffet makes it easier for parents to walk through the line and prepare plates of food for their kiddos. If you have a smaller group, by all means, serve the food family-style. But, I want to encourage you to consider making the buffet right on your kitchen countertop or on a separate table. Place the plates and food on the buffet with all other place settings on the dining table.
There have been moments in the past two years that we have wanted to connect with other families, but serving an entire meal was just not going to happen. With having two-year-old triplets, our energy levels are depleted. So, what worked for us was to order a pizza to serve to the family we invited over. We had some bagged salad and fresh fruit. That was our dinner! And it was okay! We had a lovely time with our guests, the children loved the pizza, and we had easy cleanup.
As you seek to entertain others to show hospitality, do not feel overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of you. Look for ways to cut down on the preparation so you can really enjoy the time you have with your guests.
For more ideas on making dinnertime memorable, check out my website section: Family - Love and Littles
Katie White is a Christian modern-day homemaker who shares ideas on organizing, entertaining, raising little ones, and motherhood over on her website, Grace and Thanks. She has a love for hospitality and homemaking, but her greatest love is for her heavenly Father. God continues to be faithful and full of grace as she raises five beautiful children with her husband.