Traditional recipes

Stress-Free Spring Dinner Parties with Style

Stress-Free Spring Dinner Parties with Style

Some of my most fond and precious memories with friends and family have been shared over the dinner table in my home. In fact, having dinner parties really has become my favorite pastime!

Use Fresh Ingredients

While the thought of hosting a dinner party might be overwhelming, it really does not have to be. When you use ingredients that are fresh, local, and seasonal — and delicious of course — your work is nearly done (and mostly in advance). I find that combining simple recipes with quality ingredients is a foolproof way of creating a fabulous meal.

Strategic Shopping

When planning my dinner parties, I always start by writing out the menu about one week before the event. I then gather all my recipes for each dish and make a shopping list — separated into two lists, actually. The first list is comprised of ingredients that I can pick up a few days before the dinner party. The second list includes ingredients like fish and bread that need to be bought on the day of the gathering.

Stick with What's Simple

Don’t be too hard on yourself when planning the menu. Make a simple starter that doesn’t take too much effort! In my menu below, you can make the hollandaise sauce the day before and store it in the fridge. It will go solid, but then just pop it in a saucepan over low heat, whisking every so often, until it’s a thick sauce consistency. The lemon sorbet can be made and potted in the lemon cups up to four days before the dinner party.

Tips for Setting the Table

Now that the weather is warm, dress your table with seasonal flowers. I always try to make a statement with one type of seasonal flower as the effect is more “Wow!” I believe that the most elegant tables are always the most simple. Daisies or other delicate flowers look so pretty tied with pieces of ribbon and placed on your guests’ napkins. For an outdoor dinner party in the grass, try tying a stronger flower like a daffodil, white country rose, or peony to the back each of chair — it’s an unexpected but beautiful look.

A Stress-Free Spring Dinner Party Menu

This article was originally publsihed on April 20, 2011


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


Spring for a Party

Lead the season with this simple, tasty assortment of meatless finger foods and drink.

Welcome warmer weather and longer days with a light spring celebration. This cozy, casual gathering is easy on the host (several dishes can be made ahead of time) and just as easy on the guests–no forks needed. These delectable meat-free goodies will appeal to partygoers, vegetarian or not. Light plenty of candles to create a warm glow. Put on some music, and get the party rolling by greeting your friends with a Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail.

Finesse the traffic flow by setting up the beverage area where there&aposs space for guests to mingle. Serve food and drinks buffet style, and let everyone help themselves. To avoid a bottleneck, stage several different food areas. On one table, serve the Roasted Tomatillo-Mango Salsa with Spiced Tortilla Chips, Tunisian Sweet and Hot Pepper-Tomato Relish with pita wedges, and a platter of Proven๺l Deviled Eggs. Deceptively simple to make, the Yellow Pepper Pesto Terrine makes a distinctive centerpiece for the buffet. Scatter small bowls of Peanuts with Indian Spices throughout the area where you&aposll be entertaining. Wrap up the evening by serving bite-sized Goat Cheese Tarts with Lemon-Fig Compote, which offer a taste of warmer days to come.


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