How to Host A Low Fuss Dinner Party

What’s more heart warming than hanging out with friends or family and enjoying home cooked food? Hosting a dinner party is such a fun thing to do and really brings everyone together. On top of being a good time it is also more economical and healthy than eating out. You can cook the whole thing or host a potluck. Maybe your friends will get into it and host the next one. For most of us the thought of hosting a dinner party can be daunting. I got some tips from a friend on how to make it easier and went for it. It was fun and a manageable amount of work. These are the tips that helped me and got me motivated:

1. Choose low fuss and simple dishes to make.
2. Make dishes that you’ve already made. Your old standbys are not that to others.
3. Choose a couple things that can be made the day before to lessen the work on the day of.
4. Delegate. Ask friends to bring something specific that would help you out (i.e. flowers, beverages, dessert).
5. Decide whether restaurant plating, family style or a buffet would suite your evening best or switch it up for different courses.

Here’s what I did:

Appetizers
– Gazpacho – Served restaurant style to avoid table side splashes. This can be made the day before.
– Guacamole – Served family style. (My recipe is: avocado, jalapeno, red onion, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, salt; Put the pit back in after making it so it doesn’t turn brown.)
– Have A Chip’s – Amazing corn chips made out of Laguna Beach, CA.

Main
Make Your Own Taco Buffet – Buffet is a great way to make meals friendly for varied eating habits.
– Tortillas (bought house made ones from a local Mexican restaurant)
– Shredded red cabbage
– Tilapia pan cooked (with salt and pepper and fresh lime juice at the end)
– Pico de gallo (chopped tomato, cilantro, red onion)
– Guacamole
– Sautéed veggies (Portobello mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion and garlic)
Mashed pinto beans
Instructions for dried beans if you haven’t used these before: rinse a few times in a strainer, soak overnight, rinse, drain and store in fridge until ready to use; put in a pot with 1 part bean to 3 part water; boil, then let simmer covered for 1 ½ hours; drain most of the water, mash with a potato masher; add some salt, pepper and sautéed onion and garlic.
– Chopped fresh hot peppers (mixture of Serrano & Jalapeno)
– Assortment of Hot sauces (“Dave’s Insanity Sauce” is really insane if you like it like that!)

Dessert
– Raw vegan chocolate brownie balls served family style. They are a healthy indulgence that are really quick to make, require no baking, and can be made the day before, then stored in the fridge.

Recipe for Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownie Balls

 

Raw Food Dessert

Raw Chocolate Brownie Balls

I got this recipe from Raw Food for Real People ©2009 by Rod Rotondi, a great and easy cookbook for healthy eating. The recipe is available on-line 

Makes 24 balls:
2 cups chopped dates
(I prefer Medjool)
1/2 cup raw carob powder
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
2 cups ground raw Brazil nuts
1/2 cup raw almond butter
Salt to taste
Agave or Honey to taste (optional; depending on sweetness of your dates)

1/2 cup grated dried coconut for garnishing
Cayenne powder (optional; see below)

1. Combine all the ingredients except the coconut and cayenne in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls.
3. Roll 1/2 of the balls in coconut, leaving half plain chocolate.
4. With the last quarter of your batter consider mixing in some dashes of cayenne powder to make spicy chocolate balls. I made these balls smaller to differentiate them.
5. Place all the balls on a baking sheet or plate in the fridge to chill for 2 hours (or overnight and covered if pre-making).