Thursday, February 23, 2012

Entertaining Ideas for a Happy Hour at Your House

Happy Thursday everyone! Last night I had the pleasure of hosting one of my girls groups over at my home for an evening happy hour. It was so fun. I know some people feel like entertaining in their house is stressful, expensive and time consuming but I want to share some tips and my menu with you all to prove that you CAN do it easily.

First I wanted to list my menu. This happy hour started at 6pm and while normally I would serve more heavy appetizers for this time frame I kept it light since this is what this particular girls group tends to do.

- Block of Cream Cheese with Chutney poured over, served with crackers of your choice
- Pea Pesto Crostini 
 - Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips & Veggies (Recipe coming soon!)
 - Spinach Parmesan Dip with Tortilla Chips & Veggies
 - Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
 - Roasted Edamame
 - Mixed Nuts

The GREAT thing about this menu was that almost everything can be made ahead of time. I made both dips and the chickpeas the night before. I used store bought chutney for the cream cheese so that was easy. The only thing I made right before was the Roasted Edamame. I also just made one batch of everything and that was more than plenty for about 15 girls!

Also, put together your table the night before or earlier in the day of the party. Its always helpful to put sticky notes on your serving pieces so you know where everything goes and what food item is going in them. It's also a good idea to take dips out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you serve them to soften them up.

Using frozen vegetables and canned beans really kept the cost down of all my items. The most expensive ingredients I used were parmesan cheese and chipotles in adobo. A little trick I learned about chipotles in adobo, usually recipes only call for 1 or 2 teaspoons of this ingredient, but then you are leftover with the whole can of them. You can deseed all the chilies and put them and the sauce in the can into a blender or food processor and puree it. Once pureed ration out a few servings into individual baggies and freeze until you need them.

Since I was serving pretty much all finger food I only put out cocktail napkins and just let everyone dig in. More fun that way sometimes! I set up a bar in the kitchen with additional cocktail napkins with the needed glasses and drinks. Don't forget to have a pitcher of ice water out too!

Do you all have any entertaining tips? The best thing to remember is to just have fun, if you are having fun and don't seem stressed than all your guests will too!

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