The Southern Living Guide to Mayonnaise BrandsEssential reading on a most essential condiment
[MUSIC] First, do as much cooking before your guests arrive as possible. There are so many genius fix and freeze make ahead recipes, you really can spend time with your company, instead of your stove. When I'm entertaining I try to have at least two dishes ready to serve or simply reheat. And if I'm hosting out-of-towners I try to have at least one home meal fully prepared, like a breakfast casserole or selection of cold salads for a lunch buffet. Second, stock up on snacks. You don't want anyone getting hangry before the meal. Fill your pantry with things good for grazing like nuts and an assortment of crackers and have simple dips like spinach dip or French onion dip in the refrigerator ready to serve to unexpected friends who drop in. I also recommend keeping an array of cheeses and charcuterie like salami and prosciutto in the fridge. They make a great fancy appetizer platter in a jiff. Third tip. Pick a signature cocktail for the season and serve it over and over again. One year, for example, my husband and I offered every guest who stepped foot in our house, even for just a moment, a [UNKNOWN]. Nearly everyone was a taker. I stocked up on all the ingredients at the beginning of the season and restocked as needed. By the end of the season, I can make [UNKNOWN] with my eyes closed. Find more great holiday entertaining tips at southernliving.com.