'Tis the season for impromptu entertaining! Mandi Buckner, the Florida food blogger behind Chewsy Lovers, shares her best tips for parties on the fly.
Even though we just welcomed spring, I am ready for summer. There. I said it. Bring on summer! Bring on the grill, the beach, and late nights on the patio “shooting the breeze” over cold drinks and a few bites with the ones I love. If you love to entertain like I do, or if you want to entertain more, here are some tips for throwing a fabulous party on a whim.
Keep an "instant party" basket or bin in the pantry
Keep fun straws, cute (but sturdy) dinnerware, one or two “go-to” linen and napkin combos all together in one place. Different sized mason jars are nice to have on hand as well. I always store the makings of a great appetizer (shelf-stable foods like crackers, jarred olives, etc.) in this basket so I can throw together a quick appetizer so people can mingle and enjoy while I get dinner ready.
Have a cute apron
While you’re pulling everything together, your apron should be just as fabulous as the outfit under it. (Sometimes my apron is more fabulous than the outfit.) I love a cute neckline, and the more ruffles the better! You won’t need to rush to get the party set up because you have to get “dressed.” You’re already cute and ready to party.
Make a good playlist
Nothing gets a party going like music, and technology is so great now that a good playlist isn’t more than a mobile app away.
Work with what you have
One of the main keys to successful impromptu entertaining is knowing how to use ingredients you already have on hand. You should know how to make at least one appetizer, entree, dessert, and drink from what your family always keeps in the house. This delicious mango ceviche was made with shrimp, fruits, and veggies that in my refrigerator. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish. If you prepare the shrimp a day ahead, it will only take ten minutes to prepare the day you serve it. If you need a quick go-to appetizer for summer entertaining, this is it. It has all of the fresh flavors of summer like mango and cilantro and it pairs perfectly with a crisp, chilled wine and tortilla chips.
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Mandi Buckner is a professional chef, entertaining expert, and aspiring restaurateur. She curates the award-winning blog Chewsy Lovers with her husband Elliot. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a lifelong fan of polka dots, pearls, the beach, and brunch.