Color & Control:

Party at Your Place


Strategies for Pain-Free Entertaining

There’s nothing like getting together with friends and

family to enjoy good company and, of course, good food. Whether you’re having

two or 20 people over for a gathering, the idea is to make it as simple as

possible so that you can have a great time along with your guests. The

following tips can help minimize fatigue and ensure that your next entertaining

experience is pain-free, pleasant and memorable.

Consider a Potluck

If you feel comfortable doing so, ask each guest to bring

one dish or a dessert. Being responsible for one item (it can be storebought) is

manageable for everyone and can take a huge load off of you as the host.

Make it a Buffet

This will allow you to set out all of the food at one time,

rather than getting up to bring out multiple courses over the meal—and your guests

can help themselves. You can turn any table into a buffet simply by removing

the chairs and pushing the table against a wall. Set the chairs around the room

for guests.

Use Disposable Plates, Cups and Cutlery

They’re not the greenest alternative, but plastic dinnerware

is lightweight, making it easier for guests to manage…and there are no dishes

to wash! To add sophistication to the party, you may want to present the food

on elegant glass or ceramic serving plates and reserve the disposables for

eating on. There are a wide variety of designs to choose from, so you can

easily blend them with your good plates and tablecloth.

Choose Ready-To-Use

Finger Foods

There are so many available today that preparing food for

entertaining is easier than ever. You can use pre-sliced cheeses, packaged

sliced pepperoni and/or salami, olives, gherkins, mozzarella balls with grape tomatoes,

ready-to-use packages of cut fresh vegetables with ready-to-serve dips, pitted

dates that can be filled with cream cheese, hummus with sliced pita bread triangles

and ready-to-eat cooked buffalo wings sold at the supermarket. Many of these

can be arranged on trays and covered with plastic wrap ahead of time, then

stored in the fridge until ready to serve.

Prepare Your Meal Over Several Days

If you’re not having a potluck, make as many dishes as possible in advance and freeze

or refrigerate them until you’re ready to serve. It’s best to offer only one or

two hot food items, as this will eliminate the need to prepare too much on the

day of your party.

Keep in Mind Your Guests’ Needs

Make sure that tables are wheelchair accessible, provide straws for beverages

to help avoid the possibility of spills, and have hand wipes available to make

it convenient for guests to clean their hands before and after eating.

For a fantastic fall fête, try the simple recipes seen here.

Choose some great music to set the mood and have fun. Before you know it,

you’ll be throwing parties more often and with less effort.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Bread Finger Sandwiches

1 loaf of sliced cinnamon or date-nut Bread

1 16-ounce container of whipped cream cheese

Make cream cheese sandwiches and then cut them into

quarters, wiping the knife clean after each slice. Arrange on a serving plate, cover

with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Get your favourite flavour of ice cream and cookies of

choice. Spoon a dollop of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and top with

another cookie, pressing down gently. Freeze immediately. Serve alongside a

fresh fruit platter and apple cider for dessert.

Baked Brie

1 wheel of Brie cheese

Dark brown sugar
Toasted pecans
Dried cranberries
Fresh mint leaves or citrus rind

Preheat oven to 350ºF. With a sharp knife, slice off the top

coating from the cheese, leaving the sides and bottom intact. Cover the top

with brown sugar. Place in an oven-proof baking dish and bake about 15 minutes,

until brown sugar begins to melt. Remove from oven. Garnish with toasted pecans,

dried cranberries and fresh mint or citrus rind.


Zucchini Pie

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • ½ cup canola orvegetable oil
  • 3 cups cubedzucchini
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoonchopped fresh parsley or basil
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to

350ºF. Mix all ingredients, except bread crumbs and butter, together in a large

bowl. Pour into a greased 9-inch round pie plate. Mix 1½ tablespoons of melted

butter into the breadcrumbs. Spread the mixture on top of the pie. Bake for 45

minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool to room temperature,

cover and refrigerate. This can be made a day or two ahead of time. When ready

to serve, cut into small slices and arrange on a serving dish. Tastes great

cold; no need to heat.


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