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Come for Dinner!

From simple gatherings to theme-based events, today’s dinner parties can go in practically any direction. The next time you’re in charge of hosting a gathering, think about incorporating one or two of these simple ideas to create an evening of fun with your friends.

Dinner Party Tips

From simple gatherings to theme-based events, today’s dinner parties can go in practically any direction. The next time you’re in charge of hosting a gathering, think about incorporating one or two of these simple ideas to create an evening of fun with your friends.

  • Build a party menu around a favorite cuisine—of course, Italian and Mexican are always well-received, but what about Thai? A fun Thai-themed dinner could include spring rolls purchased from a local Thai restaurant followed by peanut chicken and tapioca pudding with mangoes for dessert. Indian cuisine is another great menu option and could include curry, naan, steamed rice and assorted toppings like chopped onions, cilantro and cashews. For dessert, refreshing coconut and lime sorbets are all you need.
  • If you’re planning a cuisine-themed party, serve wines, cheeses and snacks from the country you’re “going to.” For example, start an Italian-style supper with a tray of cheeses like Gorgonzolafontina and fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers, olives and prosciutto. Pepperidge Farm® Distinctive Crackers and wines like Pinot Grigio and Chianti are perfect accompaniments.
  • Dig out your fondue pot and host an evening of dipping and dunking! Start with classic cheese fondue then for the main course serve a broth-based fondue: bring Swanson® Chicken broth to a simmer in a fondue pot (flavor it with sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary if desired) then have guests skewer peeled, deveined shrimp, chunks of chicken breast, pork loin or top sirloin onto fondue forks and cook in the simmering broth. Vegetables like wedges of onion, whole mushrooms and parboiled potatoes are outstanding accompaniments (offer blue cheese sauce for dipping cooked meats and vegetables into). Finally, wrap up the evening with chocolate fondue—of course!
  • Another casual party theme is to create an “assemble your own” buffet where guests can create their own entrée with an assortment of toppings and garnishes. Tacos and wraps are the first thing that come to mind but pizza is a terrific option as well—simply set out a variety of pizza toppings (pepperoni, cooked Italian sausage, cheeses, fresh veggies, Prego® sauces, etc.) and purchased or homemade pizza dough, and let guests go to town! If the weather is warm, you could even take the pizza to the patio and cook it on the grill!
  • A progressive party is a great way to divide party-throwing responsibilities between three people instead of just one. For it, one person hosts the appetizer course, another the main course and a third, dessert. Party-goers then shuttle between homes or venues during the span of the evening. It’s a terrific option for neighborhoods and condo or town home associations, and could even be set up as a potluck where guests pitch in to bring dishes to one of the venues as requested by the organizer.