Holiday Party Planning

Every year, probably since my first year at college, I have found an excuse to host a party. Whether it be friendsgiving, a house warming party, a goodbye brunch, a taco Tuesday party, you name it, I’ve probably hosted it! Most of my friends and family have heard me say, I live for parties, but especially planning them! I’m a control freak, so this is where I can allow that aspect of my personality to shine, and shine bright!

As the years have passed, and the party budget has gotten better, so has my planning. This week, I’m sharing with you my party planning tips and the most requested recipe from our this year’s holiday party! Unfortunately, I am not sharing many pictures because I was too busy enjoying our own annual holiday party to take any. Sign of a good party!

To help me plan the party, I had to make lists, and lots of them. Lucky for you, I’ve turned the notes on my phone (see these below) into a template for you to use! Check out my party planning template here! If you would like the word version so that you can edit and make your own, just let me know!

This year, we invited about 30 people, ended up with 20. To account for munchies that would ensue after a few Jell-O shots, I planned to have six savory food options and two sweet options. Pretty much everything you see up above was devoured!

Below you’ll see the phone format of my party planning template I linked above. I start making this list about two weeks in advanced so I’m not scrambling week of, to figure out what I need. This year, which I had not done prior, I added the timeline and let me tell you, this made the BIGGEST difference! Not only did it allow me to build in time to relax BEFORE the party, but more importantly it allowed me to ENJOY my party!

I fully recognize that my list may not make 100% sense to those of you not in my brain, BUT this worked for me, so do what works for you! Something I find VERY helpful when party planning and serving, plan ahead what you’ll be serving your food on. The last thing you want is realizing day of that you you don’t have the right vessel for your yummy treats! You’ll see I put in parentheses where I planned to serve each dish, next to the dish name.

Another helpful tip that came in handy this year, was I set aside a bag in my kitchen pantry with any crackers, bread, cups, plates, napkins, supplies, I may have needed throughout the party so I wouldn’t have to be scrambling looking for said supplies while also trying to host.

While I can’t force any of you to plan the way I do, and maybe you have some better ideas than the ones I provide here, I highly giving my template a try for you next event! I’m using all of these tips again for Thanksgiving this Thursday! What’s your favorite party planning tip?

As my thanks to you all for joining me on this blogging journey, I’m sharing with you the most requested recipe from the party! A great appetizer to bring to a Thanksgiving feast!

Chicken Parmesan Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 container of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 container of Marinara sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 6 breaded chicken tenders, cooked and chopped. (If you live on the Southeast coast, I highly suggest buying the already made popcorn chicken at Publix)
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella
  • Preferred loaf of bread for dipping
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °
  2. Spread ricotta on the bottom of skillet or pie plate. I like to use my cast iron skillet for this recipe.
  3. Layer as follows: half the marinara, 1/2 of Parmesan cheese, chicken tenders/popcorn chicken, 1/2 of mozzarella, remaining marinara, remaining Parmesan, remaining mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. I like to leave mine covered and uncover for the last 5 minutes. You can also broil for two minutes to give a nice crisp to the top layer of cheese!
  5. Serve warm with your preferred bread and enjoy!

Side note: I fully am aware that none of my food options, especially this chicken parm dip were dairy free…trust me I paid for it!

Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

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