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Throw a Simple Spring Dinner Party

10 tips for fun and stress-free entertaining

The days are getting brighter and warmer, and after a few months of hibernation, it’s time for a dinner party. Along with a three-course menu celebrating the season, here are 10 tips for stress-free entertaining.

See also: Test your wine and beverage knowledge with this quiz.

Pam Anderson simple spring supper: spring meets winter salad

Fennel, red onion, radishes and carrots offer great texture and color to the Spring-Meets-Winter salad. — Photo by Threemanycooks.com

  1. Choose a menu that will allow you to have fun at your own dinner party. Why not make a one-dish dinner like Creamy Spring Chicken Stew that’s both beautiful and complete?
  2. When getting started, unload the groceries, pull your pantry items and organize them by dish.
  3. Set the table before starting to cook. This way you look ready to welcome friends and family when they arrive.
  4. Decorate the table with simple seasonal ingredients like citrus, berries, apples, pears or nuts in the shell, that are both beautiful and edible.
  5. Prepare the main course first. Work on other dishes as time permits.
  6. Have on hand roasted nuts, pre-washed baby greens, and premium ice cream in case there’s no time to make the appetizer, salad and dessert you originally planned.
  7. At a casual supper, have wine drinkers take their glass from the table and use it all night.
  8. If you’ve run out of time, keep the party in the kitchen. (No one wants you toiling alone while they’re having fun.)
  9. Assign simple tasks like filling water glasses, lighting candles and serving salad to eager guests. 
  10. Make sure the dishwasher is empty so you can load as you go.

With these tips as your guide, hopefully you will look forward to having people over more often.

Spring-Meets-Winter Salad
Serves 6

Fennel, red onion, radishes and carrots offer great texture and color to this salad while the grapefruit and orange, both juice and sections, brighten it.

The salad can be prepared several hours in advance but dress it right before serving.

  • 1/2 large fennel (about 3 cups) halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, juices reserved
  • 1 cup pre-washed baby arugula
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 lemon

Place salad ingredients through arugula in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add a little of the reserved grapefruit juice and a squeeze of lemon juice; toss to coat again. Adjust seasonings, including additional oil, salt, pepper or lemon juice. Serve.

Next: Creamy spring chicken stew. »

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