Tag: entertaining

Easter Dinner Made Simple

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 27th, 2013

Roasted Mushroom ToastsWith Easter right around the corner, it’s never too soon to start planning — the sooner you create a plan, the more organized the day will be and you’ll wind up enjoying it more yourself.

I’m hosting Easter again this year — it’s become somewhat of a tradition. Or maybe it’s the fact that everyone knows I’m going to cook up a storm so they are all always open to coming to my house. Either way, I love it. I get to decide what’s on the menu and make things I think will please a crowd.

This year I’m going heavy on the appetizers. I want to host a fun outdoor party with plenty of cocktails and lots of delicious appetizers for my guests to choose from. That way they get to taste a lot of different things without getting totally stuffed from the ham. Not to fear, though, there will absolutely be ham, but I’m incorporating it in a little bit of a different way this time. By eliminating the centerpiece of the large-baked ham, it takes the pressure off of the long cook time and preparation. The recipes below incorporate classic flavors you’d see on an Easter table, but in a casual form — perfect for entertaining a large or small crowd.

Click here to get the menu

How to Host a Large Party: Tips and Ideas From Restaurant Chefs

by in Events, How-to, March 26th, 2013

Sunday Supper at Chelsea MarketWhile you may have mastered the art of preparing dinner for your immediate family, have you learned the secrets to entertaining a crowd of partygoers at home? Shopping and cooking for, as well as serving, a meal at a big-bash party invites questions and challenges that you may not face when planning everyday eats and drinks: What are some go-to dishes that will please a diverse group of guests? How much food is needed to feed everyone? What’s the best way to serve multiple courses?

No one can answer these questions better than restaurant chefs, those who’ve made a career out of cooking for large groups of people and who know the ins and outs of preparing to host a crowd. Elizabeth Karmel, owner and executive chef of Hill Country, Elizabeth Falkner, owner and executive chef at Krescendo and a two-time competitor on The Next Iron Chef, and Hedy Goldsmith, executive pastry chef at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, Fla., showed off their exemplary party-throwing skills in New York City last weekend at the fifth annual Sunday Supper at Chelsea Market, supporting the James Beard Foundation‘s Scholarship for Fulton Youth of the Future and Wellness in the Schools. Together with more than a dozen of their chef colleagues, these ladies cooked a six-course feast for nearly 300 people that included such deliciously inspired bites as caponata with creamy burrata, pasta with sweet onions, tender jumbo prawns and pear crostata.

FN Dish was on hand not only to see the orchestra that’s needed to successfully pull off an event of that magnitude but also to find out from Chefs Karmel, Falkner and Goldsmith how home cooks can utilize similar tricks and techniques when entertaining on a smaller scale.

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Mulled Wine: The Solution for Abundant and Cheap Holiday Wine

by in Drinks, Holidays, December 27th, 2012

Mulled WineThe holidays offer a great opportunity for gathering family and friends, to remember old times and make new memories. And since it’s a celebratory time, it’s inevitable that there will be some drinking going on — a toast with Champagne, wine with dinner, etc. Wine is also a popular host/hostess gift. But after you’ve received the umpteenth bottle of Merlot, what do you do with all the wine? FN Dish has the perfect solution for you.

How about mulled wine? Just think about it. Unless you have a wine cellar to store the bottles, you probably won’t have the space to keep them. And how many times have you put a bottle of wine in your pantry only to discover next Christmas it’s still there? So instead of letting those bottles gather dust, make mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday entertaining into the New Year. Plus it’s a great solution for using up cheap wine (i.e., inexpensive wine — you wouldn’t want to use a $50 bottle for mulled wine).

Get the mulled wine recipes

Set the Scene: Easy Holiday Table Centerpieces

by in Holidays, December 18th, 2012

Rosemary Christmas TreesOften when hosting holiday parties, so much thought goes into ensuring that the food for each and every course is as perfect as it can be that other aspects of entertaining, like home decoration, fall by the wayside, trumped by other, seemingly more-pressing concerns. This year, no matter how casual or elegant your get-together is, set the scene with seasonal centerpieces made from accessible, everyday products, like candles, flowers and fresh fruit. Food Network’s collection of easy holiday centerpieces features 11 must-see designs that aren’t just easy to recreate in your home, but also classic ideas that can be adapted or added upon, depending on your personal taste. Check out a few of our favorite settings below, then browse the entire centerpiece guide to find welcoming scenes to complete your sit-down dinner table, plus kitchen island countertop, buffet and coffee table.

Let seasonal herbs star in more than just your holiday roast by using fragrant varieties as the focal point of your table. The rosemary trees pictured above are light, inexpensive, and add a pop of freshness to the warm indoors. For the containers, use any small pots you have on hand. The metal vessels pictured above are quite elegant, but if you happen to have terra-cotta pots left over from spring and summer planting, put them to work here.

Keep reading for more easy ideas

Easy Appetizers for Spring Entertaining

by in Entertaining, Recipes, May 18th, 2012


Appetizers. Hors d’oeuvres. Starters. Nibbles. Snacks. Whatever you call pre-dinner eats, you can be sure that they will make a meal, offering your dinner guests early tastes and textures and a sneak peek of what’s to come in the later courses. As the spring season winds down, invite friends and family over to celebrate the warmer weather and serve a simple, quick-to-prepare spread of first-course munchies. Food Network’s no-fuss appetizers below are ideal for relaxed, casual entertaining, and include charred lemon-scented shrimp, velvety deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped veggies. Check out our recipe selections and tell us what you’re cooking up this weekend. 

Robert Irvine’s Antipasto Platter With Grilled Vegetables (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is a go-to pre-dinner pick when you’re pressed for time or if guests stop by unexpectedly. This tray can be customized to any size party or taste preference, though some staple snacks include a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, buttery prosciutto, fresh vegetables, crusty bread and more.

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Cookie Exchanges — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 13th, 2011

malted milk chocolate chip cookies
It’s holiday baking time and that means one thing: cookie exchanges. These simple soirées are hands down one of my favorite type of parties to host or attend during the holiday season. It’s a great way to get a ton of your friends together, share the holiday spirit and stock up on lots of different holiday cookies. If you’ve never hosted or been to a cookie exchange, the concept is pretty simple: Make your favorite kind of cookies, bring them to the party and give them away. In return you get a plethora of cookies from your friends that you get to turn around and take home to your family. So basically, you’re spreading a little of your holiday baking love and getting some serious love in return. I always serve some savory nibbles at these parties to make sure no one goes into a sugar coma. A cheese plate with some crackers or a dip duo with some pita chips tends to do the trick.

This year, I’m all about these Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies from Ree Drummond.

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Instead of a Cookie Swap: Easy DIY Pizza Party

by in Recipes, View All Posts, December 10th, 2010
Homemade Pizza
Start a homemade pizza party tradition today!

Baking up pizzas at home creates an instant party vibe, and it’s easier than you think. Follow the lead of Food Network Magazine to start a homemade pizza party tradition at your house today!

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Wardrobe Malfunction Averted on Semi-Homemade

by in View All Posts, October 31st, 2008

SandraLeeHalloween
FN’ers love their holidays but no one does Halloween like Semi-Homemade star, Sandra Lee. Aside from coming up with some of the most inventive tricks, treats, cocktails and tablescapes of this spooky season, Sandra knows costumes.

We aren’t talking about bedsheet ghosts and rubber masks. Sandra could literally step onto movie sets with the costumes she discovers.

We caught her between takes, wardrobe changes and a million other things as she shot her AMAZING Halloween Queens episode which aired earlier this week. Imagine cooking, hosting and finishing a long day of shooting — all while balancing a huge, top-heavy wig on your head.

What’s Halloween without tricky costumes?

If you missed Halloween Queens, fear not. Another great Sandra-fied Halloween episode airs today at 4pm ET / PT. Sandra…or should we say Marilyn, or Liz, or Vivien, serves up spicy bat wings and sweet & sour eyeballs, to name a few.

Can’t wait? Check out Sandra’s Greatest Halloween Hits:

12 Sandras in 60 Seconds

Want more Sandra Lee Halloween ideas? Check out her Halloween Sock Hop!