Whether you want to host a small gathering or a large dinner party we all get frantic when it comes time to the actual date. Whether it’s a holiday or just a special Sunday Dinner we all want it to be just perfect!! Or maybe I’m the only one that longs for that perfect space in my new house to entertain with family and friends. Fall is such a beautiful time to decorate anything, why not make it into a Fall Dinner?? Well someday I will I suppose, so for now, I’ll dream, and share those dreams, decorations and just the right dishes with you! Thanks to event planner Tara Wilson here are some great tips on entertaining.

Setting: To me this is an important part. I someday will have beautiful dishes upon dishes to serve with and eat off of, for every season and every occasion! If you do like to entertainlike me, you are shaking your head up and down with anticipation of what’s next! If you don’t like to entertain, keep reading! Dishes and recipes come later! The setting to me is a great way to liven up your space, add some color to your dining room or kitchen.

Theme: Oh this is a fun decision too. Using a theme whether it be a holiday, birthday party or just your favorite things, stick to that them when picking out invitations, favors, centerpieces or napkins. I just recently started liking fall, maybe it’s because my daughter was born right smack dab in the middle, but if I remember correctly, our engagement party was also planned for October and I decorated in a fall style. Winter can be beautiful with all of the pine trees, snow and pretty white lights twinkling. How about an empty wine bottle with a string or too of battery operated lights in it to spread around or use as a centerpiece. Holly berries and snow melted pine cones decorate my arch way in my home. Spring can be fun, break out the spring flowers, nothing more beautiful than a fresh flower that smells amazing to get you geared up for Spring. Summer, of course summer is fun, break out the sand, seashells and star fishes! You can get a package of them real cheap at any craft store.

Centerpieces: Do you remember planning your centerpieces when you got married? Or planned a special party? I sure do. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. Dried flowers, wheat and just natures elements can give you a beautiful centerpiece in a “look fancy” glass vase. Or how about a hurricane vase to add lighting to an outside event, use candles or white lights. Multipurpose, adds ambiance and lighting. A fall centerpiece I always like, and granted I get them at my local floral shop, but I love love love flowers in a small little pumpkin. How festive is that! Centerpieces can be so fun and easy, how about a glass jar with colored beads on the bottom and a floating candle or even a real fish! Here is a picture from my wedding. I did a bottle of wine (with our names and date of the wedding) with two candles lit, 2 wine glasses with our names on it and a cork tied to the bottle with a ribbon. You think I like wine??

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Drinks: Fun Fun Fun!!! Do you remember my fun Sangria recipes this summer….super idea for any summer gathering whether it a be a family baby shower or a back yard BBQ. When I think fall I think apple flavored anything, Ciders, or how about cider spiked with champagne? That is so on my list to try VERY soon. With winter I think, warm and cozy drinks like a Hot Spiced Cider, Coffee drinks, Folders has some awesome recipes like a Cinnamon Mocha Coffee, or even a simple hot chocolate. Stick a candy cane in there or a marshmelow and serve on a pretty platter and your good to go. Spring makes me feel giddy because it’s the start of the nice weather after a long, cold winter, well for me it is. It screams break out the BBQ so again I’d choose a Sangria, flavored Martini, like the Watermelon Martini I made a few weeks ago, or heck any frozen drink!

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Appetizers: This is one of my favorite courses in any dinner. It’s a great way to make a little of a lot! That’s how I say it at least. I love picky foods, some Sunday’s I make a bunch of Apps for my husband and I and we pick for lunch.  Welcoming guests as they come, probably with a little grumble in there belly is a great idea to hold them off for the main event. Try a simple cheese pallet using different kinds of cheeses, remember, buy some you may not like, others may, besides, less calories for you! Serve them with a fancy cracker or even a sliced baguette, along with peanuts, craisens and dried fruit. Some of my favorites are Pepperoni Puffs, Veggie Pizza Bites, Salsa Roll Ups (always a big hit), Spinach Cups, and Spicy Mustard Kielbasa

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Entree: When I entertain, no matter how big or small, I like to choose a dish that doesn’t require a lot of work right before it’s served, another words something that can be served at room temperature or something that can be made a head of time is always good. I prep as much as I possible can before my guests arrive so I can actually enjoy my company. There is no reason why you can’t serve a nice cooked whole chicken or pork tenderloin, it’s just choosing the way you cook it and doing all of the prep ahead of time, then all you have to do is slice and serve. Here are some of my favorite dishes I serve to dinner guests, now keep in mind, my dinner guests consist of another couple and two year olds, but I’ll include some fancy ones too. I made a Sweet Potato Lasagna with Brown Butter Cream Sauce or Skinny Alfredo Lasagna, it was awesome, its something you can make a head of time and pop in the oven when your guests arrive, and it still impresses. How about a Glazed Chicken w/Butter & Pecan Rice, something that sounds and tastes amazing but won’t take too look. Chat with friends while making this dish on your stove top. The Mustard Crusted Parmesan Chicken will surly impress any guest and it’s something you can make right before anyone arrives and just pop it in to bake. You want to make beef? Well a great dish that you pop in the crock pot is my Beefy Onion & Mushroom Steak Tip Dinner, pour it over a Mashed Potato or a simple rice pilaf and think of all the time you’ll have with your guests while this cooks. Some people like to serve pork, you’ve come the right place because my family LOVES pork! Here are my favorite, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, stuff this with sage and parmesean cheese and impress your guests, another one that can be prepped before they arrive. I served Sweet Barbacoa Pork to guests before and it was a hit, a crock pot dish will leave you with plenty of time to get ready! Lastly, Individual Chicken Pot Pies, this dish will impress anyone, well maybe because I love serving things in individual little bowls,  you can make this a few different ways, I’ve made it with actual crust on top, or you can plop in dough on top of each serving and let it puff up in the oven. Serve it with mashed potatoes and be done, what’s easy about this you ask? It’s cooked int he crock pot! Yes all you have to do is assemble them before your guests arrive, pop in the oven when your ready to eat. You trust me right? Try them!

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Doesn’t this make you just want to have a dinner party?? I can’t wait to have a bigger home so I can throw a goooood one! That’s it your all invited!! :)

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