Dinner Party at the Last Minute

17620226_SYou’re in a panic. Your husband just called and he’s invited his boss, or your in-laws, or your neighbors over for dinner. It’s 3:00 PM and everyone is expected at 6:00 PM. What are you going to do?

Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered. With these simple tips you can have a sparkling clean house and an elegant, gourmet meal for your guests to enjoy in no time at all.

First, make a quick trip to the grocery store. Look at the selection at the butcher counter. Kebobs, chicken breasts, fresh salmon or flank steak are all good options. Just be sure you have enough propane at home, because you are going to make your husband grill the main course.

Slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and olive oil make a great side dish that is easy and quick. While your husband is grilling away, wrap some asparagus in foil with butter and spices and put it on the grill until they are crisp tender.  Make some jasmine rice in your rice cooker (if you don’t have one, get one for the future) and viola you have dinner.

For a quick appetizer, take proscuitto and wrap it around pieces of melon, or cut the proscuitto into squares and bake at 425 degrees until crispy. Add a small ball of goat cheese and a thin slice of granny smith apple and your guests will swoon.

When it comes to dessert you can easily purchase a fruit tart or cheesecake or you can get pre made cookie dough and some ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches.

Remember while you are out to stop at the liquor store to stock up on chilled white wine, a good pinot noir and some beer.  Make sure you have soda and sparkling water for those who are feeling abstentious.

At home, get your kids to help set the table. Grab a laundry basket for any clutter in and around your house. Hide it in the bathroom behind the shower curtain. Run the vacuum or do a quick mop so your floors are sparkling. Check that your guest bathroom is clean and stocked with towels, toilet paper and hand soap.

Guests like to help, so don’t feel as though the meal has to be ready the minute they walk in the door. Have the appetizer ready and some wine and let everyone socializes while you grill and finish the side dishes.