One way to express love to those who matter most to you is through food. Serving up thoughtful meals to loved ones is a way to show how much you care. And, boy, did we ever feel the love from our grandmothers. When we reminisce about the meals they made for us growing up, our minds are flooded with cherished memories.
Nana’s Homemade Italian Meatballs, for example, is such a beloved, warm and savory dish that we now make and serve to our own families. Special gatherings at Mimi’s are also cherished memories, and we loved enjoying her famous Egg Salad Sandwiches while catching up with each other. We keep the love-through-food tradition alive by viewing the meals we prepare for our friends and families as a way of expressing our love to them while gathering around the table to create new memories. But…can you achieve this expression of love through food without cooking?
Even though we adore the homemade cooking of our grandmothers, we also know that they didn’t always go from-scratch either. It’s not always realistic to make a completely homemade dinner for guests with our busy lives. Our grandmothers knew this truth, and so they were also experts in going halfway homemade and replating premade food items. What’s halfway homemade? It’s a recipe that involves some premade, store-bought items, cutting down on prep time but never sacrificing taste or aesthetic. And, of course, replating premade food items just involves a few minutes of your time and a few of your favorite serveware pieces. So, can you still show your love through food with little-to-no cooking involved? Absolutely.
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How To Host a Dinner Party With Little-to-No Cooking
Preparing Halfway Homemade or going fully premade doesn’t make the food you serve worth any less. We mean it! When opening up your doors, decide what matters to you and find ways to delegate or simplify the rest. Maybe cooking isn’t your forte, and you’d rather spend your energy arranging flowers or thoughtfully decorating the table. Or maybe you’re just short on time, and from-scratch cooking just isn’t realistic for you at the moment. Regardless of the why, we’re here to remind you that you can host a dinner party with little-to-no cooking — and no one ever has to know! With this in mind, we’re sharing with you our favorite items that help you cut down (or even eliminate!) time in the kitchen, allowing you to spend more time with those who matter most.
Our Favorite Ways to Go Halfway Homemade
Meal Kits: Many grocery stores’ prepared foods sections offer pre-made dinner kits that require little prep from you. Most kits are complete meals, have pre-measured ingredients and easy instructions, so it’s an no-brainer grab-and-go item!
Frozen Items: One of our favorite go-tos for a homemade look without much effort is to heat up frozen items, such as sweet potato fries, and then sprinkle a fresh ingredient over it before serving guests. Herbs and cheeses are ideal for this, as a pop of green parsley or a touch of feta cheese gives the appearance of being from-scratch, even though it might have been in your freezer thirty minutes beforehand.
Rotisserie Chicken: Oh, how many times has rotisserie chicken saved the day?! When we’re crunched for time, swinging by our local grocery store and picking up a warm and fresh rotisserie chicken is truly a life saver. Of course, you can serve whole, but we love shredding the chicken and using it in a variety of dishes, such as our Nana’s Chicken Salad Sandwiches. The sky’s the limit when you’ve got a pre-cooked chicken on hand, no cooking required.
Our Favorite Items to Replate
Cheese & Crackers: Who doesn’t love cheese and crackers?! Not only is this classic combo a crowd pleaser, it’s easy to elevate by replating onto your favorite piece of serveware. Up the aesthetic even more by going with a cheese ball center and sprinkling with dried fruits and nuts, then complete the look with a variety of crackers. (Many stores offer a variety pack of entertaining crackers!) In just minutes, you’ll have a beautifully-plated appetizer or snack for company.
Baked Goods: We love serving seasonal boxed or made in-store donuts and other pastries as either a quick breakfast or dessert. By simply placing baked goods on a serving platter or a cake stand instantly creates a fresh, homemade look. If your boxed or made in-store baked goods are normally served warm, pop them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (depending on the size and number of items) to give them the fresh-out-of-the-oven feel!
Salads & Pasta: From potato salad to macaroni & cheese and everything in between, you can find a variety of delicious, pre-made salads and pasta at your local grocery store or family-run deli. All of these items can easily be replated into your favorite serving bowl, and guests will never know the difference.
A Fresh Mindset to Embrace
Remember, no one ever said you have to make food from scratch to be a thoughtful hostess. Although we’ve gotten the idea that a homemade cook makes the ideal hostess, it simply isn’t true. In fact, there is no “ideal” hostess at all because each hostess is unique. That’s part of The Redefined Hostess™️ journey: redefining what matters to you so that you can be a fulfilled hostess. So, go from-scratch, Halfway Homemade, completely store-bought, or a combination of them all. Do what works for you, and focus on what matters so you can be there for those around you. Set yourself free from any preconceived notions you might have had in the past and embrace your true #hostfulatheart nature. We’ve all got a hostful heart inside us, including you. (We promise.)
Hap-Bee Hosting, friend!