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Welcome Friends to a Casual Dinner

April 22, 2011

Do you prefer get-togethers at home in comfortable clothes with family and friends over structured, formal parties? Are you more spontaneous than organized when it comes to entertaining? Then here's just the ticket: A handy menu complete with do-ahead options for an appetizer, two entrees and an all-time favorite dessert bar to keep on hand, ready to pull from the freezer. With this warm, easy and inviting menu, you'll be ready any time for friends who may show up unexpectedly!


Top Ten Reasons to Get Together
It seems there's a top ten list for just about everything! Well, in that same spirit, here's a list that gives you more excuses to throw that impromptu party.

  1. Your grown kids moved out for the second time.
  2. Your single brother is in town for a visit.
  3. Your new neighbor is moving in (yeah!).
  4. Your neighbor is moving away (boo).
  5. Your neighbor got a promotion.
  6. It's the only way you can find an audience to show off your vacation photos.
  7. Your boss is hinting about promoting you.
  8. You borrowed your father-in-law's ladder for three months while you painted the house.
  9. To sponsor an open house for your work colleagues.
  10. You just moved into your new house and want to meet the neighbors.

From the classic charades and standard board games to hip rhyming challenges, there are lots of ways to add fun activities to your at-home, casual party. Some to consider:

  • Revised version of charades using news of that day.

  • Board games from the past (Battleship, Operation, Twister) with odd substitutes for missing game pieces (toothpicks for Battleship pieces, tiny party favors for Operation).

  • Create new lyrics to common and popular songs. For instance, you could use the tune from the Beverly Hillbillies television show to sing about a friend's promotion: "Come and listen to a story about a guy named Jay. Accounting extraordinaire at Horner, Smith and Flay." Get the idea?

  • Trivia challenges--especially fun if you and your guests share a common hobby or interest such as old movies, cars or even cooking.

Hit the Road
This menu earns bonus miles for doing double duty: It's completely make ahead, as well as being transportable. The entrees and dessert make great food gifts for a friend needing comfort. Or bring these dishes to a last-minute potluck. Everyone will marvel that you pulled together something so delicious so quickly!


Make these delectable little bites in large batches. You may find you can’t wait for a party before sneaking them from the freezer to reheat and nibble!
full spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoonempty spoon (31 ratings)     Member Reviews (3)
Dinner guests will love this Italian-style pot pie. Only you will know how simple it was to put together!
full spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoonempty spoon (22 ratings)     Member Reviews (8)
That's not all folks! Shake up dinner with this flavorful pork version of the classic beef stroganoff.
full spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoonempty spoon (21 ratings)     Member Reviews (3)
Pass the bar! Take your bar baking to a higher level with these wonderful raspberry bars. They have an unusual ground walnut crust.
full spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoonfull spoon (34 ratings)     Member Reviews (13)
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