Dinner Party Planning


There are many reasons to celebrate for no reason … new fax machine at work, your brown thumb grew a green plant, or even something as simple as the end of summer.  I recently hosted a dinner party and for a few dollars, some crafts, and a yummy menu it was a happy success!  I got an idea for this cute place setting from a book at my local library.  I did not want to purchase new plates, napkins, etc … as I was on a budget – so here is how I got this look for $5.00 a place setting:



Next plan an interesting center piece that compliments your place settings.  Find things from around your home and just rearrange them in a unique way.  Here’s what I did!IMG_1910




With a colorful vase that played on the colors of my place settings, some stacked ceramic plates, and a candle I made a simple but beautiful center piece for the table.  This was all stuff I already had in my home, so there was no cost to this elegant add!  You can even dress it up with tiny touches of cheap buys like burlap, freshly picked wild flowers/herbs, or something out of the ball park like old watch faces (simply remove their bands!)  The watch faces are a great add if you are celebrating the beginning or end of something.








The final touch on my table (not counting the food of course) was the mood lighting.  I wanted the table to be dimly lit so it was relaxing.  Using a wide nail, an old soup can, some decorative scrap paper, and glue I was able to make beautiful candle holders in just a few easy steps.  If you are having an early party and candles aren’t really appropriate you could fillthe can with fresh lavender and rosemary for not only color but a wonderful scent.



candle holder

Now that you’re “party pretty”, let’s talk dinner!  When you are planning your menu, plan for the feel of the event.  For example if you are having something with cool colors and a relaxing theme, don’t serve nachos!  🙂   It’s important to make sure the colors and decor match the food.  For crab bakes, items like sea-shells, metal pails, and newspaper are appropriately themed.  For warm dishes like roasts, a warm comfortable elegant environment works great I think!  For my particular dinner I served a slow roasted apple chicken with red skin potatoes, candied asparagus, and corn bread pudding.  (See recipes below)!  Remember it’s your party, and the sky is the limit!  So with some planning, craftiness, and without breaking your budget, you can hose an amazing dinner party that will leave everyone talking!

Apple roasted chicken:

1 whole chicken cleaned

3 medium granny smith apples

Brown Sugar

1 stick butter

Salt & Pepper

4 cups apple cider

Preheat oven to 375.  Melt butter and mix in brown sugar.  Stir as you go, consistency should be a thick cream.  Add 1 cup apple cider.  Next, add your apples into the bowl and coat them with your butter/cider/sugar mix then stuff your chicken with the coated apples.  Use the remaining mix and rub/brush it over your chicken.  Add a little salt and pepper to the outside.  Pour the remaining 3 cups of apple cider into the bottom of the roasting pan. (As it steams it will infuse flavor into your chickens skin).  Roasting times will vary depending on the size of your bird.

Red Roasted Potatoes

1 bundle of small red skin potatoes

Spreadable butter


Wash and clean potatoes.  Rub the outsides with the spreadable butter and then sprinkle sea-salt over the tops.  Poke a few holes with a fork and place in a foil lined baking dish.  Cook about 45-50 mins @ 375.

Candied Asparagus

1 bundle of asparagus


Fill the bottom of a skillet with just enough water to cover half the asparagus as it lays flat in the pan.  Squirt some honey across the asparagus generously. Cover and cook on low, periodically turning the asparagus.

Cornbread Pudding

1 can cream corn

1 cup fresh corn

8oz sour cream

2 tbs Honey

1 tbs Brown sugar


1 stick butter melted

2 eggs

1 box jiffy cornbread mix

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine sour cream, eggs, melted butter, honey, jiffy mix, and brown sugar with a wisk.  Then add the cream corn and fresh corn and stir.  When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour into a glass baking dish and cook until the top turns golden brown.  This is not a dry cornbread, so it will be soft and “pudding” like on the inside.  If you want your cornbread to be more “pudding” like (my personal favorite), substitute the sour cream for heavy whipping cream.

**The plate setting image above which was used for my inspiration was taken from “Real Simple Celebrations”, a fantastic book full of neat ideas for party planning!  Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Real-Simple-Celebrations-Editors-Magazine/dp/193340518X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379016627&sr=8-1&keywords=%22real+simple+celebrations%22




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