This post is sponsored by Michael Angelo’s.
I love food. So it’s probably no surprise that meals and coffee breaks are among my favorite times of the day. However, life can get busy, and dinner can be just something we do, rather than a joyful occasion. That’s why today, I’m sharing a few easy dinner party ideas that you can use to make any and every meal special and more memorable.
To help me walk you through a few of my easy dinner party ideas, I’ve teamed up with my friends over at Michael Angelo’s. Michael Angelo’s creates delicious and authentically Italian-inspired dishes that you can find in the frozen food aisle of your grocery store. (Look for their new green boxes!) Their philosophy about food says it all: “It tastes good to say no.” They don’t use preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients. That’s also a big no to shortcuts and compromising on taste.
All of us have days when preparing a full dinner just isn’t going to happen. Whether you’re short on time or simply don’t have the energy, why not enjoy a dish that was created to taste like homemade. Chicken Parmigiana or Cheese Baked Ziti tastes so much better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Stay tuned, there’s a giveaway at the end of this post.)
So, the question is: How can I make a frozen meal, or any meal for that matter, feel special and important? Or if you happen to be hosting a group of people, but don’t want do all the work of cooking in the kitchen, how can you make that feel special?
Let me walk you through some of my ideas!
Easy Dinner Party Ideas
1. Plan Ahead for Quick Meals
This is my ultimate tip because the rest of my ideas require some preparation. It’s been said that failing to plan is planning to fail, which is something we can probably all agree on. Even though you may be creating a quick meal, think about what else you may need. For example, if you’re serving Italian cuisine, you may want to have the ingredients on hand for tossing a quick antipasto salad. Or go all out and on your way home from work, pick up a bottle of your favorite wine and a fresh loaf of bread.
2. Have the Right Tools
Have you ever wanted to serve a salad and realized you didn’t have tongs or other appropriate serving utensils? Or have you wanted to bake a pie only to discover you didn’t own an appropriate pan? (Yes, the latter happened to me when I moved to my apartment and just assumed I had a pie pan.) Think about the basics you’ll need for serving a meal. Do you have a bowl or basket for bread, tongs for a salad, or a spatula to dish out lasagna?
Having the right tools makes things easier. Plus, if the pans and utensils are pretty and something you enjoy using, the meal will feel that much more special.
2. Use Cloth Napkins
It’s rare for me to use paper napkins, especially when serving others. One tip I learned years ago (and I’ve shared with you before) is to use hand towels as napkins. Not only do these towels come in fun and classic patterns, but they wash up nicely and don’t require ironing. If you have a set of 12, you’ll always have plenty for impromptu dinners. Having a cloth napkin (even if it’s a hand towel) will instantly elevate your meal. Beautiful napkins make even the humblest of meals feel grand.
3. Add a Tablecloth
I’m not a big fan of paper napkins, but I love paper tablecloths! Why? You’re (usually) not wiping your face and hands with them, and they make clean up a breeze. Your tablecloth can be as simple as brown kraft paper, or you might use leftover wrapping paper for a celebration. There are also a couple retailers that sell paper table runners (like the one I’m using) and paper placemats if you want to be extra fancy.
Want to make it more fun? Put crayons on the table and encourage your guests to get creative!
4. Create a Counter Buffet
To put this post together, Michael Angelo’s sent me five of their meals to style and enjoy. I was delighted by how good they taste. Yes, my mom’s lasagna will always be my favorite, but because Michael Angelo’s uses real, quality ingredients, their meals truly deliver on flavor.
As I set all of the meals on the counter, I realized that creating a counter buffet is an easy way to contain the mess of a meal. Put the plates, cups, food, and drinks on the counter and have guests help themselves. I also find this encourages people to bus their plates at the end of the meal. When dinner is over, you just have the counter to clean.
5. Dress it Up
While the flavors of Michael Angelo’s dishes are fantastic on their own, I will forever be a fan of dressing up food with a garnish or two. A sprinkle of julienned basil or freshly grated Parmesan can make a dish look finished and even more tempting. If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can use these items to dress up your table or buffet. Decorate with a potted basil plant or set out a cheese grater and a piece of parmesan to encourage guests to help themselves.
I hope these easy dinner party ideas have shown you how simple it can be to do something special for any and every dinner. Given the busy-ness of daily life sometimes we ignore these details, but I think it’s little things like these that bring joy … and joy always matters.
So next time you’re in the frozen food aisle picking up a quick dinner, skip the pizza and give Michael Angelo’s a try. You won’t be disappointed. And because I like to give you the hook-up whenever possible, I have a great giveaway for three lucky IBC readers.
Michael Angelo’s will be sending 5 coupons to 3 winners. Each coupon is good for a free product so that means 5 free products per winner! Woot. Woot.
To enter for a chance to win, simply use the form below.
Good luck and happy entertaining!