Some of the best dinners I can remember were never planned—they just happened!
In the summer, we eat in the backyard where we can see our neighbors. We are usually heating up the grill and chat about what we’re having. More often than not, we end up eating together.
It starts with a conversation and turns into something more—a gathering that’s simple, warm and memorable. Since it’s a relaxed setting, everyone pitches in so I don’t have to monitor the table. Guests refill their own drinks and we have a sense of intimacy because we have done something comfortable. It’s more about sharing what you have vs. preparing anything formal.
After you have others over for a casual meal, a warm feeling comes over you. You think, “I’m really glad we did this”, My husband might say to me, “What a nice evening” and the neighbors call the next morning saying how much they enjoyed dinner. It’s just a sense of fulfillment sharing an evening at the table with others.
Want to make sure you’re prepared for your own impromptu dinner party? A well-stocked pantry is always helpful, but here are a few other simple tips:
Keep it simple.
A dinner consists of three things—at the most, an appetizer, main course and dessert. The easier it is, the better.
It’s always nice to have salsa and chips in the pantry. Sometimes we can get a bit fancier with hummus or a cheese platter thrown together with the things we stock in the fridge. Creativity with vegetables, like slicing carrots in a fun way, celery curls, etc. make it so easy to throw together a great appetizer platter that can even suffice for dinner.
I buy a pack of Chicken breasts, divide them in parcels of 4, pour in some marinade and throw them in the freezer. If the need arises, I can thaw them in tepid water within an hour. A grilled chicken breast over a salad is an awesome summer dinner.
Pasta is another essential to my summer impromptu dinners. With the produce from the garden, it’s so easy to throw together a dinner pasta that looks so casually elegant, no one would even suspect that you didn’t plan it.
When I make cookies, I prepare a cookie sheet or two and instead of popping it into the oven, I put it into the freezer for an hour. Once the dough is frozen, I store it in plastic bags. It’s so easy to take out frozen cookies and bake them and it’s a delicious treat.