Ok, I have a plan for a couple of sittings – a bit of a test run in fact. This will be an experiment in food photography with an emphasis on repeatable results for you, the reader. I want to make nice photos in two ways: A) in focus (the food) and B) with consistent lighting (the table with everything on it). I want the photos to look the same in different situations with different subjects, so I’m planning accordingly. This will be the first of three sittings at different times of day. I might go to two or three times in one week, or maybe not at all. I may go with one or two different dishes each time with the same lighting, or vary

When dinner time rolls around, it can be hard to find the time to plan a dinner party. Rather than fussing over a complicated menu, I’ve developed a plan that will turn dinner time into a stress-free activity that anyone can do. The first step is to create a timeline that shows how much time each stage of the dinner will take.

This is the timeline for our autumn dinner party! I’ll be updating this post in an incremental fashion, with events happening in the following sequence: 12.30pm: Arrive at the venue 12.45pm: Begin setting up 1.00pm: Food is ready 2.00pm: Drinks are ready 4.30pm: Guests leave 5.00pm: Clean

The most significant lesson I’ve learnt is that everything takes longer than I expect. Always.

Keeping a list is very beneficial, particularly when someone offers to assist you. I can just show them the to-do list and set them loose!

Please don’t be put off by the length of my list. I’m simply trying to be more organized. It’s a never-ending struggle!

the previous day

Whiskey should be infused with apples. Soups, pies, and sauces are all easy to make. (The pie will be kept at room temperature to make reheating simpler and avoid a soggy crust.) To make reheating simpler, the sauces will be kept in microwave-safe containers. I’ll serve the sauces in gravy boats, although a heat-resistant glass container might suffice.

I take out the other serving plates I’ll be using and inspect them for cleanliness. Now is the time to decide whether we’ll serve the meal “family style” (which is simpler) or plate the food for our visitors (fancier). There’s nothing wrong with my setting the table now if I feel like it. It will save me time the next day!

a morning

Straighten the home, arrange the table, set up the bar, chill the champagne, make the pitcher of “mocktails” (excluding the club soda) and chill it.

TIP: Print the recipe for the Apple Whiskey Cocktail and place it at the bar so visitors may make their own.

TIP: I prefer to set a timer for each of my activities so that I don’t get carried away and spend too much time on any one job. I’m often attracted by flashy things, but the timer keeps me on track!

Make sure the beverages have lots of ice.

Now go to the kitchen and start to work!

Pork chops should be brined for a maximum of 2 hours.

While the pork is brining, prepare the following:

Make the filling

To keep the pita bread fresh, prepare the dip and cut it into wedges.

Pork chops should be stuffed and seared on both sides. Then cover and chill until ready to use in the oven.

Prepare the potatoes, cover them, and set them aside until ready to bake.

Refrigerate veggies after slicing them (keep the carrots separated because they take longer to cook)

Cover and chill the sour cream and chives in serving plates.

Make sure the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and any other common rooms are clean. Make sure you have adequate toilet paper and hand towels. . .

Place the dip and pita bread on the table.

Place condiments (sour cream, chives, salt/pepper) and perhaps ice water pitchers on the table.

Remove the meat and put it in a baking dish on the kitchen counter.

Place champagne on ice at the bar to keep it cold.

Turn on the music!

Get dressed (and have a glass of wine to drink while you’re doing so!). Jeff generally reminds me if I forget!)

Candles should be lit.

I typically simply tell myself to relax at this point — these are our pals. Everything will be enjoyable. Whatever occurs, occurs!

Welcome visitors and take advantage of cocktail hour (sneak away quickly and preheat the oven)

Place the potatoes in the oven once it has been preheated for approximately 15 minutes.

Place pork chops in oven 40 minutes later.

Reheat the soup before serving (just before soup is heated, call guests to fill their drinks and take a place at the table). I could even reheat the soup ahead of time and keep it warm on low in a crock pot if I wanted to.

While the vegetable medley is sautéed, clear soup dishes and invite people to take a break from the table.

Turn off the oven and put the pie inside to warm.

Dinner is ready to be served and enjoyed.

While the table is being cleaned, invite visitors to socialize.

After a short pause, make some coffee and begin heating the sauces and preparing the dessert.

I say my goodbyes to the visitors and pat myself on the back for a job well done! Jeff and I have been known to give each other “high-fives.”

We’ve been busy since the summer and there’s a lot going on… – the soup has been simmering for a couple of months, the chicken has been marinating for a couple of weeks, the parsnips have been going to seed for a couple of weeks, the apples have been going to seed for a couple of weeks, the pears have been going to seed for a couple of weeks, the lemons have been going to seed for a couple of weeks, the yellow squash has been going to seed for a couple of weeks, …. Read more about dinner party for 20 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time should a dinner party start?

Dinner parties should start at 6pm.

How do you plan an ited dinner party?

I dont know how to plan an ited dinner party.

What should I make for a fall dinner party?

You should make a pumpkin soup, roasted butternut squash soup, and a vegetarian lasagna.