How to Get A Dinner Party Together In A Very Short Time

I had a garden project the morning of my Supper Club Party that took more time than I thought, therefore leaving me with very little time to get my act together for this party. Oh and look at the time. My guests were to arrive by 6:30 pm. Thank goodness I had my grocery shopping done! Here is how I did it…

1. Set your table first and foremost. If your dinner falls apart while cooking at least you have a lovely table setting on which to eat Pizza Delivery. Use what you have at home to decorate your table. I found old blue tiles in the garage that matched the blue and yellow theme. I did purchase some Sunflowers but I could have easily used some blooms from my garden. Pretty paper napkins can also add color to a drab table setting.

2. Enlist the help of others. Himself was a huge help to me by running out for ice and depleted ingredients, setting up the bar, and cleaning up the house. Plus he made for a very handsome Sam and can sing better than Pierce Brosnan anyday. My brother and I have assisted each other for party prep in the past as well. This makes for a more relaxing time. Beat to quarters, all hands on deck I say.

3. Cut Corners. Go to plan B, 86 your original plan, compromise, think fast or whatever you want to call a change-up. For example, Kataifi is supposed to be rolled bundles of the shredded phyllo dough stuffed with the nut mixture, but in my lack of time I had to go to plan B; layer the Kataifi dough. I took the entire package of Kataifi and placed in it in a bowl and poured the 1/2 pound of melted butter over it, tossed well to coat, and placed half in my baking dish. Topped that layer with the nut mixture then covered the nuts with the remaining half of the Kataifi dough. This was very quick and easy and gave me extra time to get that blue eye shadow on my eyes. Kataifi can be hard to find but I was able to obtain some from an Iranian Market called Assal. That name does make me chuckle.

Try to remember that entertaining is about the guests, not the cleanliness of your home, the perfection of your food or table setting, nor your outfit-it helps but should not be the main focus. As long as your guests are comfortable, well fed, and entertained with good company and outlandish tales, you will be ensured to have a successful time.

Other Posts on Entertaining:
How to Entertain More Often
The 10 Commandments or Hors d’oeuvres
Getting Ready For the Party
Potluck Pet Peeves


  1. Peter M
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    Aha…I was wondering how you arrived at your differing Kataifi shape…sounds like good thinkin’ on your feet and the Kataifi does indeed look delish. All gone now? ;(

  2. Sheila
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Great advice. I do get wrapped up in having things “perfect” instead of relaxing and enjoying entertaining my company.

  3. Lucy
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    Your Kataifi looks amazing and what a time saver! After seeing Peter M’s creation w/Kataiffi I was on a search to find it… finally I did. I just love the texture of it.

    Great post!!

  4. That Girl
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    I have a hard time with #2 – I try to enlist help, but Thatboy looks at “party prep” time as the perfect time to sneak off for a surf.

  5. unconfidential cook
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    THis is all part of a lesson I can embrace wholeheartedly intellectually…but not the least bit emotionally. I always have to serve my best. And, I’m flipping out at the moment because there are going to be 20 people here for an event on THursday, I feel like I should start cooking this minute and I don’t have the time. Would people have a bad time if they were served TJ hors d’oeuvres. No, but….

  6. Grace
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    you just had to show that kataifi again, didn’t you. man, what i wouldn’t give for a slab of that this instant.

  7. noble pig
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    You are a dinner party star…that dessert OMG it’s making me hungry!

  8. Jenn@slim-shoppin
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Great Job!

    I hate having to be rushed for parties, but sometimes that’s a good thing, then you have less time to stress about it.

    It looked wonderful!

  9. Robin Sue
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    ThatGirl- For boys who do not help don’t get dessert later;-)

    Unconfidential- I do like to put my best foot forward and I have perfection issues but over the years have learned to relax and cut corners. My girlfriend catered an entire party with TJ’s and it was lovely. All in the presentation of course. She placed the cakes on different height stands and placed the apps on such pretty platters. Go for it!

  10. biz319
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Clever use of the blue tiles!!

  11. Debbie
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    I have no perfection issues… I wish i did. BUT, I love to throw parties…supper parites not WOOHOO parites (too old for that and it was never my thing anyway). I love to entertain.
    You make it seem so easy… I’m always a bundle of nerves.

  12. Linda
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    You know I had just looked at a recipe for Kataifi and I was confused because your picture was way different than what I had seen. But yours sure does make things easier. That’s thinking on your feet! It does look yummy!

  13. Lori
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    It is great advice Robin Sue. I have been stressing all week for an upcoming large all weekend party at my house. I keep thinking clean, clean, clean. I am probably driving my kids crazy. I love this dessert. That was definitely quick thinking on your part.

  14. Sara
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    Great tips! I try to plan everything ahead of time so that I’m not rushing around when my guests show up, but sometimes the time gets away from me 🙂

  15. Elyse
    Posted May 19, 2009 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

    These are some great tips, Robin Sue! And I know we can always count on your tips because your parties are always so successful! Seriously, I look at your pictures and I can just tell that your guests are always splendidly happy 🙂

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