PREP IS KEY! Any prep you can do the night before, means less to do on the day of your event. Things like potato salad are a party staple, and and even better the next day anyway, so make your sides and appetizers the night before! You can cut up your fruit and put it in separate bags, then dump it all together in a big pretty bowl the next day, or put it on skewers like I did, and just put it on a big tray for serving.
MINIMIZE THE POST-PARTY DISHES! Rather than having to empty trash cans full of paper plates, or worse, having to wash a million and one dishes after every one leaves, use baskets (I found mine in the BBQ section at my local grocery store) lined with kraft, wax, or parchment paper. The baskets cost me about $0.50 each and can be reused over and over, and the kraft paper can be purchased for $1.00 a roll at the dollar store. We all know how expensive entertaining a crowd can be. These are way cheaper than paper plates and MUCH less cleanup! I also use small paper ice cream cups for salads or fruit to keep them separated from the other foods in the basket. Salad dressings would drip out of the basket, but with paper cups, your baskets are totally salad dressing friendly. Once you’re done, just grab the paper with everything inside and throw it in the trash. Great for preserving the cleanliness of the house that you’ve been scrambling to clean for the last three days.
SOCIAL FRIENDLY SERVING. Make your food and serving dishes conducive to socializing. The whole basket instead of paper plates thing isn’t just great for trash control and ease, but it’s way easier to hold in one hand and socialize than trying to juggle flimsy paper plate. We’ve all been there! If you make all of your foods easy to eat with one hand, you don’t have to figure out seating for all of your guests and it makes moving around and socializing with each other so much easier. Fruit or veggie skewers, simple salads, and ribs are all great party foods because you’re not messing with a messy burger or hot dog, or trying to cut a piece of meat.
EASY RECIPES! Don’t be a slave to the kitchen or grill! For the foods that you absolutely have to prep the day of, go with simple fuss-free foods. Ribs are one of our favorite BBQ go-to’s and a few years ago, my mother-in-law shocked us with a rib recipe that we were seriously skeptical about, but turned out to be one of the most delicious BBQ recipes I’ve ever tasted, and it’s PERFECT for a big gathering.
Today I’m letting you in on the secret: boiling the ribs before you actually grill them. WHAT?! I’m telling you, my husband (who is BBQ purist) and I, were seriously skeptical, but trust me on this and try it! I used Farmland St. Louis style pork ribs for this recipe, that I just picked up at Walmart, and BONUS: you can find a $1 off coupon here (while supplies last).