No Need To Wait Till Temperatures Soar, Host A Potluck Dinner Party Poolside Now!
For many of us Spring is officially here per the calendar, although it may or may not be the perfect temperature for a splash in the pool. But, for poolside entertaining, in most areas, the season is in full swing the moment the first warm breeze blows by and the flowers beging to bloom. We WANT to be outside entertaining by the pool. A fun spring activity can be to host a potluck poolside dinner party. Potluck dinner parties can be fun and relaxing as long as you spend a bit of time organizing from the start. Here are four of our best practice tips:
1. Pick A Theme
Having a theme can get everyone excited about your event. Get creative & move beyond generic themes, like Italian or Mexican; instead, choose a specific ingredient, like seafood or spinach. It will be exciting to see the results and the reflection that each cook's background brings. Finalize the theme two weeks before the dinner so guests have plenty of time to prepare.
2. Plot Your Courses
Make sure to include every course – Appetizers, soup or salad, entrees, desserts and an alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage. We even like to include an after dinner drink too. It is good practice to plan more than one for each course. There are times when one course does not work well and providing guests with more than one option will be a plus. There is also the chance that a guest could have a last minute conflict and cancel. For that reason, it is always good practice for the host to provide the main course, this guarantees without a doubt that it will be on the table J
3. Provide Portion Guidelines
Say for example, you have 20 guests and two of them are bringing desserts, they will each need to prepare to serve 10 people. While you don’t need to be exact, providing guests with approximate portions needed will help make preparation that much easier.
5. Plan for Presentation
When entertaining, presentation is ALWAYS a big part of the experience. Have guests bring their dish nicely presented in a serving dish or, have additional serving pieces available for a quick transfer if needed. As host, having appropriate garnishes on hand is also a good idea. We also like to keep a supply of small photo frames handy – quickly insert the name of the dish & voila! your potluck is a fun, themed, event your guests will long remember. Of course, hosting this event poolside definitely takes it up a notch !
IF you do decide on a seafood theme, here's a great casserole you may want to consider:
LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE CASSEROLE
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 1 pound elbow macaroni
• 6 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 medium onion, chopped very fine
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 cups whole milk
• 1 pound chopped cooked lobster
• 4 cups mixed grated cheeses (Parmesan, sharp cheddar and fontina)
• 1/2 cup bread crumbs (Panko)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook macaroni for 2 minutes less than directions call for al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Transfer 2 tablespoons melted butter to a medium bowl and reserve. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook until softened (about 3 to 5 min). Add flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until sauce has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Remove pan from heat. Gently fold in lobster, macaroni and cheese and mix. Spoon into a shallow 4-quart baking dish.
Add bread crumbs to the bowl of reserved melted butter and toss. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture.
Place baking dish in oven on a baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbling. Allow dish to cool 5 minutes before serving.
Whether you enjoy a potluck dinner party now, or any time during the year, we'd love for you to share your tips/tricks/best practices too so we can all ENJOY LIVING POOLSIDE! Just send us a note in the comments section. Happy Spring!!!