We moved in a bigger place this year so we can generally have more space and to also be able to host more people since we love entertaining in our house
Our balcony and dining room is right next to each other, which doubles up our entertaining space. But now that the weather is getting unbearable everyday, the balcony is off limits for a little while.
This doesn’t mean that summer entertaining has got to stop though because we can’t do outdoor BBQs. For me, entertaining this season means laid-back atmosphere, fuzz-free food and refreshing beverages.
Last weekend, I decided to host in our dining room for the very first time since moving in and put together this easy do-it-yourself taco lunch. The dishes and table setting were all prepared within 2 hours. Want to know how I did it? Read more below.
KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
The key to entertaining stress-free is to keep it simple. You don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen hours before and during your party, you want to be able to enjoy yourself as well. Keep the menu simple and make food that doesn’t require a lot of preparation or attention. A slow-cooked meal is your best friend.
For this D.I.Y. taco bar, the star is definitely this slow-cooked barbacoa beef (pictured above) that I had prepared the night before and left simmering until the next day. It’s literally a ‘chuck all the ingredients in a slow cooker and forget about it’ kind of recipe. The rest are simply ‘chopping and mixing’ dishes like this pico de gallo, guacamole and black beans.
BE ORGANIZED IN THE KITCHEN
Ever wondered how chefs could prepare meals fast? In addition to their mad chopping skills, they’re very organized in the kitchen. Having a birds-eye view on what needs to happen preparation wise and putting them in order will save you a lot of time. I like to have a rough plan in my head so I can be efficient in the kitchen. It could be something simple like chopping the vegetables while the meat in searing in the pan. Time is precious in the kitchen.
Decoration sets the atmosphere to a party. Since summer entertaining for me is all about laid-back atmosphere, I kept the table setting pretty simple. I covered my dining table with kraft paper. It soaks any food stain and you can use it to label your food by writing on it with a marker. There’s also no washing required, you can toss it in the bin after the meal.
In terms of serving ware, I placed only one plate that served as the appetizer and main plate. Utensils are kept in a holder so people can serve themselves and used this this cute multi-purposes glasses for cocktails, water or wine. I also served the dishes in mismatched serving ware and cutting boards to give the table a more rustic and relaxed vibe.
I love the idea of this DIY Taco bar since everything is self serve. This way, you spend less time serving guests and more time catching up with them. It also makes for a dynamic party where people can get creative with their food. Make sure you have a variety of items that pleases the vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
The drink is also self-serve with this pitcher of rise wine cooler. I kept the pitcher at the end of the table with stacks of glasses so people can easily help themselves.
CLEAN AS YOU GO
The worst part to entertaining is cleaning up after. I have made the habit to cleaning as I go when I’m in the kitchen and make sure to keep it tidy when the guests arrived. You don’t want to give your guests the impression that you’re a hot mess in the kitchen when they arrive as this sends the wrong vibe to your party. I make sure the pots are clean and tools are in the dishwasher before I bring the food out.
After the meal, I ask my guests to help bring the plates to the kitchen, they’re always happy to oblige. I usually run the dishwasher before I serve dessert so I can sit back enjoy the rest of the day with friends without having to worry the amount of dishes left unattended.
D.I.Y TACO BAR MENU
Nachos (store bought)
Salsa Dip (store bought)
Grilled Shrimp with Paprika
Lettuce (used as wraps)
Hope these tips will help you in your next hosting gig. Do you have other clever entertaining tips or hacks? Comment below, I’d love to know!
Happy summer entertaining!