Summer is just around the corner, and for many of us, that means party season is upon us. Throwing a party can be a daunting task when you think about feeding all your guests, but with a little bit of prep time and a little creativity, it can simply be a piece of cake.
This weekend, we celebrated my little nephew’s first birthday. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we welcomed him into the world! My brother and sister-in-law did an incredible job planning the little guy’s birthday party, and all their friends and family were in attendance. When you combine a Cuban family with a Mexican family, this means that there were 75+ guests in attendance. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Jessica and Jeff made sure all the prep work was done ahead of time, so that they could enjoy the festivities with little Matty.
Even when I host dinners or events for far fewer people, I use the same technique. I always plan a menu that I can be at least 75% finished with before my guests arrive, so that I can enjoy their company. Take my veggies and dip cups, for example. The night before the party, I prepared all of my vegetables by slicing them into sticks, so that the morning of Matty’s party, I just had to pour a little dip into the cups and fill them with the pre-sliced veggies. Easy as pie!
These are a crowdpleaser, as well, because they are easy to hold, and the veggies are contained in a single cup, rather than rolling around a plate. My favorite time to serve these is when we host daytime or outdoor events, when the ambiance is more casual and relaxed. They are essentially the old standard crudite platter, served up in an easy, portable, way. Try them with a variety of vegetables paired with your favorite dip, and you’ll watch them fly off the platter as you sit back and relax at your next summer party.
- 4 lbs carrots, peeled
- 3 large, seedless or hothouse cucumbers
- 3 bunches celery
- 6 red bell peppers
- 1 large container Ranch dressing
- 60 small plastic cups
- Slice the carrots, cucumbers, celery and bell peppers into relatively equal sized strips, long enough to just stick out from the top of the plastic cups.
- Lay out the cups on trays, and pour about 2-3 Tbs. of Ranch dressing in each cup.
- Add vegetables to the cups, and serve.