Hosting for your loved ones can be one of the most rewarding experiences. There can be nothing better than getting together with everyone you cherish and watching them savor a meal you’ve cooked with all your heart. However, although hosting is rewarding, it can also be exceptionally challenging. Whether you’re hosting a handful of guests or having a large-scale party, there can be a million things to remember when planning a get-together. The meals are undoubtedly the most important part, and if you don’t plan meals in advance, there will be a lot on your plate (pun intended). Meal prepping for a party can be a bit complicated, though, as you want to ensure that everything stays fresh. If you want to learn more about how to plan meals in advanced for a party, keep reading below.
Make some soup
Every party needs an appetizer, and there’s nothing better than soup. This is the perfect way to start your party, as it can stimulate everyone’s appetite for more scrumptious meals. Plus, there are potentially infinite options when it comes to soup. You can delve into a range of cuisines and flavor profiles and go for hot or cold soup based on your preferences.
Additionally, soup can be super easy to prep in advance. With other dishes, you might have to prep certain components and put everything together at the end. With soup, however, you can prep the whole thing in advance and simply freeze it. If you want to prepare the perfect soup, adding some delicious boiled chicken is an excellent way to spruce up your meal. Thigh meat is the best option, as it can stay succulent for much longer. However, boiling chicken thighs properly is important if you want to ensure that the chicken stays tender and juicy before marinating or even if you want to add it directly to your soup.
List down your ingredients
When you’re hosting a group of guests, you’ll undoubtedly be making several different meals and courses. Even if you don’t go super complex, there can be many things you need to get. If you don’t keep yourself organized, you can have difficulty keeping track of all the ingredients you need. Thus, it’s important to have a comprehensive list that covers all the ingredients you need for each dish.
This list should include the ingredients you have and the things you need to purchase. This can help simplify your grocery shopping and help your purchase exactly what you need. When listing down your ingredients, be sure to note the quantity too. Although this can seem like an inconsequential step, this can help you minimize time lost searching for ingredients and making trips to the grocery store to get stuff you forgot about the last time.
Research your options
Having a menu that needs to be cooked the day of the party can leave you swamped with work, and by the time your guests come around, you’ll be exhausted. Thus, preparing meals in advance is your best bet if you want to serve delicious food while enjoying the occasion too. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is going with the most basic, tried, and tested options. This can make your party bland and unexciting.
Instead, make sure you do proper research before you finalize your menu. You don’t just have to stick to options that you can fully prep in advance, even though these can be the most convenient. You can go for a mixed menu, where some dishes are completely fresh, whereas others are partially prepped in advance. Making doughs, marinades, dips, and other components in advance can reduce your workload. Additionally, you can partially cook certain meals in advance so that you can finish them off on the day of the party.
Make sure you freeze properly
When you’re making food in advance for a party, you’ll be using your freezer a lot. Whether you’re freezing fully cooked meals to use later or individual components, you must ensure you’re using your freezer properly to minimize any chance of issues later on. First, it’s important to ensure your freezer is set to the right temperature. If it’s not cold enough, there is an increased chance of bacterial growth.
Additionally, make sure you keep away raw and cooked items to prevent any chance of infection too. Separating food into separate containers and labeling them can help you make things easier and safer for yourself. Another factor to consider is that you should never freeze warm food. Doing so can cause enzymes to denature and affect the rest of the food too. Keeping these small tips in mind can help you ensure your food tastes great no matter how much in advance you prepare it.
Be smart when reheating your food
You might put in hours of effort before the big day, only to wash it all down the drain when you pop things in the microwave to reheat them. Although microwaving can be pretty convenient to reheat food, it can often ruin the texture and taste of your meals. If you’re serving curries or gravies, a microwave can be a safe option. However, reheating anything mildly textured or crispy can result in a soggy, steamy mess.
Instead, be smart when figuring out how you’ll reheat your meals. If you have any crispy or seared dishes on the menu, make sure you give them the color they need on the stovetop or in the oven. If your food is fully cooked in advance, broiling them on high heat can help you lock in flavor. Fried food can similarly be reheated in the oven or flash-fried.
No matter how excited you are about your party, you’ll have a lot of work ahead of you. However, if you follow these tips, you can greatly reduce your workload and make sure you can enjoy the event to the fullest. Making these few small changes in how you prepare your meals can make your party much more enjoyable for everyone.