Plan a grown-up game night!
No one ever said grown-up parties had to be about Scotch and shrimp skewers. Sometimes, our most fun nights are those that add a retro touch of whimsy -- as in a grown-up game night! Of course, even a night of fun over fancy requires a bit of a game plan (no pun intended).
Don't stress about this too much. Just be sure things are picked up and out of the way so you feel comfortable in your space.
Create a menu
Decide if you want to serve dinner or just have little nibbles and drinks. Either way, keep it low maintenance. Pick recipes with less than eight ingredients. Make a few vegetarian items to appeal to guests' diets and to respect your budget.
Make a shopping list
Go through all of your recipes and create a master ingredients list. Figure out what you already have on-hand and what you'll need to get (don't forget ice for drinks!). Making a list will help you spend less time and money at the market.
Have appetizers ready
Your guests will likely arrive hungry and you'll want to properly greet them. Have some munchies sitting out when they arrive so all you have to do is offer them drinks. This way, they can start to party down while you are finishing up things in the kitchen.
Make things extra special
Fresh-cut flowers from the farmers' market can add a touch of life and color to your space. Are you entertaining outside at night? Hang Edison bulbs from the trees. Little touches really can make a big impression: Cucumber slices thrown into the water pitcher make you the instant party maven.
The key to hosting a good adult game night is to offer more than one game. Unlike children, our adult friends will not blindly play all games, and they will tell you how much they dislike a game if they see it sitting out on your table. Provide a few options, and say something like "For our first game..." so that everyone will be willing to play the first game knowing she will get to play "her" game later in the night.
Also, if you are playing a game like Pictionary or charades, make sure you have enough room for people to move and watch the player draw or act. Being unable to see the drawings on little sheets of paper is no fun!
Kids are happy with pizza and cupcakes. Our grown-up friends are a bit more complicated. That doesn't mean the preparation has to be, though. Here are a few ideas for munchies:
- Spinach artichoke mozzarella dip: Comes in a frozen cube, microwaves in four minutes and is a crowd favorite. You can serve it with crackers, veggies, chips, bread... whatever you have on hand.
- Pesto pepper baguettes: Slice the baguette open, top with the pesto and peppers; sprinkle on some grated cheese (mozzarella is preferred, but cheddar is fine if it's all you have) and broil.
- Guacamole and chips
- Babaganoush and Pita
- Mix ricotta and pesto together and spread on pieces of toast.
- Pop popcorn on your stove and finish it off with truffle salt and sugar.