Stress-Free Party Food Prep

Our guest blogger and Katrina Lander @fitnessfodmap_ guest edits this blog post for Cole & Mason UK.

Everyone loves a party, right? However, it can be a little stressful when you start thinking about all the food to be made, the time you have and the storage space! Here are my top tips to try and make you party as stress free as possible.

Organise – Plan what you want to make before you go shopping, considering the amount of people you’re catering for, and how much food will be necessary. Write a shopping list so you don’t under/overbuy and/or miss any ingredients.

Keep it simple - Don’t over complicate the recipes/ingredients, you don’t want to spend most of your time putting together one dish and/or searching for ingredients that aren’t always easy to pick up in your local supermarket. I tend to stick to foods that can be easily made in bulk and recipes that can be easily doubled/tripled etc.

Versatility – We all have different taste buds, try to ensure you don’t use the one same ingredient in every dish. When catering for a party, and a larger number of guests I like to include dishes that use meat, fish, and vegetables separately. Don’t forget to also be mindful of any dietary requirements. 

Opt for foods you feel comfortable making, dishes you know always go down well. New recipes can definitely work but can also cause more stress if you’ve not previously practiced them.

Presentation - Not all foods need to have a lot of time/effort go into them to make them look fancy and taste yummy! Think antipasti boards, Caprese salads, fruit skewers and cheese boards. Presentation goes a long way; I personally love using wooden serving boards as each one can look completely different and yet never look out of place.

Ingredient prep – It’s likely you won’t be able to make all your dishes ahead of time, however many ingredients can be prepped ahead, ready to use on the day i.e.,

  • Pre make the marinades
  • Wash, peel and chop the vegetables
  • Weigh out ingredients, storing in containers until ready to use

Space – If you don’t have a lot of space in the fridge, it may be worth baking/buying a cake that can be stored in an airtight container or left in the packaging, as opposed to choosing a dessert (such as a cheesecake) that needs to remain in the fridge. Dessert will still be thoroughly enjoyed, and it’ll leave you with that extra handy fridge space.

Try to save your own food shop for after the party to give yourself maximum fridge space.  

Freeze/Reheat - Depending on what you’re planning to make, some foods can be made ahead and either frozen, or reheated. Choosing these types of foods are particularly handy if you’re making several dishes – you’ll thank yourself later with the time you have saved.

When freezing/reheating dishes ensure you follow the instructions thoroughly.

Timings If you have numerous dishes that require time in the oven/microwave write down the time for each item, including the time to put the dish on, and for how long.




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The serving board every kitchen needs for expert entertaining. Choose from small, medium and large to present your best culinary creations.