When you need easy dinner ideas for casual entertaining, follow this menu plan. It’s perfect for fall or winter dinner parties and the recipes are easy to make. Make it your go-to casual supper or dinner party menu when hosting overnight guests, relatives, or friends.
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
Ideas for Casual Entertaining at Home
Now is the time to think about hosting and entertaining guests for fall. To me, that means hosting out of town family and friends who come for holidays or just because.
So the focus here isn’t on preparing formal or fancy dinners. It’s about creating easy meals for casual entertaining. And it’s about prepping comfort food for the people we know best and don’t have to impress.
I’ve teamed up with Babbleboxx once again to introduce you to some fabulous food finds that help you get a jump start on creating meals. Let me walk you through each product and show you how I use them for creating a deliciously easy dinner party at home.
Welcome Friends with a Cocktail
No matter how casual the party, a welcome drink is always necessary. Set up a tray on the kitchen island and let guests make their own mocktail or cocktail.
- Use Organic Herbal Flavored Waters from Trader Joe’s to dress up plain juice or a cocktail made with juice and vodka, gin, or tequila. They have no calories, sugar, or sweetener added; just water and organic herbs. They come in Organic Lemon Ginger, or Organic Lemongrass Spearmint flavors.
- Provide some in an ice-filled tub for guests to drink throughout their visit.
Serve a Light Appetizer
Offer a light appetizer to nibble on while dinner finishes cooking. My delicious deviled eggs with bacon are ALWAYS welcome and gobbled up quickly. But I admit that peeling the hard boiled eggs is such a hassle!
- Make the task a whole lot easier with the Negg – the #1 egg peeler on the market. It’s only $14.99 and would make a great stocking stuffer for the foodie in your life.
- Combine the Negg with The Noodle Soup Oracle cookbook for a hostess gift, teacher gift, or anyone on your gift list. It’s got quick and easy recipes for noodle soup, pho, and more. There are kitchen hacks to make over boxed broth.
Easy Dinner Party Menu for Casual Entertaining
This meal can be prepped ahead with these easy dinner ideas. The casserole can be put in the oven just before guests arrive, giving you time to have cocktails and an appetizer. The salad can be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Make classic chicken tetrazzini with a twist. I’ll be sharing the full recipe soon, but I started with the New RAGÚ Simply™ Creamy Alfredo with Cauliflower. It’s made with milk and cauliflower and has half the fat and calories of RAGÚ® Classic Alfredo Sauce. Find it exclusively at Walmart.
- I also added spinach and Sun Dried tomato Fruitons to the recipe, for added flavor.
My make-ahead kale salad is delicious and perfect for fall dinner parties. The homemade vinaigrette softens the kale as it lightly dresses the greens. Look for the full recipe coming soon.
- Sliced apples are the perfect in-season fruit to add to this fall salad. And Sun Dried Cherry Fruitons add just the right amount of sweetness. Both of the sun dried fruit products are by Traina Foods and they’re a healthy snack on their own.
Pretty Table Setting for a Casual Party
Just because you’re hosting a casual dinner doesn’t mean it has to look that way. There are some simple tips to follow to create a lovely table without the hassle.
Start with using complimentary colors like orange and green. Layer a fabric topper over a tablecloth.
Create Simple Place Settings
When you’re entertaining good friends or family you can use classic white dishes or something with a modern edge like these stoneware plates.
Rattan chargers frame the simple setting, and colorful napkins break up the plain white visual of the dish.
Match the color of the napkins to the color of the glassware.
Add an Easy Centerpiece
No Flowers? No Problem! I love a floral centerpiece as much as anyone, but sometimes you run out of time, you’re on a budget, or the available flower selection just isn’t going to work with your decor.
Pull out some candle sticks, a tray, and some votive candles to make a last minute centerpiece.
Create an unexpected twist by placing wine corks in the candle sticks instead of taper candles.
Provide Endless Conversation
There’s never a dull moment when you put conversation cards at each place setting. Grab our 36 conversation starters free download and print them out on to decorative paper or card stock.
Add a few to each place setting. I love using these vintage floral frogs as holders. And you can spray paint them any color to coordinate with your party table.
If you want to put a little extra effort into this, make these layered diy 3-piece menu & place card sets.
I hope you find these dinner ideas for casual entertaining to be relatable and achievable. If you like them please PIN, SHARE, or sign up for our Newsletter at the top.