This post is sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands we partner with on Pizzazzerie!
Prepping for the holiday entertaining season is truly that, a season! It is more than one large meal. It’s quite a few meals, neighborhood parties, visiting family, friend get-togethers, and more. I wanted to give you ten of my favorite tips for easy entertaining all season long. From my favorite quick appetizer ideas to a few simple tips to wow your crowd!
1. Set the table in advance.
You’ll enjoy lots of holiday meals throughout the season so prep your table in advance. Many elements of holiday entertaining have to be prepared at the last minute, but a festive holiday tablescape is not one of them. Ensure you can actually enjoy your holiday festivities by prepping as much in advance as possible. Go ahead and set the table with everything from the dishes to the centerpieces so you can focus on friends, family, and the food! Use sticky notes placed in trays and serving dishes to note where food will go once it’s prepared. Anything you can do ahead of time will be a lifesaver when you have a house full of guests!
2. Personalize it with paper!
One trick for creating a personalized tablescape – the easy way – is to print your own place cards. I create my own on the computer (you can use any design software, I like Canva.com) and print on a white card stock! Print anything from food label cards, place cards, menus, banners, gift tags, etc.
3. Start the day off with an easy and delicious breakfast!
One thing is for sure, a house full of guests can be quite hectic. Make mornings easier by prepping a delicious breakfast casserole that you can make the day before. This is my mom’s favorite sausage casserole using Jimmy Dean® Pork Sausage. I love that the sausage has a signature blend of spices which gives the casserole a ton of flavor!
- 1 pound Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 8 slices dense bread
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Place the bread as a "liner" in the bottom of the dish. Next, sprinkle cheese and sausage evenly over the bread. Mix together the eggs, milk, salt, dry mustard, peppers, and pour this mixture over the bread, sausage, and cheese. Cover and chill overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes. Keep warm in a 250 degrees F. if needed.
4. Make big batch holiday drinks in the crock pot!
For example, make apple cider with floating cinnamon sticks and orange slices. You can keep it warm all day in the crock pot (on low) so guests can help themselves all day long.
5. Have an easy snack on hand for guests!
I love the salty and sweet combination, so one of my favorite snacks to have on hand (as well as package up for gifts) is chocolate covered bacon. Sounds crazy, right? It’s addicting! I baked Wright® Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon on a large baking sheet. Then allowed it to cool, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, and covered in toffee bits. Allow to dry and ta-da! It’s crunchy, sweet, salty, and amazing. It’s the holidays, you can indulge! I love serving Wright® Brand bacon because it’s hand-trimmed, 100% wood smoked, and thick cut which really helps when you’re dipping in chocolate!
6. Create a holiday aroma!
Use sliced apples, oranges, spices, and cinnamon sticks to create your own simmering potpourri so your house will smell amazing for the holidays. Simmer it on low while you’re home. The cider (or even water will work with enough spices added) will evaporate down over time so just refill as needed.
7. Set the mood with music.
Even amidst the chaos, playing festive music throughout the house will get everyone in the holiday spirit! Just search for a holiday-themed station on Pandora or Spotify, there are lots of amazing ones geared towards classical holiday tunes, toddler tunes for the kids, or modern holiday hits.
8. Have an easy appetizer on hand that can double as a meal.
When you have a large crowd of guests, it’s nice to serve a dish that can feed a lot of people without taking hours to make. I love to make “individual chicken parmesan strips” by using Tyson® Parmesan Herb Encrusted Chicken Strips. I love that they are made from all white-meat chicken with no preservative ingredients. Simply bake per package instructions but remove from oven 5 minutes early. Top with a slice of mozzarella and return to oven for last 5 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and top with your favorite tomato sauce and diced basil.
9. Prep the house for the chaos!
If you know you’re hosting a large crowd for the holidays, be sure you’ve emptied the dishwasher, taken out the trash and recycling, and stocked the pantry. It’s this prep work that will allow you to relax and enjoy the holidays!
10. Serve up a dynamite dessert!
Ditch complicated desserts and opt for putting your own spin on a Sara Lee® Cheesecake. I topped mine with raspberry jam (warmed slightly), fresh raspberries, and then a dusting of powdered sugar. You could go with a chocolate or caramel twist, strawberries, blueberries, or even chopped candy bars atop chocolate sauce for a decadent dessert!
Here’s a grouping of the 4 products I used to make the delicious dishes mentioned above so you can have a quick reference when you head to the store! You can find all these items at Walmart or if you’re in a pinch, try Walmart’s convenient Online Grocery Ordering/Pickup service! Find out if this fantastic service is available in your area here.