December 4, 2015 Food & Drink How to Throw a Simple & Elegant Dinner Party Can you believe that it’s December?! I mean, I know that Thanksgiving was last week, but it still always feels like December creeps up so fast! I’ve spent most of the week organizing our home, decorating for the holidays—Oliver helped me pick out a perfect little Christmas tree, buying gifts and spending a lot more time in the kitchen. I think our time in spent traveling really reignited my passion for cooking during the holidays and I’m excited to exercise that passion all month long. During winter, I really enjoy relaxing, spending lots of time cozied up at home and having friends over instead of going out. It’s about this time of year when the weather really starts to get cold, and the thought of getting dressed to go out is a lot less appealing than it was a few months ago. With a baby that goes to bed early, it’s easier to have friends over and if you plan ahead, entertaining at home is pretty easy! These tips are perfect for a holiday dinner party, but the same rules apply to any dinner party, for any season! Together with Kendall-Jackson, I planned a simple and elegant holiday dinner party that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. It also doesn’t require you to be a master chef! With a little time and planning, you’ll be hosting your own dinner parties with ease! How to Plan a Dinner Party 1. Set a Date & Guest List First thing is first, right?! Pick a date, invite guests and get an accurate headcount before you start grocery shopping or buying wine. 2. Plan your Menu & Shop the Day Before There’s nothing worse than running around the hour before your guests arrive because you forgot something or didn’t realize how long it was going to take you to cook. Pick a menu well in advance and make a detailed grocery list so you don’t miss anything! Do your shopping the day before too! On the morning of your party, prep your ingredients—wash, chop and prepare anything that can be left in the fridge until dinner. I always recommend doing this in the morning in case you did forget something—you’ll still have time to run to the store and grab it without feeling rushed! 3. Simple Menu Speaking of planning your menu, always keep dinner parties simple. I like to make things that don’t require a lot of attention so I can enjoy my guests too. All of the dishes can be prepped before and popped in the oven or tossed at the last minute. 4. Set the Table For our table setting, I kept things extra simple. White plates and napkins, a festive bunch of holly berries as a centerpiece and cute DIY pinecone placeholders that were a breeze to make, but look adorable! Simple greenery and bright flowers are perfect for spring and summer! You can get the super simple DIY here. I also set each place with two wine glasses for a little tasting to make the dinner extra special and fun. 5. Wine Having two types of wine ensures that here will be something that everyone likes. This smooth Kendall-Jackson Avant Red Blend is a new favorite of mine and paired perfectly with our roasted chicken and vegetables, while the crisp Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay paired perfectly with lighter dishes like the salad and dessert. 6. Buy Dessert Instead of making dessert, I find that it’s easier to buy something pre-made from either your grocery store or favorite bakery. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but having a little sweet something invites your guests to linger a little longer at the table and continue conversation. Roast Chicken 2015-11-30 23:20:22 Serves 4 simple, easy and incredibly delicious Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 1 hr 30 min Total Time 1 hr 45 min Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 1 hr 30 min Total Time 1 hr 45 min Ingredients 1 5-6 lb. roasting chicken kosher salt freshly cracked pepper Instructions Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the giblets (if any) and rinse the chicken, then pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken. Truss the chicken if you want, it cooks the chicken more evenly, but I skipped it because we didn't have twine and it was fine! Place the chicken in a saute pan or roasting pan and season it liberally with salt and pepper on the outside. You'll notice there's no oil involved. Keeping the chicken dry results in a super crispy and delicious skin. Cook the chicken until it reaches the internal temperature of 165 degrees, about an hour to 1 hour 30 minutes. It depends on the size of your chicken and your oven. Place the chicken on a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Cut and serve with roasted vegetables or serve whole at the table like we did! Notes Add fresh thyme as a garnish to the plate for some greenery! Adapted from Thomas Keller Adapted from Thomas Keller The Fox & She http://thefoxandshe.com/ Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad 2015-11-30 23:24:36 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Prep Time 30 min Salad 1 bag of whole brussel sprouts, stems removed and shaved or thinly sliced 1 celery stalk 1/8 red onion, sliced 1 avocado, cubed sliced almonds handful of dried cranberries Dressing 1 Tbsp chopped shallot 1 tsp dijon mustard 1/2 lemon, juiced 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 3 Tbsp olive oil 1/8 tsp dried thyme salt and pepper to taste Instructions Combine all the salad ingredients in a serving bowl and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the dressing until it's emulsified and season with salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle the dressing on salad (you might not need it all) and toss to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. The Fox & She http://thefoxandshe.com/ For the roasted vegetables and baked apples recipes, hop over to Shaheen’s blog! P.S. If you’re wondering what to make for Christmas, this dinner would be perfect — humble, elegant and totally delicious! This post was sponsored by Kendall-Jackson, as always, all opinions are my own! Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Fox & She up and running!