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How to Throw a Last-Minute Party

Party PlanningBy Gina Franklin

Backyard barbecues, pool parties, tailgating, and block parties tend to happen on a whim. But what can you do to throw a successful party when you decide the day before, or even just hours ahead of time to have everyone over?

Creativity is the key, and the best parties are created with outside-the-box thinking. And you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to throw a memorable event. Most foods, drinks, and decorations can be prepared with what you already have in your house. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. The star of the show. Throwing something on the grill is always a popular idea in the summer, and the traditional grill fare — burgers, hot dogs, maybe even some steaks — are certainly good party options. But a great alternative for feeding a big group of people would be a taco bar. Not only can you grill chicken and beef for this, try wrapping onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and squash in aluminum with some butter and fajita seasoning and let it cook on the grill too. Serve this with corn and flour tortillas and you have the perfect food for people to hold and eat while they walk around and mingle.

Mix the following ingredients together and use this to season your meats and veggies. Fajita Seasoning Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  1. What to do with the toppings. With fajita tacos, you are going to have condiments that need to stay cold. With temperatures that can reach the 100 degree mark during the summer, that can be an issue. The best-case scenario is to have a shaded area where these things can sit out. Just fill a couple of large bowls with ice and set smaller bowls in the ice to hold toppings such as chopped cilantro, chopped onions, grated cheese, pico de gallo, salsa, and guacamole.
  2. Keep everyone hydrated. When it is hot outside you need to make sure that there are plenty of cold, refreshing beverages around. Along with soft drinks, water, and tea, a couple more great ideas are Strawberry Basil Lemonade and Horchata. These are simple recipes that are refreshing and delicious. If you don’t want to have several pitchers of drinks for people to pour themselves, then portion the drinks into half-pint or pint-sized mason jars and keep them iced down.
  3. One word: dessert. When it’s hot outside and you have a crowd that wants something sweet, homemade ice cream is the only way to go. This Salted Caramel Ice Cream Recipe is the best way to please a crowd. It is creamy with a tart saltiness that no one can resist.
  4. Setting the mood on a budget. The one thing that people spend the most unnecessary amount of money on is decorations. Simple things like using potted flowers and plants that you already have for table decorations, stringing old Christmas lights around the party area, or making paper bag luminaries can add personality to your party without breaking the bank.

These are just a few ideas to help get your party season underway. What are some of your “go-to” ideas when you create an unforgettable get-together?