Commentary: Party Planning
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Planning your own party and going to it without being totally exhausted can be done with careful, thorough planning.  Here are a few key steps to help make your party enjoyable for all, including you: 

-Plan at least two weeks in advance for all the work that needs to be done. 

-Create a file folder containing lists for everything and carry them with you every where you go. Review these lists several times against the menu to ensure all is planned and then purchased for the meal: 

·        House cleaning- what and when- the bathroom goes on “the day of the party” list

·        Menu-Create a menu that includes some recipes that can be assembled/prepared the day before.  Remember that marinades and salad dressings can be made days ahead.

·        Service ware/paper or plastic goods- What items are needed to serve each dish, what needs to be cleaned or purchased- do this at least the week before the party. -Use disposable/recyclable napkins, plates, silverware for easy clean up.  I usually hire someone for a flat fee to help assist with little things during the party and for clean up.  High school kids like the extra money and good food to eat, too.

·        Grocery list- Include when special orders need to be made and when everything needs to be purchased.  All non-perishables can be purchased in advance

·        Prep list- very specific list for each dish needing to be prepared- separate lists for the day before and the day of the party

 -Choose the outfit you are going to wear the week before.    

-If you keep the idea of going to your party in mind while creating the menu, simple is better.  If you are unsure of a recipe, leave it for another time, or try it out in advance to help you decide whether it will work for your party.

 -The #1 key to having fun at your own party is to let the little things (like a spilled drink or a forgotten ingredient) go and enjoy those who have come to have fun with you. 

This recipe can be assembled early on in the day and popped in the oven to cook while working on other last minute jobs.

Zucchini Gratin
Serves 8-12

1 T fresh garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

5 medium zucchini (or summer squash) sliced thin   
1 onion, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, sliced thin

1/2 c parmesan cheese

Mix the first four ingredients together and toss with the sliced veggies.  Layer the veggies in an 8" square greased pan, pressing them down to create a flat top.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  The pan will be full.  Bake 15 minutes at 375°F, remove from oven and cover with foil and continue to bake 1 hours more.  Let cool 10 minutes and then press another pan or plate down on top of the foil and tilt over the sink and drain as much excess liquid as possible.  Remove foil and cut into portions and serve.







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