Keep things simple to have fun at your own party. Quality purchased food items can add a lot to a meal, and all you have to do is take them out of the box.
- Limit the amount of things you have to cook at the last minute.
- Limit the complexity of the dishes you make. Make something like a casserole or a pot roast; one-dish cooking saves a lot of energy.
- Organize the party so you're socializing with your guests, not tending to boiling pots in the kitchen.
- Serve communally. Plate the food at the table or have the guests help themselves.
- Be as informal as possible.
- Base at least one course on a quality item that you purchase. Oysters or prosciutto are excellent choices for the purchased course.
- Hold some of the party in your kitchen or, better yet, eat in there as well so your guests can help.
- Promote a sense of relaxation and informality.
- Pick friendly wines that don't demand too much attention. Beaujolais can be a party in a bottle.