Fall Entertaining 101

Fall is the best time of year to decorate and entertain thanks to cooler weather and great TV programming. Warm colors like orange, red, and brown fill the streets as leaves begin to change colors and fall off their trees. You can decorate your home with outdoor elements like leaves or more festive props like pumpkins or squashes. Here are some helpful hints to help you throw the best Fall party EVER!

Theme it up!

Picking a theme is the best way to tie design and entertainment together. Whether it’s planning your annual Halloween party or just inviting the girls over to watch the latest episode of Scandal, choose an element of the occasion to highlight through decorations and/or the menu to make your party memorable.

Fine as Wine – If you consider yourself a wine aficionado, invite your friends over for a sample of your wine collection. Toss in some meat and cheese and you will have yourself an authentic Italian-themed shindig! If you’re an avid traveler, this could be a great way to share some pictures of your travels and encourage amazing conversation.

Season Premiere Party for your favorite TV show – One of my favorite shows is True Blood. Before the show went off the deep end, I hosted a True Blood premiere party where guests could dress as their favorite character or as a generic vampire, werewolf, or fang-banger. Since the show takes place in the fictional town of Bon Temp, the menu was filled with Louisiana favorites like crawfish, shrimp po boy sandwiches, and BBQ chicken (for guests who didn’t seafood). I also ordered some bottles of “Tru Blood” which is basically orange and red soda. The party was a hit! Don’t be afraid to let your imagination go wild!!!

The Menu

If having a themed party is not for you, opt for a girl’s night with a great menu.

Appetizers –

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

Makes 12-15 wraps

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

1 (1-pound) package sliced bacon

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chili powder

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds.

3. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick.

4. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Place chicken wrap on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

Source: Paula Deen and The Food Network

Main Course –

Balsamic Marinated Steak

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb flank steak (3-centimetre thickness)

1 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

Directions

1. Place steak in a resealable bag and add remaining ingredients; rub to work marinade into steak. Press out air and seal bag. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate for 8 hours.

2. Remove steak from marinade. Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Cook steak 3–4 minutes per side. Transfer steak to a platter and tent with foil for 5 minutes. Slice steak across grain and serve.

The Drinks

Take this opportunity to serve something other than wine and juice at your shindig. Try creating a seasonal drink like the age-old classic – the Caramel Apple Cider.

Caramel Apple Cider

Makes 12 cups

Ingredients

12 cups of apple juice – I bought a gallon and had a little leftover

6 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup of good quality jarred caramel sauce, plus more for drizzling

Whipped cream

Directions

1. Heat apple juice and cinnamon sticks in the slow cooker for about 4 hours on high. Let the cinnamon sticks soften and uncurl.

2. Before serving, stir in 1/2 cup of caramel sauce and serve in heat-proof cups.

3. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel. 

Recipe note: I use a 5-quart slow cooker. 

 

Image: Tip Junkie

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