So You Think You Can Party? 5 Tips for Stress-Free Party Planning

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In the South, we call our group of girlfriends The Girls, and getting The Girls together for a fun night once in a while is good for the soul. Nibbling on tidbits, sipping on cocktails and catching up with girlfriends is pure bliss. No matter where you are in your lifestage—whether you have a newborn at home, are single, or are sending your child off to college—spending time with your lady friends is something every woman needs time to do!

When I was asked to participate in the Ziploc® Fresh 180 challenge, I came across something that inspired me to plan a little soiree for my girls. I was reviewing the challenge, “So You Think You Can Party?” when it dawned on me that planning a party can be stressful, so I decided to chronicle my next Girls Night Out, hoping to pay forward some inspiration.

To make it doable, try to break things down into bite-sized pieces and take one forkful at a time.

Choose a Theme

Deciding on a theme keeps you focused and allows you to bring your unique personality to the party. Be sure to consider what you already own so you don’t have to do much shopping.

For my recent Girls Night Out, I used my silver plated chalkboard trays and a color scheme of black, white and silver.

Send Invitations

Pull out the craft box— it’s time to get creative! Sending an email invitation or a text is perfectly fine, but if you’re like me and enjoy being crafty, then making invitations is super fun.

I collected some supplies — black-and-white patterned paper, solid black paper, coordinating ribbon, a glue-stick and scissors. I cut the patterned paper into rectangles, then cut the solid black paper into rectangles about one inch smaller than the patterned paper. I layered the black on top of the patterned paper, secured it with glue, tied ribbon to the top and used chalk to handwrite the party details. Who knew chalk worked so well on paper?

Set the Menu

Now we can really get our creative juices flowing!

You don’t need an outlandish display of food or complicated recipes to have a great party. Start with two to three fantastic appetizers, add a gorgeous display of veggies and a nice block of cheese and you’re DONE!

For my Girls Night Out, I made a couple of recipes that I keep in my hip pocket to make throwing a party a breeze.

Artichoke Cheese Soufflé sounds French and fancy, but making it is as easy as pie. Make this yummy concoction in advance by pouring the mixture into the Ziploc® Brand VersaGlass Containers, seal the lids and pop them in the freezer. On the day of the party, thaw, then bake right in the dish to golden brown goodness. (See recipe below.)

Everybody loves a good burger and The Girls are no exception. Satisfying and easy to make ahead of time, my Juicy Burger Sliders are perfect party fare.

Weeks before when I made hamburgers for my family, I doubled the recipe, created and cooked the slider patties and stowed them in Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags to ensure freshness. On party day, I just warmed the meat and assembled the sliders — scrumptious!

Create a Cocktail

When it comes to drinks, keep it simple. Putting an assortment of beverages in a tub allows guests to serve themselves. Talk about laid-back!

For Girls Night Out, a signature cocktail is a must. Make a specialty drink ahead of time and serve it from a pitcher. With so many cocktail recipes available, choosing one your friends will love will be a snap.

I added adhesive chalkboard labels to a set of plain glasses so everyone could keep track of their beverages. At cleanup time, the labels peeled right off.

Stay Organized

Storing my party supplies in Ziploc® Brand Gallon Freezer Bags helps keep my kitchen drawers in order. I buy supplies on sale and keep them organized in Ziploc bags by color or theme.

What are you waiting for? Add a little zing to your life and throw a party. Follow these steps and it really will be a piece of cake!

Artichoke Cheese Soufflé

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Using an electric mixer, blend cheeses and mayonnaise. Add vegetables and bake in glass dish for 25 to 30 minutes until slightly browned.

Juicy Burger Sliders

  • 1 ½ pound ground beef
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 12 small Hawaiian rolls
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • Leaf lettuce

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Mix beef with seasonings. Form 2- to 3-inch patties about one inch thick. Put patties on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until done. In a bowl, mix mayonnaise and mustard to form sauce. Cut rolls in half, add sauce, lettuce, patties and serve.

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.

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