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Even the best of us can get stressed at the thought of hosting a party, so any tips and inspiration for making the process easier are always welcome! I am so excited to share my top 8 tips for hosting a successful and stress free party.
When I got engaged in the beginning of December, one of the first things that I wanted to do was celebrate! What better way to celebrate such an exciting time than a small party with my closest girlfriends? Savory bites, colorful greenery, gorgeous blooms, and fun topography are the visual and delicious elements that go into a party, but how do you execute the creative and tasty elements without driving yourself mad with stress? I am sharing 8 Secrets To Hosting A Stylish and Stress Free Party that will make you a relaxed party hosting maven!
Read on for the dos and don’ts of stress free party planning plus a delicious recipe that you don’t want to miss!
1. Create A Set Color Palette
Decide on the color palette for your party and stick to it. Choose two main coordinating colors and an accent color to add a pop. Stick with this color palette within the flowers, table settings, and signage!
2. Play With Varying Heights
Creating a tablescape that looks like you spent hours on starts with creating planes for the eye to fall on. Arrange your greenery and flowers at various heights to create instant visual interest!
3. Get Creative With Place Cards
Have fun with the place cards that you use! Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I picked up a simple letter banner and used the individual letters as initial place cards for each guest. Each lettered panel is bold, so they catch the eye and bring a classy personal touch to each setting!
4. Keep The Food Simple & Sophisticated
Cooking for someone is a delicious expression of love. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen to create savories dishes that your guests [friends] will love! I put together a grown up pepper jack mac & cheese [using wholesome Borden® Cheese ] with roasted jalapeños and turkey bacon for this engagement party that was both simple and incredibly sophisticated. Utilize a classic recipe that everyone loves and put your own artisan twist on it! Your guests’ tastebuds will thank you.
Full recipe for Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese with Roasted Jalapeños and Turkey Bacon below!
5. Do Provide Beverage Options
Always provide two to three beverage options for your guests. Provide one water station and one other alternative like sweet iced black tea, fresh lemonade, sparkling juice, or a naturally flavored tonic water.If you’re having a sweets-only party, give guests the option of coffee or assorted hot chocolate!
6. Add Signage Where You Can
It is great to add playful signage where you can. Place labels by the savories and sweets or add welcome signage on the table to make the party feel even more personal. You can find beautiful printable party signage templates to print out that are very affordable!
7. Don’t Give Too Many Options
Less is more when it comes to a party menu. Keep the menu simple and wow guests with a delicious main dish, complemented with two lighter sides and two dessert options.
8. Build From Basics
Keep a set of basic white plates and simple drinkware on hand to build any tablescape upon. This way you have a cohesive base that you can snazz up with colorful florals, napkins, signage, and fun salad plates.
A Few DON’TS
– Don’t overthink the party plan. Decide on the color palette, food and beverages, and any special elements, like signage, that you want to use. Keep it simple and have fun!
– Don’t wait till the day of the party to prepare all of the food. Prepare the dishes that can be refrigerated the night before, and set them out 30 minutes before serving to come to room temperature. Anything that needs to be served warm should be warmed in the oven on low heat and pulled out 5 minutes before serving.
Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese with Roasted Jalapeños and Turkey Bacon
You can never go wrong with macaroni and cheese, especially when you bring in savory and spicy elements like turkey bacon and jalapeños and pair them with Borden® Cheese Southwest Pepper Jack Singles and Borden® Cheese Triple Cheddar Shreds. I popped over to Walmart and found the Borden® Cheese that I needed to make this life changing Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese with Roasted Jalapeños and Turkey Bacon, but check out this store locator to see where to find Borden® Cheese near you. Every bite is smooth, creamy, gooey, and a little spicy. Your favorite childhood dish just got a grown up facelift that will blow you mind.
I have always believed that cooking for someone is a decadent expression of love. You pour your heart and creativity into creating something that they will enjoy and savor with abandon. This mac & cheese is no exception – it is love, savored in every bite! I’m super picky about the cheese that I like to use when I cook. For this dish I used my favorite Borden® Cheese blends. There are many varying flavors that I really like using in dishes to build full, layered flavor profiles. Life is good when there is cheese involved. Am I right or am I RIGHT!
I combined Borden® Cheese Triple Cheddar Shreds and Borden® Cheese Southwest Pepper Jack Singles to make a silky full flavored cheese sauce that will blow your taste-buds out of the water.
8 oz turkey bacon – roughly chopped
16 oz box gluten free penne pasta
2 medium jalapeño peppers – sliced
For the cheese sauce:
3 tbsp. gluten free flour
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
8oz bag Borden® Cheese Triple Cheddar Shreds
6 slices Borden® Cheese Southwest Pepper Jack Singles
2 c. milk [ whole or skim will work ]
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. white pepper
Spices & Oils to fold in:
1 1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
pinch red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
Roughly chop turkey bacon and slice jalapeño peppers. Remove some seeds to make the jalapeño flavor more mild.
Step 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in chopped turkey bacon and fry until golden and crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Reserve 2 tbsp. to fold into mac & cheese.
Step 2. In the same skillet, add in jalapeño slices and gentle roast them in the bacon drippings – about 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Step 3. Cook gluten free pasta according to package instructions – reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
Step 4. In a large dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the gluten free flour to melted butter. Cook for about 3 minutes to create a roux -whisking continuously. While continuing to whisk, add in 2 cups of milk and reduce heat to low-medium. Bring roux/milk mixture to a gentle boil, whisking continually. Sauce will slightly thicken.
Add in Borden® Cheese Triple Cheddar Shreds and Borden® Cheese Southwest Pepper Jack Singles, whisking until the cheese is completely melted in. Whisk in chicken stock, cayenne pepper, and white pepper. Whisk until well combined and the cheese sauce is smooth.
Remove from the heat.
Step 5. Gently mix the cooked gluten free pasta into the cheese sauce [ use reserved cooking liquid as needed to loosen up the sauce if necessary]. Fold in olive oil, dried cilantro, pinch of red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper to taste.
Serve topped with crispy turkey bacon and roasted jalapeño slices!
This pepper jack mac & cheese is so delicious. And it only takes 30 minutes to put together! The salty, crispy bacon brings so much savory flavor to this dish, and the jalapeños add the perfect kick to this mac & cheese!
Have you tried pepper jack mac & cheese? What is your favorite way to use Borden® Cheese? Do you love a spicy kick to an old classic?
With love [ and happy eating! ],
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