Category Archives: Simple Tips

Make Ahead Winter Menu for a Crowd

Make Ahead Winter Menu for a Crowd

  Are you entertaining this season?  Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl crowds coming over?  We put together a menu that is mostly make-ahead and can be sized according to the number of guests you’re expecting.  Click on the dish for the recipe and get cooking! Anti pasta platter   Visit your favorite specialty market (Italian…Continue Reading

What can I do with leftover party food?

What can I do with leftover party food?

Estimating how much guests are going to eat at a gathering is never easy.  Nine times out of ten, we err on the side of buying/cooking/serving too much.  By incorporating leftovers with a few staples, you can get a wonderful meal on the table in seconds.  Some items to always have on hand include: Mixed…Continue Reading

Which fork?  Which glass ?  Help!

Which fork? Which glass ? Help!

The “social season” is about to start here in St. Petersburg, Florida.  These events are often formal, with formal place settings which can be intimidating even to the experienced diner!  Here is a link with an exceptional graphic published by Libertytabletop.com which explains all you need to know: http://libertytabletop.com/2015/08/formal-dining-etiquette-by-liberty-tabletop/ Now put on your party dress…Continue Reading

When Friends or Family Need Comforting

There are many occasions when our loved ones near and far need comfort.  Unfortunately, we have been faced with many of these occasions lately.  Providing food that is portioned out, easy to reheat and transport is a helpful and much appreciated solution to the often asked question, “Is there anything I can do to help?”…Continue Reading

Thanksgiving EVE Dinner Menu

It’s the evening before Thanksgiving and the last thing you want to do is figure out what to make for dinner (much less buy it, cook it, and clean up after).  Here’s a menu that can be done 100% ahead of time and frozen.  We included the Martha Stewart Pumpkin Doughnut recipe again as a…Continue Reading

A Soup Making Party – Cooking with Friends

A Soup Making Party – Cooking with Friends

For several years, friends of The Simple Celebration have gotten together to do pre-holiday cooking.  They make a couple of soups to freeze and pre-measure muffin ingredients to whip together at another time.  Their tradition is making a gumbo which each serves on Thanksgiving Eve and a butternut squash soup for Thanksgiving Day’s first course.…Continue Reading

Great Fall Menu – Freezer-to-Table Ready!

Great Fall Menu – Freezer-to-Table Ready!

This menu is what we call “homey-gourmet.”  The entrée is meatloaf – but not the kind your mom made!  Every dish below can be made ahead and frozen.  Click on the pictures for the recipes.  Add a simple salad or vegetable to this menu and you are done.  How great is that?!!      …Continue Reading

Take Out-of-Your Freezer Menu

Take Out-of-Your Freezer Menu

  Here is a menu which can be made well in advance of your get together and put into the freezer.  All you have to do is take the dishes out of the freezer, pour a glass of wine, reheat and open the door for your guests.  This is one dinner party you can really…Continue Reading

Fabulous Fourth Picnic Menu

  We put together a Fabulous Fourth menu from some of our past recipe posts.  Click on the picture, and you will be brought to the recipe.  All these dishes travel well – just place in throw away containers, put in a cooler and go.  Need help?  Distribute the recipes to your family and friends…Continue Reading

Your Summer Vacation Menu is Served

    We hope your summer plans include a family get away.  And if your destination includes a kitchen, here’s a week’s menu that will allow you to prepare some simple and delicious meals without spending too much time away from the fun! Some of these recipes have been published on our blog (you can…Continue Reading

A Vacation from Cooking?  NO WAY

A Vacation from Cooking? NO WAY

  Often times, especially during the summer months, families go on vacation where they have access to a kitchen.  Cooking “in” while on vacation is a wonderful way to save money and avoid monotonous menus (chicken fingers for the kids every night?).  Here are a few helpful tips to use when planning menus for a vacation…Continue Reading

Our Asian Simple Celebration

Our Asian Simple Celebration

  Vicki and I decided to make an Asian simple celebration the other day and treat our guys to an evening of new recipes.  Cooking together is something we enjoy and the guys love being our guinea pigs!   Here’s what was on the menu: Signature Cocktail Tuk Tuk Martini Appetizer Ginger, Pork and Shrimp…Continue Reading

Asian Cooking Pantry Essentials

Asian Cooking Pantry Essentials

When you are cooking Asian recipes, there are a few ingredients that are called for over and over.  If you have some of the essentials in your pantry, cooking magnificent Asian dishes will be that much simpler!  Are you a “newbie” to Asian cooking?  Supply your pantry starting with the starred items. Oils: Peanut Sesame*…Continue Reading

I Never Promised You an “Herb” Garden

I Never Promised You an “Herb” Garden

But you can make one yourself!  Now that spring has sprung, we turn our taste buds to all things fresh.  Not only is it time for fresh fruits and vegetables, but also herbs.  They smell great, look great, and most of all, make everything taste great.  If you are like us, it is hard to…Continue Reading

Easter Dinner is Planned

For those who are hosting an Easter dinner in a couple of weeks, here is a menu that is easy, yet elegant, and won’t keep you in the kitchen away from your celebration.  Many dishes can be made well in advance.  Click on each picture to get recipe: Appetizer:  Hummus is a great, light appetizer…Continue Reading

Springtime Tablescape Idea

Springtime Tablescape Idea

The inspiration for this springtime tablescape comes straight from France.  While visiting châteaux on a trip to France last year, Vicki was impressed by the “green tablescapes” she saw (see below), and decided to try her own version for a French-themed gourmet club dinner she hosted at her home. Here is what she used for her…Continue Reading

Freezer to Table Dinner in Minutes!

Freezer to Table Dinner in Minutes!

Yes, even at The Simple Celebration we need a little help from the freezer section every now and again!  Margaritaville Island Lime Shrimp is a wonderful, tasty product that comes together in no time.  Purchase several packages to keep on hand for an effortless meal (the package says it will serve two, but we use…Continue Reading

Simple Ideas for your Baby Shower

Simple Ideas for your Baby Shower

Here are some simple ideas to make your baby shower something to remember.  A lot of these ideas came from either Jen’s  friends Lauren, Amy, Ashley, Emily and Calista who hosted one of her baby showers or Vicki’s friends – Cathy, Glenn, Mary-Ellen and Julie who hosted the other. Color scheme – should match the…Continue Reading

Baby Shower Celebration

Baby Shower Celebration

  Vicki’s daughter, Jennifer, is anxiously awaiting a visit from the stork.  Little “Baby K” will be arriving later this month much to the delight of first time grandparents, Vicki and Skip.  This week we will share some baby shower menu ideas, decorating tips, and a new recipe.  Baby showers are very fun and happy…Continue Reading

Ambiance is as Important as the Meal!

Ambiance is as Important as the Meal!

Cooking great food is the way to a man/woman’s heart but, the right “ambiance” is sure increase the romance.   Ideas for a romantic table setting: Use beautiful placemats. Buy flowers and place them in a small vase (roses are perfect for Valentine’s Day and are fairly inexpensive at your grocery store).  Be sure to…Continue Reading

Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at HOME

Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at HOME

We are not sure how or when it happened, but Valentine’s Day has become another one of those “holidays” that add things to your to do list.  Classroom cards are no longer simple – they are now crafting projects which require candy attachments.  Dinner reservations have to be made weeks in advance.  And, if you…Continue Reading

The Big Game!  Let’s Eat and Drink!

The Big Game! Let’s Eat and Drink!

Whether you go to a Super Bowl party for the game (Vicki), or you go to the party for the food (Mary-Ellen), having a good time is guaranteed by following some of these simple adult beverage suggestions and recipes for a party of 12: Beer Suggestions (please buy bottles, cans are just awful): 18 bottles…Continue Reading

Make Ahead Tips for Your Simple Celebration

Make Ahead Tips for Your Simple Celebration

One of the things we believe in most when it comes to entertaining is having fun at your own party.  It can be done!  Preparing your dishes in advance of company arriving is the key.  Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time?  Not us!  Follow these…Continue Reading

Let’s Have Some Friends Over

Let’s Have Some Friends Over

Home Entertaining – Two words should NOT be feared!  If you are new to home entertaining, don’t start out by having your mother-in-law over as your first guest.  Start by having some friends or siblings over that you are completely comfortable with and will overlook any whoops’ that might happen! This week’s menu is for…Continue Reading

Put the Festive in your Fiesta!

Put the Festive in your Fiesta!

Serving pieces which match your celebration’s theme help bring your party to a whole new level.  When your guests walk through the door and see your special glasses, serving platters, napkins, etc. the fun and festive mood begins immediately! For your Mexican Fiesta we have some suggestions: Make sure you have Margarita glasses.  Using regular…Continue Reading