How to Host a Large STRESS FREE Party – using the Best Chimichurri Sauce!

Hi Everyone!  I am excited about this blog but went back and forth with the title.  The original recipe is called “Gaucho Steak with a Chimichurri Sauce”, and that is how I made it for the first time years ago.  However, the sauce is so amazing, I started making it with everything.  You name it, I served this chimichurri sauce with it…chicken, shrimp, steak, paninis, pasta, etc. (I feel like Bubba from Forest Gump). The point is, this chimichurri sauce it amazing and so versatile that the ingredients end up on my shopping list at least once a month.  Here’s how it goes:

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Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse.  As the ingredients are combining, stream in the olive oil.  Watch the consistency of the sauce while adding the olive oil.  Many times you do not need the full 1-1/2 cups of olive oil that the recipe calls for.

Side note- I have had many chimichurri sauces, and wondered what makes this one so good and my favorite.  Well here’s the reason…SMOKED paprika.  Make sure you have this ingredient!!!

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Serve the sauce over the entree of your choice.  This recipe makes 2 1/2 cups of sauce and will last in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 month.  So you can use the sauce with many meals.

This chimichurri sauce is great for large dinner parties because it makes a lot, can be easily prepared ahead of time, and has a great flavor that makes any entrees flavorful.  Speaking of easy, stress free hosting, I wanted to give all my readers some great tips on how to host large parties (>12 people) and avoid the stress and headache that usually comes along with it.  There are a few things that I have picked up over the years from friends, reading books on hosting, and from experience that are really important to hosting a fun, NO STRESS, great atmosphere party for you and your guests.

Tips for Large Parties

1) Choose a menu that can be made ahead of time and that will be ready when your guests arrive.  For instance, do NOT plan on something like individual custom omelettes.  A menu that avoids standing over the stove cooking while all your guests are arriving and hanging out is very important. That is not fun for you and creates a stressful environment for your guests watching you cooking and not enjoying yourself.  People get uncomfortable and feel badly when they are watching the host running around, cleaning, and preparing.  I am sure anyone who has hosted gets asked the same question over and over, “Is there something I can do to help?”  Obviously you are the host, you are not going to avoid preparing and getting everything set up.  Just try and have everything organized and prepared before your guests arrive.

2) Set the table, decorate, and place the serving platters out the night before the party.  I write what I am serving on an index card and include the time it is going to be set out, or placed in the oven, and for how long, and place it on the platter I am using for that dish.  It’s eliminates one step on the day of the party and helps you visualize the timing and set up.

3) I always create a folder for each big party I host.  The folder consists of the the number of guests, the menu, and all of the recipes.  As I make each item, I throw out the recipe. I love to watch the stack of paper get smaller and smaller!

4) Clean as you go.  When your guests arrive you should already have all the dishes that you used to cook with cleaned and put away.  The only thing sitting out should be the food and platters to serve on.  This leaves much less to do at the end of the party.  Without fail, everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen and socialize (one of the major reasons why open living homes are so popular). So if the kitchen tends to be the hangout spot then make sure it looks nice, inviting, and organized.

5) Have the appetizers sitting out before everyone arrives.  Have a drink and start socializing with your guests when they come in.  Try to avoid cooking, cleaning, and preparing when everyone is there.  All you should need to do is place the main course on the table for eating when it is ready to be served.   Enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests (my favorite part)!

6) Wait for clean up…then wait some more.  When everyone is eating the main course and the meal is coming to an end, do NOT start picking up the empty plates and cleaning dishes.  Cleaning up brings the conversations to and end and your guests feel like they need to stop, help or even leave.  Believe me, try this tip and your guests will hang out, sit and enjoy for longer.  Leave the cleaning until all your guests are gone.

I hope these tips help your party run smoothly and most importantly create a fun laid back atmosphere for you and your guests.  Remember these parties are to make memories, enjoy the company and the atmosphere. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. And if you feel like it’s work and stressful, than your guests will feel that way too.  Don’t forget to check out some of my favorite serving dishes in the collage below.  Happy Hosting!

Forever Freckled gives you great ideas for chic and bold serve ware

Forever Freckled gives you great ideas for chic and bold serve ware

1. Lime Green bowl 2. Floral bowl 3. Polka dot bowl 4. Gold serving platter 5. Wooden serveware 6. Gold rimmed bowl  7. Floral tray 8. Orange bowls 9. Floral tray 10. Blue rimmed bowl 11. Silver serving tray.

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