Hosting when you’re too busy to host: A Millennial Guide

By Kasey Passen, OneTable’s Associate Director of Hubs. You can reach her at kasey@onetable.org

Can you host a killer Shabbat dinner party when you have a super busy life?

Of course you can, you just need to plan in advance! As a trained chef and seasoned caterer, I have learned some great strategies to make sure your dinner event is low stress, and works with your busy schedule. Check out these pro-tips:

1. Give yourself plenty of time

For a Friday Shabbat dinner, I start planning the Sunday before. The most creative menus and thoughts flow when you are not under time pressure! Sunday night is the perfect time to look online or go through your favorite magazines for some great recipes or come up with a fun theme for Shabbat.

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2. Make a list

It might seem old school, but I love getting out a pen and paper to scribble down notes for my dinner vision. Start by solidifying your menu and writing out your grocery list. I even organize my grocery list into categories: produce, meat/fish, dairy and other to help keep my shopping time to a minimum.

3. Grocery Shop Mid-Week

Most people don’t realize how time consuming grocery shopping can be. As a habit I never shop and cook for a dinner party on the same day. It’s simply too exhausting especially after a full day of work. So my advice is to shop earlier in the week, or order your groceries on Instacart (which is a nourishment option).

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4. Plan a menu that you can cook in advance

I cannot stress this tip enough! I always prep or cook most of my Shabbat meal on Wednesday or Thursday night. This means I find recipes that taste even more delicious when they are prepared in advance. Think of slow cooked meats, soups/stews, casseroles, or roasted vegetable salads. Friday is all about reheating these dishes, garnishing them with fresh herbs or tossing in fresh salad lettuce. All of the heavy lifting can be done in advance.

5. Set the mood and relax

Friday is my day to make sure the house looks and feels great. I often ask a friend to come over and help me set my table as I finish up last minute details with the main meal. If I have the time, I try to pick up some fresh flowers to put in my kitchen or on the dinner table.

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I hope some of these tips help hosting a Shabbat dinner a little less overwhelming. If cooking seems like way too much work, there is also no shame at all in ordering in from your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Shabbat is all about ending your week with intention, so whatever works for you is perfect!. Inspired? Click here to create a dinner or apply to become a host.

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