This Memorial Day, we can’t wait to kick off our favorite season by enjoying the warm, fresh air with an al fresco dinner party featuring our friend Jessica Merchant’s new book of gorgeous and delicious recipes, The Pretty Dish. Here’s our plan for putting together a good-looking, great-tasting meal for our friends with easy clean up along the way:
Start with a stunning table. Nothing wows a crowd (and gets them excited to sit down and eat) like a beautifully arranged table complete with seasonal decor. Plus, it makes guests feel special by showing the time and thought you put into hosting them.
For summer, we love a blue and white tablescape accented with a big bowl of lemons and a few small vases of seasonal flowers — hint, hint: we’re in peony season, everyone! Our secret: add a few Honest Aromatic Soy Candles to have your scene smelling lovely. And, don’t forget the kids table! We like to cover it in craft paper and make a crayon centerpiece. This will keep kids busy making their own mini masterpiece before the meal.
Plan your menu so that your friends can start snacking as soon as they arrive — nothing kills a party like a group of hangry people. A cheese plate is the perfect solve: It’s beautiful, easy (you can make it ahead of time), and a sure hit. There are so many summer fruits and berries that add pretty color and a sweet complement to your savory cheese. Jessica Merchant suggests strawberries, grapes or nectarines, and we totally agree. Make sure you give them quick a rinse with Honest Fruit & Veggie Wash before you place them on your board.
While your guests snack on cheese, you’ll have time in the kitchen to whip up a fresh salad to go aside your main dish. Jessica loves to serve this citrus salad to offer a sweet (kid-approved) spin to a healthy favorite. But, cutting up those juicy fruits can get messy, so make sure you have some Honest Grapefruit Multi-Surface Cleaner on hand to wipe away that sticky mess, but still keep a summery citrus smell in your kitchen.
Now, it’s time for you to mingle. But how, when you’ve still got the main dish to prepare? Jessica’s amazing slow cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork Sliders are the answer. With this minimal-effort method, you can start your meal well before your guests arrive and it will be hot and ready whenever everyone wants to stop indulging in cheese and sit down at the table. Let guests serve themselves in a make-your-own slider set up, so that you can get a chance to chat with everyone without worrying about plating. If everyone doesn’t clean their delicious plates at the table, Honest Dish Soap will cut right through any mess left behind.
No meal is complete without a sweet treat at the end. Keep things cool and bright with Jessica’s easy Pitaya Pops. They’re so delicious that kids won’t have any idea you snuck them another serving of fruit. But beware: this colorful treat can drip. Have some Honest Stain Remover close by to keep kids’ (and adults’) outfits looking fresh.
And just like that, you can create a beautiful dinner party from start to finish — with only a little clean up along the way. Find more delightful dishes in Jessica Merchant’s new book The Pretty Dish and on her blog How Sweet Eats. Plus, shop our safe and effective cleaning faves on Honest.com
Recipes and photos excerpted from THE PRETTY DISH. Copyright @ 2018 by Jessica Merchant. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.