casserole swap night
Lee Harrelson

Casserole Swap Night

Fill your freezer and your friends' at a casserole swap. Everyone brings two homemade casseroles -- one frozen and one to enjoy during the party. Each guest gets to taste each casserole and take one home. Be sure to supply to-go boxes for leftovers. Don’t forget to ask everyone to bring copies of the recipe.

The Bar: Try a Sour Apple Martini or a Fresh Lime Gimlet

The Menu: Spinach Casserole, Four Cheese Vegetable Lasagna, Cheesy Sausage-and-Tomato Manicotti, Chicken-And-Wild Rice Casserole, Cheese-and-Bean Enchiladas, Spaghetti Pie, Shrimp Casserole

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sushi night
Beau Gustafson

Sushi Night

Try something new and learn to roll your own sushi. All you need are a few bamboo mats, a couple sets of chopsticks, and some sushi basics. Pick two or three types of roles to make, gather the ingredients, and prepare a large batch of sushi rice.

The Bar: Ginger Saketini or a Minted Sake and Pineapple Cooler

The Menu: Try a few of these Japanese treats to accompany your homemade sushi: Make-Ahead Pork Dumplings, Shrimp Maki, Veggie-Surimi Sushi, Bagel Roll, Vegetable Maki

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Fashion Swap and Martinis
Beau Gustafson

Fashion Swap and Martinis

Load up on new clothes for free by hosting a Fashion Swap. Everyone brings a few items of clothing they no longer wear or want to swap, and everyone takes home something new. As your guests arrive, set up clothes as you’d find them in a boutique, organized by size and style.

The Bar: Chocolate Martini, Mint Julep Martini, Pomegranate Martini

The Menu: Sliders with Shallot-Dijon Relish, Pecan-Stuffed Dates with Bacon, Light Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Celery, Spinach-Red Pepper Crostini

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Pizza Party
Beau Gustafson

Pizza Party

Transform your kitchen into a pizza bar ready to turn out custom pies to suit each guest's taste. Thanks to a hot oven and an array of toppings, the possibilities are endless.

The Bar: Red wine or a Raspberry-Lemon Prosecco Cocktail

The Menu: Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Proscuitto, Fontina, Caramelized-Onion and Pancetta Pizza, Barbecued Chicken Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, Coffee Granita

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Party at the Grill
Beau Gustafson

Party at the Grill

Grills aren’t just for guys; invite the girls over for fruity cocktails, grilled vegetables, and even grilled desserts. Dress up the patio table with a tablecloth and flowers, or just grab some trays and bring chairs into the backyard.

The Bar: Adirondack Margaritas, Rio Grande Limeade, Mango Mojito

The Menu: Crudites with Lemon-Herb Dip, Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese Dressing, Grilled Salmon with Tangy Cucumber Sauce, Classic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes, Grilled-Peach Sundaes

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Book Club
Beau Gustafson

Book Club

If you aren’t already a member of a book club, start one! But before everyone arrives to discuss the pivotal ending, try out a make-ahead menu for a no-stress evening.

The Bar: A carafe of wine or a cocktail, like a Sparkling Wine-Fruit Refresher or a Nectarine-Mint Spritzer

The Menu: Easy Chicken Pie, Arugula, Roasted Tomato, and Goat Cheese Salad, Sweet Beer Bread, Lemon Cream Tart

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College Reunion
Lee Harrelson

College Reunion

Reminisce about the ‘good ‘ole days’ with a Latin-themed get-together with your college buddies.

The Bar: Slushy Watermelon Mojitos, Pomegranate Key Lime Vodka Cocktails, Mango Mint Rum Slush

The Menu: Haitian Rice and Beans, Black Bean and Mango Salsa, Party Plantain Chips, Pork Picadillo Empanadas

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Girls Gone Green
Lee Harrelson

Girls Gone Green

With just a little planning ahead and creativity, you can offset your carbon footprint with a fun night with the girls. Ask guests to save their bottles, magazines, and newspapers, and in between sips of wine, pass around twine for everyone to bundle the papers. Load them into your car to transport to the recycling center the next day.

The Bar: Provide a variety of organic liquors and juices, and let guests mix there own drinks.

The Menu: Go organic: Party Bean Dip with Baked Tortilla Chips, Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey, and Orange, The Simplest Green Salad, Honey-Roasted Pears with Sweet Yogurt Cream

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Spa Night at Home
Lee Harrelson

Spa Night at Home

Indulge your senses at home with friends–no appointments necessary. Light candles, play soothing music, and ask everyone to bring a robe to change into. Set up a few stations for a quick do-it-yourself spa treatment.

The Bar: Cucumber Margaritas, Pomegranate-Key Lime Vodka Cocktails, Cran-Raspberry Spritzer

The Menu: Apricot-Almond Granola, Sugared Cranberries, Honey Roasted Nuts and Fruit, Apple Slaw, Pasta with Asiago Cheese and Spinach, Green Salad with Apples and Maple-Walnut Dressing

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Baby Shower
Lee Harrelson

Baby Shower

Ditch the traditional shower games and get the party started with some blue or pink cocktails (non-alcoholic for the Mom-to-be of course). Have a designated spot for guests to place gifts as they arrive. Appoint someone to write down the new mom's gifts and the guest they are from. The real gift? A Dinner Calendar where guests sign up to take dinner to the family once the baby has arrived.

The Bar: Carefully label non-alcoholic drinks for the new mom. For other guests, try pink and blue themed cocktails: Honey Limeade, Blue Moon Cocktail, Pink Lemonade Cocktail

The Menu: Spicy Chicken Salad with Cabbage Wraps, Orange Pecan Mixed Green Salad, Bacon-Lettuce-Mozzarella-and-Tomato Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad, Dates and Parmesan

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Chocolate-and-Coffee Tasting
Lee Harrelson

Chocolate-and-Coffee Tasting

A little advance planning is all you need to pull off a great chocolate tasting. First, you'll want to serve a variety of high-quality chocolates with different percentages of cacao. Then, brew different varieties (at least three) of coffee in a row of French press coffee pots. Choose beans from different countries for a well-rounded tasting, placing a card with all the bean details in front of each pot.

The Bar: In addition to the coffee tastings, try these two coffee cocktails: Frosty Milk Punch, Brandy Cream

The Menu: Chai Spice Biscotti, Pear Phyllo Pastries, Brown Sugar Shortcakes, Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping

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Celebrate Being Single
Lee Harrelson

Celebrate Being Single

Celebrate your single-dom with a Valentine’s Day dinner. Let your friends chip in to make a meal worthy of the nicest neighborhood restaurant. Dress up and make the evening special with glamorous drinks and luxurious food.

The Bar: Champagne Pomegranate Cocktail, Blackberry-Chambord Royale

The Menu: Fig and Blue Cheese Bruschetta, Peppercorn-Crusted Filet Mignon with Port Jus, Smoked-Gouda Risotto with Spinach and Mushrooms, Creamed Spinach Gratin, Double Chocolate Cheesecake

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Movie Night
Lee Harrelson

Movie Night

There's nothing quite like curling up on the sofa in cozy pj's with some great snacks and a good love story. Make room around the television for your closest friends and turn it into a night to view to the stars.

The Bar: Sparkling Orange Punch, Blood Orange Sangria, Pacific Punch

The Menu: Popcorn with Brown Butter and Parmesan, Microwave Snack Mix, Mocha Double Fudge Brownies, Spicy Nuts, Caramel Popcorn

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Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette Party

Celebrate your bestie’s last night as a single gal with martinis and good friends. With whimsical napkins, a few cocktail shakers, and some trays of finger food, this night will set the tone for a marriage made to last.

The Bar: Mango Martini, Frosty Lemon Martini, Emerald Mint Martini

The Menu: Garlic and Sundried Tomato Hummus, Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

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Bunko Fiesta
Lee Harrelson

Bunko Fiesta

A rousing game of bunko is made for the modern girl, since its simple rules let you focus on food, fun, and fellowship. All that's required are a few card tables and some creative cooking.

The Bar: Puerto-Rican Sangría, Rosé Sangria, Cranberry-Raspberry Sangría

The Menu: Guacamole and Chips, Cherry-Tomato Salsa, Black Bean Salad, Chicken Chimichangas, Chili Powder and Cumin-Rubbed Corn on the Cob

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