Good friends and delicious food are all you need to host a successful dinner party. Think back on dinner parties you’ve attended — you probably don’t remember the color of the napkins or if the glassware was spotless. You do remember the food and what a fun time it was to see everyone. If the idea of hosting a dinner party stresses you out, you’re making it harder on yourself than it has to be. These tips will keep you out of the kitchen during your party so you can enjoy it as much as your guests do.

Being organized is the best way to make sure you aren’t rushed at the last minute as guests are walking through the door. Choose both food and drink recipes that you can make ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the kitchen cooking or making drinks for guests while the party is in full swing. Prepping your dishes in advance gives you the chance to clean up your kitchen before guests arrive and allows you to use your kitchen as another room where your guests can hang out. Everyone will be impressed when it’s time to eat and they haven’t seen you do any heavy lifting!

If you’re planning on serving adult beverages, forget a fully stocked bar and go with a retro punch instead. Since punches serve a crowd and you can make them ahead of time, they’re perfect for a dinner party. Try out a sophisticated punch with quality spirits and fresh juices you can chill in a pitcher until party time. Add your soda and ice to the cold punch base when guests arrive and you’re ready to go.

Spicy stuffed peppers will bring out the oohs and ahhs from guests who are delighted by the cool presentation. We use bright green peppers and stuff them with a mixture of fully cooked Randall Mixed Beans, corn and shredded cheese. Top them with dots of butter that melts into the pepper stuffing during baking for an extra richness. A generous sprinkle of paprika adds a pretty red color to the tops of the stuffing as well as a spicy kick.

Assemble the stuffed peppers ahead of time and keep them chilled until you’re ready to bake them. To keep the peppers moist, add a little water to your baking dish before cooking. Serve the finished peppers with side of Greek yogurt for guests to use as a condiment.

Stuffed Peppers With Beans and Corn

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to large green peppers
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 12 ounces Randall Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if beans are salted)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt, plain or tempered with sour cream
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut peppers in half through the stem, or leave whole and remove top. Remove seeds and any tough ribs. Plunge into a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove immediately and drain.

Combine corn, Randall Beans, cheese, and, if necessary, salt. Stuff into peppers. Dot with butter and sprinkle generously with paprika. Place peppers in a baking dish and surround with a little water to keep them moist. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve topped with a generous mound of yogurt.

Serves 4.

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