This article was created in collaboration with Barilla® as part of Together at the Table.
Why do we limit ourselves to the weekend? There are seven days a week, but we save all our socializing for precious Friday and Saturday nights (and the occasional Sunday when we feel adventurous). When you gather around a table on a weekday, you can be a great way to meet busy friends, practice your cooking skills, and still get to bed at a reasonable hour.
We teamed up with our friends at Barilla® to talk about all the reasons You should have a weekend dinner party ̵
Why Weeknight Dinner Parties Are the Best
1. People are more available.
It's almost impossible to find a free Friday or Saturday night that works for everyone. But a Monday? The only plans you have to compete with are The Bachelor .
"The weekends are so busy for us that it's nice to take some time during the usual weekday to spend time with friends we have not seen for awhile," says Erin Gleeson, the best-selling author behind The Forest Feast.
Unless you're fighting for a coveted Friday on someone's schedule, it's much easier to get everyone together the same night. 19659009] 2. You can go to bed early at Party and .
When you go to a bar or restaurant with friends, the chances of getting home early are low. But if you have your own party, you can finish it as early as you like!
"I'm not really a night owl, so I like the fact that most dinner parties end earlier on weekends," says Brittany Mullins, nutritionist and creator of Eating Bird Food. "That way I can be with friends but go to bed at a decent hour."
Food, friends and PJ's until 9pm? This is our kind of party.
. 3 Almost everything is possible.
If you have people on a Wednesday, nobody would expect you to be thrown out of the oven all day. Your friends will be happy enough to have their own meal they did not have to prepare themselves.
"I like weekly dinner parties because they are less formal, so you can serve something relatively simple and casual, and everyone is still impressed and happy," says Mullins.
Since you prepare food it's easy to keep things simple and healthy. Food is usually accompanied by hidden salt, butter and other less-than-ideal ingredients. However, playing as a host helps to ensure that the meal is light and nutritious.
How to remove them
1. Do as much as you can the night before.
"My best bet for hosting is to plan ahead and do as much as possible the night before," says Mullins. "They will feel organized the day instead of running around at the last minute trying to bring everything together." 19659003] This applies to cooking and when you need to clean up: wipe down the bathroom, set up the living room, and stash your laundry. You should also make sure your dishwasher is empty. Guests arrive, "says Gleeson," which makes cleaning easier! "If you do not have a dishwasher, make sure the sink is clear.
You can also save time by preparing some of your food in advance. You know I need a lot of onion cubes. Cut her up the night before. Appetizers and desserts can also usually be prepared ahead of time.
. 2 Set the mood.
You do not have to put together one Pinterest-worthy table setting to give your dinner party a special atmosphere: just dimming the light, putting out a few candles and throwing your candles at your favorite music.
"The ambience, especially the lighting and the music, are very important to me, and I always try to make those settings before the guests arrive," says Gleeson. "Candles are a must! I opt for unperfumed beeswax that burns cleanly and does not compete with the delicious flavor of the cooking food. "
. 3 Start with the darling of Instagrammer: a snack board.
If you bring a few apps to market before dinner, guests will be entertained and have time to put the finishing touches on your appetizers. But do not feel like you should go out with fancy bruschetta or a baked brie. For the wow factor without all the work, just put a few of your favorite snacks on a plate or cutting board.
"[snack boards] not only looks pretty, but you can put it together in minutes without you having to cook it all," says Mullins.
Start with vegetables like celery, sliced peppers, Add carrots, cucumbers and cauliflower, then add nuts, fruits, cheese, crackers or sausages.
And do not be afraid to add something unexpected: Yumna Jawad, creator of Feel Good Foodie, likes candied ginger and Wasabi snappers for extra kick. "They're great conversation starters trying to talk about the different flavors," she says.
. 4 Serve a simple appetizer, which is still done by the chef.
When it comes to the main course, you do not have to try a fancy new recipe with 100 ingredients.
"Normally, I stick to something that is not much fun in the time of the kings," says Mullins, "so I can spend my time with friends and family enjoying the night of the party rather than being stuck in the kitchen."  Pasta is a great choice for a philanthropic dinner, it comes in minutes, is made from real, simple ingredients (whole wheat and water) and is the perfect base for just about any flavor combination. Looking for pasta to make dinner feel good, it's a bronze cut – a crafting method for slicing noodles, giving it a rougher texture and helping to hold sauces better, and nothing brings people (even Strangers!) More together than a delicious pot of noodles.
Gleeson recommends this simple recipe: Cook the noodles al dente, drain and cook sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and sunflower seeds. (Professional Tip: For extra taste and moisture, toss the pasta into olive oil after draining.)
For something unexpected, Jawad suggests making hummus noodles. The hummus adds a creamy, rich flavor that's a bit like a vegan alfredo sauce. Just add your pasta of your choice and you have a vegetable, high-protein dish where guests will have to beg for the recipe.
Or, clean up by tasting Mullins Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff with vegan mushroom. When all the ingredients are in the pot, you're almost done.
You can also watch the show recipes of Barilla's chef Lorenzo Boni or make a twist on one of Barilla's tastier recipe farmers.  5. Do not forget the dessert.
You do not have to bake a cake that would impress Mary Berry. As with everything else on this list, keep it simple. Place a variety of fruits and berries with commercially purchased whipped cream or a light chocolate ganache (microwaved chocolate and heavy cream at intervals of 30 seconds until the chocolate has melted, stir to mix and serve.)
Your own sundaes. All you need is ice cream, bowls and some toppings, and your guests can help themselves. Gleeson offered three unique sundae ideas:
- Vanilla ice cream with berries and a thick balsamic sauce for drizzling
- Vanilla ice cream drizzled with a good quality olive oil and topped with flaky salt
- Vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey and finished with a pile Peanut Butter
So there really is no reason not to have a dinner party on your calendar. With just a little preparation, you can spend more time with the people you love.