How to Plan a Party – Part 4 “Guests Arrive for the 4th of July”

As you know, my sister and niece arrived this past Tuesday, which was also “Baconfest”. On Wednesday, we hosted a “Dinner with Friends from the Old Days.” Dinner that night was actually very simple since everyone brought a dish or two. I just did How to Impress your Man Pork Tenderloin  and Grilled Green Tomatoes Caprese Salad. I had marinated the pork the night before, so I just started marinating the tomatoes about 4 hours before everyone was set to arrive. Once everyone got here, I put the pork on the grill. While it was resting, I cooked the tomatoes and dinner was served! Having guest bring dishes is a great way to entertain if you are pressed for time or if you feel as though you can’t pull off a whole meal….yet!

Here’s what I didn’t mention about this week. My sister and niece aren’t the only out of town guests staying with me this week. My cousin and her family were also coming. I couldn’t mention it before because it was a surprise for another aunt who’s birthday is Saturday. She reads the blog, so I had to choose my words carefully. Now that the surprise is over (that will be tomorrow’s post) I don’t have to be so careful!  So, knowing that we were going to have 10 people staying with us, it was a great incentive to really clean out my kids’ room last week. When I see clean, I mean I went in there with trash bags, not cleaning supplies. You moms out there know what I’m talking about. We pitched, donated, organized….and then cleaned! It was a lot of work, but something that has needed to be done for a while now. Mission accomplished! The house was completely in order before my sister arrived on Tuesday and guests came for Baconfest that night!

On to the 4th of July!! We had a simple cookout for family and friends. The weather held up enough to where we could still grill, so the menu didn’t have to be changed. Since this was day 3 of entertaining, I knew things were bound to start going a little wrong, despite my Type A lists! I went to the store in the morning to get a few last minute things for the 4th and the 5th. My grocery store was out of Boston Butts for the carnitas on the 5th. How was that possible? Evidently, the warehouse didn’t ship many to the entire the chain in my area. Great. Store run on the 5th was now in the plans. My family decided to go to White Water so I spent the morning cooking and preparing for the 4th. Sausage balls were first, followed by the mix for the grilled pitas. I made the macaroni and cheese and things were all coming together. Last thing to prep…warm wild mushroom toasts. I got the mushrooms out, looked at the recipe and then it hit me…I forgot the bread for the mushroom toasts. Scratch that appetizer! Sauteed Mushrooms were now going to be on the dinner menu.

About 20 minutes before everyone got here, I started cooking the sausage balls and preheated the grill for the pita. The pitas were coming off the grill right as the guests started to arrive. I must say, these pitas are one of the best appetizers I think I have ever put in my mouth. The flavors are all things I love!!

Dinner Menu FOR 13:

Vegetables and Dip

Sausage Balls

Grilled Pita with Tomato, Feta and Olives (recipe coming)

Pub Mix


Pork, Steak and Chicken Kabobs (marinated in Dale’s Seasoning marinade)

Grilled Zucchini (see below)

Sauteed Mushrooms

Macaroni and Cheese

Caesar Salad


After my cousins and friends arrived, we just chilled out for a while, munched on some appetizers, and talked. The kids were busy playing and everyone was relaxed. About an hour before I was ready to start grilling, I took the macaroni and cheese out of the fridge. I also cut the zucchini, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Thirty minutes before I was ready to grill, I marinated the meat. When using Dale’s, it really doesn’t take long at all.

When the meat was put on the grill, the mac and cheese went in the oven, and the mushrooms were being sautéed. As soon as the meat was cooked, I let it rest while grilling the zucchini and making the salad. The macaroni and cheese was ready and dinner was served!!! Happy 4th!!!

Want to see more of this series? Here are the other parts:
Part 1 Original
Part 2 Getting Organized
Part 3 Baconfest

Part 5 July 4th Dinner
Part 6 Birthday party for 16

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