New On The Blog

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Cecelia Zook

Chicken Biscuits Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

Chick-fil-a breakfast is my all time favorite meal, and now it has some competition! I've never fried chicken before, but this recipe made it simple for a beginner like myself. The mix of the spices and flour makes an excellent, flavorful crust for the chicken that is well-balanced with the honey butter glaze on the biscuit. This filling southern breakfast paired with seasonal fruit is definitely a must have at your next brunch.

Chicken Biscuits
Download PDF • 1.87MB

Makes 8 servings

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 20 Minutes


*1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers biscuits

*2 large chicken breasts

*1 cup flour

*1 teaspoon onion powder

*1/2 teaspoon red pepper

*1 teaspoon chili powder

*2 teaspoons paprika

*1 teaspoon celery salt

*2 teaspoons sugar

*1 egg

*1/4 cup milk

*1 cup vegetable oil

*3 tablespoons butter, melted

*2 tablespoons honey


*Preheat oven to 350°F.

*Slice the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, then half again horizontally to create 8, thin, triangle-shaped pieces of chicken.

*In a small bowl, stir together the flour and spices. (Add a pinch of salt to the flour mix to bring out some of the other flavors.)

*In a second small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk.

*Heat oil in a large skillet on top of a medium-hot stove.

*Open the Pillsbury Grands! and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. (Follow Pillsbury instructions.)

*While your biscuits are baking, dip the chicken pieces into the egg and milk mixture, then into the spiced flour mixture.

*Fry in the hot oil. (To know when oil is hot, stick a wooden utensil in it to see if it bubbles or measure it to 350 degrees.)

*Whisk together the melted butter and honey.

*Remove the biscuits from the oven and use a basting brush to spread melted honey butter on top of the biscuits.

*Slice each biscuit in half, then place a piece of cooked chicken in the center.

*Serve with orange juice and enjoy!

Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook