~ By Audrey Chow-Jones, One Senior Place Receptionist ~

Entertaining does not have to be hard or stressful – it’s all in the planning!  Make a check list with a time frame for your menu, food prep, decorations, set up, and music. If you have a specialty that can be cooked ahead of time and then frozen until needed, that will cut down on stress and you will be able to enjoy your own party.  Have a platter or dish that’s not too pretty?  Try covering it with curly edge lettuce and present your appetizers on it and voila!   Have a recipe that everyone always LOVES?  Make some recipe cards and leave them near the dish (see a fan favorite, below).  At One Senior Place, we play host frequently, and I have used these tips and tricks to help pull off some fantastic events!


 Sample menu for a quick get-together:

  • Main dish – Think about having one item as the main offering, like a Baked Potato Bar or Salad Bar with all the fixings. Prepping all of the extras ahead of time and putting them in their serving dishes makes this a No Stress option!
  • Crudités with dip
  • Cheese and Cracker Platter
  • Chicken Salad Phyllo Shells (recipe below)
  • Pinwheel Sandwich Platter (recipe below)
  • Sliced Fruit Platter with Fruit Dip (dip recipe below)
  • Phyllo Shells filled with Fruit Dip or Pudding (recipe below)
  • Fruit Infused Seltzer Water (recipe below)

Main Dish Options

Baked Potatoes

  • Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Melted Cheeses
  • Broccoli – blanched
  • Mushrooms – cooked
  • Black Olives
  • Chives
  • Grilled Sliced Chicken
  • Sliced Steak
  • Bacon Bits

Salad Bar

  • Romaine Lettuce – cleaned and torn (chopped)
  • Tomato
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Peperoncini
  • Olives – black & green
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Variety of Salad Dressings


Chicken Salad Phyllo Shells

  • Phyllo Shells – in the frozen section of your supermarket.
  • Chicken Salad (recipe below) from the deli (or any salad of your choice)

Chicken Salad:

  • Leftover, Rotisserie or Canned Chicken – Chopped small
  • Celery – Chopped
  • Onion – Chopped
  • Mayonnaise
  • Black Pepper
  • Mrs. Dash Tequila Lime Seasoning
  • Cumin

Directions:  Mix all the ingredients, fill Phyllo shell with salad of choice, and remember – presentation is everything!

 Pinwheel Sandwiches:

  •  Variety of deli meats of your choice
  • Sliced cheese (easier to choose one type)
  • Floured Tortilla shells


  1. Place tortilla shell on plastic wrap
  2. Layer with deli meat and cheese (leave room on the edge of tortilla to spread a small amount of mayo to keep it from opening)
  3. Roll tortilla with meat and cheese
  4. Wrap with the plastic wrap, let sit for an hour or overnight
  5. When ready to serve, unwrap, slice about 1 inch, place on platter.
  6. Serve with honey mustard & mayo in a small bowl.


Phyllo Shells filled with Fruit Dip or Pudding

  • Phyllo Shells – in the frozen section of your supermarket.
  • Instant Pudding (prepared per instructions) or Fruit Dip (recipe below)
  • Fresh fruit – Blueberries, cut up Kiwi and or Strawberries

Directions:  Fill Phyllo shell with pudding or fruit dip, top with sliced fresh fruit.

 Fruit Dip:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (you can use low fat, does not affect the taste)
  • 8 oz Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:  Soften cream cheese slightly.  Stir together all ingredients.  Fill Phyllo shells.

 Fruit-Infused Seltzer Water:

  • Flavored Seltzer Water (I prefer the Target Brand)
  • Plain Seltzer Water
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • Ice

Directions:  Slice all fruit in rounds. In clear beverage dispenser, fill ¾ of container with ice. Put in fruit, 2 parts flavored seltzer water to 1 part plain seltzer water. Stir and enjoy. During the holidays I’ll throw in some cranberries for color.

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