Summer Cooking & Entertaining Tips From 'Cooking Planit' Slideshow

Emily Wilson, executive culinary director of Cooking Planit, offers her summer cooking and entertaining tips

Plan and Save

When planning how much food to prepare, Wilson advises summer hosts to consider how many guests you have invited and how many courses or dishes you plan to serve. The more dishes you have, the less you need to make of each. Cutting back on leftover food saves on waste, time, and money.

Make an App for That

Wilson suggests having a few appetizers prepared and ready to serve before your guests arrive. Apps should be easy to make and be served at room temperature. Dips, shrimp cocktail, and vegetable platters are simple, but surely will do the trick.

Ask and Accomodate

Before cooking up a storm, be sure to ask guests ahead of time if they have any dietary restrictions. Obviously, you won’t have to accommodate every request with each dish, but be sure to provide something else for people with restrictions. The Planit app does just that, as you can filter recipes based on dietary restrictions.


For practicality reasons, Wilson recommends to do both children and their parents a favor by having food ready for them when they arrive. This way, parents can feed their kids when necessary and enjoy dinner themselves once adults are served. 

Build the Buffet

For buffet-style dinners, Wilson advises to take out serving platters a few days early, using Post-it notes to assign each recipe a serving dish. Then, arrange the platters on the buffet to make sure it all fits.

Expect the Unexpected

Unless you’ve hosted big parties before, Wilson reminds us that everything you plan to do will likely take longer than expected. Build a cushion of time into your schedule, including time to get ready, and aim to be ready at least one hour ahead of time to allow for last-minute details and early bird guests.