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Here's How To Throw a Dinner Party When You Literally Own Like No Pots and Pans

Dinner parties have a bad rep of being strictly reserved for owners of fancy china plate sets, expensive spices, and a bevy of cooking utensils. The reality is there aren’t many activities that bring people closer together than sharing a meal. Food often holds fond memories and nostalgia; whether it is a spaghetti dish that your grandpa used to make, or an ice cream flavor you shared with a friend many summers ago.

College is a time in our lives that we build relationships and create lasting bonds. So instead of doing this over mediocre takeout or instant mac and cheese, consider stepping up your game (just a little) and throw a dinner party.

A dinner party may seem like an overwhelming feat; what’s the difference between a dash, a pinch, and a smidgen? Which side does the fork go on? How do I make this happen if I don’t even have a dining room, much less a large kitchen? This get-together doesn’t have to be straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog; it is up for creative interpretation. Grab your friends, your favorite recipes, and a playlist to jam out to, and you’ve got the main ingredients for the most perfectly imperfect dinner party.

Seating and utensils
Paper, porcelain, or plastic will do. It’s what’s served on the plates that matter. If you have the time, get crafty and make some name cards or mini menus with colored paper­­–it’ll add a nice touch that your friends will appreciate. Don’t worry about having a table to eat at or chairs, switch things up with patterned cushions, pillows, couches, and chairs. You’ll have a gorgeous mix-match setup that Anthropologie would even lust over. Be sure to serve some sparkling cider, tea, or coffee while you all wait for dinner.

Recipes
Pinterest will always have your back when it comes to finding the perfect recipe. A dish I can’t stop making is lemon asparagus pasta. It’s creamy, savory, and tangy all at the same time and only takes a few ingredients to make a satisfying amount. I’ve put the recipe below. I also recommend a good old fashion cookbook. My personal favorites are The Kinfolk Table and Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings cookbook–both offer some awesome party bites and heartwarming meals.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta:
1 lb Chicken breasts (I personally don’t add chicken to mine, but it’s a tasty option!)
1 pound of asparagus, ends removed
1 box of your favorite pasta (I adore linguine and rigatoni)
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp of butter
A dash of garlic powder, salt, and pepper to season
1 half lemon juice (I add both halves for extra flavor)
⅓ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to the box directions and add the asparagus to the boiling water in the last three minutes. (Cook the chicken in a separate pan if you want added protein. Bread it, bake it, grill it; your choice!)

Put the heavy cream, seasonings, lemon, butter, and cheese into a small pot and let it simmer. Stir frequently until thick. Strain pasta and asparagus and serve with sauce poured on top.

Atmosphere
You want your guests to feel comfortable, and you also want to make sure that you’re enjoying the mini event too. There are around 29 playlists dedicated to dinner on Spotify, so whether your party wants some upbeat Latin music or quiet European cafe tunes, you’ll have it covered. Light some candles or hang up string lights to make the setting more intimate. I highly recommend placing your phones in a basket away in your room to digitally detox and enjoy the physical presence of your friends. And why not throw it back with a game of Scrabble, Life, or Twister?

See? Not as overwhelming as you thought! Now show us how you and your roomies are enjoying a “fancy” dinner at home this weekend by tagging us on Instagram!